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Posts Tagged ‘horsekeeping’

Even though horses voluntarily eat snow in the winter, they require free choice water to prevent dehydration. Requiring them to obtain their needed water from snow would be a full time job and take precious body heat to melt the snow.

It is best if the water is not ice cold as it can be uncomfortable on a horse’s teeth and gastrointestinal tract and chill the horse as he drinks.

It is best if the water is not hot, so if using heated watering devices, be sure they are set to keep water from freezing but not so hot the water is on the verge of boiling !!

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You might be on one side or the other of the horse slaughter issue in the US – or perhaps at this time you are uniformed and/or undecided.  Here are some facts and an abbreviated timeline. Feel free to leave your suggestions for solutions here or on Facebook.

The slaughter of horses has never been illegal in the US at the Federal level. However, it has been illegal in California since 1998.

In 2005 legislation removed funding for the inspection of horses slaughtered for meat which essentially put the the horse slaughter plants out of business.

H. R. 2744—45
SEC. 794. Effective 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603) or under the guidelines issued under section 903 the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104–127).

In 2007, the last operating horse slaughter house (in Illinois) closed.

Since then statistics show that just as many or more horses were slaughtered each year, the difference being that they were hauled to Canadian or Mexican slaughter houses.

In November 2011 legislation was passed that allows the USDA to once again fund inspectors of plants that slaughter horses, so there is the possibility that horse slaughter plants in the US could reopen.

With many unwanted horses in the US (a high percentage of those starving) and rescue and adoption programs filled to capacity (a few of those being the worst offenders regarding lack of care), what is the answer?

For more information:

Read The Unwanted Horse on the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) website. You’ll find some very interesting and detailed Q&As there.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners also has some informative articles on their site, namely

The Unwanted Horse in the US

The AAEP Perspective on HR 503

We horseowners can agree on one thing:

None of us want horses to suffer, whether from neglect or malnourishment by irresponsible horse owners or by inhumane treatment when traveling or being euthanized.

What are some positive solutions to this controversial and complex problem?

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Hello Cherry,

I recently put up a 36 x36 pen and shelter for my horse.  I live here in Golden Colorado where the soil is VERY much Clay.  We had a several inches of rain this past week, which is a considerable amount for our parts.  The pen got very muddy.  I spent several hours today mucking it and now doing research on what I should do for a better fix.  I saw your article on 3/8 minus pea gravel.  A couple of questions:

1. Some horse friends of mine suggest I use Granite Crusher Fines to aide in the drainage.   Is this suitable?

2. Whether I use Pea Gravel or Granite Crusher Fines, what is the recommended depth of the material I should go with?  2, 3 or 4 inches? 

BTW:  I’m also going to install a french drainage system as well. 

Many Thanks! 

Shawn

Hi Shawn,

The French Drain is a good idea. Sloping the pens slightly away from the barn is helpful to manage drainage too.

I’m not personally familiar with Granite Crusher Fines but think they might be something like decomposed granite which we use here in northern Colorado.

We use decomposed granite under our stall mats and also under the 3/8- pea gravel in turnout pens.

So my answer would be yes and yes ! A tamped crushed granite base with 2-3 inches of 3/8- pea gravel on top.

Please feel free to post your results here. Thanks ! Cherry Hill

To read more about French Drains, pen footing and much more, refer to these books and DVD.

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When we were driving into town and back yesterday, I was checking out all the horses on pasture with turnout blankets, some good, some OK, some really downright awful. In a few cases, I wanted Richard to stop the car so I could either go adjust the blanket or take it off the horse before it became hopelessly tangled!

One horse in particular has had the same blanket on in the same remote pasture since late fall and I really doubt it has been attended to since then !

I know none of you would do that, but just in case you have friends that need some blanketing advice, I have quite a few winter blanket tips on my Horse Information Roundup under the heading Horse Clothing

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Hi Richard,,,
I live in nsw Australia, and have read your story on Sherlock you horse,  My buckskin Q.H. has a large Sarcoid [size of a walnut] on his back, about 3′ from his spine,  I was woundering how the mouth wash spray method went. I will try it my-self ,, but am interested in how everything turned out.
Be great if you would let me know.
Regards Pam

Hi Pam,

The article on our website was updated on 6-05-11 and the status is still the same. Cherry Hill

A Simple Equine Sarcoid Treatment

UPDATE 06-05-2011 No sign of the sarcoid returning.

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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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We know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Some horses at some times also know this. But it is interesting to observe the other routes horses take which must be perfectly normal to them.

Right now we have our 3 horses out on 3 separate pastures. In the morning when I jingle my mares, I first go to Aria’s pasture and when I rattle the metal gate her head comes up, she does a turn on the hindquarters until she faces me and then walks a straight line to me, sometimes not so fast as I’d like, but basically a straight line. Her walk to the gate is downhill.

Then I go to Seeker’s pasture gate – of course by then, she knows “its time” so she has started walking up to the gate. Her trek to the gate is all uphill. The path she chooses is quite interesting in that she probably covers twice as much ground as she would if she came straight to the gate. It is obvious that her choices are based on ease of travel. Instead of coming directly uphill toward the gate, she weaves back and forth…….like a sensible mountain trail horse I guess.

Then there is the energizer bunny Sherlock. When Richard goes out to call him in, as soon as he whistles, Sherlock kicks into his floating, ground covering canter, but because he loves to move, he takes the scenic route. There is no doubt that he is definitely on his way to Richard but he might canter the entire perimeter of the 20 acre pasture on his way there. Very fun to watch. And even with all that traveling, he probably takes less time to get there than the girls do when I call them !

Horses. What a treat to observe.

 

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Hi Cherry,

We moved with our ponies onto a five acre hobby farm which was previously a dairy operation.  There is a large cement yard around the barns causing a lot of wasted space. It would be a perfect winter/sacrifice area for spring though, the barn shelters the north and west sides. I was wondering if there would be anyway to cover this? A base layer of gravel with sand on top? How deep? Ripping it out is not an option, and I don’t like the idea of horses on concrete.  Wondering if you have any suggestions? Thanks,

Allison

Hi Allison,

Well of course I have to go on the record that my suggestion would be removing the concrete but I realize the effort, expense it would take and that you said removal is not an option.

By the way, what you have are concrete pads, not cement. Concrete is comprised of cement (a fine powder), aggregate (sand, stones) and water. It is sometimes reinforced with steel mesh or bars (rebar). When concrete is poured it is agitated and worked so the large pieces of aggregate settle somewhat leaving a sand/cement mixture on top to form a smooth surface. Concrete is one of man’s most durable building materials and it can be a major undertaking to remove it, especially if it is reinforced with steel.

So here are some other things you probably have already considered or have even done by now.

Using the concrete as is for eating areas would be OK, but if the ponies would also be required to use them as loafing areas, standing for long periods of time and/or laying down or rolling, then concrete pads would not be good for the long term for obvious reasons of abrasion and discomfort. However, concrete covered with rubber mats might make a super nice feeding area which would be more comfortable than bare concrete and easy to keep sanitary (as long as the ponies don’t urinate there).

If the areas will be used for loafing, then covering the concrete pads with rubber mats or rolled rubber flooring could work. Another option would be covering the concrete with road base, which is a mixture of gravel and dirt and then a layer of a well-draining fine gravel such as decomposed granite (which is what I would use here in the western US) could work.  Note that if your ponies use the area as a toilet (which they most likely will do) then you will have to diligently manage moisture, odor and sanitation. With a situation like this, whether it is in stalls or outdoor pads, you should plan on an annual overhaul. Perhaps this is something you can do if you only use it seasonally.

You asked about gravel and sand. Gravel on concrete could be like walking on ball bearings and would be tough on hooves and not much more comfortable than plain concrete. It would allow somewhat for drainage of urine, especially if the pads are sloped away from the barn which I imagine they are.

Sand is also a risky choice if the area would be a place you would feed the ponies as sand colic would be a problem if they ingested sand with any hay that fell out of their feeders, for example.

No easy answer. Please reply to this blog and let us know what you have done or are planning to try.

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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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