Pasture Maintenence Kit Is Now Available

We are pleased to offer our pasture maintenance kit – designed to help successfully manage a healthy pasture for your horses. Kits can be ordered using the Pay Pal button below. Please make sure to select the correct option (option 1 includes one soil test kit, option 2 includes 2 soil test kits). Also, make sure to include a proper postal address.

Each kit includes:

  • One print copy of Good-Horsekeeping’s Guide To Pasture Maintenance.
  • “To Do” checklists for seasonal pasture maintenance tasks.
  • Weed identification guide and control regimen - including a CD with Internet links to images of common pasture weeds.
  • One professional mail-in soil test with instructional guidelines for collecting a soil sample of your pasture (s).  Test is done by Michigan State University (MSU).

Each kit is $49.95 and includes shipping & handling.  For a kit with two soil tests select – option 2 for $61.95.


Select Option For # Of Soil Tests Included In Kit




This is the perfect time to overseed pastures . . .

Order you copy today for just $3.95

Early spring is the ideal time to overseed pastures.  After the hard winter we have had, doing so will be even more important if you want a healthy pasture this year.

The ideal time to overseed is when day time temperatures are above freezing and night-time temps dip below freezing (preferably below 25 degrees).  The freezing and thawing helps to pull the seed into the grown and eliminates the need to cover or roll seed in.

Orchard grass, clover, and brome are some of the easiest forages to overseed.  Timothy seed is extremely small and can be hard to spread effectively without a commercial seeder.  Alfalfa is tricky; it will not seed itself within a certain radius of existing alfalfa plants.

Watch out for flocks of birds and deer eating seed after you have planted it.  This is one reason to wait until the snow melts before overseeding.  When it lays on the snow it’s easy pickings for birds.

More great tips on overseeding, pasturing, dry lots and more can be found in our Good-Horsekeeping Guide To Pasture Management.  It’s just $3.95 for your electronic copy.  12-pages including a resource section for fencing and pasture supplies.  Order below using Pay Pal or send check or money order to One Horse Press at 70883 39th Street, Paw Paw, MI  49079.  Make sure to include your email address.

 





 

Dealing With The Snow Melt & Mud

A drainage area of sand in the low spot of this pen helps to drain standing water from snow melt and rain away from the rest of the lot

In most places in the country this year there is a lot of snow to melt. With melting snow and Spring rains comes mud.  And as horse owners, we hate mud.  Not only is it hard to keep our horses clean, it’s hard on shoes (if your horse is shop), and if your horse is susceptible to scratches and rain rot; it’s a breeding ground for the bacteria that causes these problems.
Here are the top five ways to keep mud under control:

  1. Keep your pens and pastures picked up – especially during times of transition (when temps are going up and down).  Pick of manure and rake up uneaten hay.  Sometimes (especially after long periods of snow) you will have to do this daily as manure areas and feeding spots thaw out layer by layer.
  2. Feed your best hay outside and in limited amounts.  The less hay horses waste, the less there will be to rake up, or to mix in the ground when the temperature rises, or when it rains.  Hay is one of the biggest contributors to deep mud that turns extremely hard when it dries – remember that buildings were once made using mud (made from mixing dirt, water, and straw).
  3. If possible, keep horses inside immediately following a rain.  Letting pens dry out a little will lessen the areas that get churned up.
  4. Letting horses eat the bulk of their hay in their stalls and waiting and hour or so before letting them out in pens will reduce the amount of manure in your pens.  Horses will pas the majority of their manure within two hours of eating.
  5. Periodically dig out chronically muddy areas and replace the contaminated dirt with new soil – preferably sand.  Digging drainage pits is also helpful . . . . locate these in the low areas of your pens and fill with gravel and sand (water will drain from the higher areas of the pen into these and will then drain outward).

 

 

Additional Helpful Good Horsekeeping Guides – Just $3.95 Each

This 12- page guide includes information on maintaining hay fields, making hay, equipment, hay storage, and more.  Also includes a resource section.  You can order below using PayPal, or can mail in your order using this downloadable order form.  Guides are just $3.95 each for a PDF electronic file.  Make sure to include your email address. Good Horsekeeping Guides Order Form

 





 

This 16- page guide includes over 100 cost saving tips for horse ownership, stable management, and showing. Also includes a resource section.  You can order below using PayPal, or can mail in your order using this downloadable order form.  Guides are just $3.95 each for a PDF electronic file.  Make sure to include your email address. Good Horsekeeping Guides Order Form

 





 

Winter Care For Your Equine Seniors

Order Your Copy Today For Just $3.95

 




 

 

Winter has already been tough in many parts of the country . . . owning two equine seniors, I know (and see) the successful results of a little TLC when the temperatures dip. Here are some of the things we do to keep our 25-year-old (who’s still being ridden) and 19-year-old show mare (yes, we’re still showing her) healthy and happy:

1. Increase water consumption by adding warm water to your water pails (if you don’t have heaters). Our horses – even though they have unfrozen water in their pails, will readily drink water when we add warm water to it.

2. Add about 1/2 cup of hot water to your grain (if feeding pelleted) and stir it up to make a warm mash.

3. Feed smaller amounts of hay several times daily. Digestion helps to maintain body temperature and by eating throughout the day (instead of just once or twice a day) horses will stay more comfortable when temperatures dip below freezing.

4. Provide protection from the weather at all times and consider stabling overnight when temperatures fall into the teens or below.

5. Consider using straw over your shavings for bedding. This not only provides some cushion (helpful with horses with arthritic joints) when horses lay down, but also warmth.

6. Blanket if your equine senior is a hard keeper or on the thin size.

7. Keep coats and tails groomed out. A fluffy coat offers more protection from the cold then does a coat that’s matted down with mud or manure.

8. Keep them moving. This is a must-do for older horses – especially ones with arthritic. Pens with run-in sheds are idea for stabling during the day. Light riding or hand walking daily also makes BIG difference.

9. Keep the outdoor footing as even as possible. Uneven footing is killer on arthritic joints and unshod feet. This might mean that you have to rake the area when you have a slight thaw, etc.,

10. Be considerate when you ride: warm the bit in your hands before bridling. Leave a saddle pad on your horse’s back for a few minutes after riding and untacking . . . . when you just pull it off after riding and it’s cold out it would be like taking your jacket off outside after you’ve taken a walk; it helps to prevent a chill in your horse’s back area.

Winter TLC For Horses With Arthritis

Here are some other tips for keeping arthritic horses comfortable during the winter:

1.  Feed a joint supplement with MSM, Glucosamine, and HA.  Omegas are also good for keeping inflammation down.

2.  Add a pain reliever like Bute or Aspirin on really bad days.  While you want to be conservative when using these – the benefits out way the risks if you can keep the horse moving and active with a little pain reliever.

3.  Maintain flexibility.  Do stretching exercises on a regular basis.  These can be as simple as manipulating a horse’s head to the right, to the left, and in between it’s front legs.  Offering a treat at each point will get a horse to do these voluntarily.

4.  Groom with a rubber massager brush on a regular basis.  This will help to increase circulation to large muscle groups.

5.  Try to maintain you regular exercise schedule.  If you don’t have an indoor arena and footing is bad outdoors, try to at least hand walk horses for 10-15 minutes twice a day.  Backing, turning on the forehand, and 90-360 degree turns can also be done on the ground and will help keep a horse supple.

6.  Encourage natural movement in pens by putting hay in several piles . . . so horses have to move from one spot to another.

7.  If snow is really deep in pens, shovel a few paths to make movement easier.

8.  When turnout isn’t possible (like during a blizzard or ice storm) at least move horses from one stall to another.  The movement helps; it also helps with boredom – when stabled for long periods of time.

9.  Consider bedding with straw or old hay.  Deep bedding encourages older horses to lie down.  It’s warmer and softer to lay on straw then it is to ay on a thin layer of sawdust over a rubber mat.

10.  Keep horses hydrated by offering warm water several times during the day.  Adequate water consumption during the winter is crucial to keeping joints lubricated.

**Here are the supplements we give Bees, are show mare, who will be 19 this year.  She still looks great and moves well:

Grain:  Kent “Secure” and Purina Enrich 32.  Supplements:  Biotin, Bran, Hilton Herbs: Circulate Support, Omega Fields “Horseshine”, AniMed “Remission, AniMed AniFlex GL (MSM, Glucosamine, HA).  She also gets a maintenance dose of AspirEase II (buffered aspirin).  During show season Bees is moved over to SmartPak’s joint supplements and LubriSyn- HA.

Bees last fall at 18

Our 25-year-old retired roping horse (still ridden lightly 3-4 times weekly) is on the following Feed/Supplement regimen: Grain: Kent “Senior”                              Supplements:  Biotin, Omega Fields “Horseshine”, Kauffman’s Flex Steps (MSM, Glucosamine, HA), and AspirEase.

 

 

 

Know What’s In Your Horse Care Products

Unlike products for humans, equine related products have few regulations other then the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regulation of feed manufacturing and sales . . . This means just about anyone can develop and make a product without little testing for safety and effectiveness.  Scarey, isn’t it?

Here are some tips for selecting products to use on your horses:

Horse care products:

  1. Look at the ingredients. Generally ingredients are listed in descending order . . . with the ingredient most prevalent listed first.
  2. Anything with alcohol will cause drying.
  3. Laurel sulfate (used in many shampoos and conditioners) can cause sensitivities.  Be wary of waterproof, sweat-proof fly sprays and cream-based products.  The oil-based carries can also be problematic to horses with allergies.
  4. Always do a spot test before using a large amount of a product on your horse.

Supplements:  Fortunately more companies are becoming members of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC).  When supplements carry the NASC seal this means their facility of production has meant regulated guidelines.  For member companies go to www.nasc.cc/

  1. Know what ingredients are in the product.  Watch for sugar-based additives that increases palatability like alfalfa meal, molasses, and corn syrup . . . these can add simple carbohydrates to a diet, which can be problematic for insulin resistant animals and ones prone to founder.  Garlic and devils claw can also cause problems for horses with sensitive digestive systems.
  2. Always start with a partial dose for a few days to make sure you horse isn’t allergic to any of the ingredients.
  3. Make sure you are feeding the right dose.  Manufacturers that product multiple products often use the same scoop for all of their products . . .so you may not need to feed a full scoop with one product and may have to feed two scoops with another.

 

 

New For This Month . . . .

Good Horsekeeping Tips For August

In most of the country summer is winding down.  The cooler days and nights make it perfect weather to address a few things around your stable so that you can enjoy some of the other things fall has to offer.

Here Are The Top Ten Things To Do Before Fall

  1. Mow pastures.  Doing it now will allow enough time for adequate re-growth for fall pasturing.
  2. Address weeds in pastures and hay fields.  If you don’t have time to dig problematic weeds like curly dock, thistle, and burdock, at least cut of the seed heads.  Spraying with an herbicide is also a good idea.
  3. Worm with a boticide wormer.  Bot flies lay their eggs on horses legs and shoulders through August; worming now will help to break the parasite’s cycle.
  4. Assess hay supply.  Waiting until fall could cause you to come up short or to pay higher prices.  Plan ½ bale per day per horse.  Of course bale size and weight greatly differ.  This guide should be used for 50-60 pound bales.
  5. Paint fencing and gates.  We still have about 8-10 hours of drying hours this time of year.
  6. Fill in front of gates and doors.  It’s a good time to get these spots filled in order to minimize mud spots once the weather changes.
  7. Use up fly sprays.  It’s easy to have a couple of partially full fly spay containers at the end of the summer.  For non-aerosol sprays, combine into one bottle and rinse out the other containers with a little water, which can be added to the remaining spray.
  8. Booster for mosquito born diseases like West Nile and Potomac if you vaccinated before April.   These vaccinations are only good for six months.
  9. Wash flysheets, masks, stable sheets, saddle pads, and girths.  Late summer sun helps to dry these items when line drying them.
  10. Clean hay equipment and store properly.  Old hay should be cleaned off blades and rollers of hay bines, and from the bale chamber on balers.  If you cannot store inside, at least tarp these pieces of equipment. Also, remove rolls of baler twine and store indoors.

 

Keeping Kids Cool At Fair . . . .

 

                           Five Tips For Keeping Kids & Horses Cool At Fair

In most parts of the country kids and their horses are getting ready to spend a week at fair.  And with the heat and humidity the months of July and August can impose, keeping both cool can be a challenge.

Here are some tips for getting through the heat of fair week:

1.      Think hydration.  Horses should be drinking at least ten gallons of water a day- and more when it’s hot. To make sure they are drinking enough water you can sprinkle a free choice mineral (with salt) over their grain.  Providing electrolytes is also important.  Add one liter of Gatorade to a five-gallon pail of water . . .you want to also have a pail of plain water in the stall as well.  Soaking hay is another way to make sure you are getting water into your horse.  Kids also need to drink plenty of water and electrolyte based drinks.  Keep a bottle of water and Gatorade in the grooming bag or pail that you take out to the make-up area.  Limit pop and other sugary drinks on show days.

2.      Consider clothing.  Stay away from black show clothes on extremely hot days – especially black felt hats.  Opt instead for a light color.  If you only have one outfit (and it’s black, or another dark color) at least change out your hat to a lighter color, or to a straw hat.  Wear a sleeveless blouse under hunt coats and wear light or buff-color breeches.  Keep blanketing to a minimum.  If your horse isn’t used to blankets and slinkies fair week is not the time to start using them.  A horse will stay a lot cooler without a stable sheet, although it will mean you have to groom them in the morning before your class . . . or you may even have to give a spot bath.

3.      Always have access to shade and good ventilation.  Take breaks during long show days under trees or in an aisle of a barn.  If electric is available, put a box fan up on the outside of your horse’s stall.

4.      Bathe horse and hose them off often.  A bath is a good way to cool your horse down, however, DO NOT stand a horse in the sun after it’s been fully bathed . . . it will cause them to heat up.  Hose only the legs and chest in between classes as a way to offer your horse some relief during the show day.

5.      Offer small, light meals.  This is a good idea for both horses and kids.  Bring fruit and light snacks for kids to eat throughout the show day, and stay away from heavy greasy foods like corn dogs and elephant ears. Offer your horse smaller amounts of hay and grain several times throughout the day.  Consider feeding a low starch grain that has less sugars and carbohydrates.

 

How Well Do You Know Your Hay? Hay Analysis is the Foundation of Your Feeding Plan

By Dr. Juliet M. Getty

You’ve just bucked a couple of month’s supply of hay into your barn—or maybe an entire season’s worth—and now it’s time to get acquainted with it. You made sure it was green and attractive, fresh-smelling and free of mold. You’ve stored it under cover and away from the incursion of any damaging moisture. Now you’re ready to find out what it offers your horse in the way of nutritional value.

Keep in mind that when you take fresh healthy pasture and you cut it, dry it, and store it to make hay, it loses most of its vitamin content as well as its omega 3s and omega 6s fatty acids. It no longer has vitamins E, C, D or beta carotene (which is used to make vitamin A). Therefore, if the horse is getting predominantly hay and is not getting a commercial feed fed according to directions, then you really need to supplement the diet with a good vitamin/mineral supplement. But you’ll want to know what’s in your hay before you start making up for what’s not.

Hay analysis gives you the starting point from which to evaluate and balance your horse’s whole diet. If you purchase at least two or more months’ worth of hay at a time, it is worth having it analyzed. Your local county extension service may offer analysis services, or consider sending a sample to Equi-Analytical Laboratories (www.equi-analytical.com). Follow their directions for selecting and submitting samples.

What does the hay analysis tell you? Typically, it will return the following information:

Crude protein (CP)—an estimation of total protein based on the amount of nitrogen in the hay. It does not tell you anything about the amino acid composition or the protein quality. To create a high quality protein, one that will help your horse maintain and repair tissue, combine a grass hay with a lesser amount of a legume (typically alfalfa). Most grass hay contains 8 to 10% CP whereas legumes (e.g., alfalfa, clover, perennial peanut) can range from 17-20%. Grain hays (oat, rye) generally have a lower CP than grass hay.

Acid detergent fiber (ADF) and Neutral Detergent fiber (NDF)—bothmeasure fibers (there are 5 types). Since fibers are digested by the microbes living in the hindgut (cecum and large colon), a healthy microbial population is important to allow your horse to derive calories from fiber. However, there is one type of fiber that is indigestible—lignin; the lignin ends up as manure. Lignin content increases as the plant matures. The higher these two values (ADF and NDF), the more lignin the hay contains, the less likely that your horse can thrive on this hay. The ideal ADF is less than 35%; ideal NDF is less than 45%. However, most hays have values 10 points or more higher than these desired levels. To compensate, more hay needs to be consumed. This can be easily solved by allowing your horse to have free access to hay 24 hours a day.

Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC)total amount of sugar, starch, and fructan. To obtain %NSC, add together %WSC (water soluble carbohydrates) plus %Starch. If your horse needs to have a low sugar/low starch diet, the %NSC should be below12%.

Water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC)simple sugars and fructan levels. Simple sugars are digested in the foregut and raise insulin levels. Too much can lead to laminitis because of elevated blood insulin. Fructan for the most part is digested in the hind gut, though some shorter chain fructose molecules can contribute to elevated insulin. Too much fructan generally results in laminitis caused by endotoxins in the bloodstream.

Ethanol-soluble carbohydrates (ESC)—a subset of WSC that gives you a better idea of the simple sugar level. WSC minus ESC provides a fair measurement of fructan levels.

Starch—normally digested in the foregut down to individual glucose (blood sugar) molecules; therefore, it has a strong elevating effect on blood insulin levels.

Minerals—Keep in mind that minerals interact with one another, interfering with absorption. Therefore be conservative when supplementing minerals if your hay is close to these ideal ratios.

  • Calcium to phosphorus ratio—There needs to be more calcium than phosphorus in hay. Most hay (except orchardgrass) will have this balance. The ideal ratio is 2:1, but the level of calcium can be even higher and still be considered safe. Phosphorus concentration must never be higher than calcium levels.
  • Calcium to magnesium ratio—Ideally, calcium content should not be more than twice that of magnesium. Most hays have a magnesium level that is lower than what horses ideally require. Furthermore, magnesium is not well absorbed, so supplementing may be suggested.
  • Iron, Zinc, Copper, and Manganese—Idealratios are Iron:Copper — 4:1; Copper:Zinc:Manganese — 1:4:4.
  • Selenium—This is worth analyzing, since selenium has a narrow range of safety (1 to 5 mg per day). Too little can be just as damaging as too much, so know your hay’s selenium level before you supplement.

Feeding your horse like a horse—the way nature intended—means feeding the most nutritious diet possible, including giving him hay free choice to mimic his natural grazing pattern. You’ll be more confident in feeding this way when you get to know your foundation element—the hay—through a laboratory analysis.

Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an internationally respected equine nutritionist available for private consultations and speaking engagements. Dr. Getty is the Contributing Nutrition Editor for the Horse Journal and she will be speaking at Equine Affaire in Massachusetts, November 7-10, 2013.Her comprehensive reference book, Feed Your Horse Like a Horse as well as all the books in her “Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series” are offered for purchase through her website and at Amazon.com. In fact, there’s a lot going on at www.gettyequinenutrition.com: sign up for Dr. Getty’s informative—and free—monthly newsletter, Forage for Thought; read articles and search her nutrition forum; and purchase previously recorded teleseminars in audio format or, in print through the Spotlight series. Contact Dr. Getty directly at gettyequinenutrition@gmail.com.

Don’t miss Julie Goodnight’s column for this month “Equine Seniors”.  Having two aged horses myself I found her advice for caring for equine seniors and the value they can have in our lives very useful.  Go to http://good-horsekeeping.com/?page_id=139 to read more . . .

To see products receiving the Good Horsekeeping Product Approval go to http://good-horsekeeping.com/?page_id=1122

Equine media can also be part of the Good Horsekeeping column series.  The website offers and 12-month editorial calendar of stories and photos for just $15 or $20 a story – depending on circulation. 

Be Safe When Hauling. . .

 

  • The advice “Call Before Your Haul” horse show organizers often put on a showbill is great advice.  There’s nothing worse then hauling a couple of hours and finding out you had last year’s date for the show.
  • Now that we’re entering into some of the busiest months for horse owners who show and trail ride you also want to make sure that your truck and trailer is ready for the road.
  • It should be a given to check all of the basics from tires and brakes to lights and engine fluids.  In addition, you want to make sure that your spare tires are in good shape and that your wiper blades are working well.
  • If your trailer has been sitting for a while it’s a good idea to take your rig around the block before hauling to your first show.  Have someone follow you and make sure lights are working and tires look OK.  A tire may look good while a trailer is sitting, but any wobbling while driving is an indication of a problem like a bearing that may be going bad.
  • Beyond a pre-haul checklist and maintenance of your truck and trailer you want to make sure you are prepared for a breakdown or road emergency.  This includes roadside emergency phone numbers for wreckers, insurance, and even possible stables within the states you’re hauling that might be able to stable your horses during a breakdown.  Always have the numbers of your vet, as well as one of two in the area or state you are hauling too.  Have health records and Coggins tests with you as well.
  •  Always carry first aid items for your horse including Banamine, Bute, first aid ointment/spray, gauze/wraps, etc.  Carry at least 5 gallons of water per horse if you are hauling for more then one hour from home.
  • Never haul horses with windows dropped down – even if you have screens.  I recently interviewed a vet that told me on his first day on the job with his current clinic they had to euthanize a horse that partially severed from having it’s head out of an open window and hitting a passing another vehicle.  Also, never NEVER, unload your horses along the road or at a rest stop.  Unless your trailer is on fire they are the safest remaining in the trailer.