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RBEI MASTER COURSES:  EQUINE MANAGEMENT: MAINTENANCE 2

 

There are a variety of elements that come into play when it comes to Horse Maintenance.

BASIC NEEDS
FOOD
Horses need adequate forage at all times around the clock 24 / 7.  They are grazers and can't be left without food. They don't eat meals like humans do.  Not having access to food causes physical damage and mental stress.

WATER
Horses need clean, fresh water access at all times.  Not having access to this causes physical damage and mental stress.
Only having access to dirty water and having no choice but to drink it to survive is not acceptable. Fresh small auto waterer's are best as they deliver fresh non-stagnant water. Horses very much appreciate this.  These need to only be cleaned out once a week and you do so in 5 seconds by scooping out the grime and water with your hand until all refills clean.

SHELTER
Adequate shelter from the sun, rain, hail, flies, wind & cold etc is a basic necessity to horse ownership.  Having trees is not really enough in climates that have hail and storms.  An actual shelter protects horses from the harsher weather and they appreciate these and spend a lot of time under them generally if provided the choice. The more open and large the shelters the better as when heavy rain or hail hits, if they are too enclosed or small, the horse will be scared to go into them with all the noise of the rain / hail.

RUGGING
Rugging is necessary for protection and comfort because we are confining horses to one space where they can't seek out adequate environments to suit their varying needs.  Rugs tend to rub the hair off shoulders, so satin bibs are best to use underneath all rugs.  These can be purchased from ebay, not the elastic ones, not the thick padded ones, not the cottony ones, all don't work but the actual satin/polyester silky and lightweight ones. The all time best rugging systems I have used is fly mesh combo's when it is very hot.  Cotton combos when it is cooler, Then the 4 season / Autumn combo's over the top of these cotton combo's when it is cold only over night, you whip off the 4 season rug in the morning and leave the cotton on and the combination of the 2 is as warm as a good winter rug over night. You then at night throw the 4 season over the cotton again.  If you have belly straps link the belly straps into each other so if 1 comes off the other stops it falling low enough to drag.  I have found Zilco to be a reliable and well made, long lasting brand.  There are some brands badly made and ill fitting which break almost immediately, weatherbeeta are more expensive but are a reliable brand also.

SOCIAL
Horses revolve around their social lives and it is important to provide a base environment where they can relax, socialize and be happy.  Obviously they are a herd animal. It is never natural to a horse to be on their own.  Horses are best kept in groups of 3 - 5 / 6 maximum. Generally if a horse is kept in a group of 4 - 6 you will find they are happier, more relaxed, less stressed when taken out with you for a ride / away from the group.  If you keep them in with just one other, 2 in one paddock, you will generally have issues with clingyness when you take one out and they will be insecure and very clingy in general.  When horses become clingy like this you need to put them both into a group of other horses, this fixes issues well and almost instantly.  3 in a paddock is ok.  But you may still have a few clingy issues.  4 - 6 is best.  Any more than 6 and you can get injuries with horses fighting in corners etc.  Too much going on in one space.

A RELAXING PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENT
Much like people, if horses are in a hyped, noisy busy environment all the time with no peace they will become frustrated cranky and stressed out.  This is their home, they need peace and quiet and to be able to feel safe and relaxed. In a busy environment such as agistment properties or Riding Schools it's a good idea to have blocks of quiet times scheduled where no one bothers the horses and things are kept quiet so they get to all switch off.  A great time for this is the natural horse nap time say from 12 noon to 1pm or longer if possible.

WORMING
Every 6 weeks generally, or every 3 weeks in very horsey properties.  It pays to not believe everything you're told and research the wormers that actually do the best jobs.  I find the best to be the red AMMO, Equimax Elevation, GENESIS, or a good ivermectin wormer.  You need to mix things up a bit every now and then so the worms don't become resistant to the same one, this means changing the actual chemical component the wormer is made of, there are many brands who all use the same chemical makeup so simply switching brands is not effective.

HOOF TRIMMING OR SHOEING
Every 6 weeks generally.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking your horses need to be done every 4 weeks, and don't let your farrier trim them back so far they are hobbling along as is the manner of most.  Leave a bit of toe on, give them something to walk on. Never also settle for farriers pinching your horses tendons to pick their feet up or hitting your horse, as the manner of some is.

TEETH
Every 3 month under 5 years old
Every 6 months over 5 years old
This is NECESSARY, after 6 months your horses teeth are so sharp they actually cut the sides of the horses face constantly and the cuts turn into infected ulcers.  Teeth care is not optional.



FIRST AID
Every horse owner should have a basic first aid kit.  These things will be needed.  
Here is a list of products and things to have on hand for first aid purposes which actually work best.

White Healer Cream
This is the best to use for healing minor scrapes and nicks, QLD itch, skin conditions, rain scald, sunburn, mudfever etc. surface stuff. It works hard and fast and makes the hair grow back faster than any other product on the market.

Cetrigen
Most effective to treat larger, deeper cuts and scrapes, it also repels insects.

Iodine
The good strength one is great.  This is great for hoof issues, abcesses, soreness causes by various infections in the hooves.  You just clean the hoof and with a sponge really dab & soak the iodine deep into the hoof tissue underneath. Also replace the use of Cetrigen with plain iodine in wounds that are extremely deep, as putting repellant into these is not advised.

Stockholm Tar
This is also great for hoof care, the best daily hoof oil you can have, it also kills bacteria and strengthens the hoof.  If you have a horse with nicks and cracks in the hooves you can dab with iodine then cover with stockholm tar.

Triocil medicated horse wash.
Every now and then horses get a bit itchy and a hose is not enough.  It's nice to give them a good medicated horse wash to soothe and settle their skin down.

Animalintex poultice
This is generally for use for hoof abcesses / stone bruises to soothe and to draw them out.

Davis Soaking Boot
This is for abcesses / stone bruises, you fill with slightly warm water and epsom salts to soak and soothe and draw out the infection.  This works extremely fast and well.

Epsom salts
For soaking hooves in to draw out bruises and abcesses.

Crepe self adhering bandages.
Perfect for any bandaging needs, lightweight, so stay on in paddocks and stick to self.

Elastoplast sticky bandages.
For the more heavy duty bandaging requirements.

Cotton wool wraps
For use with bandaging if required.

Repel X insect repellent.
A great horse and stable / paddocking spray that actually kills the flies and keeps numbers down.  Safe to spray on horses and works well.  Nice smelling also.

Gauze swabs.
For any first aid bandaging needs

Scissors
To cut bandaging, poultices etc

Bar of soap.
To sterilize.

Sunblock
If your horse has white on it's face that gets sunburnt.

Pure aloe vera gel
When a horse first cuts itself badly, apply Cetrigen to the cut then plaster over thick with Aloe Vera Gel.  This will prevent swelling and cause radically fast healing rather than it getting worse. Repeat daily.

Calamine lotion
Great to dab on annoying itchy spots, stops itching from stings, bites etc.

Clean Towell
Amazing how often this will be needed ;)

Vasaline
Great for all sorts, I use it daily on the horses corners of the mouth before the bit goes in to sooth and be more comfortable for the horse and to prevent pinching and cracked, calliced or sore mouths from bits.


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