Comment in the h&h this week re hot branding foals . . .

wonkey_donkey

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Some bloke called John Shenfield from the BHHS was defending the practice of hot branding foals in today's edition and stated 'branding causes momentary pain'.
Now I'm not a horsey tree hugger and I don't really know what tests if any have been done to study the pain/stress caused to equines when they are hot branded but surely any brain-dead muppet would know that a red hot iron taken straight from a fire and placed onto skin and hair would certainly cause much more than 'momentary pain'.
Perhaps he could do it to himself to test it out. Or would he consider it acceptable for somone to brand a child??
It is shocking that 'we' are still using such barbaric practices in my opinion.
What do you guys think.
 

LindaW

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No idea how much a brand hurts a horse, but I have effectively been branded - by a motorbike exhaust pipe on my bare leg during a photo shoot years ago, and I felt nothing at all after the first split second - I had to look to see that my skin was gone.
 

wonkey_donkey

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Interesting. Did it not hurt for days and weeks after the accident though?? I always thought burns were one of the most painful injuries you could have ??
 

burge

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I do not have a problem with it. Some years ago I had my mare freeze branded. That is not supposed to hurt but it does. Anyone who has had a verucca removed by freezing it off will know this. So should we stop freeze branding aswell! Micro chipping is all well and good but freeze/hot branding creates a permanent mark that is visible and also acts as a deterrent to theft and makes them EASILY identifiable. Also chips can move/dissappear! I am sure if you gave the horse a choice of hot branding it or wearing an ill fitting saddle for the rest of its life I know what it would choose and there are plenty of horses out there with ill fitting saddles.
 

Nailed

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it causes less pain that freezing.. and its quicker.

I have also been 'branded' from working in a forge and to be honest, the pain was also only momentary. And as for after pain, little or none, Until i started pecking the scab.

Lou x
 

emma69

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I 'branded' myself on a toaster oven a few years ago (now have the number 7 (it was a corner) on my arm!) It did hurt, but the cold water I ran it under hurt more (as I didn't want the skin to die and get a scar) Had I left it alone, I don't think it would have hurt for more than a few seconds.
 
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Donkeymad

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There is only a split second - if that - of pain from freezing.
 

magicgirl

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There was a thread on Intelligent Horsemanship about this recently which raised some very good points, the main ones being

Microchips can course pain which is remembered next time the horse needs an injection from the vet

Freezebranding appeared to be more painfull at the time and the pain lasted longer

Experienced handlers can hot brand feral ponies quickly and effiently with little after affects

sticking a lage needle in a foal that has not been handled is extremely dangerous.
 

flash1

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For an animal that can feel a fly land on its skin do you really think it does not hurt to have a red hot piece of metal held on their skin?
 
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Donkeymad

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How can you tell if a feral pony is experiencing any pain/discomfort aftwerwards?
I have had six neds freezemarked, icluding a wussy show pony. Not one of them, before, during or at any time afterwards showed any even vague signs of discomfort.
 

volatis

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None of my foals have reacted at being hot branded. They have a tiny flinch and that is it. The trick as I understand it, is to have a very hot iron, so I guess the nerve endings are killed very quickly.
 

lauraandjack

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With regarding microchipping feral/wild foals, assuming you manage to get the damn microchip in in the first place how exactly do they plan on reading them in the future?

You need to get pretty close with a microchip scanner to read them! (within about 6ins of chip to reliably pick one up in my experience).
 

Ezme

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I was always told that when (like most things) done propperly the iron is so hot it burns off the nerve endings in a split second therefore not having much time for pain to register. I was also told the most stress acctually comes from the smell rather than hair but never having been at a branding I don't know.
 

perfect11s

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Been with a friend to have her warmblood foals hot branded first with a colt who cow kicked me more than once while we were waiting and was a real pain in the ass that day.. sadly the brand didnt seem to hurt him whatsoever
grin.gif
he was a sod to load and had to be man or should that be man and girl handled back on the lorry (had practiced loading at home and he was great) second time we took a filly and she was calm from the moment we got her on the lorry to getting back home and didnt seem to notice anything so I wouldent be against it... It seemed a simple and painless proceedure...
 

LindaW

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[ QUOTE ]
Interesting. Did it not hurt for days and weeks after the accident though?? I always thought burns were one of the most painful injuries you could have ??

[/ QUOTE ]

No it didn't hurt at all. I can put my finger on it now and still not feel a thing right in the middle.
 

Sugarplum Furry

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I think the issue with hot branding isn't the branding itself, it's the way that the foals are handled, or rather mishandled, through the process. I'm talking about feral Exmoor foals here. Traditionally the herds are driven off the moor, the mares and foals are seperated, the foals are then singled out one by one, a rope headcollar is forced onto it's head, it's secured onto a fence with straps, and hot branded. By the next day the foals have been herded onto a lorry or trailer and and chucked into a sale ring. So the hot branding is only a small part of a traumatic process. These foals are completely feral, some have never been near a human before, and it's no suprise that Exmoors get a reputation for being hard to handle if this their introduction to the wonderful world of people (!!)

I know that it's tradition, and I know that your average Exmoor hill farmer hasn't got the time to individually handle all the foals, but it is something I would like to see changed. The Exmoor Pony Centre and associates do a great job in undoing the mental damage caused by the initial handling of these ponies, but sometimes even with their skill and patience it doesn't work.

Back to hot branding, I'd be interested to know how it's managed at the European studs, I know some foreign horses are branded, are the foals handled gently beforehand? how do they react? are they hard to handle afterwards?
 

MagicMelon

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Years ago, after being assured that freeze branding doesnt hurt and then having a pony done - never again! It clearly DID hurt him like hell, to the point that she couldnt hold the brands on long enough so he only has half a visible mark!

I had/have 2 horses who have been hot branded as youngsters - personally I hate it and think its barbaric and uneccesary. If you're worried about horses being stolen then I think microchipping them is the way to go.
 
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