Liv’s Tip of the Month – Signs of Dehydration

Liv’s Tip of the Month

Dehydration is more than just your horse being extra thirsty – it can become a veterinary emergency.

Pulling a bit of his skin on the neck to see how fast it snaps back is not a reliable way to measure hydration. Older horses have less elastic skin!

You need to look at your horse’s gums. Pale, white, red, or blue gums are a sign of severe danger. The gums must also be slippery and slick, not dry or sticky.

In the warmer summer months, use electrolytes a few hours before you exercise your horse. This helps retain water.

Keep plenty of fresh water available and make sure your horse gets at least a tablespoon of salt per 500 lbs of body weight every day – no matter the season.

BarnManager can help track supplies, medical records, and watering reminders –  to sign up for a free trial click here!

 Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

Liv’s Tip of the Month -Beat the Heat

Liv’s Tip of the Month

There’s one sure fire way to determine if your horse is having a hard time with heat and humidity -take his temperature. Before and after a ride. Also, check his gums frequently for signs of dehydration, his upper teeth should be slimy and slick. Sticky or dry gums are dangerous and are a sign to call your vet right away.

Ride in the shade if you can, during the coolest hours of the day, often in the morning. Take your time cooling your horse down, offering water right away and rinsing with water or a water/alcohol bath. Alcohol evaporates faster and helps speed us the cooling process.

Consider clipping your horse in the summer for added temperature control. (You can see Liv’s clipping tips here!)

Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.

BarnManager can help track temperatures, schedule ride times, and keep medical records –  to sign up for a free trial click here!

 Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Clipping Like a Pro

Liv’s Tip of the Month

Start with a clean horse!  Shampoo, condition, dry.  Use a sheen product or grooming oil.   

Then add wickedly sharp clipper blades.  Pick a clipper blade that leaves enough hair for your taste.  Most blades have a mm designation that tells you how many mm of hair are left with that blade.   

If you are going for a partial clip, your horse doesn’t have to be clipped in a specific pattern.  It’s much better to clip your horse’s hot spots – where he sweats.   

If you clip too early in the season, you might have to do some touch ups later.  That’s fine!  If you clip too late, the hair will have stopped growing in and any clipper marks or “oops” will be there for a while.  

Depending on your climate, you may want to do a full body clip early so you can prep your horse in the last few days of warm weather.  As winter drags on, you can do a partial clip so legs stay warm but his body gets the benefits of a clip.

BarnManager can help track who needs to be clipped and who is left –  to sign up for a free trial click here!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Fly Control

Liv’s Tip of the Month

There are two main things to know about fly control – first, know what types of flies you are targeting and second, you must attack all stages of the fly life cycle. 

When you know if the flies are heat seekers, like horse flies, or smell seekers, like stable flies, you can create the best fly control program.  The types of flies will also tell you about their environment. This enables you to start time turnouts and trim back scrub brush around creeks that flies like to live in.  

Use fatty acid based sprays for biting flies that look for their meals with their noses.  Confuse the sight oriented flies with zebra printed fly sheets.   

Keep the manure picked from your horse’s area several times a day, use fans, and do your research about what types of flies you are battling.  

Finally, keep notes from year to year on your management plan. BarnManager can help you do this –  to sign up for a free trial click here!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – 5 Springtime Dangers to Avoid with Your Horse

Liv’s Tip of the Month
Springtime brings some beautiful flowers and we all want to be outside after the long winter. However, springtime also brings some unique dangers to keep your horses away from.

  • Buttercups are toxic – really toxic – but luckily they are bitter tasting and most horses won’t eat them. However, this can become a problem when your horse gets hungry from being in a sparse paddock with nothing to nibble – then the bitter taste may not matter so much.
  • Dandelions are not toxic – but they are very high in sugars! With springtime grasses also high in sugars, this can become a real risk for the metabolically compromised horse.
  • You should also watch out for cool mornings – temps below 40 degrees overnight create a spike in pasture sugars. Hot afternoons are also an issue – the same thing happens when temps warm up suddenly!
  • Poison ivy – another non-poisonous one that can still cause some issues. Your horse can rub on the plant and transfer the oils to you.
  • Leftover acorns are a problem because they are toxic AND delicious. While most oak trees shed their acorns in the fall, sometimes they can linger until spring, so watch out for those!

The solution to many of these is the keep plenty of fresh forage and clean water in front of your horse to distract them from expanding their diet into any unhealthy things. You can use BarnManager to create reminders to check on all these plants, and to get the word out to your team. To sign up for a free trial of BarnManager’s horse management software click here. Be safe out there and enjoy the warmer weather!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Laminitis Signs

Liv’s Tip of the Month
Laminitis is not just a springtime issue – although it seems to be more common in the spring, it can happen year round! Here are some sure-fire signs your horse needs a vet – pronto!
  • An increased digital pulse at the fetlock. This means something is brewing in the hoof.
  • A reluctance to walk or turn. This is easy to see when asking your horse to step from a padded stall to a harder surface.
  • Heat in the hooves – again, this means something is brewing and should be looked at.
  • A mild colic or symptoms of a mild colic. Sometimes pain in the hooves mimics pain in the gut.
  • A curling or wiggling of the horse’s upper lip. Some horses show the flehmen response when in pain.

Stay ahead of the curve and check your horse for these symptoms, including heat in the hooves and a digital pulse, every single day!

BarnManager can help you catch these issues early by giving you an on-the-go way to record and track these symptoms for every horse on your phone through our mobile app. Sign up for a free trial of our horse management software here.

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Keeping Your Horse’s Skin Healthy in Winter

Liv’s Tip of the Month
Keeping Your Horse’s Skin Healthy in Winter
It’s cold. Your fingers are numb. You just want to tack up and ride and go home – but you might be skipping some steps to help your horse’s winter skin stay healthy. Here’s what to do:
  • Take off blankets daily. Look for rubs. Look for sore spots. Look for pinched skin from buckles and straps. Also, inspect horses for tack rubs. On clipped horses they are easy to develop and see, and in some unclipped horses the extra hair under tack causes sores and rubs.
  • Groom your horse daily – you won’t be so cold after a good curry session! And you will be able to find weird new itchy places, scabs, hair loss, mites, lice, scaly skin, and dandruff – the list goes on. Anything new or weird warrants a quick text (and maybe a photo) to the Vet for further investigation.
  • Take sweat seriously in winter. A fuzzy horse that sweats is more likely to overheat during exercise, get skin infections from the sweat, and to take a long time to dry, possibly risking getting too cold in the process. Use coolers to help dry, feed electrolytes before you ride if your horse is sweating, and be diligent in your daily skin inspections.
  • Be prepared for stain accumulation. You won’t be bathing as often, so take advantage of dry shampoos and spot removers for those stains that pop up in winter.
  • Keep your grooming tools exclusive to your horse. Rain rot and other bacterial skin infections are easily transmitted from horse to horse with brushes, grooming gloves, blankets, and saddle pads.
BarnManager makes it super easy to jot down notes about each horse while you are grooming in our mobile app. To signup for a Free Trial of our equine management software and see how it can help you click here.
Happy grooming, and spring is coming soon!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

Picture of Bits on a Wall

Liv’s Tip of the Month – Warming Up Your Bits

Liv’s Tip of the Month
Do your horse a favor in cold weather and warm his bit up for him! It’s easy and makes bridling comfortable. Depending on your barn’s tack room set up, you might have a lot of options to make this happen!

One easy way to warm the bit is to hang it in a window of the tack room. Of course, this only works if this tack room is relatively warm, but the sun through a glass window can work wonders.

You can also wear the bridle under your jacket as you do barn chores and groom. This might take a bit of practice to not get totally tangled up though!

The bit can also be warmed up by using any sort of warm compress. There are two types you can buy – some use the microwave to heat up and some need an outlet.

Dunk that bit in some hot water for a quick second! If you have hot water from the faucet you can use that, or invest in an instant hot water kettle to create super hot water quickly.  Make sure to test the bit to be sure it’s not too hot.

Have a great winter ride!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!

Preparing the Barn for Winter Weather

The time to get ready is before it gets cold! This includes getting your barn spic and span, and your horse all squared away for the cold weather. Focus your winter barn prep energy on making sure these systems are a go:

  • Electrical: Exposed wiring is a fire hazard. Have an electrician inspect your barn and fix any issues. Metal conduit is one of the best ways to protect the barn’s wiring from rodents, curious horses, and dust.
  • Plumbing: Are water lines deep and freeze proof? Add insulation to exposed lines, and invest in bucket warmers. For outside areas, consider trough warmers.
  • Ventilation:  Even though it’s cold – keep the air flowing. Use products to absorb ammonia, and keep windows open. Most horses LOVE the cold weather, so resist the urge to lock up everything to make it warmer.
  • Hay:  Is your storage area waterproof? Can your winter hay supply be lifted on pallets or tires so the damp ground doesn’t mold the hay? Do you have enough, and then some, for the winter?
  • Blankets: Time for a deep clean and re-waterproofing. Most horse blanket repair pros can do this for you to save some time. Also, double check buckles and straps.
  • Your horse’s feet: Fall is the time to talk to your Farrier about winter weather changes. Are snow pads in order? What about leather pads to protect from the hard and frozen ground?
  • Your horse’s health: Fall is also the time that rising ACTH levels in your horse’s blood can lead to laminitis. Work with your Vet and perhaps run some simple blood tests to make sure your horse’s metabolism is within normal ranges.

And last but not least, enjoy the chill in the air! Spend lots of time currying that winter coat, ride in the crisp air that gives your horse some pep to his step, and enjoy the changing seasons with your horse!

Liv Gude, a former International Dressage Groom for years, founded proequinegrooms.com as a way to unite Grooms in the horse industry. The educational website also serves to entertain and inform horse owners across all disciplines about horse care, grooming, and health. Click here to check it out!