Seasonal Care

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Like humans, horses can be hypersensitive to a wide variety of allergen triggers including insect bites, pollens, dust and molds, chemicals in crop sprays, hay dust, stall bedding materials, wool (sometimes in saddle pad and blanket products), grooming sprays, shampoos, synthetic materials such as neoprene found in boots and pads, medications, supplements, and some ingredients in feed pellets.

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Making Electrolytes Smart - Does your horse have a drinking problem? Good hydration is not just about how much a horse drinks, it’s also about how the water is used internally. A properly hydrated horse with balanced electrolytes will be healthier and perform better. A dehydrated horse is at increased risk of impaction colic and reduced athletic potential.

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Horses are commonly housed in individual boxes. While this may be convenient and prevent injuries from other horses, it may also be detrimental to the horse’s welfare, especially if access to pasture is limited. A paper by Alice Ruet and colleagues investigated the effect of various management practices on the display of behavioural indicators of compromised welfare in housed horses.

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A French study has confirmed that mixed grazing with cattle helps control strongyle worms in horses. Grazing horses with cattle is often suggested as a useful pasture management tool to help control strongyle parasites. However, there has been little research to assess the benefit.

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“The stable environment invariably presents challenges of dust, mould and proper ventilation,” says Susan Raymond, instructor of Equine Guelph’s Management of the Equine Environment online course. “Most horses are well equipped for living outdoors and thrive, provided certain provisions are met.” Dr. Raymond completed her PhD in investigating the effects of exposure of horses to mycotoxins. She has also been involved in air quality research, which provided practical recommendations to the horse industry on stable design and management.

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Winter can make the most mundane tasks challenging. This reality is clearly illustrated when it comes to watering animals. For as long as man has worked alongside horses and livestock, there have been different watering methods and their seasonal variations.

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You’ve just returned from an invigorating winter’s ride, your horse enjoyed prancing through the powdery snow, and with the sun shining you didn’t notice the nip in the air. But now your sweaty horse is steaming and with the sun slipping behind the horizon, winter’s chill is fast returning….After a winter workout, a 10 to 15 minute walk will not only guard against muscle soreness, it is essential to allow the horse’s skin to dry. But one method does not fit all. Your winter cool-out regime will be different depending on a number of factors including whether your horse is clipped, blanketed or “au naturel”; whether he lives inside or outside; and the intensity of your workout.

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