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Posts Tagged ‘horse care’

Friends and family around the country tell me how scarce and pricey hay is this winter. It seems like every year one section of the country has a drought or flood or something that affects or even wipes out the hay crop.

Even though good hay might be tough to find in your area, don’t be tempted to feed moldy hay to your horses.

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What Every Horse Should Know by Cherry Hill

“Essential information for any horse owner.”  

Horsemen’s Yankee Pedlar, April 2011

“This book, a follow-up to the successful How to Think Like a Horse, is packed with information that every domestic horse needs to know in order to live a fulfulling life around humans. Regardless of discipline or age, there are certain lessons that we should all teach our horses in order to create a respectful relationship with them and eleiminate fear of people or their surroundings. Hill divides her book into threee sections: “No Fear”, “Leadership and Partnership”, and in-hand under-saddle exercises called “The Work”.

“Hill’s book reminds us that horses aren’t naturally adapted to live in our world, so if we want them to live happily alongside us, it’s our job to teach them how to act appropriately and enjoy domestic lie. Throughout the book there is essential information to better help us understand how our horse perceives our actions, and how we can make him more comfortable with things that he naturally has an aversion to. All of the advice is extremely practical and helps the reader to get inside the horse’s mind, in order to help him become well-adjusted to both humans and every day equipment. Well organized and full of photos and drawings, there is a lot to be learned from Hill’s newest book.”

“BOTTOM LINE: Essential information for any horse owner.”

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Hi Cherry,

I’ve noticed lately that my TWH mare seems to be rubbing her beautiful long wavy mane off.  I noticed several weeks ago that part of her mane near her withers suddenly became very short.  I figured maybe she got it caught in something and I did not really worry about it too much.  But now I’m noticing that the short part keeps getting bigger and bigger.  I suspect that she is rubbing it on something but I’m not sure what.  She is pasture kept most of the time with her buddies.  If she is not in the pasture then she is in the dry lot with her buddies with hay in hay nets.  I can’t seem to find any evidence on the fence or anything.  Her mane does not look irritated or anything, just short.  I never catch her in the act.  I’m worried that if this continues, her beautiful mane will be all straggles.  To make matters worse, I was planning to sell her in the next few weeks.  I know it can take years for a mane to grow back completely.  Is there anything I can do? 

Thanks,  Ingrid

 

Hi Ingrid,

It sounds more like your mare and one of her pasture buddies are participating in vigorous bouts of “mutual grooming” that normal social activity where two horses stand next to each other facing opposite directions and scratch each others neck, withers and back with their teeth. This results in lost mane hair right where you describe.

That’s one of the drawbacks of group turnout but the horses sure seem to enjoy it !!

As far as what you can do about it, you can separate the mare from her buddies, you can get her a textilene fly sheet with a neck extension, or you can spray a safe anti-chew product on her mane area. There are several products specifically designed for this.

 

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Dear Cherry

Do older horses require the same vaccines as the younger ones. Mine is at a boarding stable and has been immunized every year. I had the vet come out and do a physical on both of my horses (both mares, one is 7 the other is 31). He said that the older mare could do without a couple of the shots (Strangles, Potomac, and rabies). But the barn owner said he requires that all the horses have the same shots as long as they are boarded at his barn. I’m wondering if mine and others are being over vaccinated? What are your thoughts? I also had the vet do fecal tests for parasites, which came out normal on both. I’m afraid he’s going to tell me I have to give them dewormer. The vet suggested doing the fecals first and I agree with him. I’ve always given the wormer before, but again the vet is suggesting that they can be overmedicated on dewormer. Both my mares are very healthy. You’d never know that the 31 year old was that old!

Thanks for you input.  Mary

Hi Mary,

Generally I would follow the recommendations of your veterinarian. What you vaccinate for and how often you deworm and with what should be based on an individual horse’s situation and needs. There is no sense deworming a horse with a negative fecal exam.

However, whether right or wrong, the owner of the barn where you board may have the legal right to require you to vaccinate and deworm according to his farm’s guidelines. I hope the barn’s program has been developed in consultation with a veterinarian.

If it becomes a point of contention, it would be best to have your veterinarian discuss the health program requirements with the barn owner and his veterinarian so they can come to an agreeable solution for all.

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I am hoping to connect with Cherry Hill about the definition of the basic keeping of horses.  I live in Massachusetts and recently purchased a 12+ acre parcel for the purpose of building a barn and both indoor and outdoor riding rings.  We are living on the property.  I have obtained my Animal Keeping Permit and Building Permit from the Town.

One of the abutters in not pleased with the prospect of my project and is objecting through various means.  I am trying to connect with experts in the care and keeping of horses to help confirm that horses are “kept” in stables/barns and paddocks (turnout) and the indoor riding ring is not where horses are “kept”.

I greatly appreciate your time and consideration.

Regards, Lisa


Hi Lisa,

The definition of horsekeeping, I’m afraid, has about as many definitions as there are horsekeepers ! It can range from a bare bones dirt lot to deluxe accommodations and hand-on care. Sadly some poor horsekeeers do make a bad impression on non-horse people and it is no wonder why problems arise.

Responsible, conscientous, mindful horsekeeping does indeed include barns, pens, paddocks, turnout areas and daily care. However, many times when time and money constraints arise, horsekeepers cut corners and those shortcuts can result in unsightly changes to the property and possible sanitation and health issues for neighbors.

In terms of a legal definition, I’ve been contacted over the years by various townships, cities, and counties as they try to establish legal parameters for keeping horses. Number of horses per acre, types of fencing, the distance buildings and horses must be from adjacent properties, fugitive dust that is churned up in paddocks and outdoor arenas and much much more.

Each locale has its own laws and wording so it would be best for you to work your appeal within the wording of your specific laws. Stating things appropriately for Larimer County Colorado for example might be inappropriate for your location and  might cause an unintended issue to arise. 

If you care to write more specifics, please feel free. In the meantime, be sure to use my book Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage as a reference guide. And browse the articles on my website horsekeeping.com

Best of luck,


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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
I have a, well, almost 3 year old Quarter Horse mare. Last time I weighed her she was about 800 pounds or so. She is a small girl, about 13 hands. The lady who feeds her I think is feeding her too much (a flake of alfalfa in the morning along with some oat, and some grass and oat at night) Though I think that oat doesn’t matter- for it’s just a filler, Ive been told.
A size 32 cinch is WAY to small on my horse and barely can go around her stomach.
Though she is stalky and so is her family, is she too obese for her size? I am worried about that. Jen

Hi Jen,

I wrote requesting you send me a photo of the mare as that would be helpful in formulating an answer. Without that visual, I’m going to refer you to several articles on my website that will help you get started in evaluating your horse’s weight.

What is the correct weight of a horse?

What should this horse weigh?

How do I put my horse on a diet?

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Hi Cherry,

When my horses loses a shoe it takes almost a week until my shoer comes out to replace it. What should I do in the meantime? Caitlan

Hi Caitlan,

Ask your shoer what he or she prefers, but here is what hubby Richard Klimesh, long time shoer says…….

An unshod hoof should have rounded and smooth edges that resist chipping and cracking. When a hoof is prepared for shoeing, however, the edges are left sharp but they are protected by the shoe. When a horse loses a shoe, the sharp edge can easily break.There are several ways to protect the bare hoof until your farrier can replace the shoe.

Hoof boots come in various sizes and styles, so look for one that will fit your horse’s hooves. Hind hooves usually take a smaller boot than the front hooves. The boot should fit snugly and not rub the skin of the coronary band or pastern.

If you do not have a hoof boot, you can use several layers of duct tape to protect the edge of the hoof from chipping. If your horse has a tender sole, you can tape a cloth over the bottom of the sole to protect it.

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G’day Cherry!

I was curious if you could tell me about breeding, especially when to seperate the mare and foal as I have heard a lot of conflicting things and am no longer sure who to believe! Can you help me?
Cheers Steph

Hi Steph,

I usually wean foals at 4 months. There is no harm or advantage waiting until 6 months but it is good to do it at a time when the weather doesn’t add to the stress of separation. So here in Colorado, the foals are often born in March or April and weaned in July or August. This gives them time to settle into their new routines before winter.

I leave the foal in the pasture, pen or stall where it has been living with its dam. Make sure the fences and facilities are safe. Remove the dam from the foal and be sure you put the dam in a safe place too – it’s best if the dam is out of sight and sound of the foal. Keep the mare and foal separate from each other until the foal is a yearling.

There are exceptions to every suggestion but this is a starting point for you.

Best of luck !

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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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