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Nancy Nellis, Phone (406) 685-3541 PO Box 526, Pony, MT 59747
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Horse Care...
Communication skills are known to be highly developed in horses, but they are unable to speak to us in the same way that human beings do. It is vital that horse owners understand the fundamentals of horse care and the basic requirements for raising a happy and healthy horse.

Some horse owners often assume horses require little care - just lock them in a pasture and they'll be fine. Other horse owners tend to underestimate the safety aspects of being around horses - safety for both horse and human. Finally, many novice horse people, and even some experienced ones, don't understand horse behavior and communication and so care for the horse inappropriately.
Proper Horse Care-
  1. Strong tight fencing. Barbed wire should not be used with horses, especially for confined areas. Also, field fencing is not recommended for confinement areas. Reinforcing any fencing with a strand of hot wire along the inside (chest height on the horse) provides a psychological barrier horses are likely to respect. Any type of wire should be tight and frequently checked for loosening. Make a habit of regularly walking your fence lines and inspecting them for problems.

2. Clean pastures. Inspect your pastures regularly to make sure there are no sharp objects horses can get hurt on. Watering and feeding containers should be free of sharp edges. Be sure your pastures are free of poisonous plants. Contact your local county Cooperative Extension, Conservation District or Soil Conservation Service for more information on pasture management and plants toxic to livestock.

3. A clean, dry place to eat. Preferably a clean, well ventilated stall. It is most natural for a horse to eat with its head lowered - this helps with clearing their respiratory system. Never feed in the mud. Feeding on sand or muddy ground can lead to ingestion of dirt causing serious digestion problems.

4.Twice a day feeding, minimum. Alfalfa hay is higher in protein and energy, but for most horses grass hay (such as Timothy) or a mix of grass and alfalfa would be best. Horses should be supplemented with grain only if horse cannot maintain its weight on hay alone. A good rule of thumb for feeding hay is 1 & 1/2 lbs. of hay/100 lbs. of body weight. This would be 15 lbs. of hay for an average 1,000 lb. horse. Always purchase green, leafy hay which is free of dust and mold. A horse should never be fed hay or grain which is moldy, dusty, weedy or contains foreign objects. Make diet changes gradually over a period of days. Consult your veterinarian for the feeding program best suited for your horse. See...
Read more articles about horse care...
 5. A selenium supplement. Selenium should be supplemented to all horses in the Western Washington. Horse Guard, Dynamite and Northwest Supplement are examples of vitamin supplements containing adequate amounts of selenium. Pure selenium is available from your veterinarian or vet supply catalogues. Consult your veterinarian on the correct dosage.

6. Water. A horse drinks 8 to 12 gallons of water per day. Water should be fresh and available at all times. Be sure your horse's water container is free of rough edges and rust. It should be scrubbed clean of algae and dirt regularly. In cold weather be sure your horse's water is not frozen or too cold or they may not drink an adequate amount.

7. Loose sea salt with trace minerals should be free-choice and available at all times.

8. Freedom from competition. Separate horses to feed them. This prevents fights, injuries and weight loss problems. Don't over stock your pastures or crowd horses together.

9. A screened fly mask during fly season and a good residual fly repellent. Your local Extension Service or Conservation District has more information available on insect control (including biological insect control) for livestock owners.

10. Vaccinations: Tetanus - once a year. Influenza and Rhinopneumonitis - minimum of once or twice a year (stabled or show horses may need it more often - consult your veterinarian). Encephalomyelitis (East/West) - once a year in spring or summer if the horse ever leaves Western Washington. Potomac Horse Fever - rare in Washington but the Washington State Veterinarian recommends vaccinating for this serious disease.

11.Deworming. Paste wormers are purchased at feed stores or from vet supply catalogues. This should be done every 6-8 weeks. Consult your veterinarian. Stalls and confinement areas should have manure removed from them every 1-3 days to avoid from horses reinfecting themselves with worms.

12. Stool samples. This should be done 2-4 times a year to insure your deworming program is working properly.

13. Dental exam. Done once a year by a veterinarian.

14. Stocked first aid kit.

15. Regular pasture and manure management program. Maintaining healthy pastures and planning for manure disposal are an important aspect of horse care. A 1,000 lb. horse produces about 45 lbs. of manure/day, equaling about 1 cu. ft./day. With bedding that comes to 2 cu. ft./day. It is important that you have a plan to utilize the manure as compost in pastures, garden or lawn, or have it hauled away on a regular basis. In addition, pastures in Western Washington simply cannot survive overgrazing or constant trampling during the winter months. For information or help with pasture, manure and mud management contact your local Conservation District, Soil Conservation Service or Cooperative Extension.
 KEEP IN MIND: Always consult your veterinarian on the health care program best for your horses or if you have problems or questions.
More about fencing... (click)
More about poisonous plants...(click)
Recommended seeding mixes...
Wish your horse's mane & tail could be beautiful like in the movies?  Now it can be.  Check this out:
Painted horses are mane attraction for anatomy students With 205 bones and 700 muscles the horse is a challenging animal for anatomy students to study.  That was until champion rider Gillian Higgins came up with the novel idea of showing people how it all works. Rather than bog them down with dusty diagrams and skeletal sketches, she hit upon the idea of painting the inner workings of the horse on the beast itself.

Gillian Higgins shows-off her anatomical study on thirteen-year- old Kiitos ahead of a lecture on equine anatomy Now veterinary students, race horse trainers, eventers, pony club members and dressage judges are flocking to her lectures to see the horse painting in action. Ms Higgins uses water-based hypoallergenic paints which are easy to wash off afterwards. She takes four hours to apply the equine make-up - painting the skeletal structure on one side and the multi-coloured musculature on the other. More... 'Painting the skeleton and musculature on the side of the horse really helps to bring the subject to life,' she says. 'You can discover how to get the best out of your horse by seeing exactly what happens as it moves.'

The champion rider Gillian Higgins paints the flexor muscle chain on one side of the horse. Gillian, 27, a sports remedial therapist, from Nottingham, first hit on the idea three years ago after completing a degree in equine business management at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. She said: 'I realized that many riders and trainers could benefit from a better understanding of how the horse works. With all those bones and muscles with incredibly long names, it can be a bit much to take it all in. 'I'm trying to show the anatomy and how the horse works in an interesting and easy to understand way. 'I started gradually with a bit of paint but then became more and more in demand. Now I go all over the country from Cornwall to Inverness and I'm soon flying off to South Africa to give a demonstration there.'

A horse has 205 bones and 700 muscles. Painting a steed helps students remember which one is where.        Normally her models are her 12 year old eventer Freddie Fox or six year old Henry - although if she travels further afield from home she relies on schools and colleges to provide a steed for her. Greys are best because the colours show up more clearly. Gillian, who won a gold medal at the student riders nations cup in 2006, said: 'Freddie Fox is the best model because he has just the right temperament and loves to be the centre of attention at the demonstrations. Being painted isn't much different for them as being groomed or handled. They don't mind at all. 'The worst thing that has ever happened was when a horse that had not minded being painted in the slightest, then had to go into an arena in front of 150 people. He got a bit spooked up by the crowd and was jumping around and became a little bit too much.' For more information and details of Gillian's book How Your Horse Moves visit
Equine Integrative Therapies-helping horses to reach their full potential all over the world. Encouraging horse owners to be more involved with keeping the horses body in balance emotionally and physically.   Check out this video: