Liv’s Tip of the Month – Winter Coats

So what triggers your horse’s winter coat to come in? Your horse’s eyes and the summer solstice!
 
 
Every June, the solstice signals the start of summer. The days get progressively shorter. Your horse’s eyes slowly start to notice this…sending signals to his brain to start thinking about winter. Sure, he’s not going to start sprouting a new coat mid-July, but he’s noticing.
 
 
The primary stimulus for a horse’s shedding and coat growing cycle is sunlight! Very little of the temperature and blanketing situations has an influence on the hair growth cycle.
 

 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!

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 – 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!