Horse Care

New Foal Care

You have waited eleven months for your foal to arrive. Now that he is here, what can you do to ensure he gets off to the best possible start in life? Make sure that the foal sucks. A normal foal should stand and drink from the mare within two hours. If the foal is having difficulty sucking, or is not interested, he may have serious problems. Call an experienced horse vet sooner rather than later. Colostrum, the first milk, is very important. It contains all the antibodies your foal needs to protect him from infectious disease. A foal needs between 1.5 – 2 litres of good quality colostrum. It is most important to make sure he gets enough. If the foal won’t suck you can collect some colostrum from the mare and give it by bottle. If the foal refuses to take the bottle, the vet can put it directly into the foal’s stomach using a tube. If you have a mare that is not giving milk, Colostrum substitutes are available. In any case, make sure your foal receives the Colostrum needed.  It is a good idea to have a Colostrum substitute on-hand before each birth.  A foal’s intestines can only absorb colostrum for the first 24 hours or so. After that, the vet can give a plasma transfusion to boost the antibodies if necessary. Check that the foal is passing meconium. Meconium is the firm dark feces that has built up during the foal’s time inside the mare. Colt foals, in particular, can have ...
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Tack, Clothing, Equipment

Selecting the Right Saddle for Your Horse

Selecting the right saddle for you and your horse is vital. It not only affects your position on the horse (balance, line), but it also impacts the horse physically.  If you want to keep your horse sound and healthy and would like to avoid back ache or muscle pain (for both of you), a lot of thought should go into the selection of your saddle. In addition to physical comfort (for you and your horse), the activity you will be participating in will guide your selection as well. If you will be riding in dressage competitions or jumping, and English saddle is what you need.  However, there are several variations of English saddles.  You should speak with a trainer or professional in the area before buying a saddle.  English saddles are also used in competitive trail riding and other sports. If you are looking to move cattle, ride in rodeo roping events, barrel race or play day, or just trail ride, a Western saddle is a good selection.  There are some Australian-influenced hybrid Western saddles that are nice for these activities.  But all Western saddles are not made the same.  Some are made for roping, some for steer dogging, and different Western saddle types for barrel racing and cutting. There are also companies available who will measure your horse and recommend the saddles that they think are most appropriate….but this service does cost a good bit of money and honestly is not required in my opinion.  Many times saddles will be used for multiple horses, ...
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Breeding & Selection

The Color and Mark of Horses – Information from 1751

Having recently been lent an original copy of the ‘Treatise on the Diseases of Horses’ written by William Gibson, Surgeon, in 1751, it has been interesting to compare horse lore then to now. This article looks at one of the early chapters on the colour and marks of horses. Some pictures from the book are reproduced online.  Beautifully written in expressive old English this book is a real pleasure to read. We would still agree with Gibson today that ‘so much of the beauty of a horse depends upon his being well marked and of a good colour’ and also that ‘we often meet with good horses that are very ill marked and of bad colours and sometimes very bad horses, that have almost all the beauty that color and marks can give them’. Reading this chapter from three centuries ago it becomes obvious that then marks and colour were taken to determine the character of the horse, and that much store was put on good looks. It is obvious, for example, that a gentleman in 18th century England would never be seen on the type of colored horse which is becoming popular today! Bays, Gibson suggests, are ‘perhaps so called from their resembling the color of dried bay leaves’. In his opinion the bay is ‘one of the best colours, and horses of all the different kinds of bays are commonly good, unless when accidents happen to spoil them while they are colts’. Although Chestnut mares have a poor reputation in the 21st century, it ...
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Horse Training 101

Each horse is different in how it learns and how it reacts to outside stimuli. Certain methods of horse training may apply to some horses, but it does not mean that it will be effective to all breeds of horse or all horses within that specific breed. Although training towards breed characteristics is a good idea, it does not always work. Each horse is an individual just as each human is an individual. We can group like horses together (breeds), and a majority of the time training will work the same for that group; however, you will have exceptions to every rule…especially when you realize you are dealing with an animal. Although it would be great if your horse could talk directly to you, that just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. To start horse training you must develop a communication system with the horse. This might take time. In the same way as children may not fully grasp the idea of things at an instant, baby horses in training may not get every pressure, tap or way of holding the reins at once. When you apply a pressure in a certain way, you expect a certain response. During horse training, you must make the horse understand that a certain pressure should elicit a corresponding response. You should not expect full compliance in the beginning, but as time goes by, these actions will be part of the horse’s vocabulary. In the beginning, you should keep lessons short, and reward your horse when he responds the ...
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Breeding & Selection

Selecting a Horse: Choose the Breed Carefully

Owning a horse is a huge responsibility. Just like owning any pet, you should put a great deal of thought and consideration before you decide to purchase an equine. Since most individuals will have to house horses off their property, you should first consider finding a suitable stable before you purchase a horse. Also, consider your wants and needs. If you or your stable has limited space, you might not want to consider a sizable draft horse like a Clydesdale. However, if you are in need of a large horse to do a great deal of work pulling wagons, you should consider breeds other than Shetlands. There are a great number of breeds, each with a different pro and con. After carefully reviewing each breed, you are sure to find the exact type of horse to fit your needs and your lifestyle. The selection of the breed you wish to own is extremely important and a great deal of thought should be given to exactly which breed is right for you and  your family. Ask yourself what you are looking for in a horse: Do you want a horse that you can show? If so, what kind of shows (halter, western events, English events, etc.) Do you want a horse for work purposes? If so, what type of work – moving cattle, pulling a wagon, security at a mall? Do you want a horse to jump or ride competitively? Do you want a horse to race? Do you want a horse to ride on trails or ...
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Welcome to Our New Site!

We are just getting started, but have over 50 articles online already! So be sure to check back with us for new information soon! This site is devoted to providing information to help horse lovers prepare for owning horses and to give tips to those of us who already own horses. The dream of owning a horse is a common one, but should not be taken lightly. You must be prepared to care for your horses properly before you purchase them. Much of the information on this site has been passed down through generations of horse owners. Some of the tips have been learned the hard way. We hope to help make your equestrian experience as pleasant and safe as possible. Enjoy!...
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