Helping Your Horse Through the Winter

Bloged in Winter care by admin Thursday December 28, 2006

We’ve all seen the quaint Christmas cards with a sleighing
scene–the family, all bundled up under their robes, as they
glide across the snow behind trusty old Dobbin, who is
tossing his head and prancing down the trail while his
breath makes silver plumes in the winter air.

But wintertime can be hard on horses–they are, in fact,
more prone to health problems in the winter than at any
other time of year. There are some things you should watch
for to make sure your horse, or any horse you care about, is
weathering the winter in good shape.

Keep an eye on your horses’ coat–it is often the first
indicator that his condition is failing. A thicker winter
coat is natural, but a dry rough one, especially if
accompanied by weight loss and diminished energy, is a sign
that something is not right. And one of the chief
wintertime hazards to horse health? Dehydration.

Dehydration is a real threat to your horses in the winter,
especially if they are in an unprotected environment. On
cold, damp days, horses may not feel thirsty enough to drink
sufficient water, even though its body still needs as much
as it did during warmer weather.

Horses even when they are not working, are always expending
water from their lungs, and kidney functions, and if they
lose even as little as 3% more than they take in, they will
begin to dehydrate. The average 1,000 pound horse requires
a minimum of ten to twelve gallons of water per day; without
it the horse will suffer from digestive difficulty–even
colic–decreased blood volume, and the inability to sweat.

And if your horse isn’t getting enough water, it will also
not be producing the normal amount of saliva, and may
decrease the amount of food it eats, and have a tough time
staying warm. Or even worse, without enough moisture your
horses’ intestine will be unable to process its food
properly, and can end up becoming impacted–and you’ll have
a case of colic to overcome.

So in the winter, when your horse may be less inclined to
drink, there are some things you can do to entice it to get
enough water.

First, make sure that your horse’s water supply is, at the
minimum, between 45 and 65F have been shown to drink less if
the water temperature is lower than that. This seems to
apply to older horses in particular, because wear may have
made their teeth more sensitive to cold.

If you hand water your horse, remember that a 1000 pound
horse can only handle between five and six gallons at a
time, so two buckets a day are the least it should be
getting, and more is much better. Don’t kid yourself that
your horse can get sufficient water by eating snow.

Finally, remember the salt– two ounces a day per 1000
pounds is a basic ration, but a salt block, in addition to
what your feed might already contain, is a good idea.

With a little TLC from you, your horse should come prancing
through the winter as prettily as a Christmas card picture!

John

Happy Christmas Eve !

Bloged in General by admin Sunday December 24, 2006

My Christmas Wishes

I wish for you a holiday
That’s better than your dreams,
Filled with peace, good will and hope
And firelight that gleams,

Overflowing with holiday spirit
Good food and holiday laughter;
And when it’s done, I hope that you
Live happily ever after!

merrychristmas.jpg

 

Welcome to my Blog !

Bloged in About me by admin Saturday December 23, 2006

“Heaven is high, and earth is wide. If you rise three feet
higher above the ground than other men, you will forever
know what that means.”

–Rudolph G. Binding

Me as a child
My son Richard proudly posing for our blogs first Picture

 

 

 

I have been in love with horses since the first time, at
three years of age, I was placed on the back of one of the
old riding horses my grandparents kept on their ranch.

My mother had grown up with horses on that ranch, and
although, for nine months of every year we live three
thousand miles from it, with every June I returned there
for the entire summer, and learned, from being around,
caring for, and especially escaping into the outdoors
with, our horses, the greatest sense of freedom I have
ever known.

Our ranch was located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific,
and some of my greatest memories are of how we would
saddle up and either ride for miles over the hills looking
down on the vast expanses of ocean to the west, and views
of the coastal range to our east. Our horses included a
registered Quarter Horse mare, an Arabian gelding, two
Saddlebreds, and a mixed breed cow pony who was the
smartest horse I have ever seen.

So I developed an appreciation for the qualities of many
different breeds, and riding styles from Western to
English equitation to cowboy-and Indian bareback. I don’t
really have a favorite; just being on horseback is what is
important to me.

I would then return to my other life every fall, and spend
the next nine months with school friends who had not spent
their summers viewing the high heavens and the wide earth
from three feet higher above the ground than they normally
did, and had no understanding of why it meant so much to
me.

I have been fortunate to be able to study horse husbandry
in college, and work with horses as a professional trail
guide, and of course keep track of the happenings in the
world of horses, from the racetracks and breeding sheds of
the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Standardbred
industries, to the Show Jumping and Three-Day-Event world,

and have kept a keen interest in the advancements in horse
medicine.

There is, I truly believe, an unbridgeable gulf between
those who have been privileged to be around, and involved
with, horses, and those who have not. Fewer and fewer
people seem to appreciate that human history, without the
horse, would have been an entirely different affair.

There are many issues of importance facing the horse
world, from the question of the fate of North America’s wild
horse population as more and more of the its West is taken
over for residential and industrial development, to the
challenges Thoroughbred racing is seeing from other gaming
interests, to the issue of horse slaughter. None of these
things are pleasant for horse lovers to think about, but
they are realities in need of acceptable solutions, which
will most of all, protect the best interests of the
horses.

I hope this blog will be a place where other horse lovers
can join me to share a mutual love for, and understanding
of, our magical equine companions, and exchange stories
our own experiences with, and concerns about, them.

Welcome!

Vincent

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