© 2011 All Rights Reserved ~ Designed by Kathleen Jenson
SUNSET RIDGE HORSE RANCH
GYPSY VANNERS ~ PAINTS & QUARTERS ~ DRUMS
Kathleen Jenson & Family
CARING FOR YOUR HORSE
~GENERAL CARE FOR BEGINNERS~
If you are a first time horse buyer; know who and where your closest Veterinarian is and their contact number. Some vets deal strictly with small animals, it also doesn't hurt to get in contact with your vet and let them know who you are and what you have for animals.
Feed & Water
Keep a constant fresh water supply for your horse(s), if you bring water by bucket keep it full at all times. The weather plays a big part on how much water a horse needs in a day, cutting them short is unhealthy.
Be picky about the hay you feed your horse, horses need decent hay that's not overly dusty and mouldy or all weeds and straw. I suggest grass or a mixture of alfalfa and grass but there are plenty of good types of hay bales out there. Paying a little more money for a heavier well cut bale is worth it.
Treats are great as well but be careful at what you buy, some store mixtures are a bit hard on horse's stomachs, I almost lost a horse years ago by adding a treat mixture with corn, it's a good idea to check with your vet. I learnt the hard way and don't want others to have to do the same, good basic treats that I use now are carrots, apples, home made horse cookies and oats. Horses also need mineral or salt licks in access to them regularly too, if you have horses chewing on wood its a sign they may be lacking in minerals.
Grooming, Horse Accommodations & Pleasure
Regular grooming may seem minor but in actuality it is vital; A good relationship between horse and owner is formed faster with good grooming practices, its soothing, relaxing and positive. It's healthy for their coat, especially the main and tail and keeping them washed and groomed helps prevent scratching and hair loss or irritation plus you can catch any skin problems before they've grown out of hand. Along with basic grooming try to keep regular farrier work done, depending on the horse and how fast their hooves grow your schedule will vary. A farrier would know best but usually 6 to 8 weeks is normal practice and some horses can range 3 to 6 months. There is no specific age to start trimming but they can be started when only months old and there is great benefit in doing so.
Horses are extremely playful and I feel its good to have some sort of entertainment for them, especially if you have a single horse. It can be great entertainment for you as well, a 4L milk jug with no lid and filled with stones or treats for weight is a cheap toy to start with but here is a site for more ideas: http://www.naturalhorsetalk.com/horsetoys.html.
When wondering about the amount of land needed for each horse, an acre of land per horse is whats suggested for pasture space. Shelter isn't always necessary but I wouldn't want to be with out it so I wouldn't leave my horses without any, its nice to have it an option for them. If anything a wind break is a must but I suggest a lean-to or closed in barn for protection from the sun, rain and the bitter cold here in the North.
For information on horse diseases check out: http://www.horse-diseases.com/
~INTERNAL CARE & OUTER CARE~
There are a number of internal parasites you should be concerned with. Regular ones found in my area are Pinworms, Bots, Strongyles (bloodworms), and Tapeworms but there are many more. This will change through out the land so check with your Vet. Generally these parasites begin by being digested, where they grow and lay more eggs, to be transferred out through the rectum and left to develop in the grass, then ingested and restarting the cycle. They can cause multiple health issues and need to be treated, its best to prevent worms from ever maturing in a horse by keeping a regular deworming cycle. Once in, it will take a few goes of treatment to rid your horse of them. Best times are Spring(April/May) and Fall(Oct) but some Vets will give other suggestions. This is information you should be heading to your vet for as I am no professional, there are many brands of dewormers to purchase and each one treats different parasites. Your Vet will be able to point you in the right direction, also ask your Vet about deworming pregnant mares.
Horses should be vaccinated regularly, once a year in the beginning of May roughly. With my Vet a 4way vaccine shot for horses includes: Tetanus, East/West Sleeping Sickness and West Nile. Check with your vet but vaccinating is to your discretion, as it is with Dogs and Cats. Its for the safety of your horse and the horses in contact with them.
Most common for skin issues on horses is Ringworm, a nasty fungus that creates grey scabby bald spots. When dealing with this always wear gloves! It can transfer to you and you can transfer it to other horses! Ringworm is air born and transfers very easily between animals, farms and even objects your horse is in contact with. Medical treatments for ringworm are not necessary, basically it needs to be smothered so it doesn't spread on that horse and to others and let run its course. The best Vet recommended home remedy treatment for this is Toothpaste! Yes toothpaste, it must have fluoride in it to work but all you do is layer it on like a cream over the sore, make sure you have gloves on. Another method is soaking the sores and the object that may have been in contact with the sores with an iodine spray. Continue till there are no signs of the ringworm. Sunburn and acne also can develop on horses and some bacteria skin infections but in most cases these clear themselves, if you ever find that they don't begin to improve or have concerns always contact your vet.
Though we love the feathering of the Gypsy horse it can unfortunately create problems, with in all that hair a type of sore can arise, called by many names one being "Scratches", and causes pain and discomfort to our beloved animals. It starts off with softening of the skin behind the fetlock and the heel and as it progresses, the affected body part is invaded by bacteria and tiny mites. They feed on the epidermal debris, and in the process, cause irritation to the afflicted area. In the next stage the horse usually forms of staph infection followed by a fungal invasion. This results in inflammation that is accompanied by crusty, scabby bumps or lesions.
To take action you would want to keep the area clean but we all know how easy that is and even with all your efforts it may not prevent it or rid you of it. Check you horse often by parting heavy feather carefully right down to the skin to inspect. Make sure when you wash your horses, you dry feather well and down to the skin. I use a very mild soap when washing feather to prevent more irritation. There are some remedies out there that can help but there has been no cure as of yet. Best is to check with your vet, you will find online many home made remedies and treatment methods that will help and do the trick too. MTG, Diaper rash cream, sulfur, etc. The basic idea is to prevent it from occurring but when you find it you want to gently clean the area with a mild fungus killing soap, remove scabbing, and then apply a cream/ointment to the affected area for healing. These pictures show before and after of one vet suggested treatment.
day 1 day 2
Other things that I use for my horses is Apple Cider Vinegar and Coconut Oil. 2 amazing products that I swear by. Coconut Oil (must be cold pressed) works wonders on keeping skin healthy, promoting hair growth and preventing breakage. Also helpful for scratches. You can rub it in the skin and throughout the hair. It also coats the hair so when you wash your horse the hair comes white easier. If you wanted to just protect from stains vegetable oil is a cheaper and successful method as well. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) needs to be bought organic and with the "mother" for it to be useful. It can be used in your horses water in small amounts and will create a very healthy coat and benefit your horses health. I use it diluted as a rinse, as it cleans and kills any surface mites/bugs and it is great for the skin, I rub it in the mane and leave it. I also use both these things on my own hair, it keeps my curls tame and healthy.
As stated earlier, regular trimming is important, in the natural world horses did not have their hooves trimmed/cleaned out and lived fine but they are no longer in their natural world. Our horses are in our world and being ridden or driven is not a natural expectation of them. Incorrect or lack of trimming/shoeing will effect posture/stance and can cause a horse to go lame. The hoof wall may also crack and split, sometimes large chunks break off causing pain and stopping all human enforced work. Cleaning out hooves with a hoof pick clears stoned or hard debris that may cause pain, and sometimes possible infection.
Diet largely effects our horses hooves, especially in draft breeds. Foundering or Laminitis, where the hoof wall starts to detach from the coffin bone, is from the laminae weakening and breaking. This can be caused due to obesity as well as from eating too much grain, eating too much fresh lush green grass, excessive concussion to the feet, being hot and drinking cold water, and bacteria infection. Here is a great link on Foundering.
Draft Horse Care
As a draft breed, the Gypsy Horse and Drum Horse have some special needs both nutrionally and pharmaceutically. The metabolism of the draft breeds are geared a bit differently from light horses and it's important to be aware of the sugar, fat and protein content of your feeds and hay. A high fat, low sugar diet has been highly recommended for many horses and is especially effective in draft breeds. The slower metabolism of the cold bloods can also be a challenge when treating medically. Certain medications should be given at a much lower dose per pound, than you would give a light horse. Tranquilizers and analgesics should especially be given with caution. If you are still learning about the needs of the draft breeds, it's highly recommended that you talk with your veterinarian about the daily, as well as, emergency treatment of draft horses. One note of caution, though, not all veterinarians have a great deal of draft horse experience and may not be up to date on treatment variations for drafts. Ask your veterinarian about their draft horse experience and, if it is not very extensive, ask if they would mind doing some research into the effects of certain drugs on the slower draft horse metabolism.
~GESTATION & FOALING~
A horse's gestation period runs about 11 months, to know when the time of foaling is near there are a few signs that occur. If this is a first foal usually the week before delivery the milk bag swells and on the day before the milk will begin to drip which is called waxing. On an experienced mare this can begin earlier, her milk bag will appear full/swollen for longer and she may start waxing 2 or 3 days ahead of foaling.
You will notice a difference in your horse, she will appear very uncomfortable, laying down and getting up over and over, rocking or shifting weight on her feet constantly, moaning/grunting and her tail will be lifted. Every horse is different in their expressions of labour but if you find that their are no signs of advancing through the delivery contact your vet. Some mares may have a day of discomfort before the foal is born but I wouldn't let it go longer. Especially if the signs are extreme and she seems to be loosing strength but you need to be the judge of that and its never wrong to at least question your vet. A breached foal will cause death to both mare and foal if not assisted, in some cases a c-section is required.
Generally a foal is delivered front hooves first and you will see the sack and the hooves when the mare is in the worst of her labour. On occasion the sack may break before the nose is out at which time it is important to make sure the foal doesn't sit in the birth canal too long, help may be needed. After the head and shoulders are through the rest comes quick, there should be signs of breathing and usually head movement from the foal at the least, again if the sack is still on it will need to be removed. A good mom will start to clean her foal and encourage the foal to move and get up. Within the first 4 hours the foal should have fed from its mother, I like to let this happen naturally but sometimes a foal does need assistance. The first milk the foal gets from its mother is very important and vital, its called colostrum and is very rich and carries all the good stuff a new born needs to protect it from disease.
For more details check out: horsegestation.com.
In the first 2 hours of a foals life a process can be done that I like to do, its called Imprint Training. Those first 2 hours is the time the mother bonds with its foal, at this time is when I would handle the foal with my hands and any other sort of object that may effect the foal in the future. The foal becomes accustom to me and the object and is easier to handle or train in the future.
HOPE YOU FIND THIS HELPFULL!
WHO SAYS A HORSE CAN'T SMILE....