Much the same as every other member of your family or your beloved furry friends, a horse needs cleaning, too. They are prone to sweat and they can develop and odor if they are not properly cared for. If you have a male horse, you also have to worry about infections and dirt accumulation that may form and potentially clog up his urinal tract if you do not keep him clean enough. Below are a few tips on how to perfect your technique when it comes to horse hygiene and maintaining clean equine.
What Is Required?
The amount of stuff that you will need for your horse depends on how clean you want for him to be. However, most people start off with a water source, a few brushes, a couple sponges or cloths, and their favorite shampoo. The water source can be a simple spray hose or if you have a shower stall that you can put your horse in, that will also work. Provided your horse does not mind having a bath. You may want to use an adjustable high pressure shower head if you plan to give your horse a shower in this way because not all horses will enjoy having a lot of water pressure on them until they are used to the routine of it.
If you are using a regular spray garden hose or your horse is new to the bathing experience, you will want to first use a sponge that does not have any soap on it on the horse’s face. It is never recommended that you put soap on a horse’s face or put too much water into his eyes. This is also good to know if you are bathing him using a shower head speaker set up. The music and the tone of your voice may work together to keep him calm and relaxed as you move on to the other areas of his body.
When using a hose, start from his hooves and work your way up, soaking him thoroughly. Then apply the soap and rinse him off. If you have a male horse, it is important that you clean his sheath using a clean sponge that is reserved only for washing that area of his body. There are various techniques for doing this. You will also want to use a fresh sponge for the anus area, whether the horse is male or female. Clean sponges or cloths on these areas will prevent the possibility of spreading bacteria around. From there, you will want to rinse him and dry him thoroughly. The
How Often Should Your Horse Be Bathed?
Although bathing a horse is a great bonding experience for the horse and the rider, it is best that you don’t do it daily. During the summer months, it is nice to rinse them off after a lot of exercising, but save the shampoo for days when they really need it. Many people recommend doing it weekly, while others say that it depends on the type of soap you use, how much you water it down, and how oily the horse’s skin becomes in a week. The oils on a horse’s body is natural and not necessarily something that you should keep washing away. Bathing too often with soap that is not diluted, may cause the horse’s skin to become dry. This is not good for the horse.
Your horse needs good hygiene, but it is not something you have to do every day. However, it is important to realize that your horse cannot clean himself the way that you do and he does need a little help with it.
As one of the largest horse farms in our area, it never ceases to amaze people who come by and visit with us. It isn’t so much that we have such a large space, but by how much effort we put into caring for our animals and our farm as a whole. We do it for their comfort to some extent, but mostly we do it for our convenience. When it comes to powering the farm, we spend a small fortune on power and we personally wouldn’t have it any other way.
Why We Choose to Have Power Everywhere
Our horses are more like family than horses. We strive to make them comfortable and feel that blankets are not always enough. Therefore, we have lights in the barn as well as fans and heaters set up. We started doing it so that when we had a foal coming in the dead of winter on a very cold night, we could keep an eye on things to make sure that everything goes well, without sacrificing our personal comfort. Since then, it has helped us through many other situations, including giving us the ability to calm horses that are easily spooked by passing thunderstorms.
We also choose to have a climate controlled greenhouse so that there is fresh vegetables for us available at all times. This is also a benefit to our horses because occasionally we enjoy slipping them a special treat, such as a carrot, when they have worked hard to get ready for a competition or performed very well at their most recent show.
How We Handle It
Often we are asked how we handle caring for our horses to the extent that we do. It seems many people feel that we spoil our animals. The truth is, it is easy for us. They take care of us and allow us to own our beautiful farm, therefore when it comes to their care, we do not see a reason to hold back. The only true issue that we have had since deciding to power our entire farm is what to do when the power goes out or we are on the road at some competition and we do not have a temperature controlled barn for us to live in. Last year a massive storm came through several miles from where we live and the power was out for a few days. It was during the summer and the barn got insanely hot. After that, we choose to start looking into generators. The one review that stood out to us was the portable Honda generator review.
Our Farm’s New Life
Now, we have a way to keep our horses, and ourselves, comfortable year round. It no longer matters whether there is a storm that comes too close to home or we are out at the horse show during very cold weather. We chose the best RV generator and now we have power everywhere we go. I cannot say for sure that our horses appreciate the efforts we put into their care, but I do prefer to think that they do. Either way, powering the farm was a choice for us and something that we enjoy doing for them.
The health of your horse depends on having a well-balanced diet. If they are not eating healthy because of ingesting too many weeds or other “filler” they may be thinner than they need to be. If they are eating too much hay, they may be overweight. It depends on the horse and either issue can cause major health issues. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to balance your horse’s diet.
The Overweight Horse
When a horse is overweight, and not due to foal soon, you may notice that they have trouble walking. Their gait may have a little bit of a waddle. Their spine may also disappear and become more of a dimple that runs along their spine. Either way, a horse that cannot fit through their stall door is not going to look as good as they should. What causes it?
In most cases, if you have an overweight horse, it means that they are getting too many calories for the amount of exercise that they get or they have a predisposition to being slightly heavier. This could be especially true for ponies that are designed by nature to live in a harsh environment and make the most of everything they are able to eat. If you do not have a lot of grazing room, you may want horses that are easier to keep leveled out, one great breed is the Quarter Horse.
If you have several horses in the same area, the overweight horse could be the dominate one and perhaps it is eating more than others. Perhaps you are trying to keep your horse happy, so you are overfeeding it. Whatever the case, it is going to be important that you try to change it. To do this, you may need to increase the exercise and decrease the amount of food available to them. It is something that you will have to do because most horses will eat what is available to them as a matter of survival. In the wild, it is a great practice. When in your stables, it isn’t as good.
How to Handle an Underweight Horse
One of the first things you should do when you notice that your horse is underweight is to have a veterinarian check them over to ensure that they are not having medical issues. You should then make sure that you do not have a breed that tends to stay on the skinnier side of things. For instance, a thoroughbred has a high metabolism and therefore may need more calories to look great. If the weight issues are in an older horse, you may need to up their protein rather than their calories.
Once you have tried all of these ideas and you still notice that your horse is underweight, you may consider adding a supplement to their diet that is designed to add more weight. These supplements offer extra calories and some even have proteins. They are all designed to help the horse have a healthier digestive system.
Regardless of which issue you are dealing with, keep in mind that a happy, healthy horse should eat about 2% of their body weight daily in foraging either hay or grass. This amount, along with ensuring that they have a variety of good types of forage material to dine on, should help a horse stay at its ideal weight. When it doesn’t, it is okay to try to control it a little better.
If you are looking for a gentle horse or trying to find a breed of horse that is easy to handle for a new rider, there is no cut and dry answer. There can be a lot of variables that make a typically calm breed, very hard to ride or a normally high strung, energetic horse the calmest you have ever seen. However, if you are looking for that first horse, you may want to start with discovering, “What is the calmest horse breed for beginners?” according to most people and go from there.
Which Horses are Great?
The American Quarter Horse is known for being good for a new rider. The same can be said for Appaloosas, Tennessee Walking Horses and Morgans. Draft horses, or draft horse crosses, are typically great beginner horses, but their size can be a challenge. They are large across the back and finding a saddle to fit is pretty hard to deal with sometimes. All cross breed horses have the potential to be great rides because they are not bred to be any particular temperament. They simply go with the flow.
However, one of the best things you can do for yourself when finding a beginner horse is to get a feel for it personally as opposed to basing it on breed alone. If you are not sure you will have the chance to get to know the horse prior to buying it, perhaps you should check out horses that have known issues when it comes to obeying and steer clear of them.
Which Horses Have a Bad Rep?
One breed that you may want to avoid when putting a new rider on their back is the Arabian. They do have a reputation as being very hard to handle as are Thoroughbreds that are mostly bred to be racing horses.
You will sometimes hear about the Haflingers breed horse and they are supposedly great horses with an even temperament. The catch is, as you read through about how great they are, you will find other comments that point toward them being a little strong minded at times if their rider is not confident in the saddle. This shows that it may be a great breed of horse for a beginner, but that does not necessarily mean that it is ideal for all beginners. This thought leads most people to the idea that perhaps it is not the breed but the horse itself.
Find a Better, Calmer Horse
You may have two horses that are of the same breed and the same age as each other, but the two horses be completely different in how they behave. For you to find the right beginner horse, you should keep this in mind.
Instead of considering the breed, look toward the person who trained them to find out whether they train in a gentle way or if they are more forceful. This may also go along with their experience while training horses.
You should also consider the temperament of that particular horse. Some horse breeds that are considered to be spook-able may have some in that breed line that are fearless. An older horse is going to be more casual and forgiving when it comes to mistakes that a new rider may make than a younger one.
Finding the right horse for a beginner is not an easy task, but it is doable if you decide what you want the new horse and rider to be able to do together. However, it is not always going to be because you picked the best breed of horse for your rider.
Whether you are just getting into the idea of raising horses or someone who has been around it for years, there is a lot to consider. Do you have enough space for the horses you have, are you able to handle the financial responsibility of other horses to encourage growth, and even when you should breed the mares to make it easier on you and them. Here are some of the most important things to consider before breeding your mare so that in roughly 11 months, you can look out into the field and see a healthy foal bouncing around beside his momma.
Is Your Mare Healthy Enough?
Will your mare be able to conceive on her own or does she need to have artificial insemination? Is her body able to support the growing mare and make a good home for him? Your vet will be able to help you discover this information through a variety of tests. He can do sonograms and examine the way her body is put together inside and out. He will also do blood tests, make sure that she has all of her vaccinations and check for infections that may cause her to be unable to carry her foal. All of this information will help you to determine whether she is able to conceive naturally or if she will need help. Your chosen veterinarian will also be able to tell you when your mare may be ready to breed based on when her ovulation takes place, which will increase your chances of breeding when you feel it is best.
The Perfect Stud
Since most people want their horses to foal at a certain time of the year, it is important that you know when your mare is ready, the stud horse will be as well. Therefore, you will also want to find the perfect stud before you start breeding. Very few horses are allowed to breed with the mate of their choice. Often it entails contacting a stud farm or finding a suitable stud in one of your neighbor’s fields. If you are going through a stud farm, you can ask for references of other satisfied customers and discover how long it took to have a successful implantation. You will also discover whether the foal was healthy.
When Will Baby Come?
Mares carry their foal for 11 months. A lot of breeders want the foal to come during the early months of the year, with particular preferences for early spring. It makes it easy on the mare’s owner to feed the mare all that she needs to support her growing foal, without wearing her down too much. A mare that delivers during the winter will need extra food and extra nutrients. If she delivers in early spring, natural grass will be more abundant and it will save you money.
From there, the biggest thing you will have to consider is whether you want to deal with checking on your mare day and night to ensure that the foal is coming out right during delivery. Some people are not sure how to handle this or a complication, therefore they send the mare off to a delivery stable before she goes into labor.
It is a complicated process for someone who is new to breeding. However, if you consider these three things and let nature take its course, then you should have a healthy foal on the ground very soon.
Two things that set one horse above another is their trainability and ride-ability. The horse should be easy to train and ride, if you want it to be a great addition to your stables because half the thrill behind owning a horse is riding it, even if you are not in the business of raising a race horse.
However, sometimes training them to do so can be tricky because you are going to have to make them wear, and feel comfortable doing it, you as well as the saddle, bridles, etc. You will also want them to obey your commands and go where you need them to travel. This is not always easy due to a horse is an animal who is by nature meant to roam the world freely. Here are some tips to help you learn the easiest ways to train a horse to ride.
Gain the Horse’s Trust
The true skill of any good horse trainer is going to be whether they are able to gain the horse’s trust. This can take a lot of time, as does training it to let you ride. You will have to show the horse that you are trustworthy and that you care about them. This will in turn make you someone they look toward as their leader.
To do this, it is important that you are assertive without being aggressive. Encourage them to do as you want them to do and resist the urge to get frustrated with them, even if you are having to go at a slower, steadier pace to get them to trust you. If you abuse them at any time during the training process, you will make it so that they will not trust you. The horse will sense your attitude and know if they can trust you based on the way you handle yourself. If you are excitable, nervous, or frustrated, they will question whether you are a good leader. Your confidence, your calmness, and the fact that they feel mentally and physically safe with you, will all be beneficial to you.
Keep Your Plan and Goal in Mind
When training a horse, you need to be consistent. This means working with them for a set amount of time each day, a set task list for them to learn, and even a reward plan that you can consistently do for them. Even if it takes them longer on one area, such as allowing you to guide them with the reins, you should still not move on to another “task” until they master the one you are working on. If you decide to train by releasing pressure when they do what you ask of them, make sure you do it every time they do right and never when they are doing wrong. Your consistency will help them, and you, become a team.
You should never give treats to a horse in training, otherwise they may become biters. The best way to discipline a horse, as the herd leader, includes asserting yourself. Force the horse to move forward or backward, you can push him or just crowd him so that he must. Change it up so that he does not know what you will do when he has done wrong. Just keep in mind, beating and whipping is not the right way to discipline.
Understand Your Horse’s Needs
By nature, horses are wild animals, but they still require a herd leader. As a trainer, you must become the one they look toward for advice on what is required for them. If you are a good leader, your horse will follow. It is something that they need and so do you, if you ever want to work up to riding that majestic beast.
The question of how much land does a horse need is one that has been asked throughout the years by everyone who wants to own a horse. The simple answer that they need about an acre per horse to roam freely and forage if you want them to have a healthy diet and digestive tract. However, there are also times when you need more or less of free roam areas and this is where it can get a little trickier.
The Grass Quality
If you have a horse and he is on one acre of land that is filled with weeds and dirt patches, that horse will need other areas to graze naturally. If you have an acre that is filled with high quality forage, you may be able to support more than one horse on it. Horses do not graze at all times. They simply wander around and pick out the best things to eat.
This means they need grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, reed canary grass, smooth bromegrass, cocksfoot, and Timothy in the cooler weather months. Even Legumes have the ability to keep horses happy and healthy.
Crabgrass along with pearl millet grass as your summer mix. They also enjoy rye grass and sheep’s parsley. You will need to reseed occasionally, but planting grasses that regrow each season will help you to avoid this. It will also help you to have two or more acres divided up for grazing and letting the previous fields grow.
The best way to supplement your horse’s natural grazing is use hay. However, you should avoid cattle hay which is cheap quality. Cows are able to eat junk foods because their bodies can weed out the stuff that has no nutritional value. Horses are not able to do this.
When choosing hay, meadow hay that has a lot of leafy grasses and clover will be best for your horse. If it is stalky and have developed mature seedheads it has already missed its peak nutritional value stage. It should have been harvested during a time when it is not going to rain before you can put it away also. That is why some people choose to bale it after it peaks, so that it does not get wet beforehand.
Either way, the appearance of weeds in your hay bale is bad. You are not buying weeds. The color should be a pale green to golden color. If it is brown, it was most likely left out in the rain while drying, which could mean that there is mold inside of it. This can be tested by the weight as well. Fully dried hay, is lighter than water-filled potentially molded hay. You will also be able to tell its quality by the smell, which should be sweet and pleasant to your nose.
Feeding the Pregnant Mare
Your pregnant mare should have about 10-12 percent protein, but overall she will not need to consume more foods until later in the pregnancy, provided the field she is in and the food quality you supplement with is healthy. She should also be healthy or you may need to increase her foods.
During the last trimester is when she will need the most protein and the largest amounts of digestible energy sources. You may even want to bump her up to 12-14 percent protein. You should resist the urge to feed her more than this amount. The energy is important during this time as well because during the winter months, when most mares are in their final trimester, they will burn more energy trying to stay warm. Other nutrients that count include vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. They also need the B vitamin class and calcium to ensure that they stay healthy, and that their foal is healthy as well.