Horses And Safe Trailering

My first recollections about moving horses were how anxious and uncertain I was. Of course, this translated into anxious horses unwilling to load. In time and with much practice I began to read horses and work with them. I now recognize that for owners and horses it can be a difficult time. When working with horses, teaching them to load and learning about proper trailering is an area that each of us needs to spend more time.

When at the Symposium, a horse owner, Charles, asked how to get started. Here’s what I have learned. Babies can be loaded with mom onto a trailer almost daily when they are young. They accept it as a normal part of their lives and become easy loaders when they get older. With yearlings, two year olds and adult horses, I’ve begun working with them by putting a trailer in their paddock or field and feeding them out of the trailer, moving the feed further and further into the trailer over time. The space will become comfortable to them and they can begin to be led onto and off of the trailer. If you do this with a tag trailer (one pulled behind a tow vehicle), please hitch the trailer to a vehicle or tractor. A horse can flip an unattached tag trailer.

There are two secrets that will make loading horses much easier. Have you ever been to a hunter or jumper show? Where do riders get their first refusal? I’ve found that it happens at the first jump and it has everything to do with a rider being tense or uncertain and the horse senses that. It’s the same with loading a horse. If you are tentative or uncomfortable, the horse will tune into that and refuse to load. I purposely relax and think that I’m going to load this horse with no difficulty. I mentally say that I’m going to keep this horse safe. I’ve watched horses visibly relax when I’ve done this. I tell folks that it’s assertiveness training. I find that if I have an expectation, the horse will respond (I hope that it is an effort on the horse’s part to please me) and load. The second secret is, if you can get a horse’s head and neck in a trailer, they will load. Horses by their nature are animals of flight. They imagine lions and tigers in every dark place. If you can make a trailer bright inside by turning on lights etc, you make the trailer less of a foreboding place. Encouraging them to look in so that they feel safe and you being confident will make it easier for your horse to load.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Equine Feed Balancers

In this article I would like to share with you some useful information about equine feed balancers. The fact is that nowadays there are hundreds if not thousands of different types of equine supplements and supplement formulations.

Do a simple search on Google, Amazon or eBay for horse supplements and in a split second you will get thousands of results: garlic supplements, digestive aids, equine joint supplements, calmers and etc. Out of all of these different types of equine supplements that you can buy today there are only a couple that are proven and tested by time and equine feed balancers is something that you should seriously look into if you want your horse to look and feel great.

Before we’ll dive into specifics about why you should be using equine feed balancers let me point out one important fact. You see, there are dozens of equine companies nowadays bombarding us with ads of their latest products and they all say the same thing – that their product is the best. The truth is that there are only a couple of really good equine supplements that can actually help your horse and equine feed balancers is one of them.

So how can equine feed balancers help your horse?

First of all they will improve your horse’s digestive system. You see quite a lot of horses nowadays have very inefficient digestive systems and their nutrient uptake is relatively bad and this is the primary reason why so many horse’s nowadays suffer from nutrient deficiency.

As a result of nutrient deficiency quite a lot of horses tend to lose topline and condition, they struggle to maintain weight and in general they do not look and feel very well. The easiest way to help your horse out is to improve the efficiency of your horse’s digestive system which will lead to an increased nutrient uptake. This is where equine feed balancers come into play. Feed balancers contain pre and pro biotic which increase the amount of friendly bacteria in the horse’s gut. These friendly bacteria allow the horse to breakdown nutrients faster which leads to an improved efficiency of the digestive system.

In addition to this such supplements also help to ensure healthy, scurf free skin and a glossy gleaming coat.

Some balancers formulations might even contain glucosamine. Glucosamine is an active ingredient that quite often is found in equine joint supplements, but some more premium balancers contain this active ingredient, simply because it is proven to strengthen and support horse’s joints.

In short, feed balancers are just like multi-vitamin supplement for humans: not everyone needs them, not everyone takes them, but they are designed to provide all of the essential nutrients to make your horse look and feel great.

5 Tips For Addressing Weight Loss In The Horse

Nothing is more worrisome than watching your horse day after day slowly lose weight and not knowing the reason why. Despite making sure they have plenty of access to good quality feed and mineral/vitamin supplements they continue to lose weight. Here are 5 tips that may get you started on the right track to addressing unexpected weight loss in the horse.

Veterinary Evaluation

First and foremost, ALWAYS have your horse evaluated by your veterinarian if they are encountering any kind of health challenge! I cannot stress that enough. There are so many things that may be affecting your horse’s ability to absorb nutrients, from parasites to cancer. Your veterinarian can rule things out for you and make a proper diagnosis if there is a serious medical condition that’s contributing to a weight loss issue in your horse. I’ve seen too many times people take a wait and see attitude to the detriment of the horse.

Intestinal Parasites

A very common reason for horses to lose weight is due to a heavy parasite load. As parasites develop resistance to many of the commercial dewormers available on the market, you may find that your deworming protocols are no longer effective. Your veterinary clinic can do a fecal egg count for you and let you know what kinds of intestinal parasites (if any) your horse may be harboring. From this information, you can then make more targeted decisions as to what deworming protocols might be most effective for your situation.

There are also alternative protocols that are becoming more and more popular among horse caretakers. Many of these are safe to use in conjunction with traditional dewormers and may help increase the effectiveness of your deworming program.

Some of these include:

    • Food-grade diatomaceous earth – it is thought that the diatomaceous earth works similarly as it moves through the animal’s digestive tract as it does when applied externally to insects. The microscopic silica-based diatom fossils that make up the fine powder penetrate the exoskeleton of the insects, causing them to dehydrate and die.
    • Essential oils – Animals in the wild will hunt out and eat certain types of plants not normally in their everyday diet to help clear their bodies of parasites. Certain medicinal-grade essential oils are thought to help rid the body of internal parasites based on the historical use of these plants by both ancient cultures and wild animals. Whether these help by boosting the host’s natural immune system or acting directly against the parasite is unclear. Oils that may help most are – Tarragon, Ocotea, Di-Gize and Longevity.

 

    • Immune System Supplementation – an organism that has a compromised immune system is going to be more susceptible to all types of infection, including that of internal and external parasites. Adding supplements that are high in antioxidants may help your horse’s ability to deal with these attacks naturally. Immune support is very important for maintaining the geriatric horse.

Equine Dentistry

I’ve been surprised at the number of people that I’ve encountered over the years that are unaware that horses need routine dentistry. There are many factors that play into the function of the horse’s jaw and how the horse’s teeth erupt and wear continually. The way a horse moves, position it eats, what it eats, etc. all contribute to whether a horse will develop dental imbalance. If the teeth are out of balance and the horse cannot effectively masticate his food, they are less likely to be able to absorb the necessary nutrients from that food. Older horses may have worn out the life of their teeth or have missing teeth, also contributing to problems with properly processing their food. Having your horse checked by a reputable equine dentist at least once or twice per year may save your horse some grief down the road.

Adding Calories

Your horse’s weight loss may just be a simple matter of math… they are burning more calories than they are taking in. Upping your horse’s hay and/or feed may be necessary, particularly for horses in heavy training or working horses. However, adding a high-quality high-calorie fat source may be all that is necessary to turn the corner. Traditionally people have added corn oil to their horses feed as a top dress. However, since corn oil is not fully digestible, you have to give large quantities for it to be effective and many horses don’t find that much oil on their feed palatable. The most popular oils that are highly digestible, palatable and provide added benefits to skin and hair coat are – flax seed, soybean, and wheat germ oils.

Alternative Forages

When dealing with geriatric horses, the ability to chew becomes increasingly problematic, not to mention the aging digestive tract becomes less efficient and able to pull the necessary nutrients from what they can chew. Adding some more easily chewed and digestible forages may help. You will want to make sure and consult with your veterinarian before changing your horse’s diet though. Certain conditions, like liver and kidney dysfunction, require special dietary consideration.

How to Prepare for a Horse Show

With spring in the air and competition season beginning it’s time to get serious about the upcoming show season. Preparation is key, for both you and your horse. So work out what you’re doing and when and work out a schedule to build up to it.

Getting your horse show ready

  • Once you know what shows you’re entering, practise for that event. Try lengthening and shortening stride so you can get the right distance between jumps, and always practise on fences slightly higher than those in the show. This way your horse should be calm and composed on the day. And similarly for dressage – you need to be confident that your horse can comfortably perform everything asked of them, so it’s a good idea to show them at one level lower than the level they perform at home.
  • During the winter months, like humans, horses can lose some fitness. Work on building it up again to get them back to their peak for show season.
  • Get grooming and trimming to make sure your horse looks his best.

Preparing for a show

Think about everything you’ll need for the show, for both you and your horse and make a list. If you’re staying overnight or longer you’ll need bedding, hay and grain for your horse as well as tack, grooming equipment, buckets, first aid equipment, paperwork etc.

With all the focus on getting your horse ready, it can be easy to forget that you need to get yourself ready too. Good quality, well-fitting show clothes will not only be comfortable, but also create a really good impression. If last years are looking a bit tired, consider investing in some new show attire. Mark Todd have a new Italian Collection, which is both stylish and designed with the practicalities of riding in mind, with breathable fabrics and machine washable jackets. It’s a good idea to take a spare set of show clothing if you can, just in case there are any issues (like mud all over your white jodhpurs!) on the day.

Of course the best way to keep your horse looking good for show season is to care for them well all year round. So keep up with medical checks and groom them daily, paying attention to their tail and mane to avoid knots and tangles. Bathe them the night before the show and braid them too, so they’re looking their best on the day.

Plant Based Horse Minerals

When I was advised to give my horse Nathy a mineral supplement to improve his health and well being, I decided I wanted to take a natural approach. Of all the minerals I found for horses most were of a metallic nature, which was going against the way I want to approach supplementing Nathy.

The word Metallic is enough to turn me off feeding these minerals to my horse, I wanted something more natural. I came across a brand of horse minerals that are plant based and all natural. With 74 plus plant ingredients to keep horse healthy and happy, below are just are few.

Premium Horse Mineral Ingredients.

  • Sea Plants
  • Kelp
  • Age Old Healing Plants and Herbs
  • Colloidal Minerals
  • Biotin
  • Moringa Powder
  • MSM Plant Sulphur
  • Clay Dolomite
  • Clay Calcium Bentonite
  • Diatomite

Natural plant minerals are better for a horses digestive system and also absorb easier than non plant derived minerals. Eating natural, healthy products can improve human well being, so should the same not apply to our animals.Humans usually don’t go well on high starch, or high sugar, which lead to diseases like diabetes. Diabetes can raise the risk of heart attack or stroke by 50%. If we can improve a horse diet with healthy feed and natural supplements, it has to be better than feeding them unhealthy feed filled with sugar and starch.

If humans can get a disease like diabetes, it is crazy to think that a horse would be immuned to this. Horses shouldn’t have too much sugar, it can lead to laminitis and even insulin resistance, much like a person with type 2 diabetes. It’s important for us to give our horses a well balanced diet, so they stay gut healthy and avoid diseases such as insulin resistance and laminitis.

Minerals play an important part in a horses overall health and in my opinion, natural minerals are a better choice to help a horses digestive system and overall well being. Horses can’t tell us how they feel or what is causing them pain and discomfort but they can show us by either physical, emotional or by their overall behaviour. Most bad behaviour by a horse is caused by pain, or if they are uncomfortable, if we don’t listen to them these behaviours will only get worse and could cause harm to the horse owner.

What Equine Supplements Your Horse Really Needs

In this article I would like to share with you some useful information about equine supplements. More specifically I would like to talk with you about what equine supplements your horse really needs.

If you have been a member of the equestrian community for some time you have probably noticed how many different equine care products and supplements there are out there in the market. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different types of equine supplements that you can buy today ranging from feed balancers and joint supplements to garlic supplements and joint supplements.

The fact is that some products are great and will have a positive effect on the way your horse looks and feels, whereas some products are a total waste of time. Now, without wasting too much of your time I would like to reveal to you which supplements are actually proven and tested to work and have a positive effect on our horse’s health.

Feed balancers

It is really important to supplement your horse’s diet with a high quality feed balancer. Feed balancers have been around for quite some time and there is no doubt that they can have a positive effect on the way our horses look and feel.

Feed balancers contain all of the essential active ingredients that your horse needs to look and feel great. From pre and probiotics that are used to improve the efficiency of the digestive system and improve nutrient uptake, to minerals and oils such as zinc, soya and linseed oil which promote the development of healthy skin and coat.

It is really important to supplement your horse’s diet with a feed balancer, particularly in spring, because in the winter quite a lot of horses develop a nutrient deficiency as a result of poor grazing conditions. When grazing conditions are relatively poor your horses do not get as many different nutrients as he needs in order to look and feel great.

Garlic supplements

Spring has finally arrived and as the weather conditions improve flies, insects and other annoying insects become particularly active. Their bites can cause lumps and bumps appear all over your horse’s body and one of the easiest ways to tackle this problem is to invest into a garlic supplements.

There are two main types of equine garlic supplements: liquid garlic supplements and garlic granules. Liquid garlic supplements are more expensive, yet they have are easier absorbed by horse’s body when compared to garlic granules. Granules are much cheaper, but they are not abosrved as well as liquid garlic supplements. It does not really matter which option you will decide to take, but once you will start to supplement your horse’s diet with a garlic supplement your horse will start producing an odour that will keep insects at bay.