Tag: horse care

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Horse Feeding Mistakes You Should Avoid

Your horse’s health should be top priority when it comes to providing them food. Unfortunately, while most horse owners enjoy feeding them, it’s easy to make mistakes when doing it. Even these small feeding slip-ups can greatly compromise your horse’s health. Planning your horse’s diet plan carefully and knowing the common horse feeding mistakes will help in avoiding such incidences to happen.

1) Overfeeding
Taking care of our horses and looking after their needs are something that we, as horse owners, enjoy and love doing. This includes providing them with the best feeds possible. Sometimes, we spoil them too much by overfeeding them. Grain, sweet feed and pellets are excellent sources of energy for the horses. However, these foods contain soluble carbohydrates which can be easily absorbed into your horse’s body. Overloading your horses’ bucket and feeding them with more than they actually need may lead to several health concerns. Obesity is the common outcome. Carbohydrate overload can also lead to laminitis, the condition affecting their hooves.

Most horses thrive on a simple diet of good hay and pasture. If there’s a shortage of nutrition, you can only give them supplements. There’s no need for you to prepare elaborate meals for them. Also, check on horses whether they graze too much (it’s usually an indication of stress).

2) Underfeeding
Underfeeding is also a common problem especially among older horses or hard-working draft horses. While it is important for them to look lean, they should not look too thin or emaciated. If hay or pasture is not enough for the working horses to give the strength and build that they need, provide them with concentrates and supplements to make up for the nutrition deficiency. Underfeeding may lead to certain conditions such as colic.

Older horses usually find digesting food a bit more difficult. Providing them with supplements and medicines will help them to break down food more efficiently.

3) Giving the wrong feed
If you think that all horses – regardless of their age, breed, occupation and gender – require the same feed, then you may put your own horse’s health into jeopardy by providing them with food that is intended for another horse. Growing foals and fillies, work horses, race horses, show horses and senior horses have their own different nutritional requirements. Various feeds are developed to give the exact amount and nutrition that your horse may need. That’s why it is important to look at labels and nutritional information first to ensure that this type of feed is the ideal feed that your horse needs.

4) Poor-quality hay
Feeding your horse with poor hay can cause several health issues. There are some hays that are lacking adequate amount of nutrition, and may not provide the energy that your horse needs. There are other types of hays that are not suitable for certain horses and that may lead to several diseases like colic. Old, dusty and moldy hays can impair your horse’s lungs. Knowing exactly your own horse’s nutritional needs will be the key for feeding them with the right type and amount of hay.

5) Failure to provide plenty of fresh water
Keeping your horse hydrated is essential to your its health. Horses that live only on dry hay should have access to fresh, clean and plentiful water which can help in preventing diseases such as impaction colic.

There is some debate regarding overheated horses drinking cold water. Centuries-old advice says that you should not provide your horse with cold water as it can cause colic. But recent studies have proven otherwise – a cold water does no harm to your horse at all. In fact, a cool water may help your horse to quickly recover from exertion. If you are in conundrum whether your overheated horse needs to drink cold water, or not, you should consult your veterinarian first.

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Horse Riding: How to Start

As with all things, we have to start somewhere, right? The same goes with horseback riding. We know that you want to immediately become a great horseback rider but as all successes go, there are no shortcuts for a successful horseback riding.

Whether you intend to learn horse riding for the purposes of joining an equestrian competition or for pure pleasure and hobby, the fundamentals of learning it are pretty much the same and universal.

Before you start to ride

First of all though… before you proceed to the actual riding part, you need to have the proper and the necessary gear – for your horse and for yourself too. Invest on a good quality saddle, saddle blanket, bridle, as well as grooming kit. So, why is it important to groom your horse, anyway?

First, brushing your horse promotes good blood circulation. Second, grooming your horse allows you to bond with the animal. Third, it makes the horse looking clean and shiny, so it’s important that you should groom your horse before the ride, as well as after it.

Purchase a good riding attire. For a full list and detailed descriptions of horse riding gear and attire, you need to check out this link: “Equipment Needed to Start Riding Horses.” Then tie your horse safely and securely so that you can saddle it up for the ride.

Mounting

With your horse groomed and saddled up, then it’s time for you to do the mounting part. Understanding how to properly mount on a horse is very important, and it’s a first big step towards everything else that follows in horse riding.

Before you get on though, check the gear on your horse first to see if it’s properly fitted and snug. When everything’s in place, it’s time to do the mounting part. Hold both reins with your left hand then grasp the horse’s tuft of mane. Hold the back of the saddle with your right hand.

Next, lift your left foot and place it into the stirrup, then pull yourself up, throwing your right leg over your horse’s hindquarter. Be careful not to kick your horse’s rump or hit your leg at the back of the saddle.

Steering the horse

The reins are basically the “steering wheel” of your horse. So if you want your horse to turn left, pull the reins on your left; if you want to turn it right, pull the reins on your right.

Another style of steering consists of holding the reins by both hands, where one hand holds the reins steadily while the other hand applies gentle pressure straight backwards. This will cause the horse to react to the pressure, inciting a response in return.

You may also steer the horse by coaxing in a couple of ways. One is to gently press your leg into your horse’s sides; this will cause the horse to react and respond in turn. Another is to say verbal commands. Don’t forget that horses are extremely intelligent creatures, and most of them will respond to common verbal commands such as “Get up!” to move forward, and “Whoa!” to stop.

Riding and walking

As a first-time rider, it is not generally advisable to ride in places where there are things that get in the way or things that get close to your path, such as fences or tree branches.

Therefore, start your first ride by going to vast and open areas. This will help you concentrate on more important things such as balancing your posture while you’re on the saddle. Horse riding requires a considerable amount of concentration and balance, so the key here is practice.

In your first rides, you are likely to have an instructor who rides close to your side as you are still learning the basics, such as reining and cuing the horse to walk. If you have not taken horse riding before, it would take some time to get accustomed to your horse’s motion.

Eventually, with lots of practice, riding a horse will become much more easy and natural. Make sure to keep your horse under control – be careful not to excite the animal too much, or watch out for things that may alarm or frighten your horse and cause itself to rear.

Preparing for the Arrival of a New Horse

For many horse and horseback riding enthusiasts, bringing home a new horse is always a big event. But like with other pets, having a new horse requires care and responsibility, whether you are new to owning and taking care of horses or are experienced already in it.

This includes providing the horse with proper food and drink, as well as good shelter – in this last regard, if you have not prepared a good stable for your horse, then it’s time that you should.

As you await your horse’s arrival, make the necessary preparations. Have a pasture ready for your horse before it comes to its new home. Make sure that the pasture is free from litter and dangerous objects (such as wires and sharp objects) that can otherwise injure your horse or harm its health. Also, remove poisonous weeds. Do not let your horse to graze in locations where there is a possibility of heavy pollution and contamination, such as the the area by the roadside.

It’s good if there’s a nearby running stream or a natural pond for your horse to drink. But in case of absence of a stream or a pond, you can set up an old tank or construct a trough – horses drink about a whopping eight to ten gallons of water a day, so make sure that you supply fresh and clean water every day.

Before your horse arrives, you have to get the basic equipment ready such as a lead rope, a halter, as well as grooming tools and supplies like a curry comb, a body brush, a mane brush or comb, as well as buckets for food and water. Food basically consists of hay, chaff, grain and pellets, as well as supplements (don’t forget them!).

These preparations will keep you occupied and amused as you wait for your horse’s arrival. Read more about horses on this article “Interesting Facts about Horses” as a way of knowing more about this amazing animal.

Preparing a stable or barn for the new horse

Of course, another one of the things you should consider before your horse arrives to its new home, is preparing a stable. You won’t be called a responsible horse owner if you can’t provide it with a shelter. If you don’t have a stable yet, then you should build one, preferably several days or even weeks or months in advance, depending on how many new horses you would like to take home. Building a stable requires a great deal of time, planning, effort and resources. You want only the best for your horse. So, following the proper steps and having the proper tools will enable you to build an ideal stable for your horse

1) Location – Finding a location to build a new stable is important. See to it that the location is well away from places that might be a big source of dust (such as the ones coming from grain dryers) or pollution. Make sure that the the area is clear of trees, as fallen leaves can block the drainage.

2) Long-term planning – You are more likely to consider to have long-term plans for your horse’s stable before proceeding to the actual building part. It’s a fact that people who own a horse tend to add more horses. For instance, if you own one or two horses, you may want to add a couple more stalls to your new horse stable.

3) Stable type – Decide on which type of horse stable will work best for you. There are typically two types:

  • Interior column – consists of interior columns which hold up the rafters or beams (the ones which support the roof).
  • Clear span – it has no interior columns to support the roof.

4) Space – Space is also important when building a new stable. When you’re at it, you might as well build a bigger stable and higher ceilings and wider alleyways – at least build a 12” x 12” stall and a 14′ aisleway — these dimensions are ideal to provide plenty of space for your horse to comfortably move around.

5) Flooring – What your horse will be standing on is a critical consideration when planning a new stable. Horses that are kept inside have to stand still for long periods of time, which can put pressure on their legs. For this very reason, you have to choose the type of flooring carefully.

Floor upkeep is also a factor – some types of flooring are easier to clean and maintain than others. Concrete flooring is perhaps the most common type for stables – it is relatively inexpensive, durable, easy to maintain and resistant to damage. Textured concrete flooring is the most ideal for the stalls and aisles, as it also reduces the chances of slipping. This type of flooring is often covered with rubber mats for additional hoof comfort.

6) Wash stall – Allot a space to build a wash stall to clean and bathe your horse. In the wash stall, have an overhead hose as well as a hot/cold water system installed. A concrete flooring covered with a rubber mat is the ideal surface for this particular area.

7) Tack room – A tack room is a usual feature in horse barns and stables. This is where you can have immediate access to horse gear and equipment such as saddles, bridles, grooming tools, etc. and your own riding gear such as boots and helmets. Several tack rooms go beyond their basic function – some of them are really gorgeous and even feature a mini living room, washroom and/or kitchen.

8) Ventilation – Adequate airflow for the stable is also critical. Install fans and ventilation systems to maintain good air quality and to keep your horse healthy and happy.

9) Doors and windows – A sliding door is the best and most practical stable door option. It saves space and creates a less “creaky” noise which may otherwise disturb your horse. Add windows to let the natural daytime light into the stable.