Liv’s Tips: Avoiding Frostbite on Your Horse

When tiny cells in your horse becomes so bitterly cold that ice begins to develop inside of them, it causes the expansion and rupture of the cells, which is what causes what we best know as frostbite!

Imagine this in a whole region of cells, like in your fingers or your horse’s ear.  These ruptured cells are now dead, which causes the area to have decreased blood flow and swelling and a whole mess of dead tissue. An important note here: this tissue will NOT grow back!

Major problems follow as the dead tissue can leak toxins into your horse and cause gangrene and massive infection, famous for being gross and black and generally dangerous.

Horses are typically susceptible to frostbite on their ears and their penises.  This is usually seen when a horse is sedated with certain types of drugs that relax the muscles that hold the penis in.  Then, the exposure sets in and you can only imagine…

A horse is at most risk in extreme cold, especially when there is no relief from the wind, or your horse is damp or wet.  A horse that is already compromised by being a hard keeper, or a horse without enough forage, or a horse with some medical issue going on is also at risk.  Some toxins found in plants and rancid feeds can cause vasoconstriction, which increases risk.

Fortunately, frostbite in horses is not extremely common and can be prevented by ensuring that your horse has shelter from the wind if it is turned out in extreme cold and that it is able to stay dry, to take in adequate calories, and to forage to generate normal body heat.

Want more from Liv Gude? Visit ProEquineGrooms.com! As a former international dressage groom for years, Liv Gude 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!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Liv’s Tips: Three Rules for Decorating the Barn at Holiday Time

It’s beginning to look a lot like…the time to decorate for the holidays! If your barn, or even just your horse’s stall, are on your list of areas to decorate this year, you may want to keep in mind these three rules from Live Gude of ProEquineGrooms.com!

1. Keep holiday decorations out of reach.

Garlands, ornaments, and lights will be utterly delicious and irresistible to some horses.  Arrange any holiday decorations away from the reach of every horse, even the least curious ones.  If you have a particularly clever horse that might use his powers of sorcery and contortion for evil and not good, skip decorating around that guy’s house. The trouble with garland and long stringed things is that they can easily create impactions if eaten.

Also think about the barn cats and dogs. Are they going to be tempted to grab some garland and zip down the barn aisle?

2. Don’t burn down the barn.

Sure, twinkly lights are the best!  However, overworked circuitry and extension cords increase fire risks.  If you absolutely, positively MUST have lights, make sure they are the LED version that won’t generate heat.

3. Don’t use poisonous decorations.

Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia are all toxic.  Mistletoe and holly are definitely toxic to horses, dogs, and cats.  Poinsettia is mildly toxic.  You may want to stick to artificial varieties of these things.   Same goes for pine – while the real version is lovely, there is a lot of sap involved.

Happy decorating!

Want more from Liv Gude? Visit ProEquineGrooms.com! As a former international dressage groom for years, Liv Gude 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!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Four Ways to Prepare Your Barn for Winter

While many of our BarnManager users are in warmer climates (or escape to them for the winter!), most of us are bundling up in scarves, sipping on pumpkin spice lattes, and preparing for the impending cold weather.

As the temperatures drop and you dig your horse’s blankets out of storage, it’s time to solidify your plans for the coming months. Taking the proper preparation steps now can go a long way in avoiding last-minute scrambling. Whether winter in your region means snow or just rain, the next few months in North America usually brings some type of hassle for horse owners. Take the stress out of your pre-winter prepping by ensuring your horse property is as chore-efficient as possible – we’ve prepared the following check-list to get you started!

1) Order Hay and Bedding

Depending on where you live, hay is likely still plentiful in the fall. But as winter rolls around, it might not be so easy to fill your hay shed for the long, cold months ahead. Get in touch with your hay supplier well in advance to ensure that you have an adequate supply to get you through the season. Remember, you will probably be feeding more hay during the wintertime when grass is less abundant and the temperatures are lower, so it doesn’t hurt to plan for more bales than you think you might need. The last thing you want to do is run low and have to scramble to find another local source.

If you have the capability, try and store your hay in a separate shed nearby, rather than in your barn’s loft. This will greatly reduce the chance of a barn fire. And speaking of barn fires, make sure you have an up-to-date fire-safety plan—a quick online search will give you plenty of resources and checklists for this essential step. Consider hosting a meeting with everyone at your farm to go over the plan, too.

Whether you buy bulk or individually bagged bedding, make sure you’re stocked up there as well. Keep in mind that some bulk bedding suppliers might not have the same amount of product available in the wintertime, so don’t forget to get your order in early. Even if you do buy bedding in bulk, it’s not a bad idea to keep some bagged shavings on hand as a back-up for emergencies.

2) Check Everything is in Working Order

Autumn is a good time to knock out some barn chores you’ve been putting off—you’ll be glad you did when the first snow hits! Clean and mend gutters, fix leaky faucets, and check for loose boards and broken windows. Small structural problems can become magnified in severe weather, so a proactive approach to barn maintenance will save you much more trouble later.

Have an electrician do an inspection of the barn’s electric system to make sure it’s safe, up to code and doesn’t need updates. Similarly, get a plumber to check your barn’s plumbing to see that everything is in working order. Don’t forget about inspecting the outside spigots, automatic waterers (if you have them), and frost-free pumps. To keep your barn’s indoor pipes from freezing, consider detaching your hose, draining it, and storing it inside (preferably somewhere warm). Even though it’s an extra step to your daily routine, having functioning hoses and pipes is crucial.

If you live in a cold climate, you might invest in heated buckets for your barn and floating electric heaters for outdoor troughs. They’re not always cheap, but they will save you a lot of hassle—and can help your horses stay well-hydrated as well. And always make sure to carefully read the safety instructions on these types of products.

3) Solidify Your Snow Removal Plan

It’s essential that you have a plan to remove the snow from your driveway, so that a veterinarian, fire truck, ambulance or any other emergency vehicle can safely access your farm. Do you have a tractor or truck with a snow plow? Great! If not, you will need to line up a dependable contractor who will always be able to clear the snow for you, ensuring that someone is always able to get to the farm and take care of the horses, no matter how bad the weather is.

You will also need to be able to create safe walking paths to and around your barn and the paddocks. Don’t wait until the last minute (or before an impending blizzard) to stock up on essentials, like snow shovels and rock salt. You won’t be the only one making a mad dash to your nearest hardware store!

4) Strategize Best Ways for Manure Management

Manure management can be tricky during the wintertime, so make sure to have a few options available. If you use a manure spreader, you might not be able to spread if the snow is too deep or the conditions are treacherous. Likewise, if you have your manure removed regularly by an off-site company, it’s all the more reason to ensure that your driveway is safely cleared for them. Be sure to check in with them to see if their policies change during bad weather. You certainly don’t want to be stuck with an overflowing manure pit all winter!

By checking off each of these steps on your autumn to-do list, you’ll feel much more at ease when the first snowflakes fall, and you won’t be rushing to finish last-minute preparations. Best of luck!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

501(c)(3) Feature: Worthy Stables

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

There’s only one place where Jessie Reeves has heard a child say her first words, seen young people lifted from wheelchairs to run around on four powerful legs, and witnessed military veterans heal from combat-related traumas: Worthy Stables Therapeutic Horsemanship.

The non-profit riding organization was started by Reeves in 2017 and was fueled by Reeves’s desire to share the joys and benefits of horsemanship with the surrounding Mississippi community.

Today, Worthy Stables provides programs to a broad range of individuals, with personalized curriculum designed to help them reach their goals, improve their situations, and become the best versions of the themselves.

“Our broadest reaching program is Exceptional Equestrians, serving individuals with special needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Downs Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, and many others,” explained Reeves. “We also serve our military families with programs for veterans who have experienced trauma. Our military veterans program has three levels beginning with Boots on the Ground, an unmounted program in which the participants learn to work with untrained horses on the ground and progress into riding as they develop their skillset, confidence, and passion.”

Worthy Stables also serves children who have experienced foster care or developmental trauma and women who have survived assault, as well as offering camps and classes for children who homeschool.

“The heart of Worthy Stables is inclusivity,” said Reeves. “It is unique among equestrian centers because qualifying participants are not turned away if they cannot afford our services. We are donation funded, volunteer staffed, and our horses are donated, rescued, or on loan from friends of the organization.”

Presently, Worthy Stables is home to seven full-time therapy horses, two horses in training, and two therapeutic donkeys.

When doing an online search for software to help keep the horses’ information organized, Reeves and the Worthy Stables team discovered BarnManager.

“For the first time since opening Worthy Stables, I recently had to travel for over a week,” said Reeves. “Being able to share horse care information so easily was a lifesaver and provided much needed peace of mind that my horses would be well cared for and my volunteers would feel confident in caring for them.”

Learn more about Worthy Stables by visiting www.WorthyStables.org.

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Liv’s Tips: Winter Grooming for Fuzzy Horses

With unseasonably warm temperatures surrounding our BarnManager home base on the East Coast as we post this, it’s hard to believe that we’re talking about winter, but coats are growing in and the winter months are quickly creeping up!

With the approaching winter, we have two primary concerns when the horse is unclipped: dirt, bacteria, fungi, and moisture trapped on the skin by the coat and cooling out the horse after exercise.

When you have an unclipped coat, you have a great natural barrier to the elements, but you also have a way for skin funk, rashes, infections, rain rot, and unseen cuts and scrapes to invade your horse. Couple that with moisture from sweat, and you are creating a buffet for microscopic creatures to invade. You also have the huge task of cooling out and drying your horse after exercise to avoid skin funk and your horse getting chilled to the bone.

Here’s ProEquineGrooms.com’s Liv Gude’s advice for dealing with both!

Get acquainted with a vacuum for horses.

Use your fingertips – your bare-naked fingertips! You should be feeling your horse everywhere to make sure scabs or unusual skin funk, rashes, or rain rot are not forming.

Use your hands to examine the ribs and make sure that they are not poking out underneath the horse’s coat. Use a weight tape weekly to measure weight changes.

Take the time to hot towel your horse. Hot and damp towels are used to “curry” the horse in small sections at a time. Use a cooler to cover each section as you finish.

Utilize waterless shampoos. Many waterless shampoos are designed to clean spots, not do a whole horse, so read the label carefully. In combination with hot toweling, they can be a super way to bring back that “just washed” look for your horse.

Stay warm, and good luck this winter!

Want more from Liv Gude? Visit ProEquineGrooms.com! As a former international dressage groom for years, Liv Gude 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!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

501(c)(3) Feature: Homeward Horse & Hound

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

Miranda Swilley was rehabilitating a rescued hound dog named Sadie when she came to the realization that there was no hound-specific rescue in her home state of Mississippi. Recognizing this, Swilley began advocating for and taking in abandoned or neglected hounds.

Three years later, Swilley encountered a similar scenario – this time with horses.

In 2015, Swilley took in two horses from a 17-horse neglect case being handled by another rescue. It was at the seizure of those horses that Swilley also met the now-vice president of Homeward Horse & Hound, Angel Weldy.

“We kept in contact, and as time went on our concerns grew that there would be a need for another rescue able to take horses in our area,” said Swilley, who soon founded Homeward Horse & Hound. “We established our 501(c)(3) in 2015, and in 2016 the other rescue dissolved. The calls have been coming in ever since.”

“We knew when we started that we wanted to help our local law enforcement,” continued Swilley. “Mississippi has pretty poor animal laws, so our hope was that if we were there to give law enforcement an assist, fewer neglect cases would fall through the cracks.”

The majority of the horses rescued by Homeward Horse & Hound come from law enforcement calls, with a few also coming because of owner surrenders due to mental illness, age, or other circumstances.

Off-the-track Thoroughbred “Major Bingo,” was rescued by Homeward Horse & Hound and was adopted and renamed “Jackpot” by one happy young girl! We think he definitely hit the “Jackpot!” Photos courtesy of Homeward Horse & Hound

“It’s made adoptions a little more challenging since we never know what we will get or when, only that they will be in bad shape,” explained Swilley. “We also get the occasional goat from the city or an abandoned pot belly pig, even chickens and ducks sometimes! We still rescue hounds, but there has been such a need for the horses, that has become our primary focus.”

With horses as the organization’s focus, the team was looking for an app or software that would help them to stay organized and share information with others within the group, which is when Swilley came across BarnManager.

“The ability to access and input records without having to hand each other paperwork physically has been a blessing,” said Swilley of BarnManager. “I am horrible at forgetting things. Recently a horse of ours, Pedro, was adopted, and the trainer needed a copy of his Coggins paperwork. I had forgotten to take it to my partner’s house the night before, but she was able to access it through BarnManager.”

To learn more about Homeward Horse & Hound, visit HomewardHorseAndHound.org.

“Sometimes we lack the pizazz and following you see on bigger rescue pages, but one of the things I love about us being small is that you can really follow along with the horses in our care from the point of intake to adoption,” concluded Swilley. “For us, their stories are what’s important!”

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Does Your Horse Need Its Teeth Checked?

What to Look for to Determine if Your Horse Needs Dentistry

By Mike Lawrence 

Proper dentistry is an integral aspect of optimal horse welfare. As an owner, trainer, rider, or barn manager it is very important to be aware of symptoms that indicate your horse is due for dental care.

The easiest way to know a horse is due for dental maintenance is to put a reminder into the horse’s BarnManager record for a dental exam every six months.

Horses’ teeth naturally erupt and develop sharp enamel points when they masticate. These points can abrade the tissues of the mouth and cause your horse discomfort. These points and malocclusions, or deviations from normal dental contact, can also affect the natural motion of the mandible when chewing or being ridden, particularly if the horse wears a tight noseband.

If a horse’s teeth are regularly maintained it is more likely that the horse will have normal dentition and not exhibit dental symptoms when eating or being ridden.

Here are several signs and symptoms that indicate it could be time to call an equine dental professional:

– Eating abnormally, dropping grain, and quidding hay are all symptoms that your horse’s teeth should be checked. Eating related symptoms often may indicate an acute change in a horse’s condition or reveal an advanced chronic condition.

– Any musculoskeletal abnormalities such as atrophy of the masseter muscles or over-developed temporalis muscles in the forelock area are symptoms of abnormal mastication. Often your veterinarian, chiropractor, or body work therapist may observe body issues that appear to have a primary dental origin. That is why for optimal equine care it is important that the person responsible for the horse’s care shares relevant information, so all the health care providers can work as a team to help your horse.

– Facial swelling, odor, and/or drooling are signs of acute issues that warrant immediate dental and veterinary attention.

– Riding issues such as head tossing, rooting, head tilting, resistance, or not staying on contact are also key symptoms that your horse needs to see a dental professional.

– Looking at the incisors for asymmetries or excessive length is another way to determine if your horse needs to see a dental provider.

These are some of the many clues that your horse’s teeth may be bothering them. If you keep your horse on a regular preventative maintenance dental schedule, often many of these issues can be averted. Dental conditions are not always the primary cause of these symptoms but frequently are. It is best not to wait for an acute dental problem to occur and your horse to be in discomfort, before we check its teeth.

 

Mike Lawrence has been practicing equine dental maintenance since 1992 and is a Certified Member of the International Association of Equine Dentistry. To locate an IAED certified veterinarian or dental provider in your area, visit iaedonline.com.

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Liv’s Tip of the Month – How to Keep Your Stress Levels Down at Horse Shows

Showing is fun, expensive, awesome, sometimes disappointing, sometimes amazing, and often stressful (for some, especially as we head into the “Indoors” season)! But how can you keep your stress level low?  This largely depends on what works for you as a stress diffuser, but here are some tips that might help you!

Get prepared long in advance  It’s more than making packing lists and practicing your braiding skills, it’s about going to schooling shows, getting out to ride in a clinic, or exposing your horse in low pressure situations to all of the things he might see at a horse show.

If you’re doing it yourself, have your grooming, braiding, and tack cleaning game down pat – Put in lots of practice at home, and make note of how long it takes you. Then, add a big time cushion when you get to the show so that you’re not rushed.

Eat well, sleep well, breathe well – One surefire way to obtain this is to have a regular exercise routine for YOU.  Learn some mediation techniques, some easy breathing exercises, and notice your stress level before it starts to escalate.

Have a support system in place– If you don’t like to drive the horse trailer, hire someone to take this stress away. Bring a friend or your spouse. Make sure your trainer can be there to help you warm up.

Don’t try and cram it all in – If you think that a few classes over a weekend might be too much, then opt for one or two classes on one day. Most horse shows will let you trailer in for a day.

Try to make the whole show experience easy –  Aim to give yourself time to walk around, shop, watch your friends, and let your horse chill out.

Best of luck, and enjoy!

Want more tips on improving your horse show experience? Read “Six Ways to Make Horse Showing More Affordable” here! Want more from Liv Gude? Visit ProEquineGrooms.com! As a former international dressage groom for years, Liv Gude 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!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

Doing It Yourself: Tips and Tricks from NAYC Medalist Gracie Allen

Gracie Allen helped Zone 2 claim the Young Rider team bronze medal at the North American Youth Championships (NAYC) on August 2, before she was also presented with the Style of Riding Award.

Even without her well-earned medal and award though, Gracie would have still been a winner in our books!

While the majority of competitors at the NAYC have the assistance of a groom or trainer to care for their horse, Gracie is a standout. The 18-year-old from Moorestown, NJ, is largely the sole caretaker for her medal-winning mount, Rivage de Lormay. Gracie has had the ride on the 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding, owned by Horseware Ireland, for the last year and a half, during which time the gelding has lived at home with Gracie at her family’s Woodedge Farm in Moorestown, NJ.

Gracie says, “I take care of him and prepare him for competition, and that allows me to really get the best out of him in the ring. I know him like the back of my hand, so it really allows me to know what’s going on with him. If he even looks at me funny, I know there’s something wrong.

“I feel like he knows me really well, so it plays a huge role for us,” continued Gracie. “I know that whatever success I have in the ring is because of the effort I’ve put in with him.”

Gracie Allen (second from right) with her Zone 2 teammates after claiming the Young Rider team bronze medal at the 2019 North American Youth Championships in August. Photo by Jump Media

Caring for Rivage de Lormay herself has not only helped their partnership in the ring, it has made Gracie quite the knowledgeable horse woman.

Couple that with pointers and expertise from her riding instructor parents, Bob and Maureen Allen, and lessons from Olympian Anne Kursinski, and Gracie has garnered quite a few tips and tricks!

“I started taking lessons with [Anne Kursinski] when I was 14,” said Gracie, who then spent a summer as a working student for Anne and now lessons with her on occasion. “Anne’s very big on horse management; it’s a big part of her operation. I worked as a groom and a working student for her for a while when I was a junior, and it was an invaluable experience for me. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. It really gave me insight into how to take care of my horses. My parents teach beginner lessons, which is a wonderful part of our industry, but being able to be there with Anne and see her system and how she does everything was incredible.”

 Here’s a bit of what Gracie had to share!

On preparing for and competing at the NAYC:

“It definitely gives me a big sense of pride taking care of him myself, especially coming here [to NAYC]. I really planned my show schedule around this competition, and it’s been a really big goal for me. To be able to come here and medal is a big accomplishment for me. When I do go in the ring and do well, I know that all of that is because of the hard work that I’ve put on, along with my parents and everyone who helps and supports me.

I came into these championships thinking that this was an opportunity that I really had to take advantage of because I don’t own any of my horses myself, so I don’t always know what the future is going to hold. I’ve been riding him twice a day to get him fit, and I’ve been feeding him every meal to make sure everything is completely compliant with [Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)] rules.

“I used the FEI database a LOT. My horse’s feed has about 25 different ingredients, and I was typing them all in. We have a lot of boarders, and if anyone sprayed anything near him or tried to feed him anything, I would have to keep an eye out for that. I was feeding him every meal and turning him in and out and making sure no one touched him. We had a day camp at the farm, with little kids, and I had to make sure they knew not touch him too! It was a little stressful getting ready for it, but now that I’ve done it and I know what I can and can’t use [under FEI rules], it’ll be easier next time.”

On time-saving tips:

“I always work on time management. That’s something I learned when I was working as a working student for Anne. I think drying a horse’s legs is very important, and we have a lot of fans in the barn so the horses can dry faster. It saves you time to put a fan on them after they have a bath or you wash their legs.”

Gracie Allen and Rivage de Lormay. Photo by Jump Media

On organizing her day:

“My main philosophy is to make everything simple. I tell myself that all the time on the way to the ring: ‘This is simple.’

“I really try to organize things very well for myself. When we’re at a show and I have multiple horses, sometimes the days can get really packed. I have to make sure I’m organized, and I know where I have to be and when. Being organized and making everything as simple as possible, not only for me, but also for my parents when they have to help me take care of my horses, is so important. They have to know where everything is and who goes when.”

On what she never goes to the ring without:  

“A chain. And treats. And a fly sheet.”

We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Gracie!

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!