The Last Ride

Large Animal Removal and Disposal

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Exploring the Pros and Cons of a Stable Vs. a Run-In Shelter

When considering the type of shelter that you want for your horse, you may be considering installing a run-in shelter for your horse rather than a stable. While a run-in shelter is often cheaper and easier to maintain, there are several advantages to having a stable that you may wish to consider.

The biggest advantage to having a stable rather than a run-in shelter is the fact that it allows you to fully protect your horse from the weather and from other animals. Since a run-in shed has an exposed side, your horse may not be able to get fully away from harsh weather conditions. Even worse, your horse may not choose to come inside from harsh weather. Having a stable allows you to make this decision for your horse.

Another concern with using a run-in shed is that other animals can more easily cause problems for your horse, including other horses. If you have a dominant horse, it may not allow other horses to enter the run-in shed. With each horse having a stable in the barn, you can ensure all of your animals are happy and healthy while also monitoring their food intake and manure output. While using stables may be more costly and more work to maintain, they are generally considered to be a better option for having happy, healthy horses. 

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Is a Run-Off Shelter Right for Your Horse?

If you are considering sheltering your horse in a run-in shed or other form of loose housing, it is important for you to explore the advantages and disadvantages of this form of shelter in order to determine if it is the right type of shelter for you and your horse. 

Some of the clear advantages of using a run-in shed is that it is less work for you as an owner. Run-in sheds are cheaper than stables and typically only need periodic cleaning. In addition, this cleaning can often be handled by a tractor. In addition, your horse can choose when to go in and out of the shed, which also typically has better ventilation than a stable. Run-in sheds can also often be purchased as kits, making them easy to assemble. Some are even portable and can be moved according to weather, pasture or drainage.

On the other hand, run-in sheds do not provide you with a means by which you can contain your horse if it is in need of rest due to an injury or sickness. Using a run-in shed also makes it more difficult to monitor how much your horse is eating or how much manure it is producing. All of these factors should be considered when determining if this type of shelter is right for you and your horse.

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Horse Whiskers: To Trim or Not to Trim?

When looking at your horse’s whiskers, you may at times be tempted to give the whiskers a trim. Perhaps you think some of the whiskers are growing in an unattractive manner or maybe you are concerned that the whiskers have grown in such a way that they are problematic for your horse. Generally speaking, however, trimming your horse’s whiskers is something that you should not do. 

While trimming a horse’s whiskers does not appear to cause any pain for the horse, it is generally quite clear that it does not make the horse happy to have this done. This is understandable, given the sensitivity of whiskers as well as the multiple ways that horses use them as a tool for day-to-day living. 

Even if a horse seems to tolerate the trimming fairly well, removing the whiskers will deprive your horse of an important sensory tool. This may lead to confusion and stress for your horse while also increasing the likelihood of injury. It is for this reason that some countries, such as Germany, have made it illegal to trim the whiskers of horses.

Fortunately, if you have been in the habit of trimming your horse’s whiskers, those whiskers will eventually grow back. So, if you have been in the habit of trimming the whiskers as a part of your grooming habit, now is a good time to stop!

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Exploring the Important Role of Whiskers on Your Horse

As a sensory organ for your horse, whiskers help your beloved equine friend with experiencing, exploring and reacting to the world around it. By sending unique signals to the brain, your horse uses its whiskers for all of the following:

  • Protecting delicate tissues, such as stimulating your horse to blink in order to protect its eyes or to move its face in order to protect its lips and nose.
  • Evaluating objects in order to determine texture, shape, temperature, movement and distance. 
  • Finding and evaluating food, whether grazing or eating out of a feeder, bucket or hay net.
  • Interacting with other horses or with humans or other animals.

In newborn foals, it is also believed that the whiskers help the foal with finding its mother’s teats so it can feed. This is likely the reason why foals are born with longer whiskers than adult horses. Interestingly, the whiskers are also the first hair to form during embryonic development. In addition, while whiskers do shed, they do not follow seasonal patterns like other hairs. Rather, they have a growth cycle during which they emerge, mature and then shed naturally as they are replaced by new whiskers. The long hairs that grow underneath the horse’s jaw are different from true whiskers, however, and are simply long hairs. 

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Horse Whiskers: What are They and Why do They Matter?

Have you ever paid much attention to your horse’s whiskers? While whiskers may seem to be just more hair on your horse’s body, the truth is that your horse’s whiskers are far different and more specialized than other hairs. In fact, these whiskers are a sensory organ in much the same way as whiskers are on a dog or a cat.

Longer and stiffer than typical hairs, your horse’s whiskers are contained within whisker follicles that are also deeper and larger than other hair follicles. Along with these follicles comes a richer blood supply as well as a connection to more nerves than is found with regular hairs. As a result, your horse’s whiskers are very sensitive to touch. In addition, each whisker sends a unique signal to the brain, which is then processed to stimulate the appropriate response. This response may be either voluntary or involuntary. 

Formally known as vibrissae, whiskers are also commonly referred to as “tactile hair” or “tactile vibrissae”. They can be found around the eyes as well as on your horse’s muzzle. In these locations, the whiskers help to protect delicate tissue while also helping to compensate for the blind spots your horse has under its nose. So, as you can see, whiskers are a very important part of your horse’s anatomy!

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Exploring Bos Indicus Beef Cattle Breeds

Many people do not realize that there are two major families of beef cattle: the Bos taurus and the Bos Indicus. Those that are in the Bos indicus family are different from Bos taurus in that they feature a musculo-fatty hump, short sleek coats and a pendulous dewlap. This family of beef cattle, which originated from southern Asia, is also better suited to hot temperate regions due to their high heat tolerance and resistance to tick fever. The following are some of the breeds found in this family of beef cattle.

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Exploring Bos Taurus Beef Cattle Breeds

Did you know that there are several different types of beef cattle? Among these are several breeds that fall within the Bos taurus family of cattle. Here is a look at some of the main Bos taurus breeds.

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Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Horse

Are you considering buying a horse? If so, there are several factors that you should take into consideration in order to determine if you are ready to become a horse owner. 

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Deadly Pasture Plants: Part 3

In this third and final installment of toxic plants that may be found in your pasture, we will look at more plants to watch out for and to eliminate from your horse’s diet.

Lamb’s Quarters

Also known as pigweed or goosefoot, lamb’s quarters is characterized by smooth, light-colored leaves and a woody red stem. As such, it rather resembles a small, green cluster of cauliflower. Horses are unlikely to eat this plant if other feed is available. In addition, large amounts of the plant need to be consumed in order to take effect. Symptoms of lamb’s quarters ingestion include:

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Deadly Pasture Plants: Part 2

In this second of a two-part series, we will explore additional toxic plants that may be found in your pasture.

Buttercup

Buttercup is known for its yellow, cup-shaped flowers paired with sharply lobed leaves and a thin stem. If there is more desirable feed available, horses will typically avoid eating buttercup due to its acrid taste and the direct blistering to the mouth that it causes. Fortunately, this plant is no longer toxic after a hard frost or when dried and mixed into hay. Still, it is best to irradiate this plant from your pasture if possible, as it may cause the following symptoms:

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