Disaster Preparedness Guidelines for the Horse Owner

Disaster Preparedness Guidelines for Horse Owners. The information below is drawn from experiences with Hurricanes Andrew (1992), Katrina (2005), Harvey and Irma (2017), the Winnipeg floods, and other major disasters.

The recommendations are intended to help horse owners prepare properly for most disasters.

Long Range Disaster Planning

Make sure your horse will load!
Maintain a stockpile of hay and grain. Keep extra medications and vet supplies on hand. Ask your vet what is available to administer to your horse according to your capabilities.

Survey your property for the best location for your horse.
Photograph the left and right sides of each horse as well as its face, medial and lateral lower legs. Also a picture of you and your horse.
You may be interested in a horse ID tag.
Have all records written down and copied. Put one set in a zip-lock bag. If you have a computer, put all your information on a disk, don’t just leave it on your hard drive.
Keep your horse’s vaccinations up to date. Record the dates.
Make sure your horse trailer is insured. Keep spare gas on hand. Continue Reading…

Foot and Leg Injuries with Horses

Anyone who is involved with competition horses at any level will have experienced the frustrations of having their horse suffer from lameness. Treating sport horse injuries is a specialized area of equine veterinary work since many of the underlying causes of lameness are difficult to accurately locate. The animal’s conformation and action in addition to the terrain can all play a part in determining the concussion that has to be absorbed.

Foot Problems
The tremendous impact forces incurred during fast work can result in a variety of injuries. It is vital that the horse be well shod and that the shoes are refitted every four to five weeks. The farrier must ensure that the foot is well balanced with a straight foot-pastern axis and that the shoe is fitted so that it has no contact with the sole, especially at the seat of corn. This will allow all the concussion to be transferred to the hoof wall and will help to prevent bruising. Bruising on the sole at the junction between the hoof wall at the heel and the bar is termed a corn and is a common cause of foot lameness.

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Horse Training Tips

Good training should have the same activity level as paint drying. How do you get your horse to respond to slight pressure when he only responds to heavy pressure? By that I mean if you pull the reins to the side, does your horse’s head come around with just a few ounces of pull or does it feel like it takes a crane to move his head?

First, what is the value of your horse responding to light pressure? For one, if you’re on a runaway horse and you can’t pull his head around for a one-rein stop, you’re in trouble. Another is it takes far less energy on your part to ride the horse. A horse that needs lots of pressure to respond is a horse that’s tiresome to ride. That’s no fun. Might as well go to the gym.
So let’s take it from the reins pressure. If your horse’s neck is hard to bend from one side to the other, start from the ground. Stay on the ground and teach him to bend. Put on a rope halter. Hook on your lead rope. Stand next to him around the rib area.
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Horse Stretching Exercises

A good way to learn how to apply passive stretching exercises is to begin right after riding when you remove the tack. Pick up each leg, one at a time and hold it without trying to stretch it.

Try to maintain the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat this stretch for 3 – 4 days. By this time the horse should lift his foot as you take up position next to each leg.
Once the horse accepts standing on three legs (especially if he is a young horse), you may start with small rotations of the legs. The rotations are safe and easy to perform.
Once you have mastered the rotations, try a mild forward stretch. Hold the first stretch for 5 seconds. Replace each leg in its original position. (Don’t just drop the leg, place it gently on the ground. Your horse knows about respect so he will trust you if you are careful with him.)
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Ever Have Trouble Catching Your Horse?

There are lots of people with that problem. Why do horses do that? Could be one (or more) of lots of reasons. Fear is one. Anticipating pain is another. Anticipating having to work and work and work is another.

Like I said, there are lots of reasons. If it’s pain, have your horse checked. If you’re a Super Stars of Horse Training member, be sure to watch this month’s video when you get it. It’s all about pain – one of the most overlooked and underestimated pieces of the horse training puzzle.

If it’s fear or perhaps anticipating having to work, try this. Go in the pen with the lead rope and halter in hand. Also, have your sweat scraper ready. (A sweat scraper is a teardrop-shaped tool with small teeth and a handle.

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Do You Stop A Horse With A Bit?

The simple answer, my friend, is NO. You see, a horse stops because he was trained to it. It’s the training that stops him…not the bit. The bit is merely a signaling device. To get a runaway horse to stop you can employ the One-Rein Stop.

One reason it works so well is because a horse can’t push against the bit when his head is pulled to the side.

Only use the One-Rein Stop when necessary. You teach your horse some bad habits if you overuse the One-Rein Stop. One habit is he’ll start to move his hip out be because pulling his head to one side causes the opposite sided hip to move out. So the trick is to train the horse to stop. A good technique is to use a fence. Start in the walk. Always teach something first from the walk.

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Horse Remedies

The following is a list of inexpensive and quick home remedies for your horse.

Rescue Remedy ~ trauma. Calms and clears the horse’s mind. I have personally used this for myself and it works! Within 15 minutes I no longer felt anxious and my head became clear.
Preparation H ~ aids in the reduction of proud flesh and encourages hair growth on wound sites.

Meat Tenderizer ~ moistened into paste takes the sting out of bug bites and stinging nettles.
Sugar and Iodine ~ mix into a paste for burns and scrapes. The sugar keeps the flesh from dying and the iodine fights the infection.
Vinegar ~ for natural fly repellant ~ 2 cups white vinegar, 1 cup Skin-So-Soft oil (original product by Avon), 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon eucalyptus oil. Mix in a spray bottle.

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Horse Story

Mistico is a 2004 Peruvian Paso and his name is Mistico Reflejo. He is living proof of what can happen when the feet are allowed to grow “naturally.”

When I met him he was a bit underweight and his muscles had atrophied due to the lack of exercise. He wasn’t being ridden because of a variety of little problems starting with the feet. He was also shoeless. At the time I thought that is the way he should go.

I decided to lease him and help the owner with his recovery. The first thing that happened was the farrier was called to put shoes on him because he was now going to be ridden. He had wedge pads and bar shoes and the whole nine yards because he was diagnosed with a bruised coffin bone. We thought we were doing the right thing by putting shoes on because that is what we have all bought into for years. Continue Reading…

Horse Disciplines

Damage to soft tissues is undoubtedly the most common cause of back soreness in the horse. The back involves a complex of muscles. The medical term is called the supraspinous ligament.

This ligament acts to extend and laterally flex the spine. Principal sites of damage are the withers (base of the neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions. The supraspinous ligament runs down the middle of the back and adheres to the thoracic (between the neck and the abdomen) and the lower back (lumbar) dorsal spine.

Because this area of the back is a ligament and not a muscle, recovery takes longer. Equine sports massage therapy addresses these problems and allows the horse to compete at his optimum level.

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Hay Quality for Horses

Hay all across America is being improved to accommodate cattle but presents challenges to our equine friends. The problem is a high SUGAR content which will cause founder and obesity.

Some hay farmers are using liquid chicken manure on hay fields. This practice of growing hay will expose our horses to deadly bacteria like salmonella. This type of hay is more of a threat than grain (protein).
Basics of Horse Pasture Management
harrowing to break up manure and kill off the parasites by exposing them to the sun
getting rid of weeds as soon as possible or they will destroy the proper growth rotation of horses
fertilize with manure and an application of commercial fertilizer and suitable seed
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