Friday, June 5, 2009

Simple Horse, Simple Care

A Little off topic today, but important just the same. With summer here horse care can change just a little bit than what you do in the winter. Ahhhh everyone waits for summer, the riding, the horses can stay in their pastures 24/7, no stall mucking. BUT, there is an added responsibility in addition to the summer heat. Flies, water, pasture care, etc. Let's try and hit them all. Summer time doesn't mean lazy horse care time, it can be a serious health hazard to your little pony friends.

  • Flies, lice, ticks, bees, wasps, you name it. Fly spray those babies! Put fly masks or sheets on if your horse is sensitive. Check over your horse for any other intruders as well.
  • Sunscreen, horses with white eyes or faces get burned BAD! Take care of them when the sun is blazing. They make spray on sunscreen, but I use a baby sunscreen formula for sensitive skin, it works wonders!

  • Check your fences or if you board NEVER put your horse out in an unsafe or barb wired pasture. You are ASKING for vet bills!!!

  • Clean your pastures. It's hot out I know, but cleaning up your pasture and trying to help keep it manure free will do wonders! Less flies and bugs, in the winter it won't all turn to a muddy poop mess, and your pasture can regrow. If you can't pick it up then try to at least spread it around, get it out of the piles.

  • Clean and ALWAYS check your water buckets. It's been so hot here that our horses have been needing water EVERY OTHER DAY! They can't go without water, and dirty water is bad horse parenting.

  • Clip your horses if they still have a long coat. Summer popped out of nowhere here and my horses still had a long coat and my Arab was rubbing his face RAW! He was hot, itchy, sweaty and miserable. So I clipped him immediately!
  • Stay on top of your worming schedule! When the horses are out on the summer pastures getting worms can be much more prevalent. I usually use a powerpack wormer at the end of summer just to kill all those little buggers.

  • Psyllium. Horses are out, eating off the ground, they can be susceptible to sand colic or sand in the belly. Go to Walmart and get non-flavored Metamucil. It's 100% Psyllium husk and about 200x's cheaper than SandClear with the exact same ingredients.

  • Check on your horse's weight OFTEN. Some OK, MOST horse can not live on pasture alone. Hard keepers will fall fast without their usual supplements, salts, minerals and vitamins. Pasture can mean feeding less hay, but just always be aware of how your horse looks. Shiny coat, healthy weight, etc.
  • FEET! Check their hooves before and after every ride. (That should be a given, but you never know.) Heat can dry out and crack a horses hooves, keep them moisturized and healthy, IF you trail ride a lot check with your farrier and see if you need shoes.

  • Watch out for heat stroke, exhaustion and other heat related problems. A Lot of shows happen in the summer and you and your horse need to physically fit and prepared. Take a lot of breaks, cool your horse down with cool water, never cold, let them take frequent rests and let them drink as often as you can. Try not to work them in the hottest part of the day if possible.

  • Get your spring/summer vaccinations taken care of.

  • If possible supply them with a pasture with some form of shade. My pasture doesn't have much shade so I added a lean to cover to give them some relief.

  • Check legs and bodies often, My horses are NOTORIOUS for romping through the pastures and then getting a swollen leg, or a scrape on their side from a tree, or bush.
That's all I can muster up for now! What tips and guidelines do you or have you followed when the summer heat rolls in? How do you keep your babies happy and healthy?


dragonmctt said...

About the Metamucil - how much and how often should you give it?

Paigeley said...

if where you live is muddy (even in the summer) put bably oil on their pasterns and right above their hooves, it keeps scratches away :)

cattypex said...

Vaseline in clipped ears keeps out those gnarly mites *shudder*

That first horse pivtured... OMG!!!!

MomofthePolka-DotPony said...

for scratches/mud fever spray listerene on legs daily.

The Pale Horseman said...

Don't ride too fast on compacted ground. Areas that were soft in winter and made good canter tracks may be too hard in the summer. Bombing a horse on hard ground is the fastest way to splints and ringbone.

And in summer in the UK, turn out at night and in during the day if your horse is a good doer. The sugars in the summer grass is very high during the day and a good doer is always more likely to get laminitis than those who stay trim all year round. It also keeps flies to the min, and the horses enjoy the cool.

cattypex said...

Listerine worked into the dock works well if your horse is a tail-rubber...

I used to have to haul water for my picky mare wherever we went. We tried the kool aid etc. tricks... and just ended up hauling water & providing extra electrolytes.

Shade & fly control are VERY important - and moving air. Maybe it's because they evolved on windswept steppes, but horses seem to like moving air.

SweetColonel said...

My horse sweats a TON and doesn't ever seem to drink as much as he should be, so I add water to his hay and make his beet pulp/grain extra watery in the summertime to make sure he stays hydrated!
Also witch hazel is good for sunburns and scratches and inflamed areas (not open sores or anything bleeding) because it has a cooling effect. I put it around my horse's eyes because they tend to swell up when its buggy/hot.