Keeping Your Horse Sound

Keeping Your Horse Sound

Healthy hooves are essential for your horse’s well-being. If they are neglected in any way, the chances of your horse going lame increase dramatically and will end up costing you time away from riding, and money.  There is an old saying –  “No Hoof, No Horse”. Translated, it means if a horse’s feet aren’t comfortable and healthy, it affects every facet of that horses life.

In order to keep your horse sound and happy, here is a short checklist of things you can do.

  • Clean their feet out regularly. Dirt and stones can get wedged under their feet and cause discomfort and bruising.
  • Have them trimmed/shod regularly. Hooves should be trimmed every 4-6 weeks on average. It is similar for shoes. When a horse’s toe grows too long, it can affect the way they move and cause lameness, uneven gait or even change the alignment of the internal structure of their feet.
  • Some horses naturally have more brittle walls on their hooves. In cases like this, supplements and oils can help assist in strengthening, along with consultation with your farrier or vet.
  • Check the soles of their feet for bruises, puncture wounds or cracks.
  • Be mindful of the surfaces you ride your horses on, particularly if they aren’t shod.
  • Minimise exposure to wet muddy ground in their paddock if possible. Standing in these conditions for too long can result in your horse developing thrush, seedy toe or greasy heel.

When you think about how much weight these four relatively small structures have to handle, it makes sense that their care should be a priority.  With these few tips, your horse should be sound and happy for the adventures ahead!

Can You Recognise Heat Stress In Your Horse?

Can You Recognise Heat Stress In Your Horse?

Recently, the east coast of Australia had a week-long spell of unusually hot weather for October/November. While it is relatively easy for us humans to cool ourselves down, horses aren’t quite so lucky. It is very important to recognise the signs of heat stress in your horse and steps you can take to prevent this.

Signs of Heat Stress:

  • If riding your horse, try and do it first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. Not only is it less likely to send your horse into distress, but it reduces the risk of your harm as well, from sunburn and dehydration.
  • Make sure your horse has ample access to cool water. If there is no choice but to have water in an area that receives full-sun, why not try adding some large ice blocks made out of soft drink bottles into the trough or bucket to assist in keeping the water cooler?
  • Adequate shade in their paddock is vital, or a well-ventilated stable or structure. Some people don’t know it, but it is actually considered neglect if a horse doesn’t have some form of shade in their paddock to get out of the sun. Having one of these, especially during our summers, is a no-brainer and should be a priority.
  • When hosing your horse to cool them down, always scrape excess water off them. If the water is left on their coats, it can heat up itself once the horse is outside and actually make them hotter! Some horses will roll after being hosed. To us, it makes them dirty again; to them, it’s adding a protective coating to repel heat getting to their skin.
  • For horses with medical conditions such as Cushings Disease, you need to be extra careful. One of the symptoms of this disease is a horse not being able to self-regulate their body temperature through coat shedding, among other things. If you suspect a horse heat stress is not from direct exercise or other outside conditions, get them checked by a vet.

How do I recognise the signs of heat stress?

  • Horse is sweating profusely, or alternately not sweating at all, along with:
  • High breathing rate, even panting to try and get more oxygen circling their body
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Skin to touch is dry and hot
  • Higher than normal temperature

If your horse is showing some of these signs, you need to act quickly. Move them into the shade and hose them off with cool water and scraping after. Always seek veterinary attention, particularly if your horse is severely distressed. Untreated, it can cause organ failure and the inevitable death of your horse.

Protect Your Horse From Flies

Protect Your Horse From Flies

How CAN you protect your horse from flies? It’s that time of year again. The warm weather and wet season bring an influx of the bane of a horse’s existence! For whatever reason, flies and mosquitos seem particularly attracted to a horse’s legs and face. They can cause anxiety and fidgeting in horses on the ground and while being ridden, and in some cases cause illness and injury through blood loss and itching.

Today we will outline some steps you can take to minimize flies, mosquitoes and other biting insects around your paddock and stable, and causing misery to your horse.

Fly Prevention Tips

  1. Clear Away Manure – flies LOVE horse poo! One of the best ways you can help discourage flies is to regularly clear out paddocks and stables of manure. It is also a great idea to have your manure pile as far away as practically possible from where your horse spends most of its time.
  2. Put On A Mesh Horse Rug – putting a light mesh rug on your horse is a great way to protect them just about everywhere except their legs! While some might think that horses would get too hot with a rug on, the fabrics created today can actually reflect heat, keeping them cooler. The added protection from biting insects is also a plus! You can find a wide range of summer rugs on our site HERE.
  3. Repellents – applying fly repellant regularly to your horses’ legs will provide temporary relief. There are many varieties to choose from, with varying prices. Rotating different types of repellents will help you find the one most effective for your situation.
  4.  Keep Water Fresh & Aerated – ensuring your horse has plenty of clean, fresh water is a given. It should be cleaned out and/or topped up each day. Make sure any empty containers that get filled with water don’t sit for too long and go stagnant. This is the ideal breeding ground for insects. By removing these, you’re giving the insects less opportunity to breed.
  5. Use A Flyveil – if flies are bad while you’re out riding, consider putting a fly hood or veil on your horse’s head to give them relief. If your horse has never had one on before, then proceed with caution and acclimatise them to one. It could make training and trail riding a much nicer experience for both of you!

In Summary

Flies and mosquitoes can make our lives a misery, but at the same time, they can provide a valuable service to nature. We hope these tips have helped give you ideas on how to protect your horse from flies this summer. If you ever have any questions about our range of horse rugs, don’t hesitate to contact us.