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Posts Tagged ‘sanitation’

Which Itch Is Which?

Biting gnats, lice, ticks, fungus, and allergies can all cause itching. If your horse rubs bald spots in his mane or tail, check him thoroughly for external parasites such as lice or ticks, parasites (such as pinworms), or fungus, and treat according to your veterinarian’s instructions.

Itching can also be caused by ringworm, which is contagious to you and other horses. If a horse has ringworm, you will need not only to treat the horse but also to disinfect grooming tools, halters, blankets, stalls, feeders, and anything else he may have rubbed on.

Some horses (and dogs) seem to be hypersensitive or allergic to insect bites and once they are bitten, they go into a rubbing frenzy, which then invites other complications. In some cases, this is referred to as sweet itch or Queensland itch. A veterinarian should be consulted, but prevention of bites to susceptible animals is paramount. Remedies include soothing witch hazel or vinegar rinses, and possibly a corticosteroid prescription from your veterinarian.

 

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

We’ve just added some great equine veterinary texts and references books.

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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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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 Cherry,

I was reading recently about Cat Nip Oil to repel flies and other insects.  Just wondering if you have used/or heard of this concept.  If so where cans a person purchase the oil.  Thanks.

Karen in Boise

 Hi Karen,

No I have not. We do use a natural oil product for bare skin areas. It is called Bare Skin Barrier.

It contains

Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba, Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil

You can read about it here Bare Skin Barrier.

 

 


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Our barn needs a new ceiling. It’s currently very old foamboard which is covered in mildew and mold. We need a material that will breathe and will be light reflective. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated by us and the horses. Thank you! Sherri

Hi Sherri,

I don’t know of a material for your application that would be both breathable and light reflective. I would suggest a polyiso material with white reflective surface for the ceiling surface. To dissipate the moisture produced by keeping horses in the barn you’ll need to install a sufficient number and size of vents in the walls, ceiling and roof.

Here is a link to a polyiso product.

Polyiso is made of a polyisocyanurate foam core faced with 1.25 mil embossed white acrylic-coated aluminum on one side and 1 mil smooth aluminum on the other. It is installed with the embossed white surface facing into the barn.

We cover ventilation requirements and suggestions in our book Horse Housing and in our DVD Your Horse Barn.

Good Luck!
Richard Klimesh

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Dear Cherry,


What is the best kind of flooring to have in a stall? We are building a new horse barn and want to know about the stall floor to make it as easy to keep clean as possible. The stalls will be 10ft. by 16ft. the stalls will be used to feed and hold a horse for foaling.

Thanks for your time.
Debbie

Hi Debbie,
I prefer interlocking rubber mats over decomposed granite or another well-draining, well packed base. I bed with shavings normally but use bright oat straw for foaling.
Cherry Hill

Stablekeeping, A Visual Guide to Safe and Healthy Horsekeeping by Cherry Hill


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Good Afternoon!

I am a newly developed horse lover and I just wanted to say I read your book “Cherry Hill’s Horsekeeping Almanac”. It was very informative and I enjoyed your insight.  In our Public Library that’s all we had on you and your books.  The horse selection is very old and few on the shelves here.  In the next few years I plan on having a career, or owning a few horses myself.  Thank you so much for writing the book and living the life you wanted.  Your an inspiration to me and all horse lovers a like.  Keep up the great work! Marilyn S.

 

Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping Almanac

 

Hi Marilyn,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write.  I’m so glad my Almanac has helped inspire you to continue to reach for your dream.  I’m happy to share what I have been fortunate to experience and learn about horses and their care and training. The Almanac, which was published in 2007, was a perfect medium to be able to paint the whole year round picture here at Long Tail Ranch.

And thanks also for your encouragement to keep up the work ! The art of writing is applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair and sometimes that keeps us writers out of the saddle more than we like ! But there are several new books in the works – one which I am just finishing up the final touches on and will be out in a few months.

I’ll post information about the new books when they become available or you can visit Chronology of Books and Videos by Cherry Hill – the newest ones are at the top of the left column.

Keep working toward your dream and best of luck to you,

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Male horses might have difficulty urinating or might rub their tails because of a dirty sheath. The sheath is the protective envelope of skin around the penis. Fatty secretions, dead skin cells, and dirt accumulate in the folds of the sheath. In addition, a “bean” of material can accumulate in the diverticulum adjacent to the urethral opening. This black, foul smelling, somewhat waxy substance is called smegma.

Depending on the individual horse’s smegma production, the sheath should be cleaned about once or twice a year. You can clean the sheath somewhat with the penis retracted into the sheath, but you can do a more thorough job if the penis is down. Once a horse is accustomed to the procedure, he will likely relax and let his penis down for cleaning. Usually the best time for this is on a warm day after a work out when the horse is somewhat tired and relaxed. If the horse is very touchy in his genital area, you could have your veterinarian tranquilize the horse so your horse will be more manageable and relaxed.

To clean a sheath, you will need:

  • warm water
  • a hose
  • a small bucket
  • mild soap
  • rubber gloves,
  • a tube sock
  • and hand towels
  • Because smegma has a strong, offensive odor, first put a rubber glove on your right hand and then cover it with a large tube sock. Use a safe handling position with your left hand up on the horse’s back. Do not lower your head to see what you are doing or you could be kicked.

    Soak the sock in warm water and wet the sheath area with handfuls of water. Alternatively, if you have warm water at your barn, you can use a hose to wet the area. Add a very small amount of liquid soap (such as Ivory) to the tube sock and begin washing the sheath inside and out. There are also several commercial products designed especially for sheath cleaning. You will be able to remove large chunks and sheets of smegma as you work.

    The best way I have found to rinse the sheath thoroughly is with a hose, warm water and moderate to low pressure. Most horses learn to tolerate, and then enjoy this after one session. You can insert the hose 2-3″ into the sheath to rinse. However, until accustomed, a horse’s natural reaction is to kick upward with one of the hind legs. A horse can easily reach a fly on his belly with this method so your hand and arm could be in danger. Hold them as high and as close to the horse’s belly as possible until the horse gets used to the sensation of the water.

    Older horses that are quite used to the process will lower the penis so you can clean the penis also. Use only warm water on the penis, no soap. Often a ball of smegma, called a “bean”, will accumulate in the diverticulum near the urethral opening. The bean can build up to a size that could interfere with urination. Sometimes the “bean” material is white but usually is black. To remove it, move the skin at the end of the penis near the urethral opening until you find a blind pouch. This part of sheath cleaning is the time when your horse is most likely to kick. Usually once you find the bean, you can roll it out quite easily. A bean the size of a kidney bean can cause discomfort on urination.

    Udder cleaning is a snap compared to sheath cleaning. Use the same supplies, techniques and safety principles.

    Horse Health Care by Cherry Hill

    Horse Health Care by Cherry Hill

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    Dear Cherry,

    I recently learned that I was the new owner of a couple of horses. One a pony and the other a brown and white horse. The pony has been broke before. The big horse has not. We have land for them to roam and water and plenty of food for them. But I have never owned a horse and would like to most definitely learn. I just don’t know how to approach this situation. How should I begin this process?

    Thanks, Salvador

    Hello Salvador,

    Well, you have a most exciting adventure ahead of you.

    First of all, although you can learn a lot from the internet, books and DVDs, the best possible advice I can give to you is for you to find an experienced, trusted horse owner or trainer/instructor in your area who can help you get started. For example, you will need to find a farrier and a veterinarian and an experienced horse owner/trainer/instructor in your locale so you have people to contact.

    101 Horsekeeping Tips DVDAn experienced horse owner will be able to take a look at your fences and pastures and give you an opinion as to if their suitability for horses and if your pastures provide enough of the right type of feed. Even if you have wonderful pastures and water, you will need to provide the horses with salt and mineral blocks. Horses should have access to salt at all times.

    Horsekeeping On A Small AcreageAs far as taking care of the horses on your land and managing your fences and buildings, I’ve written a book specifically for that. It is called Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage and discusses all you need to know as far as the care of the horse on your property.Horse Health Care by Cherry Hill

    Horse For Sale by Cherry HillWhen it comes to specific health care skills such as feeding, deworming, vaccinations, hoof care and so on, you can ask your farrier and veterinarian to help you somewhat and you can also refer to Horse Health Care and Horse Hoof Care.

    Now when it comes to handling the horses, ask your experienced new friend to help you assess what the pony and the horse know and what they need to learn. Then you can make a plan as to how to proceed from day to day. It is probably best for the horses and your safety for you to have help with both the pony and the horse until you have developed the confidence to handle them on your own. I have posted much information on my website about ground training, manners and so on which will be very helpful to you. And I’ve written many books on all levels of training. You can look through a complete list of books by topics in the Book Barn.

    Once you get started, you will have a hundred more specific questions, so feel free to write again.

    Best of luck and be safe,Cherry Hill horse trainer and author of 30 books and DVDs

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