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Have an older horse companion in your pasture? Bless their hearts they have such stories they can tell. In terms of being considered a senior horse, if your equine is 20 or older he is a veteran or campaigner. This age by the way would make him about a 60-year- old human.

Your horse’s ageing process will vary, and will also depend on his breed, workload, conformation, medical history and the care he receives. Each horse is an individual. So how they age will be totally different. The thing you need to pay the most attention to as your horse ages, are his teeth.

Horses of course are grazing animals, and their mouths are set up just right for that angled neck hanging down to graze, nip and shear grass off and grind and chew it. Over the years this constant grinding wears the tooth surfaces down, and they fall out. This makes eating difficult for your horse and also means if he can’t eat properly, he will start to lose condition. And that brings with it a whole host of other problems.

The best thing you can do for your older equine is to have the Vet check his teeth twice a year for any cushing’s desease, abnormal wear, waves, hooks, or sore gums. Dealing with these things quickly will keep your horse able to eat for a long longer. In anticipation, start him on mashes slowly so if he gets to the point where he needs them on a regular basis, he is already used to them.

Between visits, check your horse’s mouth and watch for problems with eating, like quidding, head throwing, choking or difficulty drinking. Older horses often have difficulty eating long fiber food. You can solve this problem by switching to shorter cropped hay and/or add high fiber cubes as mash or straight. If you keep on top of dental issues, you can save your horse a lot of grief, and you can save money and problems in the future.

Equine Cushing’s disease

Cushing’s disease is a hormonal disease that affects the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. It can cause hypertrophy (excessive growth), hyperplasia (abnormal multiplication of cells) and adenoma (benign tumour) formation, which results in an increased secretion of certain peptides and hormones particularly ACTH which leads to increased cortisol production. The peptides play a part in controlling a wide range of body functions and the hormonal imbalances cause a wide range of clinical signs. You also get a decrease in dopamine which helps control the size of the pituitary gland. Cushing’s disease is a very common, naturally occurring, progressive condition in more than 10% of horses over 15 years of age. In aged horses, there percentage is higher and results in a range of clinical signs that can be life threatening.

Symptoms and signs of Cushing’s disease

  • The most common sign seen is abnormal hair growth and shedding. The horse looks like a “woolly bear.” They have a heavy curly coat (hirsutism) which doesn’t shed in summer; hence they sweat a lot and develop underlying skin infections.
  • Sudden onset of polydipsia (drink excessively- average horse drinks 30-50 litres/day depending on exercise and climatic conditions)
  • Often excessive urination
  • Chronic laminitis or recurrent attacks of laminitis. This can be one of the most devastating symptoms.
  • Swayback appearance, pot belly, weight loss with an accumulation of fat, especially on the crest and top of rump, loss of muscle over topline.
  • Compressed immune system which can lead to respiratory disease, skin infections, teeth problems, dental infections, foot abscesses and liver disease.
  • Fat deposition above the eyes can make the eyes appear bulgy
  • Horses with Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS or insulin resistance) may overlap with PPID cases
  • Advanced cases, due to size of pituitary gland, can cause lethargy and neurological signs, as the brain become compressed. The horse gives the appearance of having a headache.

Management

  • Call your veterinarian for a correct diagnosis. Early recognition of the disease can help to control a lot of the symptoms.
  • There are drugs available that will assist in managing the condition, which include Pergolide, Bromocryptine and other herbal remedies. Your vet will determine the best treatment.
  • Book your farrier to trim horse regularly ever 4 to 5 weeks. It is essential to keep feet in good condition and control any pedal bone rotation.
  • Body clip horse in warm weather to assist in temperature control. When horse is clipped rug accordingly, based on current climate.
  • Undertake regular grooming or shampooing to contain skin conditions which can manifest under thick woolly coats.
  • Feed a diet low in sugar and starch
  • Addition of antioxidants like vitamin C and E
  • Minimise stress to keep cortisol levels even
  • 6 monthly dental check up to check teeth.

 

A horse’s shoe is something that is, of course, put onto their feet. The process doesn’t hurt the horse, because the shoes are attached to the hooves of the horses, and in this manner it doesn’t cause the horse any pain because the horse’s hooves don’t have feeling. They are kind of like our fingernails. The shoes are attached to the hooves, and then they act as the bottoms of the feet.

It is important that you realize just how vital a horse’s shoes are to their lives. In today’s day and age, there is a lot of stuff that can make a horse sick or injured, and a lot of it is going to be found where they are walking. No matter what surface they are walking on, there is going to be germs and other things that can get into their feet and cause them sickness. Also, no matter what your horse is doing for you, they are going to be working hard, and this might cause an un shoed horse to have a cracked hoof or another foot injury.

You should know that if your horse gets a foot injury or an illness in their foot, your likelihood of saving them is not good. Foot injuries are very bad for horses, and if they are too badly injured they are going to have to be put down. Because of this, it is very important that you take all of the precautions necessary to make sure that your horse has the proper shoes and that they are well taken care of.

If you are interested in learning more about your horse’s shoes, you need to be sure that you are contacted someone who can help you out. This is not something that you should be thinking you can take care of on your own, because a horse’s shoe is the best defense that he has against dying young. Because of how important shoes are to a horse’s health, it is never something you should attempt on your own. Be sure that you are finding a vet and someone who can help you with your horse’s shoes, and be sure that you know as much as you can about horse’s health before you get a horse. Remember to have your horse’s feet cared for often, and you will find that you horse will live a longer and happier life in general.

rugs-laundry-cleaning

Maintaining your Rumani horse rugs is crucial for being able to use them throughout the year. To be sure that your rugs are ready to keep your horse warm and dry in the winter and summer months, consider the following for maintenance and care.

 

During the summer months, it may often rain which can lead to a buildup of mud on the rug. Before you wash the rug, remove all excess hair and dirt with a broom or a vacuum. It is best to lay the rug out flat to do this. You can also hose it off if it’s muddy.

Then, take off all removable straps such as leg straps, surcingles or belly straps and chest straps and place them in a bag. The bag will hold the straps and keep them from becoming tangled or damaging the laundry machine. Before washing the rug, check all of the seams along the spine, hips, chest, and neck for any rotted stitches or holes that will allow moisture and cold air in under the rug. The stitches and holes will need to be repaired before the horse wears it again.

Now you are ready to wash the rug. A front loading laundry machine is best for washing a large item such as a rug. If you are going to use the machine in your home, keep in mind that if you need to cram it to get it in the drum, the machine cannot handle the load. It is best to use a public laundry machine for washing a rug. High capacity machines at public laundromats are suitable for bulky loads such as rugs. Washing detergents can weaken the waterproofing treatments and can also irritate a horse’s skin, so it is best to use a detergent-free wash. Set the machine to the delicate cycle with cold water. Hot water can damage the waterproofing and breath ability treatments on turnout rugs.

Once the rug is clean, it is best to let it air dry. Placing a rug in the dryer machine can damage the waterproofing treatment, and if the temperature is too high, it can melt some of the rug fabrics. After the rug is dry, it can be then stored in any container that will protect it from dust, moisture and rodents. Plastic totes with lids that lock into place are a great option. If you have several types of rugs, you can label each tote with the seasonal months or the horse’s name to organize them for storage as well.

If your Rumani horse rug has rips, tears or broken hardware, you can use adhesive seam tape to fix small or medium sized holes that don’t need stitching. Extensive repairs may require a professional service to mend the rug. If a waterproof rug has holes in it, it may also need to be sent to a professional service because stitching it can damage the ability to shed water if the fabric is pierced. Once the material is compromised, your horse will be more susceptible to getting chilled.  If you need new straps, Rumani has replacement straps available to purchase.

It’s over 40 degrees in the baking sun and you can’t even walk outside without feeling like you’ve been drained of every ounce of energy you ever had. If you feel this way, imagine how your horse feels. Pretty much the same. If you are hot, so are they.

Horses like weather in the 55-degree range and during the height of summer 55- degree days are fairly rare. What can you do to help cool your horse down?

Always have plenty of fresh, clean, cool water on hand. It’s hard for them in heat like that to go too long without a drink. It’s usually a good idea not to work them too hard in high heat and humidity. It’s really punishing for their systems. And if you do work them, be VERY careful about letting them drink when you are done. Only let them have small quantities and space those quantities out over a period of time. If you’re working them slow and easy and they are not sweated up and heaving, give him a drink at least every half-hour.

You might think this sounds funny, but think about it. Don’t put your water bowl out in the full sun. Why? Because the water in it can get so hot it can scald your horses lips. Put the bowl or bucket in the shade.

Another cool down tip, your horse loves cool bathes – not ice cold – but cool spray from a hose all over their back, legs and chest. Some are fussy about water on their heads, so avoid that area. The first thing a horse usually does after being sprayed is roll in the dirt and make themselves a nice bug screen coating on their coats. The bugs are fierce in hot weather. If you don’t have a hose with a spray attachment, then sponge his head and face off with cool water.

Even if you have a salt block out, it’s not enough for those brutally hot days. You need to have extra salt available. All you need to do is add some table salt to his hay or feed. He will eat what he needs. Most horses sweat about enough to need 4 ounces of salt daily in hot weather.

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