Supplements

If you spend much time looking at horse magazines odds are you have seen an ad or two for a horse supplementphoto (17). The real question is does your horse need a supplement? My best advice on feeding supplements and if your horse needs a supplement would be to ask your vet. Your veterinarian should be able to tell you what studies have found about different supplements and more importantly if your horse even needs to be supplemented at all. Like grain horses in more strenuous training are going to need better nutrition than a horse that gets ridden every now and then. Your vet can let you know about what kind of supplements are out there and would be a pretty good unbiased(hopefully) opinion on what brand or what kind of supplement would work best for your horse.

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The Journey to Seasoning Horses

photo (16)In the horse competition world there is a big difference between young horses and seasoned competitors. Young horses that have not been hauled much are sometimes referred to as green horses. While seasoned competitors can offer great consistency there can be great satisfaction from getting the green horses to seasoned competitors. To make a horse a seasoned competitor than can handle most every situation takes much time and experience. Experience really is the best teacher. From standing at the trailer to many competition runs in one day, a horse isn’t going to become seasoned without experiencing it. Sure, at first they might act antsy at the trailer but normally in due time they will figure out that throwing a fit does nothing but waste their energy. Horses learn from repetition so if you can do the same type of exercises at the show as you do at home it can provide some comfort for the horse. The most important thing to remember is that every horse is an individual and will learn how to handle different situations at their own pace. 

Straight vs. Slant Load Trailers

With all the trailer options available to day which are best straight or slant load? This has been through much debate and honestly depending on which side you are pulling for can come out on top. While straight load trailers provide the horse the ability to be able to evenly distribute weight on his front two feet or back two feet during speeding up or slowing down, slant load trailers let the horse take hard stopping on a greater portion of his body therefore minimizing the risk of injury. Most horses tend to load in a slant load better than in a straight load but loading in either comfortably can be taught.  So when it comes down to it the best trailer design is mostly up to the buyer of the trailer. Whichever you like best you will more than likely purchasephoto (15)

Unraveling Polo Wraps

Polo wraps are another form of leg protectionphoto (14). Some people like them because you can control how much protection is where. Like many other things, with control comes great responsibility. Incorrectly wrapping a horse’s leg can cause severe and even career ending damage. There are many different videos on youtube about wrapping legs but I suggest finding someone who you know is a reputable person, either online or in person, to teach you how to wrap your horse’s legs with polo wraps. Wrapping polos, like anything else takes practice to become good at and I would suggest finding someone knowledgeable to watch you wrap your horse’s leg the first few times until you get the hang of it.

Useful Training Tools

Have you ever been overwhelmed with all of the training aids offered? German martingales, running martingales, and draw reins? What all do they do and would your horse benefit from one? These training aids in general teach a horse to keep his head down. By having a release at a lower point rather than a higher point the horse learns to keep his head down which the goal of is head being down is that he is round in the back and driving from the hind end, or in other words collected. Each of these devices have different purposes, if you don’t know how to use one and think you horse might need one, I would highly suggest finding someone who does know how to use these devices and how to fit them correctly. By incorrectly using one of these aids you may be undoing more than helping your horse. photo (13)

Types of Horse Fencing

There are many different types of horse fencing, with all of the choices have you ever wondered what would be best for your horse? Just a few of the different types of fencing are barbed wire, hot wire, livestock fencing, wooden fence, and vinyl fencing. Barbed wire has been around for quite a while, while it is effective at keeping livestock in, when livestock especially horses come into contact with barbed wire it can get serious quickly. A foot placed in between the wires can severely damage a horse. Hot wire needs to be checked quite regularly to make sure it is still working. Livestock fencing that I am referring to is the square wire. Some is made with smaller squares at the bottom to keep a foot from getting hung in the fence but shoes can still get caught on the fence and be torn off and take off shoes as well. Wooden fence should last a while but watch for nails sticking out and sometimes horses can get in the habit of wood chewing or cribbing on the fence. Vinyl in my opinion while it does look good is not really designed to keep an animal as big as a horse in. It breaks somewhat easy while it is easy to pop back into place it does break and have to be replaced. The best way to find out what type of fencing is best for your situation is to do some research as well as talk to people and see what kind of fencing tends to be in most peoples opinion the best. photo (12)

Things to Keep in Mind While Stalled

Horses that are stalledphoto (36) for long periods of time can develop less than desirable habits. Some horses may start to crib, others may weave, either way these habits can be difficult and maybe even impossible to break. The best way to prevent this from happening is to turn out horses for some amount of time each day for them to work off all this energy. Now if a horse is stalled for an injury this may not be possible in which case stall toys may help the horse heal while allowing him to be able to play and work off some of his energy. Horses are not designed to stay in a 12 X 12 area for extended periods of time without some time of exercise. Keep this in mind when horses are stalled especially if not stalled a lot don’t be afraid to turn them out or hand walk the horse to keep him boredom to a minimum.