No one wants to think about what would happen during a natural disaster. And yet being prepared for the worst is something that every Colorado horse property owner should be doing. If you are a Colorado horse owner, make sure to have a contingency plan in place for your home first. Then prepare a plan for your horses. Your horses are very important, but you have to have your own home in order first. Here is a list (provided by the Redcross) of items that you should have available in case of a horse emergency.
- Non-perishable food
- Manual can opener
- Crank or battery-operated flashlight and radio
- Extra batteries
- Extra keys for house and vehicles
- First aid kit
- Cash in small bills
- Personal hygiene items
- Important family documents
- A copy of your Home Emergency Plan
After you have taken care of your own needs, now it’s time to prepare your animals. All of your horses should have a halter and lead rope near their stall. Think about adding extra halters and lead ropes in multiple locations in your stables. Other things that you can do is store extra feed buckets, bedding, pitchforks, shovels, and wheelbarrows. You don’t want to clutter your barn, but having these extra items could come in handy in an emergency. Consider bringing the following:
- Horse ID papers
- Horse insurance papers
- Photographs of your horse with your and your vet’s information
- Luggage tags with the same information
- Spray paint or etch the hooves
- Auction crayons for tagging
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Colorado Horseback Riding
Colorado Horse Property would like to expand on our previous article “Effective Breathing When Horseback Riding.” Stress is the worst thing a rider can experience while Colorado horseback riding. Nerves and anxiety can sap a rider and their horse of energy. If you reset your breathing, a few beautiful things will happen. First of all, you will replenish your oxygen stores. Eventually, your mind will become less clouded, and you will be able to make better decisions. When you regain your confidence in the saddle, your riding potential will skyrocket.
The communication between you and your horse comes through your physical connection. If your body becomes impacted by stress, your horse will pick up on that emotion immediately. The more confidence you have while Colorado horseback riding, the more confident your horse will be as well. Learning to breathe correctly is the best tool for regulating stress in the saddle. Effective breathing can reverse the fight-or-flight response, and relax your body. The exact same can be said of your horse. With you and your horse back in control, you can both focus on what’s important.
Stress is known to riddle the mind with unnecessary doubt. That voice in your head, when infested with anxiety, will turn on you quickly. Instead of focusing on what is important, you will worry about everything excessively. When you reset your breath and replenish the oxygen to your brain, it will be easier to think more clearly and purposefully. You will be able to direct your thoughts back to your riding and your goals. This will give you a greater sense of control, which in turn will lead to greater feelings of confidence for you and your horse. For more information, contact a horse-person realtor at Colorado Horse Property.
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Horseback Riding and Breathing
Breathing is an essential aspect of horseback riding that often gets overlooked. Click the link for trail riding tips and tips on how to saddle a horse; things to know before you get to this stage. After these steps, practice breathing at home before getting into the saddle. First, practice dropping your breathing low. Inhale deeply and then exhale. Your shoulders and chest will drop as you exhale. You are now ready to try while horseback riding.
While on horseback, drop your breathing low. You will feel a better connection with your horse as your body relaxes. With each breath, this connection will become stronger. You can do this exercise at a halt or a slow walk. There are many signs that the activity is helping your horse. Your horse will lower their neck, blow out their nostrils, and the ears will relax. This is known as connecting breathing. This technique is a great tool to add to your routine. When this technique is followed correctly, you and your horse will be starting from a calming place.
Take the time to build up your confidence. Practice makes perfect! Eventually, you will be able to influence your body when you need to the most. Now that you have gained your confidence with the connecting breath, you are ready for the breath reboot. First, slowly inhale and count to six. In turn, slowly exhale for a count of eight. Repeat two to four times. This technique will help you refocus while horseback riding. Use it at a show when you begin to feel nervous. You will quickly see those nerves fly out the window! For more information contact a horse-person realtor at Colorado Horse Property.
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Bond With Your Horse
Bonding with horses seems to be a fundamental trait that humans have developed over the years. Bonding with horses teaches compassion, patience, and has been shown to reduce stress. So how do you bond with your horse? Colorado Horse Property has put together a list of ways to bond with your horse that you might not have thought of before.
When your horse has to be seen by the vet, don’t take a back seat. Being there during this stressful period for your horse can increase the bond that you already have. So the next time your horse gets diagnostics, dental work, alternative therapies, or even surgery be present. If you are a competition rider, supplement your horse’s training with other activities in the off season. The more time you spend with your horse, the greater your bond will be. The greater the bond, the better your horse will be on and off the track. And don’t abandon your horse when winter comes. Winter can be harsh, especially in the state of Colorado, but your horse needs attention all year round. Put on your winter gear and get outside with your horse—you’ll both be glad you did!
It is common for your horse to show negative behaviors when they get older. Is your horse resisting and showing tension more lately? You could go out and get your horse all new tack and bring in a new trainer. However, this behavior could be the result of your bond with your horse slipping. Don’t feel bad. We all get busy sometimes, but when your horse is showing these signs it is time for you to get busy bonding again. It’s time to address these problems from a new angle, experiment with new techniques, and rebuild the foundation with your horse.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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