Horse and barn care
This blog answers the most common questions about worms, shows you how to properly give your horse a de-worming paste, and discusses information you should know to keep your horse healthy!
This video shows you how to pick a horse’s hoof that does not have a shoe. You can also see more clearly the anatomy of the hoof, and Danny models nicely what a “thrush” infection looks like.
A few more hopefully helpful tips:
Remember that the frog of the hoof is living tissue, so you don’t want to stab at it with your hoof pick. Look for the clefts (the grooves on either side of the frog). If there’s too much mud or dirt, look for where the clefts come out on either side of the heel bulbs, and work your way up. If you still can’t find them, take your best guess and carefully scrape off the top layers of dirt until you can recognize the shape of the hoof.
Holding the hoof pick the right way will really give you the best leverage to get out that stubborn, packed mud. Check out how I’m holding the pick in this video. Many people start out holding it with the tip pointing toward them instead of away, which makes it hard to lever out those stuck pebbles.
Thrush is the common name for a fungus that can grow in horses’ hooves. It can cause problems because it makes the horse’s hoof crumbly and weak. Like most fungi, it grows best in wet conditions, so you can protect your horse from thrush by making sure his pasture is well-drained. If mud is unavoidable (which often happens!), then make sure to pick your horse’s hooves every day and let hims spend some time out of the mud. If your horse does get thrush, you can treat it with iodine or Thrush Buster.
If your horse doesn’t like to pick up his hooves, first check with your vet that he doesn’t have arthritis or pain that would hinder him lifting his hoof. Then you can try leaning into his shoulder to encourage him to get his weight off the hoof you want to pick up. You can even add in the verbal command, “Up!” or something similar, so your horse starts to learn to pick up his feet just by your voice aid.
It’s spring again, that time for cleaning–and not just your attic! It’s bath time for Noah, and for many horses. But there are tricks to bathing a horse. After all, you can’t just dunk them in a tub and be done with it.
The first thing to remember is that you shouldn’t bathe your horse too often with shampoo or soap. A horse’s skin has many vital oils that he loses if you wash him with any kind of soap. So save your baths for special occasions, like shows. Hosing a horse off with water if he’s become quite sweaty is not only okay, but recommended–just don’t use soap.
Next, make sure you don’t surprise a horse by suddenly blasting him with cold water (think how little you’d appreciate similar treatment…). Always start on his hooves, and work your way up his legs so he’s expecting the water on his body.
Lastly, make sure your horse is at least mostly dry before putting back out in his paddock or pasture. One, a damp horse can easily get chilled if there’s any wind or if it’s a bit nippy. Second, wet horses LOVE to roll; they’ll undo all your hard work in a matter of seconds!
So check out the video below for detailed instructions on how to properly and safely wash a horse. Enjoy!
Maybe you’re headed to a show. Or maybe your horse just looks like he’s in need of a trip to the barber! Either way, there is a special technique that you use to shorten a horse’s mane–and no, it’s not to take a pair of scissors to it! This video walks you through the correct technique of how to pull a horse’s mane.
In this video, I show you how to put on a cooler (a light blanket used to keep a sweaty or wet horse warm while he dries off). You can do the same thing to put any kind of blanket on a horse. Blankets are very useful for lots of things, including keeping your horse warm and dry, keeping bugs off him or even keeping him from getting sunburned if he is a pink-skinned horse! Make sure that any blanket you put on a horse fits him properly and is correctly put on.
This video shows how to properly put on a polo wrap. Polo wraps are a a simple wrap you can put around a horse’s cannon bone and fetlock joint to protect it against bumps and scrapes. There’s some argument as to whether polo warps also provide support for a horse’s lower leg, like an Ace wrap does for an athlete’s knee, elbow or wrist–I’ve always been taught this (which is why I say so in the video) but other trainers point out that the wraps may be too thin to really provide much in the way of support. Someone will just have to figure one of these days how to ask a horse if he feels supported ;)
Tack is just a fancy word for the equipment you put on a horse. And you can imagine that anything you strap onto a sweating, dusty horse is soon going to need to be cleaned! Cleaning your tack does three important things:
1. keeps you looking good!
2. keeps your tack strong and supple.
3. keeps your tack from rubbing your horse’s sensitive skin.
Dirt and sweat can make leather crack and break, not to mention giving your poor pony sores. So don’t be afraid to buckle down and scrub up. To help you out, here’s a two-part video of how to clean your tack. Let me know if you’ve got any questions. Happy sudsing!