Depending on where you live and keep your horse, you may not have much space for riding your horse at home. One of the best ways to enjoy the end of summer is to take your horse on a field trip and adventure to a trail together. Equestrian trails can offer many beautiful sites to see, and can vary in distance so you can easily find the right kind of trail for you.
Articles and Blogs
Because of the exploding popularity of blogging, many horse riders have written reviews of trails they have been to, and either submit them to equine publications or post them on their own blog. For example, Horse and Rider has a whole section of their website specifically dedicated to trail riding and finding trails to ride. Here, you can narrow down your search by region, or by the type of area you want to go to, such as National Parks.
One great thing about these publications is that it offers a very detailed and descriptive first-hand account of people who visited the trail. This provides a key insight to the trail experience that might be difficult to find elsewhere. These posts often include information on what it is like to stay there overnight, and options for managing your horses during your stay.
Several entrepreneurs saw the need to conveniently organize trail information into a format that could be easily searched, and filtered through based on what you’re looking for in a trail! As a result, there are several great, online or mobile resources for finding trails.
TrailMeister is an online resource for finding horse trails, but also much more, such as horse camps, horse product reviews, helpful how-to videos and more. They also allow you to create your own account, track trails that you have been to, and create bucket lists for future trails.
While all of their trails allow you make comments, it seems and so though their user base is small enough that many trails listed on their website don’t include reviews by people who have visited the trail. However, in the search feature, you can still easily read the amenities that each trail location has to offer so you can be prepared for your trip.
AllTrails is a popular resource for outdoor enthusiasts of all types! AllTrails offers both free and paid services to use their website or mobile app. By using AllTrails, you can search in specific areas, and filter by the activity (we know you’re using it for horse back riding, of course), the rating of reviews left by other visitors, the length of the trail, and even the types of attractions you want to see on the trail!
Just like TrailMeister, AllTrails allows you to save trails to lists you create so you can easily find them again. The paid subscription of AllTrails allows you to use GPS on your trail, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.
A word of caution: because AllTrails is used by hikers, runners, bikers, and more, you may want to thoroughly read the details of a trail you pick through this app to determine what kind of groups you could be sharing a trail with and the popularity of the trail, especially if your horse is sensitive or easily spooked.
We hope this helped you find a way to secure a location for your next trail adventure. For more helpful information about horses, join our newsletter!
We all know someone who has smelly feet – whether it be from poor hygiene or just bad luck, it’s not enjoyable for anyone involved. However, if you’re smelling something that reminds you of rotting dairy around your horse’s hoof, you should probably take a closer look. Thrush in horses may be the culprit – lets learn more about it.
Thrush is a painful, non-contagious bacterial infection that infects your horse’s hoof. Bacteria, fungi, and microbes can get into the frog (soft tissue area between the heel and walls of hoof) and cause an infection. The bacteria will ferment in the frog, and make it deteriorate over time.
The result of the infection is a thick, black discharge from the frog smelling similar to rotten dairy. Gross, right? Thrush in horses can be extremely painful, and even cause lameness if left untreated. Some horses are more likely to get infected than others.
How To Prevent Thrush In Horses
Although thrush may seem intimidating and dangerous, preventing it can be as easy as keeping your stall clean. Dark, wet conditions are perfect for thrush-causing bacteria to grow, so avoiding these conditions will help reduce the risk. Manure, wet hay, dirt, and other organic materials are straightforward ways for bacteria to find their way to your horse’s frog and start causing trouble, for example.
Keep Stalls Clean
To minimize the risk of infection, keeping the stalls clean is crucial. This way, your horse will be less likely to have these materials caked up on their hooves. There are many other benefits to regular stall cleaning, too.
Clean Hooves Daily
One of the most straightforward ways to prevent thrush in horses is to clear their hooves of manure, dirt, hay, and other organic matter. If you keep this up every day, it’s much less likely that you’ll see an infection. Another benefit is that if your horse does get an infection, you’ll be able to catch it early on. Use this time to build trust with your horse while keeping them safe with proper hoof care.
Hoof It, Baby!
Exercise is a great way to prevent thrush in horses while staying healthy. Movement encourages the frog to naturally flush and clean itself out, and your horse will feel better overall. Just make sure that you don’t let the hooves get too dirty in the first place.
How to Treat Thrush In Horses
The sooner you realize your horse has thrush, the better. If it’s early in the infection stages, a topical ointment is key for treating and fighting further infection. If the infection looks bad or if you’re not sure what stage it’s in, you should call your trusted horse health care professional for an evaluation and further instruction.
A farrier can also treat the thrush. They might treat it like an unclean wound – trimming away the dead tissue on the frog and cleaning it. Trimming the frog to be on the same level as the heel and hoof will promote healthy growth in the future, too.
Did you know that you can tell a horse’s age by its teeth? These herbivores use their teeth to munch on grass, hay, and other treats all day long to get proper nutrients and energy. Because of this, it’s important that their chompers are strong, healthy, and are developing properly. Just like how you may notice a cavity from eating too many sweets, there are some common horse dental problems that you should look out for.
Cap Teeth in Young Horses
Young horses will lose their “baby teeth” (also known as milk or deciduous teeth). This is a healthy and normal process, so be on the lookout for spare teeth laying around. Some baby teeth may not come out as intended, and this leaves opportunity for discomfort and infection.
A common horse dental problem is cap teeth – where the baby tooth sits above an adult tooth as it grows in. More common in back teeth, these problem-causers can be hard to spot. Signs of cap teeth include:
Bad Breath Odor
Quidding (spitting out cuds of hay)
Abnormal Chewing or jaw holding
Spilling food while eating grain
If you notice these symptoms, it’s time to call your horse health care professional. Cap teeth cause discomfort and can rob your developing horse of the nutrients its trying to get through its diet.
What is Floating & How Often Should it Happen?
As I said before, horse’s teeth grow and change throughout their lifetime. This is why the horse itself can have a longer life than its teeth – causing tooth loss and gaps into old age. As the teeth change, they can develop sharp edges and points, which can cut and/or irritate their tongue and cheeks. No one wants to deal with painful sores and abscesses, not even horses.
In order to fight this common horse dental health care problem, your companion should get their teeth floated at least once a year. Floating is the process of filing down those sharp edges and hooks as they develop, preventing them from causing any damage. Make sure that you have a trusted horse health care professional complete this process to prevent further damage or pain.
Signs that your horse needs its teeth floated are:
Unusual head movements
Dropping grain as they eat
Undigested food in their manure
Acting up under the saddle and bridle
Soaking their food in water
Showing general discomfort or struggle during meal times
What Are Some Other Common Horse Dental Problems?
Some other common dental problems that horses run into are:
Wearing of the teeth
Extra teeth (also known as wolf teeth or tushes)
Tooth loss due to aging
Every horse is different and will experience different growing pains (literally), so if you notice the common symptoms of bad breath, struggling to eat, or head tossing, it’s worth taking a closer look. If you don’t know what’s going on, make sure to contact your horse health care specialist. They may have a better idea based on the symptoms you see and can suggest the next steps.
The horse health care specialists at BRD Vet Rx has been helping equine companions feel and perform their best for almost 100 years. We love horses and our passion is to see them thrive. View our handmade products here – we will continue to help horses through our trusted compounding pharmacy.
Who doesn’t love a good treat? Natural foods for your horse such as juicy fruits and crispy veggies are not only fresh and delicious, but they’re healthy too. When it comes to feeding your horse tasty snacks, they will go bonkers for freshly picked produce – but not everything should be on the menu.
In celebration of National Food Safety Month, we created this guide on what natural treats are good (and not so good) to feed your horse.
Good Natural Foods For Your Horse
When choosing which goodies to give your healthy horse, most fruits and veggies pass the test. Here is a list of some good treat examples:
Before feeding your horse, remember to prep and wash the produce in clean water. For some extra fun during warmer days, put some of these fruit options in the freezer. Your horse will love the added benefit of cooling them down while they munch.
Dangerous Natural Foods For Your Horse – Avoid These!
While the natural foods above have the green light for snack time, there are also foods to avoid. Ranging from discomfort to severe health issues and poisoning, the dangerous food for horses on the list below should be avoided:
Although they are small, acorn consumption can lead to severe colic or poisoning in large portions
Garlic, Onions, & Shallots
Foods in the allium family contain N-propyl disulfide, a chemical that destroys red blood cells and can cause anaemia. Although a tiny bit probably won’t cause a disaster, it’s best to avoid or provide supplements containing these foods in moderation.
Spoiler alert – horses are herbivores. Just a reminder. Never feed your horse meat or any product containing it. Their digestive system will thank you.
In addition to the leaves and tree bark being poisonous for horses, all parts of the avocado fruit should be avoided. Consumption could lead to an irregular heartbeat, restricted breathing, colic, and even death in serious cases.
Tomatoes, Chili Peppers, & Eggplant
These items are members of the Solanaceae family, the same as deadly nightshade. Consumption of tomatoes (including their leaves) can lead to colic, a decrease in intestinal motility, an increase in heart rate, and hemorrhagic diarrhea.
Fruit Seeds & Pits
This may seem like common sense, but pits and seeds contain cyanide compounds and are toxic in very large quantities. They are also a choking hazard, so be sure to double check your fruit before you feed your horse.
Dry cat and dog kibble may seem harmless, but they usually contain meat byproducts. As stated earlier, horses are herbivores – they won’t be able to properly digest it.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, so always double check if you’re unsure if a food is safe to give your horse.
Other Horse Health Care Tips
Now that you have an idea on which natural foods for your horse are safe and unsafe, make sure that you are feeding them correctly. Always cut up snacks into bite-sized pieces to avoid choking, and don’t overfeed them. I know that it can be hard to turn down those big sparkling eyes that ask for another bite, but feeding treats in moderation is key to a balanced diet – and a healthy horse!
Also, don’t be afraid to put the treats in a bucket when offering them, as certain horses can become nippy when hand-fed. If you’re ever worried that your horse has consumed something poisonous, call a certified veterinarian/horse health care specialist right away.
BRD Vet Rx has been in the horse health care business for almost 100 years, and helping horses stay happy and healthy is what we do. Learn more about what we do here.