Sunday, September 28, 2014

Equine ulcers

I wanted to ask the blog world if anyone has had any experience with maintaining a horse with ulcers. This is a horse that has been treated with GastroGard in the past but appears to have flare-ups from time to time. The horse eats well, is in good weight, and looks healthy on the outside but shows other ulcer signs such as body soreness and spookiness.

If you maintain a horse with ulcers or know of one, do you see any soreness and spookiness? What parts of the body are sore, and are the spooks big and random? Does the horse paw or crib at all? Do you find that the flare-ups happen at specific times of year? Do you feed one of the many ulcer supplements available on the market, and do you find them effective? Do you think that hindgut ulcers are involved at all?

Thank you to anyone with ulcer information.

In other news, P and AP are doing well. They're enjoying the autumn weather and awaiting the end of bug season!

Friday, September 19, 2014


As the pasture grass dies and the days and nights get colder, P and AP are starting to dig into part of the winter hay supply.

I'm a little bit - well, A LOT - obsessive about hay. Hay makes up most of P and AP's diet. I try to calculate as best I can, but I always worry about having enough to get through the winter. So much depends on bale size and quality every year. But I think it's really important for horses to have enough hay, and in P's case, she needs very soft hay that she can chew.

I buy local hay and have had a very basic forage analysis done in the past. I didn't get a full vitamin and mineral report, but I did get things like protein, fat, digestible energy, and few of the major minerals. The hay usually comes from a lot of different fields, so it doesn't make sense to test all the time, but it does give me an idea of what I'm feeding and what the hay is like in this area.

I've had some wonderful hay, and I've also had some moldy bales and weedy bales. I try to check each bale very carefully before feeding.

Hay making is hard! I'm really grateful for the farmers who watch the weather reports carefully and who are out there working hard on hot summer days to make hay. Our weather patterns haven't made it easy the past few years, and the hay crops haven't been great. I hope there's enough good quality hay this winter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

P is eating dirt

I've noticed that P has started to eat dirt. She has a specific spot of dirt that she keeps licking. I think she's done this in the past at this time of year - when the pasture isn't growing as fast anymore and when she's starting to eat more hay to grow coat and pack on the pounds for the winter.

P and AP do have a white salt block that they seem to lick at a fairly normal rate. Sometimes I'm even able to break off pieces and crush them so that they get a bit of loose salt. I've heard that horses may eat dirt due to a lack of minerals - maybe P is missing something now that she usually gets from the summer pasture. I could try a mineral block or some type of mineral mix - I always try not to overdo the supplements, but I do feel that they have their place and can be helpful.

I'm really interested in equine nutrition - mostly because of P. She's typically an easy keeper, but she's lived in a couple of barns that didn't feed her very well. Unfortunately, I think it was from lack of caring by the feeders - they fed poor quality grain and hay and didn't always make sure that P got her food! P lost a lot of weight, and that's when I started learning a lot more about equine nutrition. I think the most important lesson is to feed high quality feed and make sure the horse gets it!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cleaning continued

The tack cleaning success finally motivated me to clean out other horse stuff, too. It's amazing what we horse people can accumulate over the years, isn't it? I went through quite a few boxes and organized things and threw out a few expired products. I don't think everything expires exactly on its expiration date, so I'll keep things for a while, but eventually they do get TOO old!

The only thing about cleaning out is that you have to replenish. I'll need to add a few things to the horse product shopping list now. Isn't horse product shopping fun? I enjoy it a lot and can spend forever comparing products and trying to decide which is the best product and best value. For example, recently I mentioned that I'm looking to purchase a new cooler to dry out wet ponies in the winter - I'm still browsing and trying to decide which one would be best. There are a lot of choices!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cleaning tack

I finally had a chance to clean some tack - this is something that I really need to be better about! I always wipe down the bit after a ride, and I also give the saddle and bridle a quick wipe, but I'm not very good about thoroughly cleaning and conditioning everything.

The leather definitely takes a beating here with all the dirt and dust and weather changes - hot and humid in the summer, cold and dry in the winter - I'm wishing for a climate-controlled tack room!

I've read a lot of recent blog entries about what everyone uses to clean tack. I'm currently trying out Leather Therapy products. So far they seem to be doing a good job!

The days are getting shorter and colder, and P and AP are growing winter coats already. At first I thought I was imagining it, but it's definitely happening. Even though winters are tough here, I love when the ponies are warm and woolly. And there are no bugs!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Productive weekend

What a productive weekend! Unfortunately, I didn't get around to cleaning tack yet - but I did get a lot of other stuff done!

P and I also went for a short hack. P used to be an excellent dressage horse, although now she's mostly in retirement. That doesn't stop us from doing some large, loopy circles and bending exercises from time to time.

Her friend AP is also learning how to leg yield. AP is learning to leg yield from the quarterline, back to the rail, and then back to the quarterline. We're finding that a lot of support with the outside aids really helps her a lot, and the leg yield helps her to become straighter. She's looking good!

In other news, the pelleted bedding experiment seems to be going well. I'm still considering changing to all pellets but am worried that watering them to break down would become even more of a chore. However, I'm very interested in managing the manure pile a little better - I think the pelleted bedding is supposed to break down faster. Anything to keep the manure pile from getting out of control!

Also, I'm in need of a new cooler to help the horses dry in the winter but not get chilled. Any recommendations?

Friday, September 5, 2014

The hazy, hot, humid days of summer

It's been quite hazy, hot, and humid lately, which is a little surprising since we're so close to the end of summer. I believe the ponies are already starting to grow their winter coats, so I hope it cools down soon.

P has had some trouble chewing hay lately. She does get most of it and hasn't lost any weight, but occasionally I'll find a few big quids of hay lying out in the paddock. She does better with the grass, and luckily there's still some grass for her to eat. Because her teeth are getting old, we're trying to maintain her mouth as best we can. We don't want to overdo the floating but also don't want her teeth to get overly sharp or uneven. So far, so good - crossing our fingers that she stays that way!

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I needed to get organized for the winter. I haven't accomplished much yet but will try to do some this weekend. This process also includes cleaning tack - and I've read quite a few blog posts lately of how everyone cleans their tack and what products they use to clean. It's inspiring! I better work on cleaning some tack!