What is My Saddle Made of?

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Ever wonder what your saddle is made of? The easy answer is probably leather, but so much more goes into it. Modern horse saddles are divided into two broad categories, the English and Western saddle. Depending on which you use, the materials that compose it may differ drastically. Continue reading to find out what goes into making saddles. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

What My Saddle is Made of

The three main parts of the saddle are the accessories, the saddle tree, and the seat itself. The accessories like flaps, girth straps, and stirrup leathers are typically made from animal skins. Depending on the saddlery, this could be from cattle, pigs, sheep, or deer. However, cowhide is the most common skin used for saddles. Saddle trees are composed of several different raw materials. These include wood, fiberglass, plastic, laminate, steel, aluminum, and iron. Seats are usually made from canvas, felt, and wool.

These raw materials are used for making all saddles. However, Western saddles have more requirements because they are used for working. These saddles have a wider and longer panel than the English saddle. This is so they disperse more of the rider’s weight over the back of the horse. They also have a roping horn on the pommel which is used for roping cattle. These extra pieces are usually equipped with extra D-rings, or tie-downs, to hold the ropes and other items.

Restoring Old Saddles

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Whether you are a new or experienced rider, leather saddles are a favorite in the horse community in Colorado. Though durable and great looking, leather saddles do deteriorate over time. This is why many new riders opt for a more synthetic brand. But did you know that restoring old saddles is actually easy to do yourself? Here’s how it’s done. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

Restoring Your Old Saddles

The first step is to take apart your saddle. You will need a screwdriver and nippers to do it. To get a good clean, remove the girth, stirrups and conches. Also, loosen the back and side jockeys. Use your screwdriver and nippers to take out any nails. Wash the leather pieces with traditional soap and saddle soap. Clean the surface with a soft-bristled brush. When you’re done. rinse rinse everything off with water and let it air-dry. Remember, you may have to do these steps more than more.

If the saddle that you’re restoring if very old, then regular soap may not work. In this case, use a leather detergent concentrate. There are many great solutions that you can find at your local saddlery shop or online. Dilute your detergent with water and scrub it onto the leather with a soft-bristled brush as you would with soap. If your saddle is hard or brittle, use oil to soften it up. Their are also some great oil-based “rejuvenators” on the market that can help. With a little bit of time and effort you can turn that old saddle back into the beautiful piece of art it once was!

Packing List For Horseback Riding

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Riding horses is one of the most magical experiences you can have. However, if you’re planning on going horseback riding there are some things you should know before you saddle up. This includes what you should pack with you on your journey. Continue reading for what should be on your packing list for horseback riding. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

What’s in Your Pack?

Aside from horse tack, there are some things that should be on your packing list for horseback riding that you might not have thought of. First of all, bring some sunscreen, lip balm, and something to keep the sun out of your eyes like a hat, visor or sunglasses. The last thing you want to get from your riding experience is sun burned. Also, remember to carry a water bottle with to stay hydrated. The horse may be doing a lot of the work, but they’re not the only ones that will need to take a break and drink some water!

When it comes to riding comfortably, make sure to wear a heavy-duty pair of jeans. You don’t have to wear tall, cowboy boots if you don’t own any. However, you’ll still need to wear a pair of boots with a thick heel. If you are planning to ride during the colder Colorado months, then dress in layers. This will keep you warm and dry if it starts to snow. If you are unsure what to wear or where to buy appropriate clothing, ask your riding instructor where they shop for gear. Also, making an actual written-down list is not necessary, but wouldn’t hurt. It’s better to be overprepared than miserable on your horseback riding adventure.

Horse Spa Day

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Did you know that you can give your horse their very own spa day? You can do it at home and it won’t cost a fortune. For example, give your horse a bath at the warmest part of the day as a way to cool them off. If the weather is cooler, try using warm water for their bath instead. Continue reading for more tips on creating your own horse spa day! Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

At-Home, DIY Horse Spa

Having a spa day is all about being completely relaxed and comfortable. That means if your horse doesn’t like baths then try something else. Typically horses like baths the most when they are the right temperature and there’s no splashing. To reduce splashing, try using a big soft sponge. The sponges they sell for washing cars are the perfect size and texture. Also, don’t get any water in your horse’s face. They hate that! Be mindful of the type of shampoo you use.

Different horse shampoos are formulated for different purposes. Some are for whitening and others are for treating skin conditions like try skin. Therefore, make sure you get a shampoo that is appropriate for your horse. When working in the shampoo, use a little bit of force, not too much, and massage in the product. Lightly massage the muscles around the joints to help sooth your horse. This gives you the perfect opportunity to screen your horse for any new bumps or lumps.

Equine Massage Therapy

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As horse lovers, we know that caring for you horse is very important. However, taking your horse to the clinician or large animal veterinarian can be very expensive. There are a few things that you can do to sooth your horse that also have physical benefits. Horse massage therapy can prevent your equine from sustaining serious injury. Continue reading for a few techniques that might help your horse, including trigger-point therapy and myofascial release. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

Horse Massage Techniques

Remember, before practicing these techniques have a professional horse chiropractic guide you first. Trigger-point therapy is a focused massage on sensitive spots causing pain in soft tissues because of contracted muscles. These trigger points or knots are small, firm areas within the muscle. They are often the result of hard work, stress, or injury. When practicing trigger-point therapy, apply direct pressure to relax the muscle. This will release lactic acid, relieve spasms, encourage blood flow, and improve oxygen supply.

Another soothing technique is myofascial release or MFR. This includes massaging the fascia surrounding the musculoskeletal system. This part of the horse anatomy can cause problems when it becomes tight and restrictive. Just like trigger-points this is often the result of trauma, disease, or hard work. If you spot these issues, your horse needs to stretch to release the tension and restore free movement. Again, a trained horse therapist can help you identify and remedy these issues.

Regional Horse Diseases

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Keeping your horses free of disease means understanding everything they could be up against. However, did you know that different diseases tend to have different geographic distributions? This is known as regional horse diseases. For example, the most recent outbreaks of Potomac Horse Fever in Canada have occurred specifically in eastern and southwestern Ontario, and parts of Alberta. Continue reading for more examples of common regional horse diseases. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

Common Regional Horse Diseases

So, certain equine diseases occur and spread in different areas—why? It all has to do with the environment of that region. Regions with ecological systems supporting large mosquito populations will automatically place horses at greater risk for mosquito-borne diseases. These include both the western and eastern variants of the enchephalitis virus, and also the West Nile virus. This harkens back to our Potomac Horse Fever example. Eastern Ontario has large hatches of mosquitos which act as a vector for the disease and makes it more prevalent in that area.

What’s great about this is that if you know what equine diseases are more prevalent in your area the better you can avoid them. So, what about Colorado and its horse population? Unfortunately, Colorado is no stranger to regional horse diseases. There have been confirmed cases of equine infectious anemia (EIA), equine herpesvirus myeloencephalitis (EHM), and strangles in Colorado in the past. Strangles is highly contagious. It can spread rapidly from animal to animal and is one of the more common bacterial infections of horses. Check with your horse clinician and veterinarian to see if your area has reported any regional horse diseases. These professional will be able to tell you how to prevent your horses from catching these diseases.

Plants Poisonous to Horses

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Colorado horses are amazing creatures. First of all, they are resistant to the cold, except in cases of severe winter storms. They are also great for therapy and connecting with nature. Though horses seem indestructible, there are some specious of plants that stop them in their tracks. Here is a list of plants poisonous to horses. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

Plants Poisonous to Horses

Summer brings a lot of plants poisonous to horses, many of which grow wild in Colorado. These include wilted red maple leaves, black walnuts, and oak leaves. Also, keep your horse away from yew. The yew comes in different forms all of which are under the taxus species. They include the Japanese yew, American yew, English yew, western yew, oleander and rose laurel. Experienced horse owners are able to spot these plants from a mile away.

Rhododendrons and azaleas are also bad news for horses. These are beautiful flowers that you’ll love, but your horses will not. Also stay away from white snakeroot, richweed, white sanicle, jimmy weed, rayless goldenrod, burrow weed, yellow star thistle, and St. Barnaby’s thistle. Your vet may ask you if your horse has been exposed to these plants, therefore being familiar with them is important. The good news is that all of these plants are easy to remove from your land. Many of them are nice to look at and can be relocated to areas your horses don’t have access to like along your driveway or up against your home.

Vaccinating Horses

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With vaccines rolling out to combat the pandemic, we are getting asked what about vaccinating horses? The answer is yes they need to be vaccinated, but not for Coronavirus. Horses contract diseases just like us. Horse owners vaccinate their horses against diseases. However, the diseases horses are susceptible to are different from the ones humans can contract. For more details, continue reading. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

Vaccinating Horses

There are a number of vaccines for horses. Some of these include tetanus, rabies, eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis, and West Nile virus. Vets recommend these for all horses. Some horses do experience adverse affects to vaccines, but these are very rare. Also, the American Veterinary Medical Association says core horse vaccines are extremely important. They protect horses from diseases that are endemic to a region. Not sure which regional diseases your horses are susceptible to? Ask your vet. Colorado has a large horse population. Therefore, the state has a lot of great horse clinicians.

Horses contract diseases that aren’t regional as well. Therefore, there are some vaccines that your horses only need in specific cases. Vets administer these vaccines for horses that need them. The need for each of the risk-based vaccines varies from horse to horse. Therefore, vets tailor vaccination programs for each horse. These vaccines include the equine herpesvirus, equine influenza, Potomac horse fever, strangles, botulism, anthrax, rotavirus, and equine viral arteritis.

Salt For Horses

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Just like us, horses need a good balance of nutrients, including salt. But did you know that there are different types of salt for horses? Giving your equine salt every day ensures that their maintenance sodium needs are met, which is vital for hydration. Continue reading for some tips on which types of salt to give your horses. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

What Kind of Salt Should I Use?

Firstly, make sure you’re using sodium chloride and not Lite Salt. Lite Salt is a blend of salt that includes potassium chloride, which will not give your horse its maintenance salt. Sodium chloride comes in many forms, including plain white salt block, iodized salt, sea salt, kosher salt, Himalayan salt, and others. To keep your horse’s sodium level balanced, use plain white salt block. However, some horses are known to be picky eaters, in which case use a form of salt your horse prefers. As long as the packaging says sodium chloride, it can be used for horses.

But how much salt does the average horse need to maintain healthy levels? A 1,100-pound horse at maintenance on a cool day needs the amount of sodium provided by about 28 grams of sodium chloride. That is the equivalent of 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons of salt. This might seem like a lot, but remember your horse is a lot bigger than you and therefore needs more than you. If your horse doesn’t like salt-licks, you’ll have to add the sodium straight to their food. You can add the sodium chloride to their feed yourself, so you know they are getting the nutrients they need for hydration. However, you should still keep the block salt around so that your horse can consume more if they want.

Horse Care For Severe Winter Storms

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Colorado is no stranger to cold weather. Also, our horses are just as resilient when it comes to dealing with more severe winter storms. However, climate change has made things a little more difficult. No, we’re probably not going to see another ice age. But polar temperatures finding their way down to Colorado like it did this February could occur more regularly. Continue reading for some things to think about when preparing for winter storms. Also, if you are looking for a horse property for sale in Colorado, contact Colorado Horse Property today and speak with one of our horse-person realtors.

The Water Supply During Severe Winter Storms

The biggest worry for your horses during severe winter storms is water. The average horse needs around 5 to 10 gallons of water a day. This becomes a problem when the water freezes. If your pasture has a larger stock tank than your stables, then it might be smarter to turn your horses out. The more water, the longer it takes to freeze. Another upside to this tactic is that you can probably use a vehicle to bring more water to the trough. This will be easier than lugging buckets to the barn in negative degree weather.

Another problem that arises is that older well pumps don’t like to work in severe winter storms. But if you have snow, you have water. If it comes down to it, you can melt snow to refill your troughs. However, a 5-gallon bucket of snow does not yield a 5-gallon bucket of water. This job can be labor-intensive, so ask a family member or neighbor to help you. If warmed water is unfeasible for all water supplies, there’s an alternative. Consider using a water heater in your barn. Warm small batches for water and rotate your horses through to offer them warmed water. It’s a hard job, but remind yourself that the weather will warm up and things will get back to normal.