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Basic Equine Care

Basic Equine Care

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Basic Equine Care

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  1. Basic Equine Care Kristen M. Wilson Regional Extension Horse Specialist MCE Equine In-Service February 12, 2008

  2. Areas To Consider • Horse Behavior • Housing • Nutrition • Health

  3. Why think like a horse? • To be safe • To make a horse feel relaxed • To have a satisfying experience • To achieve goals

  4. Prey vs. Predator • Evolved as small mammals whose survival depended on their ability to flee from predators • Same survival instincts are in today’s modern horse • Natural behavioral patterns are linked to their prey status

  5. Fight or Flight • Flee first and ask questions later • Distance must be put between the horse and the situation/object • Use all senses to investigate their surroundings • Must recognize a horse’s curiosity and take steps to reduce accidents

  6. Safety in Numbers • Very social animals • Comfortable with the presence of other animals • Instinctively want to be in a herd and readily form herds if on pasture • Establish pecking orders

  7. Housing Requirements Diagram from “Fence Planning for Horses” Pennsylvania State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/

  8. Housing Requirements • Things to keep in mind: • Fencing • Pasture • Barn / Shelter • Bedding • Ventilation

  9. Fencing • Type of fencing safe for horses • Should be sturdy, visible and durable • 4 ½ to 5 feet high • Bottom of fence and gates should be 8 – 12 inches off the ground • No sharp edges, narrow corners or projections

  10. Diagram from “Fence Planning for Horses” Pennsylvania State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/

  11. Diagram from “Fence Planning for Horses” Pennsylvania State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/

  12. Types of Safe Fencing Plastic PVC Wood Board V-Wire Mesh

  13. Pasture • Good pasture can meet most nutritional requirements of horses • Provides area for exercise • Stocking rates • 2-3 acres/animal

  14. Pasture Management Practices • Avoid over or under grazing • Soil Test, fertilize and lime as needed • Identify weeds and poisonous plants • Choose plant species wisely • Rotational grazing systems • Utilize sacrifice areas • Nutrient Management Plan

  15. Shelter • Provides horses protection from wind, extreme weather and moisture • Important questions: • What are the horse’s needs? • What do I want to do with the horse? • What can I afford? • Does my county have housing regulations for horses?

  16. Types of Shelters Run – In Shed Stall

  17. Shelter - Stall • Size: 12ft x 12ft • Well ventilated • Free of hazards • Good footing and drainage

  18. Shelter – Run-In Shed • Allow 90 to 150 sq ft per animal • Usually three-sided • At least 12ft tall • Back to prevailing winds

  19. Bedding • Preferred – Wood shavings or Straw • Others – Saw dust, Peat moss, Shredded newspaper, Stall mats • Avoid black walnut • Amounts: • 3 to 4 inches with dirt floor • 8-10 inches with concrete floor

  20. Ventilation • Poor ventilation can cause respiratory problems • Keep fresh air moving in • Exhaust out air contaminants, moisture and heat • Barn temp should be within 5 degrees of outside temperature

  21. Nutritional Needs • Feeding program should be tailored to meet the needs of each horse • Hard Keeper vs. Easy Keeper • Requirements based on: • Age • Breed / Type • Activity • Size • Weather • Reproductive status

  22. Nutritional Program Components • Water • Forage * • Concentrate • Vitamins & Minerals

  23. Water • Most important nutrient • Always clean • Available in turn-out areas and stalls • 10-12 gallons consumed daily

  24. Forage • Very important for proper digestion • Types of hay: • Legume • Grass • Mixed • Horse will consume 1 ½ to 2% of body weight per day

  25. Concentrates • Used to: • Supplement and balance nutrients in forages • Supplement higher caloric needs of working and lactating horses

  26. Vitamins & Minerals • Most commercial grain mixes will contain a vitamin/mineral mix • Free choice trace mineral and plain salt blocks can be provided

  27. Nutrition Management Tips • Establish and maintain feeding schedule • Feed several small meals per day • Horses consume 2 to 2.5% of b.w. / day • At least 50% of diet should be from forages • Know what and exactly how much your horse is being fed • Provide fresh water

  28. Grooming • Important for health, hygiene and appearance • Stimulates blood circulation & helps maintain muscle tone • Basic equipment: • Curry Comb • Brush (Dandy & Body) • Hoof pick • Mane & tail comb

  29. Health Care • Vaccinations • Coggins • Deworming • Teeth Care • Hoof Care • Emergency Care

  30. Deworming • Recommended every 6 to 8 weeks • Rotate commercial products • Read labels for frequency and dosage recommendations

  31. Teeth Care • Important to ensure that your horse can chew and digest food • Recommended 1-2 times/year

  32. Hoof Care • Recommended every 6 to 8 weeks • Costs depends on what is done • Types of services: • Hoof Trim • Front Shoes Only • Four Shoes • Specialized Care

  33. Vital Signs • Observe horse daily • Know normal vital signs: • Temperature – 100° F • Pulse (Heart Beat) – 30 to 40 BPM • Respiration Rate – 8 to 16 BPM • Establish norms for your horse

  34. Vital Signs Anderson, K. “Tips for New Horse Owners”. Nebraska Cooperative Extension

  35. Exercise • Level of adequate daily exercise will vary with each horse • Free exercise - use of a pasture • Forced exercise can be used if free exercise area is not accessible • 15 to 45 minutes per day on a regular basis

  36. Forms of Exercise Longeing Riding Hot Walker

  37. Summary • Horse Behavior • Fight vs. Flight • Herd Bound • Housing • Fencing • Pasture • Shelter

  38. Summary • Nutritional • Every horse is unique • Water, Forage, Concentrate, Vitamins & Minerals • Health • Vaccinations, Hoof Care, Deworming, Dental Care • Vital Signs • Exercise

  39. Kristen M. Wilson kswilson@umd.edu 301-596-9478