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Basic Equine Care. Kristen M. Wilson Regional Extension Horse Specialist MCE Equine In-Service February 12, 2008. Areas To Consider. Horse Behavior Housing Nutrition Health. Why think like a horse?. To be safe To make a horse feel relaxed To have a satisfying experience

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Basic equine care l.jpg

Basic Equine Care

Kristen M. Wilson

Regional Extension Horse Specialist

MCE Equine In-Service

February 12, 2008


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Areas To Consider

  • Horse Behavior

  • Housing

  • Nutrition

  • Health


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Why think like a horse?

  • To be safe

  • To make a horse feel relaxed

  • To have a satisfying experience

  • To achieve goals


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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


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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


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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


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Housing Requirements

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


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Housing Requirements

  • Things to keep in mind:

    • Fencing

    • Pasture

    • Barn / Shelter

    • Bedding

    • Ventilation


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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


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


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


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Types of Safe Fencing State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

Plastic PVC

Wood Board

V-Wire Mesh


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Pasture State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Good pasture can meet most nutritional requirements of horses

  • Provides area for exercise

  • Stocking rates

    • 2-3 acres/animal


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Pasture Management Practices State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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


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Shelter State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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?


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Types of Shelters State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

Run – In Shed

Stall


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Shelter - Stall State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Size: 12ft x 12ft

  • Well ventilated

  • Free of hazards

  • Good footing and drainage


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Shelter – Run-In Shed State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Allow 90 to 150 sq ft per animal

  • Usually three-sided

  • At least 12ft tall

  • Back to prevailing winds


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Bedding State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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


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Ventilation State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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


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Nutritional Needs State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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


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Nutritional Program Components State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Water

  • Forage *

  • Concentrate

  • Vitamins & Minerals


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Water State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Most important nutrient

  • Always clean

  • Available in turn-out areas and stalls

  • 10-12 gallons consumed daily


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Forage State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Very important for proper digestion

  • Types of hay:

    • Legume

    • Grass

    • Mixed

  • Horse will consume 1 ½ to 2% of body weight per day


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Concentrates State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Used to:

    • Supplement and balance nutrients in forages

    • Supplement higher caloric needs of working and lactating horses


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Vitamins & Minerals State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Most commercial grain mixes will contain a vitamin/mineral mix

  • Free choice trace mineral and plain salt blocks can be provided


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Nutrition Management Tips State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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


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Grooming State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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


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Health Care State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Vaccinations

  • Coggins

  • Deworming

  • Teeth Care

  • Hoof Care

  • Emergency Care


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Deworming State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Recommended every 6 to 8 weeks

  • Rotate commercial products

  • Read labels for frequency and dosage recommendations


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Teeth Care State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Important to ensure that your horse can chew and digest food

  • Recommended 1-2 times/year


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Hoof Care State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Recommended every 6 to 8 weeks

  • Costs depends on what is done

  • Types of services:

    • Hoof Trim

    • Front Shoes Only

    • Four Shoes

    • Specialized Care


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Vital Signs State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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


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Vital Signs State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

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


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Exercise State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • 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


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Forms State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See: of Exercise

Longeing

Riding

Hot Walker


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Summary State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Horse Behavior

    • Fight vs. Flight

    • Herd Bound

  • Housing

    • Fencing

    • Pasture

    • Shelter


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Summary State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

  • Nutritional

    • Every horse is unique

    • Water, Forage, Concentrate, Vitamins & Minerals

  • Health

    • Vaccinations, Hoof Care, Deworming, Dental Care

    • Vital Signs

    • Exercise


Kristen m wilson kswilson@umd edu 301 596 9478 l.jpg

Kristen M. Wilson State University Eileen Wheeler and Jennifer Smith Zajaczkowski. See:

kswilson@umd.edu

301-596-9478