When you own or manage horses, over time you will probably accumulate quite a few medications. Whether bought over the counter or from your veterinarian, medications need to be handled and stored properly.
The perfect gift for your horse this Valentine’s Day may be as simple as giving him a little bit of pampering. OK, we know you already pamper your horse with good food, a great stall and lots of treats, but these are some additional ways to make him feel extra special.
Let him enjoy a nice long turnout. Outside with grass to graze on would be ideal, but often difficult to find in the winter. But a turnout in the arena can be just as relaxing and is good both physically and mentally.
Spend time with him. You don’t always have to ride your horse to interact with him. Talk to him. Groom him. Do carrot stretches or a bit of clicker training. Practice ground tying. You can even just sit outside his stall and read a book while he enjoys his hay – it’s the connection with you that your horse really wants.
You can also hand walk your horse around your barn or on a nearby trail. It’s a great way for both of you to relax and enjoy nature. A little grazing along the way will be especially appreciated. For extra relaxation, get your horse a massage by a trained equine massage therapist. If you can’t afford a massage therapist, you can do some gentle massaging yourself. Stay away from the muscles on his back and legs and concentrate on his neck. Many horses carry tension there. Start at the top of the crest of the main and place your hands next to each other with your 4 fingers on one side of the crest and your thumb on the other. Gently rock that small section of your horse’s neck back and forth. After a few little rocks, move down a bit on the crest. When you get to the bottom, move back up again. Go slow and be gentle.
For a warm and wonderful treat for your horse, consider making him a bran mash – the horse version of a box of chocolates. While the occasional bran mash won’t hurt your horse, giving them too frequently can sometimes cause issues so check with your vet if you want to do them more often. You can also share an apple with him.
Give your horse a pat, hug or a kiss before you leave.
And wish him a Happy Valentine’s Day.
It’s only February, but horse owners across the country have had enough of riding in mud, snow or rain, dark days and cold weather. Is this the year you say “Enough is enough!” and finally build an indoor arena? Classic Equine Equipment can help.
We all know that turnout is beneficial to horses, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. Winter weather often brings rain, cold, snow and ice storms, and these conditions may leave your pastures unsafe for turnout. The following tips can keep your horses happy and healthy when turnout isn’t possible.
Use an Indoor Arena
If you’re lucky enough to have access to an indoor arena, then you might use this space to provide your horses with some turnout time. If you need to feed hay, then it’s a good idea to hang a hay net and put a rubber stall mat underneath to prevent the hay from being mixed into the arena footing. Make sure that you clean up the manure regularly to further preserve the quality of the footing.
Hand Walk Horses Outside
You may be able to hand walk your horses outside to help stretch their legs and make them more comfortable. If you have areas outside where the ground is safe for walking, then try to get your horses out for a brief stroll at least once a day.
Clean Stalls More Than Once a Day
When your horses are cooped up inside, stall cleaning becomes more important than ever. Clean stalls at least twice a day to reduce the chance of thrush and minimize the effect that the ammonia in urine will have on your horse’s respiratory system.
If you anticipate that your horses will need to stay in their stalls for a long period of time, you might consider investing in the StableComfort stall mattress system, which can help create a comfortable stall base and reduce the amount of bedding that you need to use.
Groom and Massage Horses
Good, thorough grooming sessions can help to reduce your horse’s boredom and keep him healthier during a period in his stall. Grooming helps to break up boredom, but it’s also an important tool in promoting good circulation throughout your horse’s entire body. Make a point of picking your horse’s feet regularly, since the chance of him developing thrush is increased with long periods in his stall.
Additionally, doing some basic massages on your horse can help to increase circulation and improve or maintain muscle tone. If you don’t know equine massage, then look into having an equine massage therapist come out to the barn to teach you and your friends the basics of the craft.
Use a Small Hole Hay Net
Boredom can become a major issue when horses are confined for long periods of time, but food can help to break up boredom for horses. Invest in a small hole hay net to make your horse’s meals last longer, reducing his boredom. You might also look into the iFeed feeder, which can provide your horse with multiple smaller meals throughout the day to keep him entertained.
One of the most important aspects of good horse care is plenty of fresh air, no matter what the season. Contrary to some opinion, it's not a good idea to lock up the barn doors and windows in the winter as it causes a decrease in air circulation. That's not to say that air should be blowing right onto your horse, but horses can withstand more changes in temperature far greater than we can.
A horse’s hooves grow slower in the winter. Slower hoof growth is good news for some people – this can mean fewer visits by the farrier. But for others who are waiting for a crack or other hoof problem to grow out, this reduction in hoof growth can mean a long wait. With less riding and turnout typically in the winter, there’s less circulation to the hooves to facilitate growth.
Are you envious of other horses at your barn with long, full tails? While some horses and breeds are genetically predisposed to having thinner tails than others, there are a number of ways you can encourage fuller, healthier tail growth on your horse.
In only a few short months, show season will be in full swing. If this will be your horse’s first year away at a show, you might want to do some preparation by going to some of the fun shows held indoors during the winter. They usually have names like “Winter Woolies” or “Go Winter” and are very relaxed. Still, they will give you an idea how your horse will react to the many and unusual stimuli that are common at shows. Here are some things to keep in mind to make it less stressful for both of you.
When you sell a horse, you want him to go to the best home possible. But once you sell your horse, you lose control over how he’s treated and cared for. Here are some tips to check ahead of the final sale.