Have you ever heard of head shyness in horses? Is your horse averse to any activity/hand placements around the head and/or near his ears? Does your horse hate to be handled with a brush, headstall or clippers around the head? If yes, then your horse might have what is known in the community as head shyness, which is exactly what it sounds like. This is common with horses exchanging owners as in an adoption from a rescue center. For more information on the great horse rescue centers in Colorado, visit our horse rescue centers page.
Don’t worry; if your horse has head shyness, which is natural, there are a few things you can do to reduce your horse’s shyness. Begin any head-touching with a slow rub directly on the head. This will show the horse that you are going to be relaxed and patient. Get horse horse moving prior to trying any head-touching and if they become agitated, then try moving them around again. Twenty to thirty minutes of moving should do it.
The next step that trainers use to address head shyness, is to lead the horse toward something that will cause the horse a little bit of anxiety. This may sound odd at first, but the truth is having a horse move toward what worries them is a great way to build confidence. You can do this by having your horse move towards something it doesn’t like or feels uncomfortable near. With each step toward this anxiety-object, go to the horse’s head and give it a rub with your hand as a reward. Repeating this process a few times will help change your horses perspective on getting its head rubbed and reduce it’s head shyness. If you have any more questions about head shyness or anything else in relation to your horse or horse property, contact Colorado Horse Property for details.
Photo by roberto gerco on Unsplash
Horse Rescue Adoption Contracts
When you adopt a horse from a rescue, many establishments will require you to participate in an adoption contract that outlines what can be done with the horse. There is a myth circulating the community that rescues never enforce their contracts, therefore new owners can do whatever they want with my adopted horse.
Contrary to popular belief, these adoption contracts are not useless, like the terms of agreement on many computer software packages these days that most people just skip to the end without reading and click submit. If you are adopting a horse from a rescue, you are going to want to read the adoption contract thoroughly just to make sure that you understand everything that is expected of you as the horse’s new owner. In short, the purpose of the adoption contract is to ensure that the horse being adopted is placed in a good home.
The fact of the matter is, most rescues follow up on their contracts. Even if the horse was not at the rescue for a long period of time, chances are rescue volunteers and owners are going start emotionally caring for the horse. Of course, this is not the only reason why a rescue might want to check up on an adopted horse. Rescue personnel perform follow-up visits not only to see that the horses are cared for, but also to make sure that the adoptive owners are happy with the arrangement. Rescues exist only to help animals in need and they are going to want to know that the horse that they rehabilitated or trained is doing well outside of the rescue. If someone violates the terms of an adoption contract, they may lose the horse and be liable to the rescue for the cost of enforcing that contract. For more information on adoption contracts, contact your local horse rescue.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
It is a common misconception that most rescue horses are used up, worthless, or are lame horses, but that’s not true. The short answer is that rescues have many different types of horses; Some aren’t great for riding—it’s true—but many can do anything any other horse can do. Rescues have horses with a range of abilities that includes horses that are anywhere from light ride only (low intensity, once or twice weekly), to sound at a performance level. Some horses have health conditions that limit their riding/exercise ability, and they may require a special medication, lifestyle, or veterinary care.
What does it mean for a horse to be lame? Lameness, in relation to horses and other equines, is often defined as an abnormal stance or gait caused by either a structural or a functional disorder of the locomotor system. The horse is either unwilling or unable to stand or move normally. Lameness is the most common cause of loss of use in horses. It can be caused by trauma, congenital or acquired disorders, infection, metabolic disorders, or nervous and circulatory system disease.
Rescues do take in horses that are neglected or unwanted, but just because a horse is neglected by its previous owner doesn’t make the animal lame. Many may be sound, well-bred animals who ended up in the rescue after their owners fell on hard times. Taking care of a family in this economy can be hard and the same can be said for rescues who care for a family of horses. Rescues typically have many horses who are young, sound and can be trained for anything. Many horses that make their way into a rescue are trained to ride, and then go on to be adopted into loving families that wanted a horse that is ride-able.
Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash
How To Rescue A Horse
Wondering how to rescue a horse? Though there are no set formulas to adopting the right horse for you, it can be a difficult and trying experience that you don’t want to get wrong. To help you on this journey, your friends at Colorado Horse Property has come up with a few this to do in the process of adopting a horse. First things first, take a look at how much it will cost you to care for a horse. The cost of owning and caring for a horse is ongoing, not to mention the initial adoption fees. Ensure that your budget includes boarding, feed, tack, training, veterinary care, and supplements for your horse.
Most people want to adopt horses in order to ride them, but don’t just assume it is as easy as that. First evaluate your riding-skill level. If you’re a beginner, start with a horse that is well-trained and confident, versus an untrained, or newly started horse. Not interested in riding your adopted horse? Know what you’re looking for in your horse. Do you need a horse to ride on occasional short rides? Long trail riding? Are you getting a new horse as a companion to a horse you already have? Knowing what you want before you start the process can help you pin point where to adopt your horse.
Choosing a Rescue and Horse
One of the biggest challenges in adopting a horse is finding the right rescue to go with. Some people are restricted by low numbers of rescues in their state. Luckily for you, you live in the great state of Colorado where horse rescues are plentiful. For a full list of rescues, check out our list of Colorado horse rescues! When choosing, be prepared to answer some of these criterion:
Where do the horses come from in the rescue in question? Does the horse rescue only take in horses that are removed from neglectful situations, or does it take horses from auctions or individuals? Will the rescue share the horse’s health records with you? Can you talk to their veterinarian and get the full narrative on any health issues? Does the rescue have a good reputation in the community? Ask local horse owners, veterinarians, and farriers about the rescue in question, if there are any concerns than these horse related professionals are going to know about them. If you have any more questions on how to rescue a horse, contact Colorado Horse Property today.
Photo by Muye Ma on Unsplash
Horse Rescue Funding
In the world of horse rescues and non-profits in general, there are a lot of myths about how horse rescue funding is found. There is a common misconception that the people’s tax dollars already support the rescue, which in turn discourages people to donate. In reality, most rescues do not receive any local, state or federal funding.
There is only one exception—there are cases when a city or county contracts with a horse rescue for assistance in handling neglect cases and strays, however these cases not very common. Rescues must raise the funds necessary to care for their horses through adoption fees, fundraising events and direct-mail solicitations. Without donations from their prospective communities, some rescues are forced to close their doors.
Freebies and Salaries
Another side to this misconception that hurts horse rescues is that they receive services and items for free, so their expenses are low to none. Though it is true that many rescues get some discounted services, this is not always the case. Large animal vets, farriers, and other horse related professionals must make a profit to survive in this economy just like everyone else. Most services are not discounted or donated.
The last myth to mention that ties in perfectly with this subject of horse rescue funding is that everyone who works at a rescue is on salary. The hard truth is that even if the rescue is financially stable, only a few employees are under salary if any. In most cases, all staffing at a horse rescue is made up of unpaid volunteers. Because of this, someone is probably not available immediately to answer your calls or e-mails, and you may have to wait a few days for a reply. It also means that volunteers are often performing their rescue job after work or on the weekends and aren’t available during weekdays. For more information on horse rescue’s in your area, contact Colorado Horse Property.
Photo by Ben Shbeeb on Unsplash
Does My Horse Have Horse Obesity?
A little bit of online research will tell you that horse obesity is on the rise. Just like in humans, obesity in horses can lead to a number of worse problems. A horse that is overweight has a much higher risk of developing laminitis, insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders. It is not always easy to figure out if your horse is overweight, so Colorado Horse Property has put together a few ways to help you find out.
How To Find Out
Horse owners can use the condition scoring system, which is an evaluation of subcutaneous fat over six points on the horse; the neck, withers, behind the shoulder, along the back, rib area and the tail. The scoring is done on a 1-9 scale and the ideal score for most breeds and disciplines is a 5. Check with your vet on how to check your horses with this scoring system.
There is also the girth to height ratio. This system has been shown to be useful in estimating overall adiposity and is well correlated to body condition score. To figure it out, simply divide the girth measurement by the height measurement. Both measurements should be taken at the top of the withers. A good ratio is less than 1.26.
Then there’s the cresty neck score. This is an evaluation of the amount of fat in the neck region. This system ranges from 0 to 5. 0, which indicates no visible appearance of a crest, whereas a score of 5 indicates a crest so large that it droops to one side. Owners should aim to keep their horses at a cresty neck score of 2 or lower. Your vet should be able to help you with these scoring systems in lieu of using a large horse scale.
Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash
One thing to look out for this year when taking care of your horses is pigeon fever (also known as dryland distemper or Colorado strangles). Pigeon fever develops when a certain type of bacteria enters a horse’s body, probably via insect bites or breaks in the skin. The infection usually causes abscesses in the chest or elsewhere in the horse’s body.
Most horses make a full recovery from pigeon fever, but it can take weeks for the disease to run its course.It is a good idea to become familiar with pigeon fever. Owners should know what it looks like, how it occurs, and when your horse is most likely to get it. Your friends at Colorado Horse Property has done some research and would like to share what we have found.
Three Forms of Pigeon Fever
One form of pigeon fever is the development of external abscesses just under the skin or within your horse’s muscles. They are commonly found in the chest and along the middle of the belly. This is the most common and most documented form of the infection and most horses recover fully once the abscess drains and the wound heals.
Another form of this infection causes internal abscesses to develop. This occurs when the bacteria is carried into the body and infect the liver, kidney, lungs or other internal organs. If you suspect that your horse has contracted this type of infection, then make sure to take your animal to the vet as soon as possible. An ultrasound may be needed to locate abscesses, assess their size and determine their maturity.
The last form of pigeon fever causes swelling and ulcerations on the lower legs. These abscesses form within lymph nodes, causing the swelling of the leg. Signs of this form of the infection are lameness, lethargy and loss of appetite. Again, if your animal is showing any of these signs, make sure to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Horse Rescue Myth
Horse rescues are places, often ran by nonprofit organization, where abused, abandoned, and misguided horses are cared for. If you are planning to move to Colorado with the intentions on obtaining horses, consider adopting a rehabilitated horse from one of our many horse rescues. Here is a list of the horse rescue’s in Colorado. You can also search for horse properties on our website. There is a horse rescue myth out there in the horse community that all rescues are the same. This horse rescue myth could not be farther from the truth. Horse rescues in Colorado are unique organizations with their own policies and procedures, fundraisers and staff.
Horse Rescue Differences
Nonprofit rescues don’t pay income tax on the money it raises and your donations to it are usually tax-deductible. On the other hand, donations to private rescues are not tax-deductible, and they’re not required to make their records public. They are required to pay income taxes on any money they receive from fundraisers, adoptions, etc.
Don’t confuse horse rescue with horse sanctuaries. Sanctuaries provide lifelong homes to horses in need and do not offer adoption options. This means that sanctuaries can help only a limited number of horses. Both of these types of organizations, differ from rehoming organizations. These types of organizations do place their horses with adopters, but many rescues of this type also offer a limited number of sanctuary spots to horses they deem unadoptable. There are many reasons why a horse may be unadoptable, typically for physical or behavioral problems.
Another way that rescues differ from each other are the may in which they take in horses, or where they receive them from. Horses can come to rescues from auctions, racetracks, owner donations or law enforcement impoundments in cases of abuse or neglect. Though many rescues take in animals from all sorts of backgrounds, you may find that some rescues are better equipped with dealing with impoundments than others.
Photo by Kenny Webster on Unsplash
Horse Health Problems
Your friends at Colorado Horse Property knows how important horse health is to you horse owners out there. One issue that you might have this year is called Tail Rubbing, in which your horse might rub its tail raw.
There may be several reasons why this is occuring. The most common is pinworms. If you suspect your horse has pinworms, call your veterinarian before starting any treatment, to get their professional opinion. You’ll want to be sure to select a deworming agent that is effective against that parasite in your area. If you live in the Littleton area, then try visiting the Littleton Equine Medical Center for help with this issue.
Finding A Solution
The first thing you are going to want to due when you find that your horse has been tail rubbing, is to check for pinworms These parasites have made a resurgence in North America recently. The eggs trigger itchiness that helps spread them through the environment as the horse rubs against things.
Then you should inspect the tail itself. Separate the hairs to check the skin along the tailbone and lift it to examine the underside as well. The irritation may be due to ticks that should be removed. If the irritation on the skin of the tail is widespread, your horse may have contacted dermatitis.
If the your horse’s tail itself looks fine, check between the hind legs forward to the sheath. This is a prime location for tiny Culicoides midges to feed, which can set off an allergic reaction known as “sweet itch.” These insects also feed along the crest, so affected horses may also rub their necks. For more information on common horse health issues or where to find the nearest horse vet, contact Colorado Horse Property.
Photo by Thomas Peham on Unsplash
Equine Therapy, Littleton
Mental health is an issue that many Americans deal with on a daily basis. In researching therapy options, you may have come across the term Equine Therapy. This is a unique and experiential type of therapy that involves interactions between people and horses. You may hear the terms Horse Therapy, Equine-Assisted Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy—all of these terms refer to equine therapy and the definition given above.
As part of this type of therapy, patients engage in certain activities such as grooming, feeding, haltering and leading a horse. These activities should be supervised by a mental health professional. If one is available, activities should also be monitored by a horse professional to make sure that the animal is comfortable during the process. Both during the activity and after the patient has finished working with the horse, the equine therapist can observe and interact with the patient in order to identify behavior patterns and process thoughts and emotions.
If you are looking for a new home in Colorado and are dealing with a mental health issue, consider making the move to Littleton. Not only is Littleton a great place to live, work, and raise a family, it is close to premier equine therapy center Happy Dog Ranch. Search for homes in Littleton now, many of which include accommodations for horses on the land. Here you will find a link to information about the equine therapy ranch in Littleton.
- Social responsibility
- Interpersonal relationships
- Impulse control
- Problem-solving skills
- Stress tolerance
- Emotional awareness
Horse therapy has been successfully used in treatment programs for adults and teens who are being treated for the following problems: eating disorders, learning differences, ADD/ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, grief/loss, trauma, substance abuse, addiction, behavior disorders, mood disorders, sex addiction, compulsive gambling, bipolar, depression and other conditions similar to those listed.