How Intelligent Are Horses?

How Intelligent Are Horses?

Are horses as smart as dogs, or dolphins? Do they recognise their owners? Can they learn words?
by Sophie Baker
Stable Yard Equipment: Things You'll Need

Stable Yard Equipment: Things You'll Need

Horse owners know that you never just buy the horse, you also have to buy everything that comes with the responsibility of a horse.
by Sophie Baker
10 Tips for Stable Care

10 Tips for Stable Care

Having a horse is a bit like having a child – but with more mess! If you’re like most horse owners, stable care is part and parcel of your daily life.
by Sophie Baker
Is Horse Riding Good for You?

Is Horse Riding Good for You?

Yes, it is! Whether you are an experienced rider or a beginner, riding horses gives you significant health benefits – physical, psychological, and some say spiritual benefits.
by Gail Staines
Do Horses Sweat?

Do Horses Sweat?

Yes they do! Like other animals that have sweat glands, horses have sweat glands, too. Sweating is very important for a horse. Sweating is part of a horse’s cooling system to relieve heat build-up.
by Gail Staines
Can Horses Eat Bananas, Pears, Apples, and Other Fruits?

Can Horses Eat Bananas, Pears, Apples, and Other Fruits?

We all know that horses enjoy eating apples, but can horses eat bananas, pears, and other fruits?
by Gail Staines
Can Horses Eat Cabbage, Celery, Carrots and Other Vegetables?

Can Horses Eat Cabbage, Celery, Carrots and Other Vegetables?

Can Horses Eat Cabbage, Celery, Carrots and Other Vegetables?

Can horses eat vegetables other than carrots? Absolutely! Horses enjoy celery, corn, lettuce, squash, sweet potatoes, and turnips. Vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, too. For example, carrots are high in Vitamin A and celery is a good source of Vitamin K. Feeding these items in limited quantities is fine and your horse may actually enjoy the variety!

Good Vegetables for Horses

Carrots: Of course, carrots may be the most popular treat that horses are fed. Carrots are very high in vitamin A (carotene), low in saturated fat and cholesterol. To feed carrots to your horse, either cut the carrots longwise or cut each into small pieces. Most horses love to eat carrots, but like other treats, do not feed them too many.

Celery: Celery contains a number of vitamins such as Vitamin K, potassium, manganese, Vitamins B2, C, B6, and A. It is also a good source of fiber. Horses can eat both the celery and the celery leaves. Like feeding other vegetables to horses, cut the celery into smaller sized pieces. 

Corn: Most corn that is fed to horses is either cracked or rolled and is typically mixed in with other grains or mixed feed. Corn is an excellent source of Potassium, Vitamin B-6, Magnesium, and Iron. However, corn is also very high in starch that can be problematic for a horse’s digestive system. When fed as part of a balanced diet, though, corn is a good choice.  

Pumpkin:  You would not think to feed pumpkin to horses, but some horses enjoy the taste of it. Pumpkins are very high in Vitamin A. Made up of ninety percent water pumpkins have a sweet taste, which is probably why some horses enjoy eating it. To feed horses pumpkin, take a pumpkin and slice a whole in the top. Scoop out the flesh and the seeds. Separate and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into small chunks.

Vegetables Not Safe for Horses 

These vegetables are absolutely NOT safe for your horse to eat: avocados, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, regular potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. Avoid feeding horses these vegetables at all costs!

Feeding Vegetables 

When feeding vegetables to your horse, make sure to wash them first. Then, cut vegetables in long strips or in small pieces. Feeding horses chunks of food may cause your horse to choke. Remember that a horse cannot throw up/vomit. Food that gets caught in a horse’s oesophagus can be very serious. If the horse is unable to dislodge the item of food by itself, it will be necessary to contact your veterinarian immediately.

by Gail Staines
5 Things to Consider When Buying a Hot Horse Shower

5 Things to Consider When Buying a Hot Horse Shower

Hot horse showers, especially the products of the portable variety, are taking the equestrian world by storm. Why should you invest in purchasing a hot horse shower?

#1:  Your horse will never have to experience a cold bath again! Just think of this. All those times you cringed as your horse cringed while you were giving it a bath with cold water. Yikes! If you do not like taking cold baths or showers, just think about what your horse thinks. A portable hot shower allows you to give your horse a long luxurious cleaning all year long. 

#2:  Along those lines, using a hot horse shower will keep your horse warm when the weather is cold, reducing the possibility of your equine becoming chilled. No more giving your horse a bath with cool or cold water, drying it off with towels or even using a hair dryer, then putting on wool coolers until they are dry. What an uncomfortable experience for your horse to endure.

#3: With a portable hot horse shower, you can bring it with you just about anywhere, especially when you do not have access to warm or hot water. These showers are durable and safe to use, providing you and your horse with an endless supply of warm/hot water in the barn, at a show site, while camping – just about anywhere. 

#4: Using a hot horse shower will definitely relax your horse’s sore muscles. Just think how grateful they will feel after a rigorous workout, a long day on the trail or the hunt field, or after a day of showing. There is nothing like a warm shower to loosen muscles and relax the body.

#5: And, you can keep your horse sparkling clean every single day and not just for horse shows! Dust, dirt, mud, manure, and sweat are all things of the past now that a daily shower with warm water is part of your regular routine.  Many hot horse showers are easy to hook up. Typically all you need is a garden hose to connect to a water supply and a power source. Hot horse showers run off of electricity, battery power, or gas such as propane. 

Very reasonably priced, horse owners who have purchased hot horse showers are quite glad that they have added this product to their grooming toolkit and wished that they had done it sooner. Clean happy horse equals happy rider, happy owner!

by Gail Staines
4 Reasons Why Horses Eat Poop - And What You Can Do About It!

4 Reasons Why Horses Eat Poop - And What You Can Do About It!

To humans, it is disgusting when animals (such as dogs and horses) eat poop – whether it be their own or another animal’s feces. Coprophagy (kopros from the Greek for feces, and phagein which is Greek for eating) is not the same as pica that is eating dirt, twigs, sand, and other non-foods.

Some foals, from when they are born until when about they are 2 months old, do eat their own or their mother’s (the mare’s) manure. Veterinarians have a variety of reasons for why this occurs. It could be that foals eat manure to get “good bacteria” to help them digest food; or it could be because they need to ingest eggs of parasites to help start their immune system; or, the foal could be testing out what they do and don’t like to eat. Some veterinarians recommend that you add a probiotic to your filly or colt’s food to help them build good bacteria.

So why do horses eat poop? Horses are meant to eat – to graze – all day long every single day. As domesticated animals, we tend to keep our horses in stalls that allow them to move around and lay down, but it does not provide them with large outdoor space needed to move and eat freely. Horses that are bored or hungry may try to satisfy these feelings by either eating their poop or cribbing on wood. Eating manure may also be a sign of a nutrient deficiency.

So, how do you stop this behavior? First, work with an equine nutritionist or a veterinarian who has this expertise to determine what, if any, nutrients are missing from your horse’s diet (minerals, vitamins, proteins, or something else). By going through this process you will be able to determine if your horse’s current diet is sufficient or requires adjusting. Your horse’s age and activity level, in addition to its current diet, will be a part of this process.

There are several other activities that must become a regular part of horse care once your horse is eating the right diet.

  • Note that a horse’s diet needs to be supplemented with grain and the appropriate nutrients in addition to a diet of grass and hay.
  • Make sure horse is on a regular worming schedule. Work with your veterinarian to set-up and maintain the schedule.
  • You also want to have an equine dentist check and float your horse’s teeth once or twice a year. Floating involves taking a rasp designed to file down teeth so that they have smooth surfaces. This allows the horse to grind their food properly, getting the most nutrients out of what they eat. A dental check will also determine if your horse requires any teeth that need to be pulled.
  • Keep a mineral salt block available at all times in your horse’s stall and/or out in the corral or pasture where they spend most of their time. Salt blocks are made from different types of minerals and are available in different sizes. There are salt blocks you can hang in your horse’s stall and large salt blocks you can place on the ground in the pasture or corral.
  • Keep stalls, run-outs, corrals, arenas, and any area where your horse spends time clean from manure. Daily cleaning of stalls is a necessity. It is also a good idea to have a muck bucket and pitchfork with closely aligned tines handy at all times, such as in the grooming stall, near stalls, and in the corner of the arena, corral, and pasture.
  • Provide your horse hay at all times. Even hanging hay in a hay net directly outside your horse’s stall door helps feeding and allows your horse to see what is going on around them.
  • Feed horses several times throughout the day, not just two times a day. Horses need to have food in their digestive system at all times, so it is better to feed them several times throughout the day.
  • Clean water must be available to your horse at all times. It is very important to check your horse’s water supply several times a day to make that they have not pooped in their bucket, that the water is not dirty, that they have water, and that the water is not frozen.
  • Horses thrive on routine, so make sure to feed, train, and turn out your horse the same time every day.
  • Like being trapped in a cell, horses that live in stalls need to get out on pasture as well as get plenty of exercise. Being confined in a stall too long may result in your horse exhibiting behaviors such as weaving (moving from side-to-side) or eating manure from stress. Exercising, grazing outdoors, and eating a balanced diet significantly reduces coprophagy.

Common additions that are added to a horse’s diet, once it is determined what is missing in your horse’s diet, are adding multi-vitamin and/or mineral supplements, and/or fortified grain. The veterinarian may suggest adding a probiotic to their diet to help them add good bacteria into their digestive tract again.

To address the issue of overweight horses who eat manure, attach a “slow feeder” to their halter. This allows them to eat, but to eat at a much slower rate. If a horse is underweight or overweight, is lethargic, or behaving in ways that are not normal for them, you need to have them examined by a veterinarian.

Horse coprophagy is not only disgusting; it is most often a result of something missing from your horse’s diet and/or a result of stress or boredom. It is an affliction that, once identified, should be addressed immediately. The sooner your horse’s poop eating is stopped, the sooner they will return to being a healthy member of your family. Check out our catalog of supplements, salt blocks, muck buckets and pitchforks, and everything else to make sure that your horse remains happy and healthy!
by Gail Staines
Why is My Horse Losing Weight?

Why is My Horse Losing Weight?

Why is my horse losing weight?

Sometimes keeping a horse at its proper weight can be challenging. While many horses are what is known as an “easy keeper” (meaning that they can keep their weight at the right level by eating a simple uncomplicated diet), for other horses, keeping their weight at the ideal level is not as easy. There may also be times where your horse loses weight and you will need to discover why. Here are a few of the more common reasons that your horse might lose weight.

Not Enough Food

A horse’s weight loss can be attributed to not getting enough food to maintain its weight. Think about your horse’s recent activity. Are you riding/working your horse more than usual yet feeding them the same amount and type of food? Or has your horse’s activity level been reduced with a subsequent reduction in feed? In addition, think about the weather conditions. For example, colder weather requires a horse to burn more energy to stay warm. To burn more energy, a horse needs more food. If the weather is now much colder, but you have not increased the amount of food that you horse eats, it could be a reason your horse is losing weight.

Wrong Food

Another reason that your horse may be losing weight is that you may be feeding the right amount of food, but you are not feeding the right type of food. Today’s domesticated horse does well when pasture grass and hay are supplemented with some type of grain, oats, or other mixture of pelleted food. How do you know what type of food your horse needs? The best way to ensure that your horse is receiving the proper nutrition is to talk with an equine nutrition specialist. Equine nutritionists can be found at colleges and universities, reputable pet stores, producers of equine feed, and online. An equine nutritionist can analyse the food that you are currently feeding your horse to determine if it is meeting your horse’s needs as well as to match the proper feed mixture for your horse.

Dental Issues

Horses rely greatly on their teeth to obtain the complete nutritional value from their meals. As such, you need to make sure that your horse receives a visit from an equine dentist at least twice a year. During a dental visit, the equine dentist will examine your horse’s teeth. Like a human visiting the dentist, the equine dentist will look for cavities, sharp edges or hooks, and for any teeth that need to be removed due to infection, for example. It is very important that the horse’s upper and lower teeth can move back-and-forth as two flat surfaces as this how the horse grinds its food so that it can swallow it. The dentist uses a rasp to file down the teeth so that they are flat. During this procedure, the horse is usually tranquillised. Without the teeth having flat surfaces to grind food properly, the horse does not get the nutrition it needs and, thus, loses weight. 

Other Conditions

In addition to not being fed the right food, not being fed enough of the right food, and dental issues, there are many other reasons that a horse can lose weight. These include disease as well as stress from being moved to a new area such as a new stable or to a horse show. Also, weight loss can be due to your horse not being on a regular worming program. 

If the above issues are ruled out as being the cause of your horse’s weight loss, have an equine veterinarian examine your horse to see what other reasons might be causing your horse to lose weight.
by Gail Staines