DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION YOU'D LIKE ME TO ANSWER?
TEACHING YOUR GOAT TO MOVE AUG-10
It is very easy to train a goat but you must use patience, reward the slightest try and make it fun.
For example: teaching your goat to load onto a milking stand. Day one should be all about getting up onto the stand and maybe standing with their head locked but no millking/no shots/no hoof care, they need to associate the memory with relaxation and grain... when holding the small bowl of grain point with your free hand and say “up” with their nose following the bowl. Practice getting up and off, up and off until you just point and reward. Then you can begin to move towards the head lock, guide them with the grain and relax. while they are in the head lock /locked or not, its a great time to do a little body work, you can discover allot just with your hands...your goat will love it too! Do this for a day or two before anything else and youll find a much easier goat to milk, groom, and medicate!
Plus you can now use your up and a point of a finger to move your goat to the car, cage, pasture or stand.
10 TIPS FOR PREVENTING COLIC MAR-09
The number one killer of horses is colic. Colic is not a disease, but rather a combination of signs that alert us of abdominal pain in the horse. Colic can range from mild to severe, but it should never be ignored. Many of the conditions that cause colic can become life threatening in a relitively short period of time. Only by quickly and accuratly recognizing colic-seeking qualified veternary help-can the chance for recovery be maximized!
While horses seem predisposed to colic due to the anatomy and function of their digestive tracts, management can play a key role in prevention. Although not every case is avoidable, the following guidelines from American association of Equine Practitioners can maximize the horses health and reduce the risk of colic
1.) Establish a daily routine-including feeding and exercise and stick to it
2.) Feed a high quality diet comprised primarily of roughage
3.) Avoid feeding excessive grain and energy-dense supplements <1/2 the horses energy should be supplied by hay>
4.) Divide daily rations into two or more smaller feedings instead of one large one to avoid over loading the horses digestive tract.
5.) Set up regular parasite control program with the help of your equine vet.
6.) Provide exercise or daily turn out on daily basis, change the intensity of their exercise gradually.
7.) Provide fresh clean water at all times <only when the horse is excessivly hot should you allow only small sips of luke warm water>
8.) Avoid putting hay on the ground, especially in sandy soils, keep a close eye for small peices of twine.
9.) Check living enviroment for toxic weeds, bugs and other idigestable foreign matter.
10.) Reduce stress while transporting, showing and training.
Virtually any horse is susceptible to colic. Age, sex, and breed differences in susceptabilitity seem to be relatively minor. We have the potential to reduce and control colic, the number one killer of Domesticated horses!
*HOW TO CATCH ... JAN-09 HARD TO CATCH HORSE.
During this retraining period, you may want to keep halter on your horse, even in the pasture. Generally I think it is unsafe to leave a halter on a horse outside because I know of horses that have become entangled when trying to scratch an ear with a hind foot. I also saw a horse hook a halter on a gate latch and panic. Leather halters, or halters with breakaway crowns are safer if the horse becomes entangled.
If you want to be able to catch your horse you will have to convince it that being caught doesn’t always lead to discomfort or work. You’ll do this by spending time with your horse that doesn’t involve any of what it perceives as negative experiences.
Start by visiting in the pasture. Cleaning up manure, check for fences; anything but approach your horse. If your horse approaches you, don’t reach out and try to catch it. Just let it approach, perhaps sniff at you and then you walk away. Don’t let your horse walk away from you. You always want to be the final decision-maker in any exchange with your horse. Several brief visits a day will be more effective than the occasional long visit.
When trying to approach your horse, don’t march up to it full of purpose and intent, it will read your body language and think ‘oh, oh, something is up’. Instead soften your body language, meander towards your horse. Don’t make direct eye contact. Don’t approach head or tail on. Use your peripheral vision and approach at the neck or shoulder.
If the horse allows you to get near enough to catch it spend a little time doing something enjoyable like scratching, massaging or brushing. Use your knowledge of what your horse likes. Again when you are done, don’t let your horse conclude the exchange. Decide when you are done, unhook the lead rope, make the horse stand, and walk away from the horse.
If your horse only runs away when it sees you coming with a halter and lead rope, then always approach it with a halter and lead over your shoulder. You have to teach your horse that the appearance of the halter and lead does not mean you are going to lead it in to work.
Bribing your horse with treats is only a short-term solution to your problem. Treating a horse, especially if there are other horses in the pasture can get dangerous. If the pasture herd learns that you always come out with treats in your pocket you could get hurt as they jostle each other to get the hand out. You want to be able to catch your horse without carrying out a bucket or a carrot.
If your horse will absolutely not allow you to get near enough to catch it, you’ll have to carve out some free, open-ended time and have your horse in a small paddock or yard. A round pen is too small and a large pasture will work only if you don’t mind walking for miles.
When you approach your horse and you know it will run away from you, keep it moving. Use a lunge whip as an extension of your arm to cue the horse to move forward. The best gait is a smart trot. At the beginning your horse may act like this is fun —and gallop, buck and kick. Let him play and he will settle. He may try to stop. He may even try to approach you at some point. But don’t let the horse make those decisions. If the horse tries to stop tell it clearly and firmly to TROT, or whatever cue you use for the TROT!
Ask your horse to whoa or whatever term you use consistently after you see that he is beginning to pay attention to you. He may start looking towards you, flicking his ears, or lowering his head. When he is working steadily around you at the trot, now is the time to ask for a stop. When he does as you ask, praise him and send him on his way. Do this a few times so you know you are getting a consistent reaction to your command.
When you see that the horse is halting obediently on command, drop your whip and approach him. If the horse stands quietly praise, scratch or pat and walk away. Send him out at a trot again. Repeat the process until you know the horse will stand and wait for you.
Only after you know the horse will stand should you attempt to catch the horse. If he ducks away from you send him on his way and repeat the process. You need to convince him that standing to be caught is more comfortable than running away. (You are not trying to run him to exhaustion.)
If he does stand for you make sure there is a reward at the end of the lesson. Put a lead rope on him and lead him to a treat in a bucket, do a little grooming or massage. And then turn him loose in his pasture. The next time you have a moment, visit him in the pasture or paddock. Let him learn that your appearance does not mean he has to go to work or suffer discomfort.
Tip: Friendly horses in your paddocks might help you out. If they will walk up to you for pats and scratches, your hard to catch horse will see their behavior and may imitate them.
CHANGE OF SEASONS! OCT-2008
*OCTOBER IS THE MONTH TO PREPARE FOR WINTER*
It seems like summer just began days ago and already it’s time to think about preparing for the cold, wet weather!
Your horses need some attention before the snow flies and the rain falls!
It’s important to address certain issues before the weather turns nasty. No one wants to be out in frigid temperatures trying to handle frozen tools. Here are some suggestions for preparing yourself, your horse and your property for winter.
1. Make a checklist. Write down all of the things that need to be done and check them off as you complete them. Edit the list as you go then save it for next year!
2. Clean the tack room. Throw or give away anything you don’t use or need, then clean and repair everything else as needed. Store summer items like fly sheets, fly masks ect. Be sure to refill your bleach water or thrush treatment!
3. Dig out winter blankets, hoods and any other winter supplies. Check for needed repairs early, before you need to use the item. You don’t want to put a blanket on your horse in a sudden cold snap, only to find missing straps or a big hole in the blanket. Be sure they are cleaned or re water proofed too, a dirty blanket will do more harm than good.
4. Decide who’s wearing what. Figure out which horses will be blanketed, hooded, or left au naturel. Then make sure you have the supplies to go around. Post the blanketing information in the barn(s) if applicable. Now is the time to pull shoes if your horse goes barefoot for the winter.
5. Assess the water situation. How are you going to water your horse over the winter? Check the waterers and make sure they are functioning properly. Turn off the water supply to unused lines and drain them to prevent freezing and cracking. If you water with buckets, ensure you have an adequate supply of them. Black rubber ones tend to resist freezing,
6. Buy feed. Purchase and stack hay before the rain falls to keep it dry. Try to have extra bags of your grain, complete feed and supplements on hand in case of a big storm. Extra salt and mineral blocks too!
7. Check the fence. Heavy rains can cause posts to lean, also Oil gate hinges.
8. Inspect the barn. Improve heat retention in the barn by repairing any broken windows and closing up the drafts. Barns do need some air circulation though so don’t seal it up tight! Test and repair indoor and outdoor lights and motion sensors. Oil door hinges. Check roofing for possible leaks.
9. Service your trailer. After a long summer of hauling your horses, your trailer is likely due for some maintenance. Perhaps it needs winter tires, or window replacements for the colder weather. Service according to the manufacturer. Be sure if you don’t plan on using it that its thouroughly cleaned and ready for emergency use or the first ride of spring!
10. Find your gloves! Your body needs to stay warm, too. Head down to the basement or up to the attic and find those cold weather clothes needed for doing chores. Gloves, Rain jacket, boots, scarves, parkas — make sure you’re ready.
Dealing with the cold nasty winter weather isn’t much fun, but being prepared goes a Long way in keeping you and your horse safe and cozy.
GROOMING FROM HEAD TO HOOF! SEPT-2008
Getting down to the nitty gritty:
Grooming is an activity that is enjoyable for both you and your horse. It is also a good opportunity to check for injuries and irritations. Try to make grooming a daily habit. It is an absolute must before riding. Grit beneath the saddle will be uncomfortable for your horse and could cause sores. Start from the left or right of your horse. These instructions assume you will start on the left side, but as long as you cover the whole horse is does not matter.
Have your grooming tools arranged in a safe convenient place. A wide bucket may be cheapest and easiest to put your brushes in, although there are lots of grooming boxes on the market that keep your tools organized and handy.
You will need:
· A curry comb or grooming mitt.
· A body brush with fairly stiff bristles.
· A mane and tail comb. I like the ones that look like human hair bushes
· A fine soft bristled finishing brush.
· A hoof pick. One with a brush is nice too.
· A clean sponge or soft cloth.
Nice to have:
· Grooming spray.
· Hoof ointment if recommended by your farrier.
· Scissors or clippers.
Don’t sit your bucket or box too close to your horse where he could knock it over, or where you might trip over it as you move around your horse. Also have your horse securely and safely tied either with cross ties or with a quick release knot. Unless your horse ground ties very well!
I like to begin with the hooves:
Cleaning out your horse’s hooves is very important. Slide your hand down the left foreleg. Squeeze the back of the leg along the tendons just above the pastern and give a voice command for movement—whatever your horse is trained to respond to. Cradle the hoof and with the hoof pick pry out any dirt, manure or anything else lodged in the frog or sole of the foot. Check for any injury and signs of thrush, grease heel, or other problems. Take note of any cracks in the wall of the hoof so you can consult with your Farrier as to what should be done. Gently place the foot down on the ground and continue until all four feet are done.
Begin the body with a curry:
Starting on the left side use your curry comb or grooming mitt to loosen the dirt and loose hair in your horse’s coat. Curry in circular sweeps all over the horse’s body. Be careful over boney areas of the shoulders, hips and legs. Use a light touch in these areas. Many horses are sensitive about having their bellies and between the back legs brushed. Be careful in these areas to use a light touch. Some horses are more sensitive skinned than others so adjust the pressure on the brush according to what they seem to enjoy. If your horse reacts by laying back his ears, or swishing his tail in agitation, he is telling you that the brushing is too vigorous. As well as currying you will also be looking for any skin lesions, wounds or flakiness.
Follow with a stiff body brush:
With the body brush, whisk out the dirt brought to the surface by the curry comb. Start on one side and move around the horse brushing in sweeping strokes following the direction of the hair the way it grows. The body brush is more useful for cleaning the legs than the curry comb. This is a good time to check for lesions and skin irritations on the legs, knees, and pasterns.
Comb out tangles in mane and tail:
Either with a mane comb or human hair brush, brush out the mane and tail. Start at the bottom of the strands and brush downwards in sections until you can smoothly comb from the top of the mane or tail, right to the bottom. When brushing the tail, stand to one side and pull the tail gently over to you. This way you are out of the way should the horse kick. When brushing the mane I like to use one hand to hold the neck, this prevents more hair being pulled out and less pressure on the horses neck. A grooming spray that detangles hair is nice to have, and makes brushing out the long strands easier while cleaning, shining and protecting the hair. Apply first, allow it to absorb and then begin detangling. The Less you brush the tail the thicker it will be as less hair will be pulled out, I detangle my horses tail once a week, but the mane I do daily!
The finishing touches:
A finishing brush will have shorter softer bristles and may be used on your horse's or pony's face if you don’t have a special brush. Gently whisk away dust from the broader areas on your horse’s face, ears and throat. With sweeping strokes whisk away any dust missed by the body brush. The finer bristles help smooth out the body hair and leave your horse looking more finished. Grooming sprays can provide sun protection, and add shine to your horse’s coat but they aren't necessary. If you plan to ride however, be aware that some products may make the hair slippery and could cause your saddle to shift. Try to avoid application to the saddle area, or simply apply it after your ride!
Ears, eyes and nose:
With a damp sponge or soft cloth wipe around the horse’s eyes and muzzle, and clean away any dirt or chaff. Check your horse’s eyes. A bit of tearing at the corner of the eye is not uncommon, but take note of excess tearing, redness, or swelling. Wipe around the dock and tail head. Check ears for lodged seed heads or dirt. By gently cupping the ear wipe away from the inner ear. I like to check the ears daily but only clean them once a week.
Last but not least:
Apply hoof ointment to protect and moisturize your horse’s hooves if it is recommended by your farrier. In the dry month’s horses hooves get sucked dry from the dust and dirt causing cracking and chipping, by creating a puddle of mud or water for them to walk in you can avoid this problem without expensive moisturizers and ointments. Apply fly spray or sun screen if conditions require. Remember those cute pink noses won’t stay that way if you don’t apply sunscreen.
In the winter months the opposite will occur and a horses hooves may begin to rot from to much moisture or manure stuck in them, be sure to clean them thoroughly and apply a kopertox or a simple 50/50 bleach and water solution. Watch for fungus or Scratches on there legs if seen, scrub with fungal shampoo and or spray, I use an all natural 50/50 white vinegar and water solution. Apply with a spray bottle as this stuff may sting open wounds, and cause the horse to kick out!
Now give your friend a kiss and your hands a good washing! -FLAT BROKE FARM
HOW TO DEAL WITH A SPOOKY HORSE AUG-08
I know that riding a spooky horse can be challenging and frustrating so here are some tips to help you understand why your horse spooks and to give you some tools to help cope with shying.
You might be more patient with your spooky horse when you understand that horses have survived in the wild all these years because of their natural flight response. So, when you think your horse is being unreasonable because he's shying from something that seems benign, change your attitude toward his behavior. Say something like. '"You have incredible survival instincts." or "You don't need to be on the lookout for potential danger. I'll keep you safe."
Do you get frustrated when your horse spooks from the same flowerpot he saw two minutes ago? Maybe the answer lies with the "theory of the dominant eye".
You see, most of us (including horses) have a dominant eye. To find out which is your dominant eye, keep both eyes open and point at an object like a tree. Then alternately close each eye. You'll find that when you close one eye, your finger doesn't move, but when you close the other eye, your finger jumps to the side.
For example, if you close your right eye and your finger doesn't move, that means your dominant eye is your left eye. The dominant eye explains why a horse tends to shy more when perceived danger is on one particular side of his body. Let's say you're circling to the right and your horse is left eye dominant. He seems pretty secure about his environment because his dominant eye (the left one) is on the outside. He can see his surroundings and keep himself alert and safe from "danger".
However, if you're circling to the right and he's right eye dominant, he'll want to whip his head around to the left so he can check out the environment with his right eye. The result is that he spooks more from objects that are on the left side of his body.
Here are some "Don't's" for riding the spooky horse.
- Never punish a spooky horse. Shying comes from fear. If you punish your horse for shying, you convince him he was right to be afraid.
- On the other hand, don't soothe him by patting him for "being brave" while he's shying. You're just rewarding behavior you don't want.
- Don't make a nervous horse walk straight up to something scary. That's the most frightening thing you can do. That's like asking a horse to come face to face with a cougar when every instinct tells him to flee from danger.
Here are some "Do's".
- If the scary object is at one end of the ring, circle in the middle of the ring. Then, as your horse relaxes, gradually shift your circle toward the scary end of the ring. Your horse doesn't have to eat a whole bale of hay at once. Let him eat the bale a flake at a time. This "slow" way usually ends up being the faster way ... and you accomplish your goal with a minimum of resistance and trauma to your horse (and you!).
- When you're at least 15 meters from the scary object, use your inside rein to gently but firmly bend your horse's neck enough to the inside so he can't see it with either eye. Remember, a horse has both binocular vision (like us) and monocular vision where he can see with each eye separately. So, you need to bend the neck enough so he can't see the object with either eye. He won't shy from what he can't see.
- Once you are directly beside the scary object, relax both reins. Many horses are claustrophobic, and you don't want your horse to think he's being "pinned" against something with no escape. That's very scary.
- Don't stare at the scary object. If you focus on it, your horse will too. Look at your surroundings instead.
- Breathe! If you're holding your breath, you'll convince your horse there's good reason to be afraid. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, feel your butt lowering down into the saddle!
THE FINNISHING TOUCHES 6-10
A few things to help put that extra touch on a perfect grooming job.
baby oil-rub onto muzzle and around eyes, careful it doesnt take mu