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Archive for the ‘Grooming’ Category

Winter Clip

The shorter days and longer, cooler nights of fall trigger a change in your horse’s hair growth. In temperate climates, in August or September, horses begin shedding their short summer hair and replacing it with longer winter hair. The fluffy coat characteristic of horses turned out in the northern states and Canada is usually completely grown in by November. For the horse turned out for the winter, the natural coat is an ideal form of protection, as the long hair traps a layer of warm air next to the body, which acts as insulation. During cold temperatures, piloerector muscles make the hair stand up, which increases the coat’s insulating potential.

 

To help you with your winter grooming, visit our book store where we have a BUY ONE and GET TWO FREE book sale. Here are some books that might be of interest.

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Click here to see all the books ……….

http://www.horsekeeping.com/horse_books/used/used-horse/horse-books-used.htm

http://www.horsekeeping.com/horse_books/book_barn.htm

 

Ear Clip

Certain places on a horse’s body have extra hair for a reason. The ears, for example, grow extra hair both inside and outside in the fall to keep them warm during the winter. If you need to tidy up your horse’s ears for the winter, just clip them flush and maybe tweak the outline. 

However, long winter hair can create difficulties for you if you intend to ride your horse actively during the winter. If you do plan to keep your horse in work throughout the winter, you should consider one of the following: blanketing, clipping, or a combination of clipping and blanketing.

Blanketing. To minimize the density of the winter coat your horse grows in the fall, you can begin blanketing him in August and using lights (see November Reproduction Roundup) so that his body receives the signal that only short to medium hairs are required to replace the summer coat. Of course, once you begin blanketing, you will need to continue blanketing your horse all winter.

Visit our Tack Barn where we have items that are new and used once for photo shoots - all at very low prices.

Click on this photo to visit our Tack Barn where we have items that are new and used once for photo shoots – all at very low prices.

Body clip. In areas with moderate to severe winters where horses grow a substantial winter coat, you may need to use a type of body clip to minimize grooming and cooling-out time. If you choose a conservative clip and your winter is mild, you may be able to turn out a clipped horse without blanketing him. In most wintry states, however, it is necessary to blanket a clipped horse.

Body clipping will allow you to work your horse vigorously during the winter. Clipped horses sweat less, and what sweat there is will be able to dry more quickly. The clipped horse can be cooled out much more effectively and safely than the unclipped horse. Also, the clipped horse is tidy in appearance and relatively easy to keep clean, an important factor in the non-bath months.

Body clipping won’t appreciably improve the appearance of an unhealthy horse — such a horse will just have a bad short coat instead of a bad long coat. But the healthy horse in active work can benefit greatly from a winter clip.

Types of Clips

There are three basic types of body clips, each with many variations and styles: the full clip, the hunter clip, and the trace clip. The full body clip consists of shortening the hair on the entire horse, including the head and legs. Immediately after a full body clip, most horses, especially bays and chestnuts, appear to be a lighter color.

The (field) hunter clip. This is essentially a full body clip, except that long hair is left on the legs and saddle area. For protection when working in snowy fields, the winter hair remains on the legs from the elbows and stifles down to the coronary bands. In addition, a patch the shape of the saddle pad is also left so that the horse’s back is less prone to chill after work.

The trace clip. This was originally designed for harness horses that worked in the winter. The hair is clipped in the areas where a horse sweats: the throat, chest floor, belly, inner thighs, and under the tail. A conservative trace clip may involve removing a strip of hair 8 to 10 inches wide from the throat under the belly to the anus. The basic trace clip can be embellished with sharp geometric designs and circles so it fits the needs of a more aggressive exercise program.

clipper Tips.

Before you bring your horse in the barn for his clip, be sure your clippers are in working order and that you have several sets of sharp blades on hand.

In very general terms, there are two types of clippers: heavy duty and light duty. The heavy duty clippers are suitable for body and leg clipping. They are designed to be used for extended periods of time because they cool while they are being used. Light duty clippers are suitable for small jobs, such as trimming the muzzle, throat, ears, and bridle path, and perhaps a touch up on the legs. If you use light duty clippers for removing heavy winter hair, not only will the blades quickly become dull, but the motor may overheat and burn out as well.

For most of the body work, heavy duty clippers with a wide head work best. Small clippers are necessary for the legs, head, and tight areas such as the elbows. The clippers for the body work should be outfitted with #10 or #15 blades, which cut hair to about a quarter inch. Never use a surgical blade (#30 or #40) for a body clip, as it would remove the hair right down to the skin.

Body Clipping Basics

Here are some guidelines for the first time you clip a horse.

Take the time to outline a plan. Mentally go through each step of the procedure to be sure you will have everything on hand that you need. Budget enough time for the job. Figure about two to three hours to clip a horse.

Approach the task with patience. If you get frazzled or hurried, your clip will show it. It helps if you are experienced at clipping, but if it is your first time doing a body clip, ask a knowledgeable friend to coach you through the tough spots.

Everyone stay calm. A calm, experienced horse will make your first clipping job easier. However, if you must clip a young or nervous horse, check with your veterinarian for his or her recommendations for an appropriate tranquilizer.

Cleanliness is a virtue. Be sure the horse is very clean before you begin clipping. Dirt can dull clipper blades very quickly. If bathing is possible, wash the horse the day before clipping and let him dry unblanketed. If it is too cold for bathing, thoroughly groom the horse using a rubber curry and vacuum so that the clean hair stands out from the body when you are finished.

Braid the mane and wrap the tail. This will keep them out of the way while you are clipping.

Clipping Procedure

Begin clipping on the shoulder or the barrel with the large-headed clippers. To get a consistent clip, hold the clippers with the blades flat against the horse’s body for the entire session.

Aim the clipper head directly against the hair growth. You will probably be surprised at how many times the hair growth changes direction on the horse’s body.

Using short strokes rather than long strokes results in fewer “tracks,” or residual clipper lines.

As you clip, keep the blades clean and cool. With the clippers running, dip just the tips of the clipper teeth into a commercially prepared blade wash or kerosene. This will cut any oily or dirty residue that has built up on the blades. With the blades pointed toward the floor, shake the excess fluid off the blades before tipping them upright to resume.

If you notice that the sound of the motor changes, it may be that the blades need to be lubricated. Refer to your owner’s manual. Some models require oiling. Others recommend a spray lubricant be used directly on the blades. The lubricant cools the blades and removes small dirt particles, thereby further reducing friction.

Keep the air intake screen clear of hair, or the motor will not cool properly. If the clippers overheat, you must stop using them until they cool. Hot clippers not only can hurt your horse, but the motor can burn up irreparably.

Once you finish clipping the fleshy body parts such as the shoulders, chest, barrel, belly, and thighs, use small clippers on the extremities such as the legs and head.

When you are finished, thoroughly clean your clippers before putting them away. Leaving hair, sweat, and scurf on the blades can result in rusted blades that will not clip well the next time you want to use them.

Finally, curry your horse vigorously, vacuum him, and rub some oil or conditioner into his coat. Groom the clipped horse daily to restore the oil and shine to his coat.

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Ten Skin Ailments to Avoid

Here is a brief primer on some of the most common skin problems that might plague a horse.

Rain rot is caused by Dermatophilus, an infectious microorganism from the soil that eagerly becomes established in skin cracks under a dirty hair coat during rainy weather. The painful, tight scabs that form on the horse’s neck, shoulders, back, and rump make him uncomfortable and unusable and require medication and bathing.

Seborrhea is a skin disease caused by a malfunction in sebum production and function, resulting in flaky skin.

Ringworm is a fungal infection affecting the skin and hair, characterized by round, crusty patches with hair loss. It is easily spread between horses via tack and grooming tools.

Photosensitivity of the skin (usually under white hair) can result from components of certain plants (ingested). The skin becomes red, then sloughs off.

Warts, most commonly on the muzzle of a young horse, are caused by the equine papillomavirus. As a horse matures, he develops immunity to the virus and the warts disappear. The same virus also causes aural plaque, a scaly condition inside the ear, which can become painful if flies are allowed to bite and feed inside the ears.

Sarcoids are common skin tumors with unknown cause. There are several types, mostly occurring around the head or the site of an old injury.

Thrush is a fungal infection of the hoof that thrives in moist, dirty environments.

Scratches (also known as grease heel) is a common term that refers to a general localized skin inflammation found on the lower legs of horses. The thick, chronic sores at the heels and rear of the pastern can be quite painful. Scratches are linked to an opportunistic fungus, but can be complicated by bacterial infection.

Ticks cause crusty scabs and can be disease carriers. Check the mane and tail carefully throughout spring and summer. Use rubber gloves or tweezers to remove ticks, which can carry Lyme disease that can also affect humans (see July Vet Clinic). Be sure to remove the entire tick. If the head is left in, it can cause a painful infection.

Lice are not common in horses unless they are poorly kept and crowded. Then lice can spread rapidly through a group. You’d find the nits (eggs) or the lice themselves along the midline of the horse, such as in the mane and tail head.

 

Take advantage of our Book Sale. Buy One and Get TWO FREE on this page. New books are being added weekly in both categories.

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Here are a few added this week:

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If you have a question about horse care, facilities, horse behavior or training, perhaps your questions has already been asked and answered on my Horse Information Roundup.
There you can browse by categories such as Hoof Care, Riding and Mounted Training or Horse Clothing just to name a few………

OR you can use the Horsekeeping search tool at the top of the page to type in a word or phrase and that will create a list of articles that contain that subject.

To get more in depth information, you can browse through my complete books list. Here is the complete chronology of my books and DVDs

and here is a place where you can look for books by category – the Book Barn.

Cherry Hill

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Hi Cherry,

This past fall with the start of the dry weather I started shocking my horse when I would touch him or brush, which caused him to jump and me to jump as well.  It even happened one day when I kissed him on the nose.
When I started to blanket him during the cold weather in December, every time I took/ take his blanket off there is a large amount of static electricity, so he now jumps from his blanket being taken off also.  I have resorted to rubbing him with dryer sheets, as I slowly peel off his blanket and use Static Guard on his blanket right after I remove it.
This is a wonderful horse, who is now jumpy when I touch or give him treats with my open hand and to date we have not shocked one another in about 6 weeks, any suggestions on how to get his confidence back?
Thank you, Bridget

Hi Bridget

During dry weather, when you vigorously groom a horse or remove his blanket, static electricity can make a loud snap and cause a stinging zap that can make a horse blanket shy or spooky to your touch.

When a horse’s hair coat is very dry and fluffy, it is more likely to zap. Natural oils insulate the hair shafts and cut down on zapping – that’s one reason I minimizing bathing (which removes natural oils) and why I emphasize currying which stimulates the production of oil and distributes it to the ends of the hairs.

I’ve also found that various blanket and sheet materials work differently in different climates. Here in semi-arid Colorado, certain nylon sheets and blankets with nylon or fleece linings generate more static electricity than cotton sheets or blankets with wool linings. But this can vary according to the temperature and humidity in YOUR barn.

No matter what blanket or sheet I use, when removing it, I DON’T slide it across the horse’s hair coat, which could create static electricity. Instead, I lift the blanket UP and off. To avoid a zap at the moment I separate the blanket from the horse – I do it one handed. I remove the blanket with one hand and keep my other hand free of the horse’s body and the blanket. That way, I don’t complete an electrical circuit and my horse doesn’t get zapped.

I have a short video clip on my DVD “101 Horsekeeping Tips” that shows that.

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Hi Cherry,

just wondered if you have any ideas how to stop out yearling miniature horse filly to stop bucking and kicking out at us. We own 6 other miniatures and have never had this problem . We have her for 6 months now, and still she does it. We cant stand behind her to brush her tail, nor adjust her rug leg straps etc. She is out on grass with the others and as soon as we go to bring her in, she spins and lashes out with her rear legs. She also hates to be tied and gets very thick and starts pawing the ground etc.
Sara

Hi Sara,

Young fillies of that age are beginning to experience their estrous cycle for the first time. Because of that, some are more explosive, irritable and protective, especially of their hindquarters and activities related to their rear end, such as you say brushing her tail and adjusting her leg straps.

There are many articles related to your questions on my Horse Information Roundup. I will mention a few, but you should go there and search your questions.

Reference article: How to Tell if a Mare is in Heat

A horse like that needs a super thorough handling and sacking out program to show her that touching and activities behind her are nothing to fear. This is a good time to nip this tendency in the bud – otherwise the horse could carry the bad habits for life.

Reference Articles:

Sacking Out

Teaching the Young Horse to Tie

Tying Problems

I recommend you read my latest book, What Every Horse Should Know:

Respect Patience Partnership

No Fear of People or Things

No Fear of Restriction or Restraint.

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When my dear hubby Richard built my scriptorium (the cottage where I write) he put in lots and lots of bookshelves…..that was, well, I don’t want to say HOW many years ago but a long time !!

The shelves are now overflowing and its time to downsize my collection.

Most of the books are new or like new. Many have never been opened. Some are current titles and others are vintage and out of print. I’ll be adding a handful every week or so, so keep an eye on Used Horse Books.

Likewise, Richard is also going through his video and DVD collection.

We hope you find something you need or have been looking for.

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