Monthly Archives: January 2014

What Do Horses Eat?

horse posingA lot of people think that horses just need a field with some grass in it to be happy and thrive. This isn’t quite true. Horses like a big field with some grass in it to run around in and to enjoy a good grazing session in. That is very true. It is also true that horses will need more than just a field of grass to be well nourished.

Good grazing material, or forage, needs to grow on fertile ground with just the right amounts of nutrients for it to thrive. For a healthy, happy horse, the forage should be a mix of legumes like clover or alfalfa and grasses like timothy or Kentucky bluegrass. Of course, being in Texas, it’s Texas bluegrass down here. This natural blend provides the optimal mixture of nutrients and minerals. Most horses will also need a salt lick or mineral block to round out their daily munch.

Good hay will be just like what is found in a good pasture. It will be green and have young tender grasses and baby seed heads full of nutrients. It will be a concoction of plants to provide all the necessary nutrition. Straw is different from good hay. It will be tougher, older grasses and doesn’t provide much nutrition. Sometimes straw is fed just to provide fiber with grains. It is mostly just for bedding down my horses on the farm.

Grains are denser calories for horses. Oats are the most popular grain for horses. They are high in fiber and easy for a horse to digest. Corn is the second best grain to feed a horse. It provides up to two times as much energy to the horse as oats but is low in fiber. It is easy to overfeed corn and make a horse fat. Barley, wheat and beet pulp are other things that are sometimes fed to horses along with forages to round out a meal.

Mixes are popular on the farm. COB, or corn, oats and barley, is often fed to mothers and growing horses to keep them in condition. Sweet feed, in particular, is a favorite treat. This is a mix of grains and molasses that is like a healthy cookie for horses. Speaking of, my horses enjoy a treat from time to time. I like to give carrots and apples and other healthy snacks in moderation.

An adult horse can eat nearly 3% of her body weight daily in dry food each day. A foal eats even more, up to 4% of his weight a day. Food is not something my horses like to skimp on! The horses need to have at least 50% of that food from forages. They never get any less than 1% of their body weight in food from forages, no matter what. A hard working horse will also get grains or horse pellets to help them keep up their good condition. Growing horses and pregnant mares will need more calories and special attention to their nutrition, just like human children and mothers.


Dog Anxiety Symptoms That Should Not Be Ignored

Besides the love for horses, I also love the company of my wonderful dog, Boogey.  Caring for a dog is just like caring for a horse, you need to pay attention to many things that they go through.  One of the things that I found out is that dogs does have anxiety just like horses.  My neighbor has a very unique dog, husky pomeranian mix, which shows signs of anxiety all the time.  From that dog, here is what I have found out about dogs and anxiety.


What dog anxiety symptoms tell you is that your dog is uncomfortable with the current situation, whatever that situation might be. Intervention is advisable both from the standpoint of calming the dog’s fears and avoiding a situation where the feelings of anxiety could get out of hand. Some dogs will complain, others will cower, and still others may bite, not out of aggression, but out of fear.


In one sense, dog anxiety symptoms can be a good thing as they make you aware that something is bothering your pet. A dog can’t tell you it doesn’t like the sound of thunder, or that is annoyed or frightened by an unfamiliar noise, but it can certainly demonstrate it by its behavior. If a dog gives a warning such as growling, that warning needs to be respected. It’s a sign that if appropriate action is not taken, the growling could turn into something worse. If the dog is punished for growling, the next time a similar situation arises it may not bother to growl because it was previously punished for doing so. It may skip the growling and go straight to biting.


A Few Anxiety Symptoms to Watch For


There are a number of different ways a dog will tell you that it isn’t exactly comfortable with the way things are at the moment.


– Raised Paw – Dogs will sometimes raise a paw when they are watching something closely. That’s something may be a rabbit or a butterfly, but the dog is about to spring into action. A dog will also raise a paw when it is anxious about something. What it is watching here is not a rabbit but a type of situation, a situation that worries or frightens it. When a dog raises a front paw it is almost as if it has been frozen in its tracks. It is waiting for what comes next, and in the case of something that it is uncomfortable with, that waiting time is a fearful or worrisome one.


– Half-Moon Eye – A half-moon eye, also called a whale eye, is another sign that a dog is in distress. In this case you can see the white portion of the eye at the corners. This is usually a sign that the dog would rather be somewhere else, or simply wants to be left alone. When a dog wants to be left alone it is usually best to try to accommodate its wishes. The dog will be looking at someone, but with its head turned slightly to one side.


– Closed Mouth – A closed mouth can be a symptom. That is not to say that any time your dog has its mouth closed it is stressed. Most of the time when a dog is relaxed its lower jaw will hang slightly loose. If it hears a sharp noise, or there is some other distraction it will close its mouth. This is usually a very temporary situation. What it means is that the dog is momentarily waiting to see what is going to come next. If it keeps its mouth closed, as it will when it growls, it usually means it is stressed. You can usually tell if a dog is relaxed, even if it has its mouth closed, but it is nevertheless a sign to watch for. A closed mouth combined with breath-holding is sometimes a sign that a dog is ready to bite.


– Lip Licking – Lip licking is a sign of anxiety. This isn’t the type of lip licking a dog does when it’s just finished having something good to eat. This is a very quick series of movements were the tip of the tongue makes contact with the end of the nose. This behavior is common in dogs that are trying to adjust to a new situation, and is also common shelter dogs.


– Panting and Drooling – Panting and drooling are very common dog anxiety symptoms. These two symptoms in a dog  may be accompanied by other forms of anxious behavior such as constantly moving about, or wanting to be close to the its owner. These are symptoms commonly observed during thunderstorms or when there are fireworks exploding nearby. Panting and drooling are sometimes accompanied by shivering, which is an indication that a dog is quite stressed and even frightened.


When It’s All Over


Many times a dog will shake violently as if it had just been for a swim or had a bath. It is not wet but shakes as if it is. This usually signals a release of tension, and is a dog’s way of saying that it’s glad that whatever was troubling it is gone or done with. This is of course a good sign, but one you want to take note of so you can try to determine what it was that might have bothered your dog in the first place.


Not all dogs are alike. Some are extremely skittish and afraid of anything new or strange. Others could sleep through an artillery barrage. If you have one of the former types however it’s always best to take action early on. There are things that can be done. If you do nothing, the situation may only get worse, and you could be the one ending up showing symptoms of anxiety.

How To Avoid Bruising While Riding Horses

I love everything about horses. Sometimes when you are horse riding, you can get unexplained bruising. I am going to give you some advice and tips on how to stop friction saddle soars, horse riding saddle burns, rider saddle seat bone soars, saddle rubs, saddle chaffing, weaver’s bottom, rubbing, and bruising during horseback riding. Here are some of things you can try to avoid bruising while horse riding:

* Saddle fit – Look at your saddle and see what twist it has. It may hit you directly on your pubic bone. There is a way to determine what kind of saddle you need. You should put on a pair of jeans. The jeans need to have a center seam. Then sit in a flat wooden chair. Place your torso and legs into a riding position. You should be comfortable in a steeper rise saddle if you can fit a few fingers vertically between the center seam and the chair. If you cannot fit any of them while you are sitting on your center seam, you may need to get a shallower seat rise in the front. You may even want to get a saddle a size bigger as well. Be sure that you are sitting on your butt bones. Do not lean forward, because you can overload your pubic bone. You can also overload your pubic bone by bracing against the saddle pommel.

* Saddle leather – Make sure the saddle is not slippery, because you do not want to keep sliding back and forth. This can generate more chaffing. You can use a beeswax based product on your saddle. This makes the leather less slippery. Do not over apply it when you use it. It can generate a residue that can be cleaned easily with any saddle soap. There are also sticky saddle sprays that you can use to make your saddle sticky as well.

* Riding breeches – Look on inside the seam of your breeches. The seam should be folded out on both sides. They should not be stitched together. All four seams should not meet each other like a pair of jeans does. There are breeches known as Pikeur that have flat seams at the seat that do not rub. They spread out flat. You want to make sure that the seam is not like a pair of jeans, because they will rub. So try to search for breeches with smooth seams that will not rub.

* Ointments – You can buy an anti chaffing stick that protects against skin irritations, blisters, chaffing, and saddle sores.

These are some of things that you can try to avoid bruises while horseback riding.