Category: Horses

Tutorial: How To Select Quality Hay For Horses

Tutorial - How To Select Quality Hay For HorsesTutorial: How To Select Quality Hay For Horses – Image To Repin / Share
Image – © olezzo – Fotolia.com

The proper choice of hay is crucial to the health of horses. The horse is a “hindgut fermenter” type of non-ruminant herbivore and has only one stomach, which is relatively small compared to other types of this herbivore. In effect, it is ideal to feed them continuously in small amounts as opposed to giving them 1 to 2 large meals every day. Imagine their natural environment as grazing animals that eat throughout the day. [1]

Hay is the foundation of a horse’s diet. Horses are primarily fed on fibers which come from hays and grasses. Furthermore, hay is considered an excellent sources of vitamins, protein, minerals, energy, and of course, fiber which helps in regulating gut function. [2]

In some cases, processed feeds, in forms of concentrate, can be given to horses as a source of energy and protein. However, problems arise when horses began to depend on processed feeds, thereby resulting to poor forage intake. In effect, colic disorders and other related conditions may develop due to excessive intake of high-starch grains. [3]

On the other hand, wide exposure to early bloom alfalfa may also bring adverse effects to the health of horses that are lightly-used. Horses may overindulge themselves to this hay which may result in weight problems.

This is one of the important reasons why proper choice of feeds, especially hay, is important when raising horses. There are several types of hay which can be fed to horses. These include timothy hay, Bermuda grass hay, oat hay, alfalfa hay, as well as grass and clover hay. However, nutrient value is essential when selecting the type of hay to feed. There are several factors which need to be considered when evaluating the quality of hay to buy.

Some of these factors include the stage when the hay was harvested, number of leaves and stems present, as well as freedom from weeds, molds, and dust. Other factors to check for include color, smell, age, weight and texture. Normally, good quality hay is pale green to pale gold – but note that the interior of the bale, rather than just the outside hay, should be checked out. The hay should also emit a fresh and pleasant aroma. A moldy smell is not good and mold can harm the horse.

In general, it is claimed that hays should be not be fed on horses unless it has been stored for at least a month. Horses become more susceptible to colic when they are fed on fresh hay. [4]

Discover more tips on how to choose high quality hay for your horses. Check this website: http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/forages/publications/ID-190.htm

References:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equine_nutrition
[2] http://extension.psu.edu/animals/equine/news/2012/buying-hay-the-most-important-ingredient-of-the-horse2019s-diet
[3] http://www.myhorseuniversity.com/resources/eTips/September2011/Didyouknow
[4] http://horsetalk.co.nz/2012/11/04/horse-hay-how-to-identify-the-good-stuff

Tutorial: Avoiding Equine Dental Problems

Tutorial - Avoiding Equine Dental ProblemsTutorial: Avoiding Equine Dental Problems – Image To Repin / Share
Image – © chelle129 – Fotolia.com

For grazing animals like donkeys and horses, a good dentition is a must for survival. By age of five, a horse possesses around 36 to 44 teeth that come in different shapes, which are used for a variety of purpose. Like humans, horses have incisors, molars, and pre-molars. Some of them also have wolf teeth and canine teeth.

A horse has twelve incisors at the front of its mouth which are used for cutting grass while grazing. Sometimes, they are also used to defend against predators. Meanwhile, the molars are used to chew foods that are cut by incisors.

After birth, the first set of teeth erupts, and these are referred to as deciduous, milk, baby or temporary teeth. At age five, the second set of teeth which are considered permanent will begin to appear. [1]

Just like in humans, horses can suffer from a number of dental problems, most especially when owners failed to have them examined by professional veterinarians. Some of the most common signs that your horse is suffering from dental problems include drooling, spilling grain, quidding, cudding, and poor health conditions. [2] In many cases, equine dental problems are caused by continuous chewing over a long period of time. Oftentimes, these problems can result in behavioral issues and poor performance.

Other problems associated with equine dentition include loose, cracked, abscessed or infected teeth. The build-up of plaque, as well as the retention of deciduous teeth, is also experienced by some horses.

One of the most common dental problems experienced by horses is sharp edges. As the new set of teeth continues to erupt, sharp edges begin to develop which could trigger ulcers, lacerations, and soreness to the tongue, as well as in the side of the mouth. This makes chewing very painful to the horse, which may trigger them to spit out the hay.

The shedding of deciduous teeth can also cause problems to a horse because it can be painful. It can also lead horses to manifest bad habits like tossing their heads due to pain.

Decaying teeth also impose difficulties and pain to horses. When the teeth or rotted, or infected due to abnormal wear over a period of time, it can trigger the onset of other health problems in addition to poor performance owing to pain. Furthermore, when the upper cheek teeth decay, it can stimulate the occurrence of sinusitis. [3]

Want to learn more tips on how to avoid equine dental problems? Visit this website http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-exclusives/avoiding-dental-problems.aspx to discover valuable information on this topic.

References:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_teeth
[2] http://horses.about.com/od/horsehealth/qt/dental-care-for-horses.htm
[3] http://www.baedt.com/problems_5386.html

Video: How To Saddle A Horse

Video: How To Saddle A HorseVideo: How To Saddle A Horse
Photo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybO-P5P0LYM

A trail ride sounds fun and exciting but without proper saddle fitting, it can be a huge discomfort to horses. A saddle can protect riders from falling, but if placed improperly, it can be detrimental to the physique and overall health condition of horses. But how do you actually saddle a horse? This article serves as a primer on how to do it.

Before saddling the horse, you will need items such as the saddle pad, and horse brush. First, you need to brush off the loose hair from the horse’s back. When the horse sweats under the saddle, unremoved loose hair will get wet and feel uncomfortable to the horse, so the horse will try to shake it off. Not such a good thing when you are on a ride. [1] Also, you need to brush off all dirt and dust from areas which the breast collar, saddle pad, cinches, blankets and saddle will cover.

Second, all items (especially the sharp ones) should be removed from the inside of the saddle. Check the presence of hard objects in the fibers. When present, they can cause a lot of discomfort to the horse.

When placing a saddle, it should be done in a way that the rider’s weight will be evenly distributed across the back of the horse, or else, your horse will suffer. When a saddle is not placed properly, clinical signs such as sore, pain and white spots may begin to occur. Always bear in mind that a properly fitted saddle can spare horses from discomfort, and of course, protect the riders from falls which may be triggered by improper saddling.

When placing the saddle, the horse must be tied with a lead rope and a halter. Make sure to have full control in placing the saddle on the equine’s back. Put the equipment as gentle as you can instead of thumping it hard on the back. This way, you make the process of saddling gentle and comfortable for the horse, so putting on the equipment next time would not be difficult for you.

What you have learned so far are just some of the most basic tips before placing the saddle on the horse. Want to know how to place a saddle on the back of the horse correctly? Check out the video below to discover how it’s done correctly.

References:
[1] http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/10/06/six-points-saddle-fitting