Triton Barn Systems

Your Horse Stall and Horse Barn Experts. TritonBarns.com

Toys and Treats – stall rest #4

 

Keeping a horse on stall rest occupied and entertained is a must.   Whether a “stall buddy” is available or not, it is often beneficial to provide the horse with other forms of entertainment. These include stall toys and treats.  Owners can purchase pre-manufactured horse toys from most local feed stores.  Some of the most common are Jolly Balls ®, the Jolly Mega Ball ®, the Horse Pas-A-Fier   ®, or Jolly Apples.

Owners can also cheaply and easily create their own stall toys by hanging a milk jug, ¼ full of water; hanging a giant tennis ball (softball size or larger) or hanging an old lead rope that has been knotted a couple of times in their horse’s stall.  Any of these will give the horse something to play with when he/she becomes bored.   

Owners can also keep their horse occupied by providing salt or sweet licks.  Some brand names for these treats are: Pony Pops ®, Himalayan Rock Salt ®, or Jolly Jumbo Licks ®.  By keeping a horse on stall rest entertained, there is less of a chance that he/she will develop many of the vices that are caused by boredom.  

If an owner follows the recommendations laid out in parts 1 – 4 of this article, most horses will effortlessly get through their confinement with little or no complications.

Does your horse like goats? – stall rest # 3

 

Even though location, cleanliness, feed, and exercise are quite important when a horse is on stall rest, keeping the horse occupied is even more important.  A bored horse is often a destructive horse.  If the horse does not become too bored, then stall rest can actually be restful and not torment for the horse or owner. 

The biggest downfall with stall rest is that the horse often becomes bored.  This listlessness is what causes the hose to develop bad habits.  Just as dogs chew and dig when they are bored, horses crib, kick, rub, chew, and paw.  To help prevent a horse from adopting these habits, it is beneficial to keep the horse occupied.  

There are many options owners can choose from when it comes to keeping a horse entertained.  The first is extremely beneficial.  However, it is not a probable option for everyone.  The easiest and most steadfast way to keep a horse occupied is by providing the horse with a “stall buddy.” This “buddy” is often another horse in the adjoining stall. 

If another horse is not available, some owners opt to purchase a goat.  Goats are small enough that they can be housed in the stall with a horse that has been put on stall rest. In turn, the horse will have a constant companion.  Nevertheless, it is important to ensure (both for the horse’s and the goats safety) that the horse does not have a hatred or fear of goats.  Otherwise, the goat would be more of a hindrance than a benefit. 

In addition, make sure that the stall is large enough to comfortably accommodate both the horse and the goat.  If a stall buddy is not an option, owners can also purchase toys and treats to keep their horse occupied.

How to get disaster relief funding to rebuild your barn

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...

Image via Wikipedia

 

When a natural disaster strikes —  a tornado, blizzard, fire, flood or hurricane — it’s always a horrible event. And its even more difficult when your animals are hurt, traumatized or homeless after the disaster is over.

After Hurricane Katrina, the United States Equestrian Foundation (USEF) established a permanent USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund to prepare for future disasters. Monetary contributions from individuals and organizations are collected and distributed to provide feed, veterinary care  and shelter for horses and ponies of all breeds and disciplines.

The USEF in Kentucky acts as a collection point for information and distribution of all funds and in-kind donations. While each state may also have a disaster fund, contact the USEF first to let them help you through the red tape and paperwork to help feed your horses and rebuild your barn.

Finding a new balance — stall rest #2

 

Once the horse’s stall has been set up, the next concern will be the horse’s feed.  When a horse is on stall rest, owners may also want to consider a change in feed. It may be beneficial to reduce the horse’s feed or at least lower his/her protein intake.  If the horse in question is very athletic and ridden on a regular basis, he/she is more than likely getting a substantial amount of feed. 

While the horse is on stall rest, this “extra” feed could cause the horse to become “hyper” due to the fact that his/her body will not be processing the feed at the rate it was before.  However, before changing the horse’s feed, make sure that the horse’s veterinarian is consulted.  If the horse’s feed is reduced without the consultation of a veterinarian, it could do more harm than good.   

In addition to feed, a new exercise regimen will need to be figured out.  Whether the horse walks around a pasture/paddock all day or is extremely active, being stuck in a stall will greatly reduce their activity level.  If approved by the horse’s veterinarian, light exercise can be a positive factor in the horse’s recovery.  Depending on the horse’s injury, walking the horse for short periods a couple of times a day can act as exercise and help break up the monotony of being in a stall.   

If the horse’s injury does not permit any sort of exercise, it is still beneficial for owners to make sure that they spend time with the horse.  An owner should spend 20 – 30 minutes a couple of times a day with their horse, talking, scratching, grooming, or calming the horse.  This contact will help keep the horse from becoming overly antsy or anxious.

How to keep your horse “comfy” on stall rest

 

This is a four-part series which focuses on various problems often associated with stall confinement.  A range of solutions are provided to help make the horses’ stall rest more tolerable for horse and owner.

 

 Inevitably, it is common for a horse to be placed on stall rest for one reason or another at some point in his/her life.  Extended stall rest can be stressful for both horse and owner.  Often, after a few days of confinement, a horse will “acquire” destructive behaviors such as cribbing, chewing,  kicking, or pawing.  In addition, many horses will also show signs of extreme anxiety.

Unfortunately, long-term stall rest is often not a choice.  Horses are commonly placed on stall rest by their veterinarian due to injury.  Ultimately, the goal is for the horse to heal as quickly as possible.  However, the side effects of stall confinement  are anxiety and the development of destructive behaviors.  In turn, owners must look for ways to “survive” the allotted stall rest with the least amount of physical and/or psychological damage to the horse or themselves.  By taking location, feed management, limited exercise, and entertainment into consideration, it is possible to make this experience relatively painless.

The first factor that should be considered when a horse is on stall rest is location.  Although some owners may not have an option as to where their horse is stalled, if it is possible, a change in the horse’s location can make stall rest easier to bear. A horse on stall rest should be placed in a stall where he/she has a clear view of outside activities.  This way, the horse can at least participate in “normal” daily activities as a spectator.  If the horse is able to watch what is going on around him/her, it will help keep the animal occupied.

Whether the horses stall location can or cannot be moved, it is important to make sure your horse is as comfortable as possible in his/her stall.  Consequently, owners must make sure the horse has a clean and padded stall.  This can be attained by insuring the horse has clean shavings and is standing on rubber mats.  Since the horse will be confined to a small area with little or no exercise for days at a time, owners need to make sure there is no additional strain to the horse’s body. 

Standing on concrete or packed dirt with little room to stretch could cause this additional strain.  If employees standing behind a checkout counter for four hours at a time are provided with padded mats to minimize discomfort, shouldn’t a horse that is going to be in a stall for an extended period of time be assigned the same care? 

One other option owners should consider is setting up a fan/ mister during the summer months or a heat lamp during the winter months to provide the horse with a more comfortable environment.  Making sure the horse is as comfortable as possible will help the animal heal quicker and could also help prevent the horse from developing hard-to-stop vices.

Check your horse for ticks this spring!

Ticks can  transmit infectious diseases including  ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and piroplasmosis to horses. Severe tick infestations can cause skin irritations and even anemia, a decrease in number of healthy red blood cells.

What to do about ticks:

Check horses thoroughly for ticks , especially on the lower legs and mane when grooming. Large American dog ticks are easy to find, but smaller ticks can be overlooked.

Ticks wander around on animals for a while before they attach to one place.  To remove a tick put on latex or nitrile gloves, grasp the tick very closely to the skin with tweezers, pliers and forceps and apply steady traction. Although it may take a while,  this is the best way to remove the entire tick from the horse’s skin.

Repellents and insecticides with permethrin or cypermethrin provide horses with several hours of protection. These insecticides are very irritating to ticks, so ticks usually drop off before attaching to the horse. Products based on natural ingredients, such as botanical oils, might also give some protection for short periods of time. 

Ticks spend most of their lives on the ground in areas with some shade and humidity and congregate along trails, in overgrown areas, and in margins of wood openings. Direct sunlight and low humidity are their enemies. Keeping brush cut back and clipping pastures will make areas inhospitable for ticks. 

Stall kicking – bad habit #4

 

Kicking is the most harmful and most destructive vice a horse can have.  There are a couple of different types of stall kickers.  Some horses may kick the stall walls or door with one foot, almost methodically.  Some may kick with both back feet multiple times in a row.  Either of these “types” of kickers will destroy their stalls and could very possibly harm themselves.

Horses can become stall kickers for a number of reasons.  Some will kick due to boredom, others may kick because they do not like the horse in the stall next to them, and some will kick because they have too much energy and not enough exercise.  As an owner, as soon as a horse shows the tendency to kick, this vice needs to be corrected. 

Stall kicking can not only damage the stall, but it can also do significant damage to the horse.  A horse that repetitively kicks the stall walls or doors can cause significant damage to their legs.  Capped hocks (soft, fluid-filled swelling on the hock); carpitis (common acute or chronic inflammation of the joint capsule of the carpus); and curbs (a collection of soft tissue injuries of the distal plantar hock region) are all associated with stall kicking. 

Stall kicking can and should be stopped as soon as possible.  Even if the horse does not seem to be a chronic stall kicker, it is best to stop the action before it becomes a habit. 

Tips to stop stall kicking:

1.   If the horse is kicking the walls because they find the sound it makes soothing or because it has become a calming habit, then padding the walls could be all that has to be done.

2.  Change the horse’s feed and exercise routine.  Often a horse will kick due to pent-up energy.  By lowering the horse’s feed intake and/or providing the horse with more exercise, the horse may stop kicking on its own. In this instance, turning the horse out for longer periods of time is not sufficient.  When a horse is put out to pasture or put in a turn-out pen, it will usually jump, buck, and/or play for a short amount of time before it settles.  This small amount of exercise will not do the trick.  Instead, the horse should be lounged, driven, or ridden 2 – 7 times a week depending on the horse’s energy level. 

3.   If the horse is kicking due to boredom, owners may want to supply stall toys or a stall buddy.

4.   Try the “Quitkick total stall system.”  This system comes with sensors that are applied to the walls of the stall.  Whenever the horse kicks the walls or door, the system picks up the vibration and sprays two streams of water.  This happens twice at one second intervals.  There is no pain or fear associated with the correction process.  Instead, it is bothersome to the horse.  Thus, the horse stops the activity that is causing the nuisance.   

5.    Placing/securing horizontal boards along the inside of the horse’s stall.  Place one at rear height and one at hock height.  When a horse kicks, they will make contact with the boards.  This will be uncomfortable for the horse and will stop the kicking.  However, if the horse continues to kick through the pain, the boards should be removed from the hock level.  Repetitive abuse to the hocks can cause additional damage.

6.   Although some owners may disagree with the use of chains, it is a common option.  These chains are specially made for horses.  They are leather legging bands that have chains attached to them.  They are secured above the hock and whenever the horse kicks, the chains bang against the horses’ lower leg.  This is also a pain deterrent. 

Do not try to use leg restraints as a “cure” for this habit.  If left unattended hobbling, scotch hobbling, side lining, or cross hobbling can cause more damage to the horse than the kicking itself.  By using one or more of the methods above, it’s possible to stop this habit and doing so will be beneficial to both the owner and horse.

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