Suppleements- Buyer beware!

Supplements—consumer beware!!

The US Food and Drug Administration Center for veterinary medicine regulates animal supplements.

This agency follows the laws established by the federal Food Drug and cosmetic act regarding product claims and these laws are designed to protect consumers and animals.

 

Horse owners should keep a close eye out for suppliers that disregard the rules for certain claims.

 

Look for words that state or implied the product will treat prevent cure or mitigate a disease for example:

 

relieves dry skin itch

 

ease itching and allergies

 

Use of any disease name or reference to a disease example protects against laminitis

 

Any reference to a chronic condition example combat chronic inflammation or osteoarthritis

 

Any stated or implied comparison to a replacement for pharmaceuticals example reduces the need for prescription pain medicine

 

Disease names disguised as product names example arthti – stop

 

 

Allowable or Good Health Products claims are typically simple and concise the cute communicate that the product is helping to support normal structure and function of your horse’s body rather than trying to correct an abnormal condition or disease and prep the most important allowable claims don’t rely on absolutes or language that over promises outcomes.

 

,For instance :

 

contains ingredients to support skin Health

helps to promote normal growth

helps to relieve occasional joint stiffness

supports normal respiratory health

 

Please be aware  that supplements are not magic books !  If a claim sounds too good to be true it probably is! So trust your gut when selecting products with the NASC quality seal will help ensure you’re buying from suppliers that responsibly produce and market their products within the bounds of the law rather than praying on consume consumer vulnerabilities in the name of profit.

 

By Bill Brookout

Warming Herbs for the Horse

Warming Herbs for the Horse

 

By: Jessica Lynn comments by Diane Weinmann

Here are the top four warming herbs you can offer him this winter.

During the cooler months of fall, we begin preparations to ensure our horses will be properly cared for during the winter. This includes getting blankets repaired and scotch guarded, and taking a look at diet changes to meet the caloric needs of the season. I also take a look at my herbs to make sure I have everything on hand I’ll need to support my horses through the winter.

Cold Weather Support

I have found that senior horses are usually the ones most adversely affected by the arrival of colder weather, along with some younger horses who have not yet gone through their first winter. Both have a harder time regulating their body heat – the seniors because of age and health-related issues (i.e. thyroid or metabolic), and the youngsters because they have not yet learned to regulate their bodies. For these horses, it is particularly important to put some diet changes in place, and this includes incorporating some nice warming herbs.

Hot and Cold

The Chinese categorized herbs by their “temperatures”, meaning they divided them into cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot. Cold and cool herbs reduce fevers, neutral herbs balance the effects of other herbs, and warm herbs alleviate chills and warm the meridians and extremities while promoting circulation. Hot herbs can dispel the cold, but the herb most often associated with this action is cayenne; however, it is not advisable to give cayenne to horses on a daily basis. Some will not even entertain eating it.

There are a number of herbs you can make into teas, which you can then pour over buckets of feed when you get into the very cold nights, snow and storms. These are known as warming herbs, and they can help warm a horse from the inside out on cold nights.

Top Four Warming Herbs

Cinnamon – This spice is a warming agent and also regarded as an antiseptic and digestive tonic. Recent studies have shown that for IR/metabolic horses, cinnamon may help regulate insulin and lower blood sugar. Cinnamon has the as a natural remedy – it helps dry dampness in the body and has the ability to warm people and horses who are always cold and suffering from poor circulation. But for horses, especially metabolically challenged ones, less is more. I would not give more than one teaspoon per day if you are feeding the powder form.

Ginger – This warming herb has long been used for the circulatory and digestive systems. It can improve circulation to all parts of the body, including the extremities, and is also known for its lymph-cleansing properties. The entire root can be used medicinally, and it can be made into a tea, which is my favorite way of using it for my own horses. By grating it coarsely or slicing it thinly, I add a handful to a one-quart mason jar, then steep it in boiling water. When cooled to just warm, I add the entire contents to a bucket of feed. Ginger can also be combined with other warming herbs to make a very fragrant and inviting addition to winter bucket feeds.

Kelp – This is another great herb for the winter months because it is also warming in nature. It contains micronutrients, as well as iodine, that support the thyroid (known to be the master “heater” of the body). The thyroid in horses and humans and body temperature. You only need to feed a small amount – maybe up to a tablespoon per day added to feed. This is not an herb you should free feed.

Liquorice root – Although not technically a warming herb, I like to use licorice root in the winter months because it aids in the production of stomach mucus. This lowers the high acid levels that can lead to stomach disorders including ulcers, and horses love the flavor – it’s great for those that are stalled more during the colder months.

Tea Time!

My favorite thing to do when it’s very cold is brew up a batch of warming herb tea for my horses. You can get the ingredients for the tea and keep them on hand for the coldest of nights. Your horse will thank you for it!

Diane used to make a hot bran mash for her horse using a metal pail, a heating element to get the water hot.  Then she dumped in peppermints (white & red pinwheels) and let them melt then added sweet feed and Bran to the mixture and carrots/and or apples if she had them.  All the horses in the barn nickered for her and stamped their feet to get some!  Delicious!!!!!


Jessica Lynn is a writer and the owner of Earth Song Ranch, a licensed supplement manufacturer, specializing in pre/probiotic blends, herbal blends and blends for horses, dogs and cats, based in Southern California. Jessica has been involved in alternative health care, homeopathy and nutrition for almost 50 years. She personally researches and formulates all of the earth song ranch nutritional products including her high potency probiotic and digestive enzymes, and sells other products that she uses and believes in on her website earthsongranch.com. Contact Jessica via e-mail at jessica@earthsongranch.com or 951-514-9700 friend earth song ranch on Facebook.

 

Winterizing Horses

Winterizing Horses

 

As seen in The Horse  posted by Nancy S. Loving, DVM | Nov 10, 2019 | Article, Barns and Sheds, Body Condition, Horse Care, Musculoskeletal System, Nutrition, Respiratory System, Seasonal Care, Winter Care

 NOTE:  horses  in the picture above have boots on front feet to help with traction

Here is an important discussion regarding your horse and their safety in the winter!

Turnout

While turning a horse out is ideal for his general health, doing so in questionable winter footing is not always a safe bet. “It’s dangerous to turn horses out when the ground is frozen in ruts created by hoof prints or vehicular traffic–I have seen coffin bone fractures as a result of a horse stepping into a frozen rut,” says Elford. “Also, following a thaw, ‘lakes’ of (pooled) water then freeze overnight with pastures turning into ‘glare ice.’ This increases the risk of fractured legs and split pelvises.” Plan ahead to have a safe, dry area to keep horses in times like these when traction is at a minimum. Alternatively, keep some form of gravel or even kitty litter available to put onto unavoidable icy areas.

Exercise and Feet

To keep your horse in moderate fitness and ready for more intense conditioning come spring, keep him in light exercise during winter. Besides benefiting musculoskeletal and mental health, Elford remarks, “Exercise is also important to maintain intestinal motility.” Turnout and/or consistent light riding both provide exercise.

In preparing your horse’s feet for winter, Elford recommends removing shoes if the horse isn’t worked heavily. However, “if you intend to ride consistently, particularly on trails, and feel the need for shoes,” he says, “then shoeing with snow pads helps clear snow from the bottom of shod hooves–this minimizes stumbling over ice balls.”

He describes methods to increase horseshoe traction on packed snow and ice: “Drilled-in studs about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch long or borium-tipped horseshoe nails provide grip without causing excessive, unyielding hoof grab.”

 

How to Create Quality Pet Time, Even if You’re Crazy Busy

How to Create Quality Pet Time, Even if You’re Crazy Busy

By Dr. Karen Becker

 

In case you hadn’t noticed (and how could you not?), you are the center of your dog’s universe. You are the sun, the moon and the stars to your canine companion. Given their lifelong devotion to us, we often wonder how we can ever repay our dogs for their unconditional love — especially when, in terms of time and energy, we’re already stretched to the limit.

Most of us have experienced periods in life when the days, weeks, or even months are just one long, busy blur of work and other commitments. Eventually it occurs to us that we haven’t been paying much attention to our precious furry companion, and yet there he sits — accepting, patient, and ever hopeful.

Unlike a cat who tends to get right up in your face (literally!) when she wants some attention, your dog is more likely to lie quietly at your feet when he can see that you’re busy, or simply sit and wait till you acknowledge him. And let’s face it — there are few things more guilt-inducing than realizing you’ve been ignoring the one friend in your life who would happily follow you off a cliff.

The good news is you don’t need to carve huge chunks of time out of your already overscheduled day to give your dog the undivided attention he needs and deserves. Instead, consider making a few minor adjustments to your usual routine that allow you to include him. With a little imagination, you may be surprised how much quality time you can spend doing things with him that let him know he’s the best dog in the whole wide world.

12 Inventive Ways to Improve Your Dog’s Life in a Hurry

1. Greet the day together — Try waking up 5 or 10 minutes early each morning to cuddle or play with your dog before you get out of bed. Most dogs are wildly happy in the morning and getting a few minutes of cuddle time with you will get your pup’s day off to a delightful start.

2. Be present — This is really just about remaining aware of your dog’s presence and observing his actions, behaviors, and emotions. Your pup is always communicating with you, and he feels loved when he knows you’re tuned into him. When you have two minutes to focus on your pup, really focus.

3. Include her in daily rituals at home — No matter what you’re doing around the house, try to make your dog a part of it. Talk to her in soothing tones as she follows you around or plays with a favorite toy while you get ready for work. Invite her to sit on your lap or lie at your feet while you work, read or watch TV.

4. Take 5-minute play breaks — Look for opportunities to play a quick game of tug while you’re doing chores or getting ready for work. Play hide-and-seek with your dog while you’re doing housework. Roll a ball down the stairs and have him retrieve it. When you bring home a new toy, make it extra-special by spending a few minutes playing with it with your dog.

5. Break out the brush — Many dogs really love to have their coats gently brushed. Be sure to avoid the face and go easy on the tail and the tender skin across the belly.

6. Make like a masseuse — Try spending 30 to 60 seconds gently stroking and massaging alternating areas of your dog’s body, avoiding the paws, tail, and backside. You’ll know he’s digging it when his body relaxes and his eyes close.

7. Do 5-minute training sessions — This is a great way to reinforce or refresh your dog’s obedience or trick training and provide her with mental stimulation as well. It’s also an opportunity for you to give her praise, affection, and a few yummy treats.

8. Take speed walks — Dogs absolutely love walks, so even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes to spare, the more often you can take your dog out for a walk, the better. Of course, when you have more time, it’s important to take longer walks to allow him to sniff, pick up his pee-mail, and do some exploring.

9. Take him along — Whenever possible bring your dog with you — to work, when you’re running errands, on road trips, and in any situation where he’ll be safe and welcome. This will not only strengthen the bond you share, it’s also an excellent way to maintain your dog’s socialization skills.

10. Minimize her time alone — Even the easiest going, non-destructive dog will feel isolated if she’s left alone for long stretches several days a week (not to mention she needs the opportunity to relieve herself). If you can’t get home to walk and play with her for a few minutes during the day, I recommend enlisting a friend or neighbor to do it. Another option is to hire a dog walker or consider a few days a week at doggy daycare.

11. Exercise together — If you can’t make the time every day to get your own workout in, much less exercise your dog, consider becoming workout partners. Dogs today don’t get nearly the exercise they need, and like us, they require an incentive to be physically active.

The best way to make sure your dog gets moving is to provide her with the companionship and motivation she needs to stay active. Healthy dogs should be getting an absolute minimum of 20 minutes of sustained heart-thumping exercise three times a week. Thirty minutes or an hour is better than 20, and six or seven days a week is better than three.

12. Beat back boredom — Most dogs have a strong “work mentality,” but in today’s world, we don’t give them fun and engaging “jobs” to do. Boredom is especially a problem for dogs left alone for long periods of time (which as I mentioned earlier, isn’t recommended). Bored dogs can develop annoying or destructive behaviors, for example, gnawing on furniture or chewing holes in carpet.

The very best hedge against boredom is lots and lots of exercise. Dogs who are well-exercised every day typically don’t get bored. Some great activities to consider doing with your dog include hiking, jogging, swimming and fetching a ball or playing Frisbee. Obedience training, nose work and interactive toys are excellent ways to keep your dog challenged and mentally sharp.

Improving your dog’s quality of life today can pay both immediate and future dividends in terms of his health and well-being. As an added bonus, you can shed those feelings of guilt that you aren’t doing enough for your furry best friend.

 

Horse Body Condition

Horse Body Condition

As seen in Equus Extra

 

When you see your horse every day, slow, subtle fluctuations in weight can be easy to miss, especially under a winter coat or blanket. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your horse’s body condition so you can catch developing changes earlier.

One of the most objective ways to evaluate a horse’s weight, short of walking him onto a scale in a veterinary hospital, is to learn to determine his body condition score (BCS), a method of ranking body fat on a scale from 1 (poor) to 9 (extremely fat) developed in 1983 by Don Henneke, PhD.

When horses develop fat, they tend to store it in distinct places just under the skin where it can be easily seen and felt. And they lay fat in certain parts of the body in a particular order—first over the heart and the ribs, then over the rump and back, forward to the withers, and last over the neck. As a result, the specific location of stored fat can tell you how overweight the horse is.

If your horse has a “weight problem” —whether he needs to lose or gain—his feed ration will obviously be central to the solution. An overweight horse needs to consume fewer calories and/or exercise more. But simply cutting back on your horse’s regular feed is not a good idea if it means you’ll be shortchanging his nutrition. Instead, consider switching to a lower-calorie feed meant for easy keepers. Ration balancer products can help ensure  your horse gets all of the vitamins and minerals he needs if you need to  reduce or eliminate his concentrates.

So what’s your horse’s body condition score?

score: 1 (Poor) • Extreme emaciation. • Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, and hooks and pins are prominent. • Bone structure of withers, shoulder and neck is easily noticeable. • No fatty tissue can be felt.

score: 2 (Very thin) • Emaciated. • Thin layer of fat over base of spinous processes. • Transverse0 processes of lumbar vertebrae feel rounded. • Spinous processes, ribs, tailhead, and hooks and pins are prominent. • Withers, shoulders and neck structures are faintly discernible.

score: 3 (thin) • Fat about halfway up spinous processes; transverse processes cannot be felt. • Thin fat layer over ribs. • Spinous processes and ribs are easily discernible. • Tailhead prominent, but individual vertebrae cannot be visually identified. • Hook bones appear rounded but not easily discernible. • Pin bones not distinguishable. • Withers, shoulders and neck  are accentuated.

score: 4  (Moderately thin) • Ridge along back. • Faint outline of ribs discernible. • Tailhead prominence depends on conformation; fat can be felt around it. • Hook bones not discernible. • Withers, shoulders and neck are not obviously thin.

score: 5 (Moderate) • Back is level. • Ribs cannot be visually distinguished but can be easily felt. • Fat around tailhead beginning    to feel spongy. • Withers appear rounded over    spinous processes. • Shoulders and neck blend     smoothly into body.

score: 6  (Moderate to fleshy) • May have slight crease down back. • Fat over ribs feels soft and spongy. • Fat around tailhead feels soft. • Fat beginning to be deposited along sides of the withers, behind the shoulders and along the sides of the neck.

score: 7 (Fleshy) • May have crease down back. • Individual ribs can be felt, with noticeable filling between ribs with fat. • Fat around tailhead is soft. • Fat deposited along withers, behind shoulders, along neck

score: 8 (Fat) • Crease down back. • Difficult to feel ribs. • Fat around tailhead very soft. • Area along withers filled with fat. • Area behind shoulder filled in. • Noticeable thickening of neck. • Fat deposited along inner buttocks.

score: 9  (extremely fat) • Obvious crease down back. • Patchy fat appearing over ribs. • Bulging fat around tailhead, along withers, behind shoulders and along neck. • Fat along inner buttocks may rub together. • Flank filled in flush.

Identifying Behavioral Pain Indicators in Ridden Horses

by Erica Larson, News Editor

Your horse might buck if a bug bites, swish his tail if you give a whip-tap on his haunches, or show the whites of his eyes if he spots a very scary object. But one researcher recently reported that if these behaviors become regular occurrences, especially without provocation, your horse is probably trying to tell you he’s in pain.

In a series of studies over the past few years, Sue Dyson, MA, Vet MB, PhD, DEO, Dipl. ECVSMR, FRCVS, head of Clinical Orthopaedics at the Animal Health Trust Centre for Equine Studies, in Newmarket, U.K., and colleagues developed and validated an ethogram for ridden horses—a catalog of behaviors a horse might display under saddle and what they mean. She designed the ethogram to help identify low-grade lameness or pain in ridden horses.

In her most recent study Dyson compared horse behavior and pain scores before and after diagnostic analgesia (nerve blocks given during a lameness exam) to see if individuals with no specific training on the ethogram could use it to reliably recognize pain in horses working under saddle. She shared the results at the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in San Francisco, California.

“Owners and trainers are often poor at recognizing lameness,” especially if it’s subtle, Dyson said. “Performance problems are often labeled as training-related, behavioral, or ‘just how he’s always gone.’

24 Pain-Associated Behaviors

Face

  • Ears rotated back behind vertical or flat
  • Eyelids closed or semiclosed
  • Sclera (whites of the eye) exposed
  • Intense stare
  • Opening mouth repeatedly
  • Tongue exposed and/or moving in and out of the mouth
  • Bit pulling through the mouth, to the left or right

Body

  • Repeated head position changes
  • Head tilt
  • Head in front of the vertical
  • Head behind the vertical
  • Head moving constantly from side to side and/or head tossing
  • Tail clamped or held to one side or large tail swishing movements
  •  

Gait

  • Rushed gait/irregular rhythm
  • Sluggish gait/irregular rhythm
  • Hind limbs not following in the front limbs’ tracks
  • Repeated wrong lead and/or change of lead in front or behind in canter
  • Spontaneous gait changes
  • Stumbling and/or repeated toe-dragging
  • Sudden change in direction of movement
  • Spooking
  • Reluctance to move freely/stopping spontaneously
  • Rearing
  • Bucking with or without kicking out backward

“Horses are trying to communicate with us,” she added. “We need to learn to listen.”

Dyson said the original ridden horse ethogram contained 117 behaviors. In the current study she and colleagues focused on 24 behaviors they identified as most closely associated with pain (see sidebar). She said the presence of eight or more of these markers likely reflects musculoskeletal pain.

In the study Dyson had one assessor trained in how to apply the ethogram and 10 untrained assessors (two veterinarian interns, one junior clinician, five vet techs, and two veterinary nurses) assessors each watch videos of 21 horses ridden in working trot and canter in both directions by professional riders, before and after diagnostic analgesia (42 videos total). The videos were presented in a random order, she said.

“The ethogram was applied in a binary fashion for each behavior: yes or no for the presence of the behavior,” she added.

The study horses had various diagnoses of unilateral or bilateral lameness in the front and/or hind limbs, kissing spines, or sacroiliac pain. Before veterinarians administered the diagnostic analgesia, the trained assessor identified three to 12 (with an average of 10) behavioral indicators of pain in ridden horses, Dyson said. After analgesia, the trained assessor pinpointed zero to six (an average of three) behavioral indicators of pain—a significant decrease in behavior scores, she said.

“The untrained assessors also had significant reductions in behavior scores for all the horses after resolution of pain,” she said.

Additionally, “the reduction in behavior scores verifies a likely causal relationship between pain and behavior,” she said.

Dyson and her colleagues also analyzed agreement among assessors—how often they independently came to the same conclusions about a horse’s behavioral indicators:

  • Agreement was “fair” among the untrained assessors for lame horses;
  • Agreement between the trained assessor and the untrained assessors for lame horses was moderate; and
  • After diagnostic analgesia, there was fair agreement among the untrained assessors and slight to no agreement between the untrained assessors and the trained assessor.

Based on these findings, Dyson concluded that both trained and untrained assessors can use the ridden horse ethogram to identify the likely presence of musculoskeletal pain. However, veterinarians, owners, trainers, and others using it require education on the ethogram for best results, she said.

 

Safety precautions – tips to protect you and your horse

Safety Precautions – tips to protect you and your horse

By Tom Scheve and comments by Diane Weinmann

From the barn to the trail, and everywhere in between, preventing injury is a major consideration. These safety precautions can make all the difference.

Horses are big animals, and forgetting to take those extra safety precautions to protect yourself and your equine partner from injury could have serious consequences. An accident can happen fast, and afterwards is not the time to be thinking about how you could have prevented it. To help remind you what to keep in mind, clip this article of simple but invaluable safety precautions, and keep it in a prominent place for frequent reference.

Barn safety

  • Horses are curious and like to check out new things, so keep all chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, paints and medications securely locked in a storage room or cabinet.
  • Ensure barn doors and aisles are unobstructed and there are no projections that could injure you or your equine partner.
  • Tack, brooms, forks, shovels, wheelbarrows and other equipment and tools should be stored in their own space away from your horses. Tack rooms should be large enough to safely and conveniently store all your gear, without clutter.
  • Keep flooring surfaces clean, level, and free of ropes, halters and other equipment, and make sure the surface provides adequate traction to prevent slippage and falls. Consider slip resistant flooring if necessary.
  • Stalls for washing and grooming should be well lit and have cross-ties with safety release snaps to secure the horse. They should also be equipped with adequate drainage and ventilation. Keep these areas clean and neat.
  • Double check that all water sources inside the barn are properly grounded. Electrical outlets in wash stalls or other areas where water is used should be equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters.
  • It should go without saying that working fire extinguishers and a sprinkler system are musts in the barn.
  • Both the interior and exterior of the barn should be amply illuminated with UL or CSA approved lighting. All wiring and switches needs to be encased in weather proof metal boxes and metal conduit, while light fixtures should be protected with heavy duty screening wire.
  • Consider motion detector lights outside the barn to warn of potential intruders, or even a closed circuit video monitoring/security system.
  • Store hay away from sources of heat and electricity. In fact, it’s wise to keep all combustible material in a separate storage building away from horses, and keep a fire extinguisher there.
  • If your barn has a hayloft, ensure the ladder or stairs have handrails that are firmly secured and in good condition. Rails should also be installed around the loft area. All stall doors and latches should open easily.
  • Get rodent and weatherproof containers to store feed, grain, and treats in. Take further steps to rodent proof the barn by trimming trees, weeds and grass near the barn.
  • Are there any areas where moisture collects and puddles? Consider installing rain gutters and downspouts if you haven’t already.
  • Disposing of garbage promptly helps prevent rodents and reduces the risk of fire. Have several garbage cans or bins both inside and outside the barn.
  • Use safety glass or Plexiglas covered with metal screening or steel bars in stall windows.
  • Do regular safety checks of your barn, stalls and other outbuildings. Look for things like loose or protruding nails, splintered boards, curled stall mats, broken latches, etc.
  • Carry a cell phone on you at all times when you are at the barn, and have emergency numbers programmed into it.
  • Keep a close eye on any children or dogs around the horses.
  • Inside or outside the barn, stay aware when handling your horse. Lead him from the side, not in front. Do not walk directly behind him or under his neck. Make sure you let the horse know where you are at all times so you do not surprise him, and pay attention to how he is reacting to things.

Additional safety tips for riding

  • Make sure you’re riding a horse that’s suited to your skill and experience, and that you always can maintain control of.
  • Ride with a friend whenever possible. If you’re riding alone, let someone at home know your trail route, and give them your cell phone number and the time you expect to be back.
  • Carry your cell phone on your person. Do not pack it on your horse, as it will be useless to you if you fall off and your horse runs away, or you can’t get up.
  • Bring along emergency reins and a GPS.
  • If you’re riding with a group of people at different skill levels, stick to the speed of the least experienced rider and maintain a safe distance between horses.
  • Make sure your gear is in good shape.
  • Wear your safety gear, including your helmet and proper riding boots (a 1″ heel is recommended). Additional gear could include reflective wear for riding on the trails/roads and/or a safety vest.
  • Check out the weather forecast, and avoid riding if storms are imminent.
  • Bring water – for you and your horse.
  • Take along a basic first aid kit in your saddlebag.
  • Stick to marked trails; you don’t know what obstacles or hazards you might encounter in unknown areas.

Please be aware that all the planning, safety gear and training you have will not prepare you for someone to spook your horse intentionally thereby unseating you and cause an accident.  This happened to me and I was prepared with all the steps mentioned above.  Animals react to stimulus that you can’t expect.  It’s very unfortunate that some people don’t use the good sense God gave them and choose to risk lives with stupid acts.

Trailer safety

  • Make sure your trailer has brakes and that they meet state or provincial regulations. Electric brakes are the most common and more widely accepted than the hydraulic variety. In the U.S., two wheel brakes are required on trailers over 3,000 pounds in 31 states, while 11 states require brakes on both axles.
  • A breakaway brake is almost always required. Located on the coupler of the trailer, it activates the trailer brakes if the trailer separates from your vehicle. It must have a fully charged battery that will engage the brakes for 15 minutes.
  • All U.S. states either require or recommend safety chains on your trailer, whether it’s a tagalong or gooseneck type.
  • If you’re transporting one horse in a two-horse trailer, put him on the left side. This might seem less safe, but because most roads are higher in the middle, having the weight on the driver’s side will help keep your trailer more stable. It follows that if you’re traveling with two horses, you should put the heaviest one on the left.
  • Before heading out, check everything over carefully. Inspect the trailer hitch, ensure ramps are up and and that doors are securely closed. Check that your horses are tied.
  • If you’re traveling a long distance, stop every five hours or so, depending on the weather, and give your horse a break.
  • Make sure your horse has water in the trailer, and check the levels every time you stop.
  • Your horse should be tied so that he can comfortably lower his head.
  • Do your homework when putting together your rig. First, consider your horses, then fit the trailer to the horses, and finally fit the tow vehicle to the loaded trailer. Always buy a trailer that fits your current horses while also considering the size of your future horses. Consider the climate in which you live. Dark colors, single wall trailers and aluminum all hold heat. Insulated walls and roofs can help control the interior temperatures in colder climates.
  • When buying a new trailer, make sure it’s large enough to comfortably accommodate your equine partner. Horses don’t like being in enclosed spaces, so it’s important that the trailer has adequate space, light and ventilation. Your horse should have enough room to move his legs back and forth to keep his balance while the trailer is moving. Horses that stand more than 15.3h need 7’ of stall length and 3’ of headroom.
  • Consider a trailer that combines a variety of today’s technologically advanced materials, rather than one that’s all steel or all aluminum. A composite built trailer uses steel for the frame and chassis and aluminum or fiberglass for the parts that don’t get as stressed. This helps reduce the overall weight of the trailer without compromising on the strength and safety.

 

 

Equine First Aid Kit

Equine first aid kit

Ensure you have an emergency kit convenient at all times whether you haul your horse or not. You will want to make sure it is well stocked and easily accessible along with centrally located.

 

Keep a first aid kit in multiple locations including the barn, trailer and put together a portable one for the trail.

 

A well-stocked first aid kit should include items to:

 

  1. stabilize and treat wounds
  2. including a tourniquet
  3. hemostat
  4. bandage
  5. scissors
  6. antimicrobial solution
  7. gauze pads and rolls
  8. elastic adhesive
  9. wrap and roll
  10. all purpose healing salve
  11. wound spray
  12. an easy boot for injuries to the foot
  13. a roll of duct tape to secure waterproof bandages
  14. water proof bandages
  15. extra tetanus toxoid on hand in the refrigerator (for the barn)

 

Homeopathic remedies for Colic

by Dr. Dan Moore DVM

 

 It’s difficult for me to discuss any health issue without the mention of a few homeopathic remedies for colic is no exception and overload or excess of anything can often be helped with a remedy called nux- vomica It is my first response favorite remedy for anything related and is great at what I call energetically detoxing as well as for other health issues such as post-anesthesia.

 

It’s actually also good for people who have eaten or drank too much!

 

 Most homeopathic remedies are available as liquids but I prefer the little BB sized pellets packaged in lipstick tubes most health food stores and some big grocery change chains can carry them potencies of 30C or 30X are generally used by most people unless they are trained otherwise.

 

 I am totally convinced that homeopathic remedies can never hurt and can only help in any case we never leave home without a remedy box and there’s always one at the barn.

 

 Another remedy to consider is Colocynthis should the nux not give comfort it is especially helpful for cramps that would be characterized by kicking and rolling and looking or biting at the belly. Additionally, Colchicum especially if neither of the other remedies seem to work.

 

 I usually give nux a few times every 10 minutes or so followed by Colocynthis and Colchicum  rotating each at 10 minute intervals.  I also try to prevent rolling by walking the horse because this process often takes his mind off the pain and gets the gut moving

 

Equine Intelligence: Nine Insights Into the Way Horses Think

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

 

The fact that horses have no visible “weapon,” like the horn on a rhino or the claws on a tiger, gives a major clue as to how their minds work. Their primary form of defense is “flight,” (verses the “fight” some animals may engage in) and as prey animals they are experts at knowing when to flee and executing this action with lightning quick reflexes.

But it’s a mistake to assume that horses are simply a product of their instincts, relying on reflex alone. The fact is, horses are often compared to dogs and cats in terms of intelligence, but it’s much like comparing apples to oranges.

Dogs and cats are predators, and as such have developed very different skills and behaviors compared to horses. Understanding the latter, therefore, won’t come from expecting a horse to behave or think like a dog, or attempting to draw such comparisons, but from striving to understand why a horse’s mind works the way it does.

Equine intelligence researcher Evelyn Hanggi, Ph.D., co-founder of the nonprofit Equine Research Foundation, explained to Horse Talk that horses are more intelligent than many people believe:1

“Common beliefs maintain that horses have a brain the size of a walnut; horses do not think; horses are merely conditioned-response animals; horses cannot generalize; horses have no sense of concept; horses are color blind, have poor acuity and depth perception, and cannot transfer information from one eye to another.

In reality, horses manage not only ordinary daily cognitive tasks but mental challenges as well. In the wild, they must cope with food and water of inconsistent quality or unpredictable distribution, predators that change locations and habits, and a social system in which identities and roles of individuals must be discovered and remembered.”

How Do Horses Think? Nine Key Insights

Dr. Robert M. Miller is an equine veterinarian and behaviorist who has summed up the way horses think in nine concise points. All of them relate back to the fact that horses are flight animals, and this is key to understanding why they do what they do. As summed up by DVM 360, once you understand Miller’s nine points, you’ll begin to understand the complex underpinnings behind horse intelligence.2

Flightiness Does Not Equal Lack of Intelligence

While many equate horses’ (and many prey species’) flightiness as a sign that they’re not very bright, it’s important to understand that flight equals life for horses, who must outrun their natural predators of cougars, wolves and bears in order to survive. Miller told the news outlet:3

“I now realize that the horse in its natural environment, the grassy plains, is a highly intelligent animal. As we go through this list, you will see that the horse rates extremely high on some scales, and in several places, it rates higher than any other domestic animal. I am still learning to respect the intelligence of the horse.”

Horses’ Senses Are Incredible

Because quick response time is a life-or-death matter for horses, they have developed incredibly sensitive senses, from their vision to their nose and tactile awareness. In fact, Miller says they’re the most perceptive of all domestic animals, with an ability to sense slight changes in position in a rider on its back (even a slight turn of the head) and see with virtually 360-degree vision.

Because a horse’s eyes are set on the sides of its head, it’s able to see what’s on both sides, but their depth perception suffers as a result. This is why horses hesitate before crossing a stream — until they’ve learned the route or come to trust their rider.

Horses Learn and Are Desensitized Quickly

Miller believes that horses are faster learners than dogs, cattle, swine and sheep. This is because being able to decode what’s a threat and what’s not is essential for a prey animal like a horse. They also become desensitized to potential threats quickly once they realize they’re not harmful.

Why? Miller told DVM 360, “Because if you’re a flight animal and an unfamiliar stimulus — a thing you’ve never seen before or sound you’ve never heard before — precipitates flight, if that stimulus was harmless and you didn’t quickly desensitize to it, you’d never stop running. There’d be no time to eat, drink, rest or reproduce.”4

Horses Have the Fastest Response Times of All Domestic Animals

This again helps them to survive in the wild, but is an important point to remember if you spend any time around these majestic animals. “[I]f the horse wants to kick you and you’re in an exposed position, you’re going to get hurt. We just can’t move that fast,” Miller says.5

This is especially important if you’re standing in one of horses’ two “blind spots” — directly in front of or in back of them.6 You should always talk to a horse when approaching these areas so the horse knows you’re there and doesn’t become frightened.

Horses Have Excellent Memories

Miller says horses never forget, and this includes both good and bad experiences. Their memory skills were likely helpful in one experiment, in which horses were taught to use a touch-screen computer to discriminate between different shapes and sizes.

The 42-inch touch-screen monitors showed horses different sizes or shapes. If the horse chose correctly by touching the appropriate choice with his nose, he was rewarded with a carrot, which was automatically distributed beneath the screen.7

The horses learned to use the screen quickly, and were presented with different letter combinations (in which X was always the wrong choice) and shapes of varying sizes. The horses were able to identify shape differences similar to chimpanzees and humans, although the horses had more difficulty with closed shapes like squares, triangles and the letters O and D.

We recently visited a horse, Cimba, my daughter had a close relationship with over seven years ago. We didn’t know if he would remember her when we entered the barn, but his response was unmistakable and heartwarming; he was as glad to see her as she was to see him.

Horses Are Easily Dominated

Horses are herd animals and there are leaders and followers within the group. Horses are the most easily dominated among domestic animals, readily accepting leadership from other horses or humans, provided the leader uses the appropriate behaviors. Because horses are herd animals, they shouldn’t be pastured alone.

Interestingly, in the wild, the leader of the herd is typically an older mare (female horse), which some believe gains its alpha role not by strength or power, per se, but rather by experience and attitude, according to Carey A. Williams, Ph.D., extension specialist in equine management at Rutgers University. Williams reported:8

“The older mare has had more experiences, more close encounters, and survived more threats than any other horse in the herd. The requirement of the lead horse is not strength or size; if this were so, then humans could never dominate a horse. Dominance is established not only through aggression but also through attitudes that let the other horses know she expects to be obeyed.”

Horses Have Their Own Body Language

Miller believes it’s important to learn horses’ bodily signals. A horse with its head down, as it is during grazing, signals submission and trust whereas a horse with its head up suggests it’s alert and considering flight. He also advises using non-predatory body positions when approaching a horse, such as avoiding staring at the horse and keeping a relaxed posture.

Controlling a Horse’s Feet Leads to Control of Their Mind

If you control a horse’s movement, you’re in essence controlling the horse, because a horse depends on its feet and ability to flee to survive. Miller explained to DVM 360, “When you are on a call and they bring the horse out, while talking to the owner, first move the horse around in a quiet little circle … The horse will be thinking, ‘This person is controlling where my feet are positioned.’ And submission is the response to that.”9

Horses Hit the Ground Running

As a precocial species, horses are able to stand and run very soon after birth and have full use of their senses. It’s during this time, in the first few days after birth, that imprinting is greatest and foals quickly learn to identify what are threats and what aren’t.

Understanding Horse Intelligence Can Further the Human-Equine Bond

Compared to intelligence research in other animals, relatively little work has been done on the potentially advanced intelligence of horses and much remains to be discovered. It’s recently been revealed, for instance, that horses use subtle signals to ask humans for help when faced with a difficult problem.10 They’re also capable of reading your, and other horses’, facial expressions.11

According to Hanggi, deciphering equine intelligence is a crucial area of study, as only by fully understanding how horses’ minds work can we be sure we’re treating these creatures with the humanity they deserve. As she told Horse Talk:12

“If the cognitive abilities of horses are misunderstood, underrated, or overrated, their treatment may also be inappropriate. Equine welfare is dependent on not only physical comfort but mental comfort as well.

Confining a thinking animal in a dark, dusty stable with little or no social interaction and no mental stimulation is as harmful as providing inadequate nutrition or using abusive training methods. Therefore, it is in the interest of both horses and humans to understand more fully the scope of equine thinking.”