Arthritis is considered a rather big nuisance for horses. These majestic animals whether old or young can have a difficult time if some assistance is not timely given. It is crucial to understand how important joints are and the early symptoms that can be used to indicate that a horse may indeed have arthritis. This type of aliment is ongoing and it is wide to take precaution by buying veteran horse insurance as your horse matures. Significant to note, horse owners ought to assess the requirements for a healthy animal, this is in keeping with at best mitigating arthritis altogether or being able to follow best practices in taking care of an arthritic horse. Some guidelines and important notations when taking care of such horses will be briefly mentioned.
Exercise will serve a horse exceptionally well, regardless of the nature of the ownership being occupational or recreational. In order to maintain what is left of the animal’s joints exercise must be one of the major priorities. With joint movement, a horse will be able to maintain and see to building those muscles and ligaments surrounding areas with missing cartilage. The aim is to give as much support as possible to the already weakened areas. Depending on the state of the joints, routines must be tailored as such, as extreme exercise can cause further damage.
Weight plays an important role in how joints respond on a daily basis. Excess weight means excess work and pressure on already pressured joints. Imagine being overweight and attempting to exercise, this is by no means a pain-free endeavor for any horse. If the animal is no longer as active, then the likelihood of weight gain will be higher, therefore as a part of the regiment ensure the diet is adequately assessed for the horse in question.
Paying particular attention to the horse’s feet is another point of support. In order to have the animal as comfortable as possible on their feet for as long as possible, trimming and shoeing are of tantamount importance; after all the animal carries its weight on those powerful legs. With proper grooming in this regard, the veteran horse will be fully balanced with trimmed feet and consistent inspection if any issues arise for those that may wear shoes.
The living environment for the animal must be assessed in terms of surfaces they have to stand on. In aiding in less pain and general excess pressure, the horse must be provided with the right footing. The area must not be too soft nor entirely too hard, avoid uneven areas such as rocky or shifting surfaces as well as flooring with deep spots. The horse should be able to walk without having falls or twists of the legs.
Last to note but definitely not the least, is the use of medication. A veterinarian will be able to tell what will be the best choice for treating varying situations. It can range from including daily supplements to doses of injections when deemed necessary. Ensure to seek such advice as early as is possible to give the animal the best chance at a comfortable life.
As nature clothed our surroundings with his cold weather, identifying wounds, infections (bacterial & fungal) on the horse’s skin becomes increasingly difficult. The horse's coat increases in length over the winter. This, in turn, makes the horse sweat more under the coat, though it doesn't show. More so, it also becomes harder to notice sores, moisture, dirt trapped under the coat and certain other factors like weight loss. Read on to find some handy tips that will help you properly groom your horse this winter and remember to take out a horse insurance policy.
A regular bath is necessary not just to keep the horse clean but also to check for scratches, sores, and wounds. Use warm water with either the hot towelling or spot cleaning techniques. You can use a mild body wash for a better clean. Work gradually in sections, cleaning each section thoroughly before moving to the next. After the bath, you should dry the horse to avoid a cold and this can be easily done using your hair dryer.
Spot cleaning works in much the same way except it is not as thorough as hot toweling. You can use a sponge or towel and hot water for spot cleaning. Wipe against the grain and work on small areas progressively.
Regular skin inspection and checks should help you observe the horse's skin health. Currying the horse and using your fingertips is an excellent way of checking for infections, sores, scratches and other blemishes. It is also effective in monitoring the weight loss of your horse by feeling around his/her body. Indicators you should look out for include bumps, hair loss, swelling, and clumpy hair. Use a curry comb to brush out the clumpy hair and discern whether it is just the hair or something else
Mud, manure, and dirt provide the perfect breeding ground for infection such as thrush. Make sure to clean your horse's hooves on a daily basis. Take out the mud and dirt and check them for abnormalities, such as sores and inflammation.
Exercise is also an important part of winter grooming to keep the horse both active and healthy. Make sure that you groom your horse first before starting an exercise. An indoor exercise ground would be ideal but if it is unavailable, just ride the horse on the non-frozen ground. If neither of that is available, you could try lunging.
You will need to use longer and harder brushes since the coat grows considerably over the winter. To ease the work, you could consider giving your horse a trim. However, this is a matter of preference and convenience. Trimming the coat will increase the necessity of blanketing. To avoid that, you could trim only the parts that have increased sweating and tendencies to get dirty. Also, make sure that you groom the tail using conditioner and a tail bag.
Winter grooming can be tedious but it should be regular to keep your horse healthy. Use the right tools and equipment while grooming for effectiveness. If you are unfamiliar with a grooming technique, stick with what you know to avoid inflicting harm to the horse. Grooming should be done before and after exercise. Some people reduce the horse's coat for easier grooming but that is all a matter of personal preference. Over reducing the coat is, however, not advised as it leaves the horse more vulnerable to the harsh cold temperatures.
Are you the proud owner of a horse? Have you bonded so closely with your pet that he/she becomes a part of your life? While you would undoubtedly enjoy every minute that you spend with your horse, you would also agree that it costs you a lot to maintain it, wouldn’t you? So how would you feel when your horse gets injured, stolen or just passes away (due to age factor) one sudden day? You would feel depressed to the core, isn’t it?
Apart from the mental dilemma caused due to missing your horse, you would also face a huge financial dilemma as you would have invested quite heavily on your horse. So how do you cover these financial losses? This is a where a horse insurance policy comes as a huge blessing for you.Here are the top reasons as to why you need a horse insurance policy.
1. Medical and surgical reasons
When your horse has to be taken to the vet for a general check-up, common problems or serious surgeries, it costs you a lot. Therefore, you need to take a medical and surgical insurance to get coverage for these costs. Equine insurance costs and terms differ based on the age of your horse and the hospitalisation terms and offers of each service provider. Do a thorough analysis and opt for a policy which gives you good value for your money.
2. Mortality Insurance
When your horse dies in an accident or gets stolen, your mortality insurance policy stands in good stead for you. In these cases, the insurance company pays you the full value of your horse (terms & conditions apply) so that you don’t face any major financial losses. There are two types of mortality insurance policy –full mortality and limited mortality. You can check with your service provider and choose the plan that suits you the best.
3. Loss of Use
If the horse was your major source of income and if it has become old and unusable now, you lose a considerable part of your income. This is where a loss of use policy will be very helpful for you. This policy will cover you against the loss of income that you would suffer because of your horse becoming useless. You need to have a medical insurance policy for your horse when you want to claim benefits under this policy.
Horse owners should know how to handle their horses properly. There's nothing like a group of horses that is easy to handle especially when it is time to go out to the pastures and during feeding.
Many horse owners will tell you that the consolation of owning one is that these animals are herbivores and will not be interested in biting you. However, they are heavy and huge animals that can kick and show stubbornness when not properly handled. Special care should be taken when loading and offloading from your horsebox or horse trailer. For a more in depth guide check out this article in Horse and Hound.
Here are some of the basic tips to help you properly handle horses in your care:
(1) When you're surrounded by horses, just ignore them. Walk past the group if you only need to get one of them to take outside. Don't show any treat or bring a bucket of food since this will attract them even more. Just shove them away if they're persistent and show no interest.
(2) When you have separated one of the horses and have brought it outside in the pasture, that's the only time to give it some treats. Make sure the gates are locked before you head out with the lone horse as the others may follow suit if they sense there's food in your pocket.
(3) Horses are clever, so it's better to teach them using treats as reward for good behaviour. These animals are able to understand this especially when you want to take each one of them outside without resistance.
(4) Kicking and biting horses should be removed from the group or away from people if they are too threatening. Aggressive horses can be liabilities to owners, causing legal problems if they hurt other people or cause damage to other people's property.
(5) Having horses in the pasture can be enjoyable for you and the animals. So it's best to handle the situation using rewards and not riding them hard when they're outside. Create a routine that's rewarding for your horses so that it is easier and more enjoyable for everyone. Apply this routine whenever you need to take them out, when going back in the stables/barn, and every grooming day.
(6) Calmly release the horse in the pasture and shut the gate close after walking the animal in. Give it a light pat after taking off the halter slowly. If there's no halter on, make the horse stand next to you until you walk away from it. Never chase a horse when taking it out in the pasture as it will want to run away once you loosen its halter.
(7) If you have a horse with behavioural problems especially when taken out, this needs to be corrected before you let it join a group. If you need help, call a vet or an expert handler to train you and your horse properly.
(8) Pastures should always have enough room especially when there's a pecking order. If you have ten horses, put out eleven piles of hay to make sure everyone gets to eat. If there are aggressive horses in the bunch, there's a need to oversee the feeding to ensure no animal gets hurt during feeding time.
(9) Sexually aggressive geldings sometimes require separation from the mares if it is too active and showing bad behaviour. This can be corrected with proper medications if you have no other solution. Ask your vet for recommendations.
(10) When introducing a new horse in the pasture, it is sometimes done over the fence. This is called 'hand introducing' the animal especially when you have the facilities and proper fencing to do so. You can introduce the horse first to a possible pasture mate - meaning, having only one of your gentler horses outside when you introduce the newly arrived. You can gradually take out each horse at a time to ensure they are all safe and getting along.
(11) Safe and secure fences are essential for handling horses at any given situation. This ensures that everyone is safe in the premises and that the animals can run away within the pastures if needed. That's also one reason to have a big enough outdoor space that's surrounded by secured fences.
Sometimes, handling horses can truly be a handful. But if owning and caring for them is your passion, be sure to have the know-how when handling them especially on certain situations.
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If you are thinking of buying a horse or if you already have a few of them, knowing how to take of them is an essential part of your ownership responsibility. Whether you own a horse as a pet or for show or sport, there's no substitute for providing proper equine care. When your transport your horse or pony make sure it is securely tethered and have taken out horsebox insurance.
Horses are huge strong animals which are typically hardy. They make great companions or pets, but they do require proper attention and regular maintenance. These animals are sociable and they interact with their owners and/or handlers, as well as other animals that live with them.
It can also be costly to take care of a horse, that's why not everyone owns them. If you are one of the new horse owners out there, make sure that you have enough horse supplies such as those used for feeding, watering, daily activities, and veterinary products which you can use at home.
Horses typically require an indoor area for rest and protection, and an outdoor area for feeding and exercise. These animals require shade during the hot summer months and protection from the cold during the winter months and other natural elements.
There are different types of shelters that come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but the most common are barns and horse stalls which can keep horses indoors. Trees, shade coverings, and simple four-post sheds are great for temporary outdoor shelters and feeding time.
· If you do keep your horses in small stalls, each should not be smaller than 12x12 feet. You also need to bring them outside daily for exercise.
· Fences are also important should be kept in good shape.
· Avoid barbed wires and sharp edged fencing materials to prevent your horses from getting caught in them and inevitable injuries.
· Horses should be fed in barrels or feeding tubs to keep their food clean and off-ground, especially if they are kept in barns or stalls with dirt or sand on the ground.
As with most mammals, it is imperative to provide clean fresh water daily to horses. Since these are grazing animals, they always tend to eat constantly especially when you have fresh grass available.
Provide mineral or salt licks together as supplement. Feeding time is usually twice a day - morning and night time.
Hay is the main component of a horse's diet. But if you feed yours with grass, there's no need for hay in the animal's diet as long as the grazing lands are green. Ask your vet or the local feed stores in your location about the variety of hay that's best for your horse/s. It will often depend on the size and amount of exercise the animal/s is/are getting when making this decision.
· Be cautious when feeding too much hay that's high in protein since it can cause hoof problems.
· Mix other types of hay to balance the horses' diet - by adding grass hay and high-calorie hay such as alfalfa.
· Feeding grain should also be mindful since too little or too much can potentially cause some health problems. Ask your vet regarding the right grain feed.
· Sweet feeds and oats should be avoided since they are too rich and can excite horses or make them 'hot'.
· Supplements are also recommended, as long as they promote healthy coat, hooves, and joints. Always ask your vet about these supplements and for recommendations.
Proper grooming on a regular basis is essential to keep your horses healthy from the outside.
· Regularly groom horses' coats to keep them in tiptop condition.
· Check for cuts, ticks, bruises, and general physical condition.
· Hooves should be picked out and regularly checked for anything that's stuck at the bottom.
· If there's a white, pasty substance on hooves (or at some areas of each hoof), it's possibly fungus. It is usually caused by mud, so make sure to transfer the animal in a clean, dry stall. You can also treat the fungus with an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream or meds.
Owning horses can be very challenging for most people. But if you are an enthusiast with passion for horses as farm animals or for show or sport, you will do everything you can to keep them healthy, safe, and thriving.
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