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Winter Turnouts: Year 2

When we noticed that most of the turnout blankets we discussed in our September 2012 field-trial article were still on the market, we decided to let our readers know how the blankets fared during the following winter. After all, our contributors at the SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary, a rescue facility in Montgomery, N.Y., were still using the turnouts on their band of rescue horses. We were pleased that favorites from last winter continued to perform well, but also learned that there’s something to be said for paying for quality.  Our 2012 top pick was the Eous read more

Fatherhood And Horsemanship Go Together

My son, Wesley, turns 4 this month, a time period that’s a long one for a relationship with a horse but just a short time in a relationship with a child. I have two horses who’ve been with me longer than Wesley has been, and I often consider how my experiences with them, and other horses, affects my relationship with my son, and vice versa.   The first thing that having a child has helped me with is patience, with myself and with my horses. Wesley has emphasized to me that children aren’t born knowing how to communicate in whatever language we read more

Veterinary Wisdom: Nolvasan To The Rescue

If you’re left with an “oil slick” from spilled mineral oil, try dumping some Nolvasan on it (you should have some on hand anyway). It’ll cut right through, removing that slippery spot. read more

Ask Horse Journal: Equine Birthmark?

I have attached pictures of a supposed birthmark on my horse’s neck. I’m skeptical. It may be my imagination, but I think it has grown bigger since shedding out. It is slightly raised. My horse is 12, and apparently he’s always had this, but who knows for sure? I’ve had him 1½ years. He’s not prone to allergies. However, his skin is easily injured but not by insects. Scars tend to take a long time to regrow hair. Last winter he had a few rain rot spots, but they eventually healed. It just took a long time for the hair to regrow and, read more

Keep Your Own Records

Have you tried to remember when the last set of vaccines were given?  Or the last set of hock injections?  It’s pretty normal, but we’d bet that if horses could talk, they’d be concerned.    The fact is, we rely on our veterinarians to keep records for us, since they’re required by law to keep medical records and they have a great understanding of what was done. But, ultimately, you’re the one responsible for your horse’s health, so, you should also keep records.  Nothing Is Foolproof. When we rely on our vet to read more

Oh, My Aching Back!

Do you know someone who suffers from back pain?   Those unlucky folks, the ones who constantly nurse a sore back, often wonder, “If I lift that, will it do my back in?” Rarely do we hear stories in which someone used to have back pain.  Rather, for the unfortunate souls who have to deal with this ailment, it’s a life-long management endeavor.   Horses are no different. Equine back pain also has to be managed for life.  Even if it improves for a while, inevitably, it flares up from time to time.  For a small subset, back pain is debilitating read more

Fix A Problem

The day you bring home a new pair of zipper boots, drop by the hardware store and buy a roll of duct tape in the same color as the boots and stash it in your tack box. If the day comes when the zipper breaks at an inopportune moment, like at a show, you can tape yourself into the boot and you’re good to go until you can get it repaired. read more

A Matter Of Comfort

Horses generally prefer the snaffle because they don’t like getting poked in the hard palate. Bits with ports, such as kimberwicks or curbs, work by applying pressure to the hard palate.  Decades of research have proven to Dr. Hilary Clayton, of Michigan State University, that “one of the things horses really dislike is when the bit is pushing against the roof of the mouth.” Horses with small oral cavities or hard palates close to their tongues often don’t like single-jointed snaffles because the joint presses against the palate when you apply read more

Begin Your Quest For The “Right” Bit

Do you know why you can buy hundreds of different bits from tack stores all around the country? Because finding the ”perfect” bit is like getting to the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. This great quest is one entirely without GPS guidance, and it really can be never-ending, since horses are individuals whose needs and preferences often change as their training progresses, as they get older, or if your riding progresses. The bit your horse seemed to like so well may not be what he wants now, and you may have to combine educated guessing with divine inspiration read more

Something’s Not Right

Do you listen to your horse?  Really listen . . . while you’re grooming, tacking up, warming up? Or do you chat with friends, or mull over work or family problems, all the while going about the motions of grooming without any thought? I enjoy the barn camaraderie, too, hearing the latest new twists in someone’s life or commiserating about a recent low score. But I also purposely pay attention to what my horse is doing. How she is behaving? Is she reacting normally or is something off?  I watch my horse for signs of pain or tenderness. Does she object read more

Four Keys to Equine Weight Loss

Ever heard this before?  “That horse needs to go on a diet!”  or “Put him in a dry lot and give him only a small amount of hay!”  The advice is usually well-intentioned, but if it’s meant to “starve” the horse, it’s wrong.  Experts agree that severely restricing the amount your horse eats won’t promote weight loss. It will make him ill, possibly worsening insulin resistance and/or causing hyperlipemia (elevated blood triglycerides and impaired liver function).  The trick to successful, healthy read more

Winning Nutrition: Are Weight-Loss Supplements Worth Your Money?

The market is saturated with products to help people lose weight. But if you read the fine print, you’ll notice they all say the same thing: “For best results, combine with a low calorie diet and daily exercise.” The same is true for your horse.  An overweight horse strains his joints with every step and becomes more prone to insulin resistance, and fat cells can also promote bad inflammation. It’s easy to see why weight loss is paramount to your horse’s longevity. Start Simple. Supplementing antioxidants helps reduce inflammation from fat read more

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