Baby-Proofing the Barn
It’s January, and 2014 foals are coming any day now. (Unless you already have a 2014 foal, in which case, wow — that’s some impressive timing!) Are you ready for your four-legged bundle of joy? Make sure you’ve done your baby-proofing. With a human baby, you get a few months in which to remember to buy those foam strips and put covers on the electric outlets. But foals begin a path of banging, bumping, and general destruction within hours of birth — so the time to check out your barn and […]
Horse owners are traditionally the most DIY of animal-lovers.
Hands up if your vet has ever looked at you and said “You know how to take stitches out, right?” or if you see them more for a scheduled drop-off of prescription medicines than for emergencies.
But even if you prefer to let the professionals take care of the messy business of treating wounds and checking vitals, there are certain first aid must-haves that no stable can be without. Unless you have a veterinarian on staff, at some point you will find yourself with an emergency […]
Cold water — ah, so refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
You slip out of the saddle and grab the water bottle out of the tack room fridge, letting the iciness slide down your throat and freeze your brain. You grab a sponge and squeeze it over your sweaty horse’s head, neck, and chest, offer him a drink from the hose while you get busy cooling him down. He wants more water than you’ll let him have, grabbing the hose with his teeth, pulling on it while you laugh and tug back.
(Later you’ll regret […]
Ah, it’s time for winter shoes.
Bring out the boots: waterproof, shearling-lined, insulated, bulky boots. The ones for stomping through mud and slush and snow for another season. Put away your flip-flops; hide them somewhere, you don’t want to be reminded of them mid-winter, or you’ll find yourself on a plane to the Caribbean before you’ve sorted out a barn-sitter.
But what about your horse? His winter boots need consideration, too. From occasional ice to heavy snows, no matter where you live, if the seasons are affecting your choice in […]
Your horse is made to chew.
Over millions of years of evolution, your delicate equine has perfected many things: galloping, jumping, spooking at plastic bags. But above all else, horses are champion chewers. They have 36 to 44 teeth (interestingly, this number is a moving target) that grow by several millimeters each year, all positioned in precise locations to bite, chew, and grind food — specifically, grasses. The average healthy horse has enough tooth in reserve to get him through about thirty years of life.
And if he was spending thirty years grazing his way through a pasture, that […]
We all have the muscles to prove that we’re horsepeople.
Biceps are part of the job description, whether we’re mucking stalls, stacking hay, or just grooming our horses. But every now and then, even the most stalwart horseman can get faced with a horse so indescribably a dirt-ball, not even our own considerable elbow grease is up to the challenge.
In warm weather, high pressure from a hose might do the trick to remove those layers of grime. But if you don’t have time for a bath, or if the temperature has dropped past […]
Whether you live in the balmy south or the shivery north, winter will arrive on your doorstep sooner or later.
Horses stay warm very naturally on their own: their coats turn fluffy on the coldest, windiest days because they quite literally turn their hair up to block the chill. When the hair follicles stand on end, a warm jacket of insulating air is kept close to the skin. It’s kind of like goose bumps in humans, except that getting goosebumps, for us, just tells us to find our jackets.
But what if your horse doesn’t have […]
All across the country, horse owners are wrinkling up their noses, putting on their brave faces, and pulling out their horse blankets from storage.
Whether you fold them neatly into tack trunks (and if you do, we commend you!) or stuff them into trash bags and knot them up, hoping for the best, that fateful moment when you realize you actually have to get those blankets out is always fraught with nervousness: what if they smell, what if there were moths, what if there’s a spider?
Once you’ve brushed the dust off your face and stopped […]