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Horse Education

Experimenting With Horses On Communication

Experimenting With Horses On CommunicationImagine speaking to animals and actually knowing what is going on with them instead of having to try and guess whether they have a sore foot or whether they are upset. Many horse lovers from around the world are dedicated to their horses and for them, life would be a lot easier if they could interact on a deeper level.

We all know that this only happens in the movies. In saying that, it is interesting to find that the Equine Vocalization Project has come up with an method to work on this idea. This was initiated from a group of horse lovers whereby various horse sounds were put onto a database indicating the stress levels of the horses. This will tell us more about when a horse is feeling a certain way. Riders and owners will now at least be able to tell when a horse is not enjoying something like photo ops by 1840 Photography, competitions or just at the barn by the sound it makes and this is a mild form of communication which we are now able to have with this beautiful animal.

With this experience in place, it makes it easier for veterinarians to see where the horse is having a problem and it will be simpler for someone who’s job it is to analyze the behaviour of the horse. Now that we have the basics, we can apply our understanding of these sounds to similar animals like zebras and donkeys and further get a better understanding from their behaviour.

The fact that these animals have the ability to produce so many different sounds makes it a lot easier. This method, however, won’t work with every animal. Horses are unique because they can vary their sounds. Something like a cow or a sheep is going to be more difficult because it is one sound that you hear continuously.

The thing that researchers are working on at the moment is to see whether the horse is able to see a horse as well as a human as a friend as people do. Do the sounds they make indicate that they are happy to see you? This would make any horse lover’s day. It would be like arriving at your front door to be greeted by your dog who is jumping all over you with his tail wagging like crazy. The next step that scienticts are experimenting with is to find more about particular social noises and this may give us some idea of how the horse is feeling.

This is going to be more of an intense study and it will be more complicated than identifying certain stress levels. It is not something that will happen overnight and it definitely is a process which needs in depth analysis and constant regulation. Whether this will work or not is a question that not even a scientict can answer, but it definitely is a worthwhile experiment because it would be truely amazing if we do get to see a result. Who knows, maybe we can start analyzing the noise levels that our dogs and cats make.

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Horse Care

What To Think About When Building A Barn Stall For Your Equine Pets

The barn stall is a very important area for horses hence you have to pay attention to a lot of details when thinking about designing a new one for your horses. Today, most stalls are built with 12 square feet of space. However, the size should vary depending on the size of your horses. In designing stalls, make sure that there is always enough room or space for your horse to get up or down and move around without discomfort. However, make sure not to oversize the stalls so there is less to clean and maintain.

For multiple stalls, the walls or partitions should be not less than 8 feet in height so the horses cannot leap and get their hoofs over the walls. The partitions do not have to be rock solid. Wooden stalls with an inch of space in between the boards can facilitate good ventilation. On top of that, the space between the wooden boards will also allow the horses to view the other horses in the barn as well as provide easy access for you to observe your pets.

As for stall doors, make sure that there are stall gates or stall guards to keep the horses inside as well as allow enough light and ventilation to pass through when the doors are opened. If you make use of stall bars, the spaces between them should not be more than 3 inches to prevent the horse’s hoof from getting caught in between.

Furthermore, the stall doors should also be big enough to allow the wheelbarrow to enter. Sliding doors are ideal for to use compared to swinging doors as they are very easy to use. When you need to take out your horse, you don’t need to close the sliding door. Whereas, if you go for swinging doors, it can consume aisle space and can even cause a few hazards when it is caught by a strong wind.

A barn stall should also be within close proximity to its designated feeding bucket so it becomes much easier to feed the horse without the need for closing and opening the barn doors. The feeding buckets should also come with a lock so it can be shut close when feeding is over. Sometimes, horses can get really bored and they can meddle with the feeding buckets with their lips. Consider installing automatic waterers to your horses. This way, you can ensure that they are always provided with fresh water when they are thirsty.  Make sure proper and adequate ventilation passes through your barn windows also.

You could have your current barn remodeled to accomodate all of the things mentioned above. Just be sure that you take care of your barn renovation construction trash container once you are done.

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Horse Care

Caring For Your Horse During The Winter And Summer

Raising horses can be a gratifying experience. However, hard work will always be a huge part raising them to be the healthy horses they can be. If you are planning to raise good horses but are worried because of the extreme weather, this should not be a problem. This article will help you with some of the basic horse care to get your horses get through the bad days.

It is important to always pay very close attention to your horses all year round especially when you are living in an area where extreme weather can easily affect the well being of your horses. Heavy winters and blazing hot summers can be really devastating to them if you fail to take good care of their daily needs.

Riding your horse during the winter may seem to be a brave thing to do but if you really want to, you can do so. However, it is very important to always remember that horses do sweat even during the cold days. And because of that, you should never leave him in the barn with all that sweat all over his body after you have untacked him. Instead, you should make sure to wipe him clean and then do all the necessary grooming. Since its cold, you should also provide a warming blanket to keep him cozy. Make sure that the barn is free from drafts and strong winds. To keep the feet warm, do not forget to provide a good amount of layer of straw or sawdust. An enough supply of hay and grain for his snack will help him warm up before he sleeps.

The blazing summer heat can be a dangerous day for a horse especially if you are riding him for quite some time. Old horses can have twice the risk of falling ill due to extreme heat and dehydration. So when the temperature has reached 90+ and the heat index reaches 100, it would be best to just leave and shelter your horse inside their horse stalls. Make sure to lock your horse stall doors in the barn and do not allow him to just stand there under the sun. Should you really want to ride with your horse under the heat, do not ride him for too long. You should also wet your horse every now and then with cool water and also bug juice. Also provide clean and adequate water for him to drink. Never feed your horse with grain during the heat of the day as this can easily heat him up.

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Healty Horses

How to become an equine massage therapist

There are no legal requirements for a person to claim to be an equine massage therapist. Another interesting fact is that no standard certification currently exists to be an equine massage therapist. Likewise no governing bodies, either nationally or internationally, control equine massages. The International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork does a good job at keeping the public informed. They have no power over anyone except their members. A person interested in performing equine massages does not have to belong to any organization to do business as a therapist. In essence it means that anyone can be an equine massage therapist with no training or governing body to make sure they do a good job.

Despite not having any national standards some states do have laws that could impact the practice of conducting equine massages. Some states my require a veterinarian to either supervise the massage procedures, or prescribe them prior to the horse being massaged. Violating those state laws could get the practitioner into serious legal trouble. The exception for most states does allow therapists to legally practice if they work directly for a horse operation or they own the horse. Laws like that could limit the potential income of the practitioner.

There can be a huge difference in equine massage therapy schools. Some schools may last only a few days, while others could last years that lead to a degree program. Degree programs may include more treatment therapies and that will also give the practitioner more treatment options. More training can lead to greater income potential. Again state laws my restrict practicing some or all of those treatments unless they under a veterinarian’s supervision. Many large horse operations will only hire well trained therapists.

Last but certainly not least is that the practitioner must have good horse handling skills. The owner may be paying you, but the horse is really the client. A good practitioner must know how to handle horses with injuries or horses that may not want to be handled quietly. All horses can be dangerous not only to the handlers but also to themselves as well in confined areas. It’s important to know as much as possible about horses in general to bring a holistic approach to the skill of massage therapy. The more a person knows, the farther they will go. A massage therapist must also be physically strong and have endurance to work on large animals for hours at a time.

Massage therapy in the right hands can be a rewarding skill that benefits lots of horses that are in need of a helping hand. Massage therapy can be a great foundation to learning alternative veterinary treatments. A good massage therapist can be in high demand in numerous equine disciplines.

More information about horses and horse barns is found at Classic Equine.

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Healty Horses

Equine reproduction: Mare nutrition and its impact on fetal growth

The nutritional health of the mare is among the top priorities during her pregnancy. If the mare is lacking her nutritional demands, the results have potential to be detrimental to the developing fetus. The mare in foal should be kept as healthy as possible and fed all necessary supplements with her grain if her pasture is lacking the nutritional requirements. Pasture quality can be tested in a lab by sending well-mixed samples from various places where grazing occurs in the mare’s pasture. The most important nutrients to be conscious of during pregnancy (and for upkeep in general) are protein, energy, vitamins and minerals, and should be fed according to the need of the individual (based on exercise, stage of gestation, or lactating vs. non-lactating mares). Feed must be of good quality and the horse should be provided with adequate forage to aid digestion and prevent boredom-related vices.

Pregnant mares with a foal at foot and pregnant mares previously barren are best kept separated for feeding because of differences in nutritional demands. During early pregnancy weight gain should be kept at a minimum, supporting a body condition score of 5 as closely as possible. The non-lactating mare’s requirements do not significantly change until the final three months of gestation when they should be sufficient to allow a 14.5% increase in body weight. This percent helps guarantee that it is the growth of the fetus rather than internal body fat which could interfere with the efficiency of the reproductive tract, especially in obese mares. It is desirable for some weight gain during late pregnancy to act as an emergency supply for the fetus. If too much weight is gained, it can cause pressure on the internal organs making parturition unnecessarily painful. Underweight mares who fail to gain in the final stage risk reduction of energy supplied to the growing fetus. However, most healthy mares are able to compensate for low nutritional intake and still give birth to a normal birth-weight foal.

As gestation progresses, the nutritional demands significantly increase in the mare. Although most mares (55%) seem capable of low nutritional demands, the added stress is unnecessary and should be avoided. To begin, crude proteins, from early gestation to the last 90 days of pregnancy, should increase from 656 g per day to 866g per day. The increases in levels are best administered according to the more significant stages of development of the fetus. For crude protein specifically, this can be achieved by feeding fresher grasses or legume hay, which even after being dried maintains higher protein levels. Dried grass or hay has a tendency to lose levels of protein during the drying process. If such feeds are inaccessible or unavailable in desirable quantities, the proteins can be supplemented by animal or plant products. Animal by-products such as fish-meal, bone-meal etc, are usually more expensive, and even banned in some countries due to the cattle disease, bovine spongiform encephalitis. Plant products, however, tend to be cheaper and more popular and include soybean meal, linseed meal etc. Soybean meal is especially handy not only because of the quantity of protein, but the quality. It provides all the essential amino acids necessary to the fetus and therefore is very useful in late pregnancy. Linseed and barley oats, despite the high total protein has limited use for late pregnancies because they are lacking in some essential amino acids which are otherwise needed by the unborn foal.

Energy demands are of significant importance, so much that deficiency is implicated as a cause of embryo loss. In early pregnancy, energy demands can be met simply by feeding good quality forage. 16.4 Mcal per day should be sufficient at this stage unless the mare is a poor doer or is being exercised regularly thus should be supplemented appropriately. In early pregnancy, it can be achieved by increase in hay, but as the fetus grows, it begins to limit the digestive tract. In late pregnancy where 19 Mcal per day is required, and in consideration to her digestive tract’s limits at this stage, the energy demands can be met be reducing forage and partly replacing that quantity of feed with energy-rich concentrates making sure that the required protein intake is maintained. Too much excess forage at this time can add strain on the mare’s digestive system and add unnecessary fat around the reproductive tract which can make parturition of the foal more painful.

The specific effects of many vitamins and minerals, classified as micronutrients, and their deficiencies in the pregnant mare are unknown except for calcium (Ca), phosphorous (P), and vitamin A. Calcium and phosphorous are demanded not only by the mare, but by the fetus as well. If the pregnant mare is lacking a supplementation of Ca or P, the fetus will take from the mare what it needs, mobilizing her storage to satisfy its own needs. If the demand is great, as it is during late pregnancy, then the mare’s storage in her bones will gradually lessen, leaving her bones brittle and possibly even too weak to bare the weight of pregnancy or the stress of parturition. However, excess P can have the same effect as Ca deficiency because it interferes with Ca absorption in the mare. Legume hay is a good source of both of these micronutrients, and any pregnant mare fed this hay shouldn’t require supplementation of Ca or P. If the mare is fed grains late in her pregnancy, Ca should be supplemented, possibly in the form of bone-meal (not common), ground limestone flour or milk pellets (more common), because grain is usually high in P. Bran should be fed sparingly in small quantities as a laxative because of its high concentration of phosphorous. Vitamin A is important in reproductive function, cell regeneration and development, because it is a component of epithelium. Satisfactory levels of vitamin A are best reached by feeding fresh green forage. Supplementation is required, however, if mares have no access to fresh pasture. Supplementation of pregnant mares must be monitored regularly to ensure better health of the fetus, because excess and deficiency can both lead to abnormalities related to bone growth, which include developmental orthopaedic disease, angular limb deformities and epiphysitis.

A lactating pregnant mare has more nutritional demands than any other horse. With a foal, the pregnant mare not only has to support herself and the fetus, but also have enough nourishment that her milk is of good calibre for the nursing foal. The efficiency of the transfer of vitamins and minerals through the milk is far less than that of the placenta, so much, that the mare’s nutritional demands increase by 70-75% directly after parturition and by 50% later on in lactation. A mare can produce up to 3% of her body weight as milk during the climax of lactation.
Protein is an essential demand. If protein supply is deficient, she will not have enough for milk supply and thus cause milk production to decline. If there is low energy in the mare’s diet, she will use her own reserves in the milk and eventually become emaciated. Some loss in weight is expected during lactation but should be prevented by a proper diet. Ca and P are still very important to the lactating mare’s diet because the foal must obtain appropriate levels of them for proper bone and tendon growth and development. Approximately 56-78g of Ca per day are required while only 35-50g of P should be fed per day. Excess P causes Ca to drain from the bones of the mare.

Vitamins A and D are important during lactation. Vitamin A, from fresh green forage, and vitamin D, from sunlight, are required because deficiency can cause lack-lustre and ill thrift in the mare and foal. Deficiency of vitamins A and D also causes inefficient use of other vitamins and minerals.
Water, the often over-looked necessity of life, is of utmost importance. The non-lactating pregnant mare needs approximately 50 l of clean, fresh water per day in small frequent amounts, depending on DM content. Free access to a clean, fresh water supply is also required by the lactating mare with a foal at foot. After all, milk is made up of 90% water.

As discussed, nutritional demands should be met at all times by the lactating/non-lactating pregnant mare or health risks for mare, foal and/or fetus are increased. Special attention should be paid while the mare enters the final trimester of gestation when all of her nutritional needs rise with the fetus’ growth rapidizing, as well as the increased demands again post-parturition when the foal is suckling and the milk provides less efficiency for nutrient transfer. After a short time, the foal will be able to graze and find food beyond the mare’s milk, but attention must be paid to ensure a healthy life for both mare and foal.

More useful information about horses and horse stalls are found at Classic Equine

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Diabetes Foot Care Tips

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the western world, with tens of millions of patients in the US alone. It can lead to serious nerve damage, infections and circulation problems in severe cases. Some of the most affected areas of the body are the feet and the lower part of the legs. Having a good diabetes management plan can prove effective in fighting this debilitating side effect. A healthy lifestyle consisting of a carefully planned diet coupled with regular physical activity may do miracles in the long run. Also, careful monitoring of blood sugar levels and regular physician visits are crucial when fighting diabetes.

 

A good diabetic foot-care program is essential when dealing with this terrible condition and all diabetes patients need to know the following tips:

 

Inspect and check your feet daily for sores, redness, blisters, bruises or cuts. Make sure you look meticulously at the toes, sides, heels, soles and even the area between each of your toes. Any peculiar sign should be visible upon careful inspection, and you should contact your doctor immediately.

 

Diabetes patients should wash their feet daily using warm water and mild, soft, non-aggressive soap. Be careful to check the temperature of the water before placing your feet. Many diabetes patients do not feel the temperature in the foot area because of poor circulation and there is a high risk of burns if the water is too hot.

 

Keep the skin on your feet hydrated at all times. Diabetes patients run the risk of having dryer skin which can result in ruptures, cracks and cuts. These can lead to serious complications and must be treated urgently. Therefore, always use lotion or any type of oil that can prevent the skin from becoming to dry. Do not apply lotion or oils on sore spots as it can become painful.

 

Try to keep the feet as dry as possible after washing, by using a soft cloth. Move it gently across sensitive areas to prevent any ruptures or sores. Remember to dry up the area between the toes.

 

Keep your feet warm if the environment is cold, or try to cool them in excessively warm environments. However, don’t use aggressive tools to achieve this, such as electric blankets, heating pads, hot water bottles or ice packs. This will lead to a temperature shock and create unwanted adverse effects.

Avoid dangerous situations for the feet, for instance walking on sand, grass or pavement barefoot. There are a lot of concealed risks, such as pins, sharp stones or twigs which can damage the sensitive skin. Because of the poor circulation in the area, the recovery is slow and difficult and there is a risk of infection if the wound is not treated properly.

 

Do not try to remove calluses, warts, corns or other lesions all by yourself, especially if you are using dangerous tools like razors or callus removers. The risk of cutting yourself is high and it can lead to serious situations. The best way to get rid of such lesions is to head to a podiatrist, which are specialized in dealing with sensitive foot areas and diabetic foot-care cases.