The Last Ride

Large Animal Removal and Disposal

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Cleaning Your Horse’s Hooves: What Do I Remove?

The first time you clean your horse’s hooves, you may feel a bit overwhelmed, confused or even nervous or scared. By having a clear idea of what to expect and what needs to be removed from the hoof when you clean it, however, you can feel a bit more confident as you head in to handle this task for the first time.

After you have safely secured your horse and prompted it to raise its foot so you can access the hoof, you should then use your hoof pick to begin clearing out any dirt, manure, matted hay or straw and any other debris that you encounter in the hoof. As you remove this debris, you should work from the heal to the toe, being careful to pay close attention to the cleft around the frog so you do not damage it in the process.

Once you have cleared the debris from the hoof, you can then take a stiff brush to brush away the bits of dirt and chaff that have been left behind. You may even want to use an illuminated hoof pick in order to get a better look at all of the nooks and crannies within the hoof.

Finally, you can clean off of the sole of the hoof by picking gently around the area of the hoof that is just inside of the hoof wall. This area is characterized by looking simply like a white line. Be sure that you do not jab the area while also looking for any grit or small stones that may need to be removed. 

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Tips for Cleaning Your Horse’s Hooves

Cleaning horse hooves is an essential part of keeping your horse happy and healthy. Luckily, cleaning the hooves of your horse is a relatively simple task. To guarantee the greatest amount of success when cleaning your horse’s hooves, be sure to keep these two tips in mind.

Tip #1: Tie Your Horse Securely

Before you begin the cleaning process, you must first ensure your horse it tied safely and securely. Keep in mind that crossties may be safer because they will help to keep you away from posts and walls if your horse decides to act up. 

Tip #2: Establish a Cue

When cleaning your horse’s hooves, you need to be consistent about the process while also establishing a cue to let your horse know to lift its foot willingly. Most people start on the front, near side of the horse and then work their way around. There are several options that you may want to consider in terms of the cue that you use to signal when to lift the foot. Some common cues include:

  • Tap on the horse’s chestnut
  • Pinch lightly above the pastern joint and along the tendon at the back

The horse should then pick up the foot and allow you to support it with one hand. If you are right-handed, you will support the hoof with your left hand and pick with the right. With the hoof properly in place, you can now begin to clear the hoof as needed.

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Exploring the Importance of Routinely Cleaning Your Horse’s Hooves

As a horse owner, cleaning your horse’s hooves is an essential part of its routine care. This is largely due to the fact that the shape of a horse hoof along with the combination of the two clefts beside the frog that the hoof contains all make it easy for debris to be picked up and cause injury to the hoof. Things that commonly become stuck in horse hooves include:

  • Glass
  • Nails
  • Pine Cones
  • Rocks
  • Twigs
  • Wire Bits

Clearly, all of these items can be sharp and may pierce the sole or cause bruising to the hoof. Therefore, if your horse suddenly appears to be lame for no apparent reason, it is quite likely that something is caught in the hoof and needs to be removed. 

In addition to the threat of debris getting caught in the hoof and causing damage, you should also clean your horse’s hooves in order to remove any manure or soil that may be trapped in the hoof. Manure and soil can create a damp, dirty environment, which is the ideal combination for thrush. Keeping the hoof clean can help to prevent thrush, while cleaning is also an essential part of keeping thrush from getting worse once it does set in.

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Cleaning Solutions for Horse Owners

Keeping your horse and its living area clean are important steps toward keeping your horse healthy. From grooming your horse to keeping its stable clean, here are a few cleaning tips to keep in mind as a responsible horse owner.  

Scrubbing Water Buckets

In addition to giving your horse fresh water every day, you need to also be sure to keep its water buckets clean. Regular scrubbing of the buckets will help to prevent bacteria from forming. Warm water and a hard brush will help with cleaning. White vinegar can also be used to help remove stains.

Sweeping 

After doing your routine cleaning of your horse’s stall, you should also finish off your routine cleaning chores by sweeping the stable entrance, feed room, store room and any walkways. 

Cleaning Tack

You should also routinely clean your horse’s tack in order to keep it in good shape. To do this, wipe down leather items with a clean, damp cloth and then add leather conditioner and polish if needed. 

Horse Grooming

Of course, you can’t forget about the actual horse! Every day, you should give your horse a good grooming in order to remove mud and dust. You should also pick your horse’s feet and give it a quick brush down before taking it out on a ride, as this will help to stop dirt and mud from rubbing against its skin as you ride.

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Recognizing Signs of Illness or Distress in Your Horse

As a responsible horse owner, it is essential for you to know how to recognize signs of illness in your equine friend. In this way, you will be better prepared to provide the proper care for your horse to ensure it remains healthy for years to come. 

Just as with humans, horses tend to display certain symptoms to indicate that they are not feeling well. For example, your horse may start drinking less water than usual or it may not want to eat as much or as frequently as it usually does. Your horse may also appear lethargic or have an overall “dull” appearance. In addition, your horse may not urinate or defecate as frequently as usual or you may even begin to notice excessive sweating.

Of course, your horse may also display some far more obvious signs of being sick. For example, your horse may actually develop a fever. It may even have a cough or a snotty nose. If you notice your horse rolling around or pawing the ground, it may also be a sign that your horse is not feeling well and needs medical attention.

If you notice these signs of illness or otherwise suspect that your horse may not be feeling well, contact a veterinarian right away in order to get your horse the help it needs.

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Three Time-Saving Tips for Horse Owners

Being a horse owner requires taking on many responsibilities. Figuring out ways to simplify your horse care responsibilities will help to save time while also giving you more opportunity to enjoy spending time with your horse.

Saving Time on Feeding

To help save on time with feeding your horse, it is a good idea measure your horse’s meals for the entire week all at one time. Simply purchase a set of scales and some small buckets that you can label for each meal. Then, simply grab the right bucket and dump it when you are ready to feed your horse!

Keeping the Stall Clean

Keeping your horse’s stall clean is essential. Some find it to be easier to do some light cleaning throughout the week with the intention of removing and replacing all of the bedding at the end of the week. Others find it more beneficial to thoroughly clean every day. Whichever method you use, be sure you are removing all wet and soiled patches each day and while the horse is out of the stable. 

Providing Hay

You can also simplify caring for your horse with the help of a haynet. Your horse needs to have enough hay to last throughout the night. Preparing haynets for the entire week all in one day can help you save time on busy days.

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Exploring Cow Digestion

Have you ever heard of a ruminant? While you may not be familiar with that term, you are certainly familiar with many examples of rudiments. Cows, for example, are rudiments, as are sheep and camels.

Simply put, a rudiment is a term used to classify mammals at chew cud, which is regurgitated, partially digested food. You may be surprised to learn that, not only do cows chew on cud, but they can chew on it for up to 8 hours per day!

You may also have heard that cows have four stomachs, but this technically is not true. Rather, cows have four digestive compartments. One of these compartments, the rumen, holds up to 50 gallons of partially digested food. This is where the cud comes from. Bacteria in the rumen helps to digest the food and provide protein for the cow. The reticulum Is another one of these compartments. It is referred to as the “hardware stomach” because it is where indigestible items will lodge themselves so they do not cause further damage. Another compartment is the omasum, which is a sort of filter, and the fourth compartment is the abomasum, which is the compartment that is the most similar to the human stomach.

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Milk: How Does it Get to Your Refrigerator

While many people enjoy drinking a glass of milk with their favorite cookies or in a bowl of cereal, may never consider what goes into producing that milk the first place. You may be surprised to know that a cow must have a calf in order to start producing milk and the average age for a cow to have her first calf is two-years-old. The calf is then fed milk until it is about 8 or 9 years old, after which it is weened from its mother and then the milk is gathered from the cow for human consumption.

Prior to the invention of milking machines, farmers were only able to milk about six cows per hour and by hand. After the milking machine was invented in 1894, this process was sped up considerably. Today, farmers can use these machines to milk more than 100 cows per hour. The most productive cows can produce more than 25 gallons in a single day. This is equivalent to 400 glasses of milk!

Altogether, dairy cows are responsible for producing about 90 percent of the world’s milk supply. Cows in the United States produce an average of 2,000 gallons of milk per cow each year, which is equivalent to about 30,000 glasses of milk. In order to produce this much milk, dairy cows drink about one bathtub full of water each day and eat around 40 pounds of food per day.

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Cows in the United States: A Brief History

Did you know that the first cow arrived in the United States when settlers from the Jamestown colony brought cows with them in 1611? Since then, cows have become an important part of our agriculture in the United States, but they were once even a regular part of the family home. In fact, until the 1850s, nearly every family had its own cow for producing milk for the homestead.

Regular shipments of milk by railroad also begin in 1841, with shipments taking place between Orange County, New York and New York City. By 1856, Gail Borden had invented the condensed milk process, which removed water from the milk in order to take up less space. Refrigeration of milk did not occur until 1880 and the first pasteurizing machine wasn’t introduced until 1895. 

Over the years, the process of dairying has improved greatly. In fact, just one of today’s cows can produce as much milk as it once took ten cows to produce! Nonetheless, it still takes more than 9 million cows and more than 100,000 farms throughout the United States to produce the amount of milk that is consumed. More than 99 percent of these farms are family owned and operated. 

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Keeping Your Horse Hydrated This Summer

Did you know that keeping your horse properly hydrated during the summer months may require more than simply providing fresh, clean water at a cool temperature? In fact, you may need to provide your horse with some additional supplements and assistance in order to ensure it stays hydrated during the hot Arizona summer. Here are a couple additional steps that you may need to take in order to keep your horse properly hydrated this summer.

Provide Electrolytes

Your horse’s number one way to stay cool in the summer is to sweat. Unfortunately, sweating results in the loss of important electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and chloride. If your horse loses too many electrolytes, it may develop muscle cramps, colic and fatigue. By adding supplements to your horse’s feed or water, or by administering pastes to the back of the tongue, you can help your horse recover from the loss of these electrolytes. 

Offer Salt

Offering salt for your horse will also help with preventing dehydration. Your horse’s diet should include at least 1 to 2 ounces of salt each day. If your horse is sweating a great deal, more salt may be necessary. Providing a salt block is the most common way to help get more salt into your horse’s diet. Most experts recommend starting with a plain white salt block rather than a mineralized salt block, as the minerals often have a bitter taste that some horses do not enjoy. You may also consider offering loose salt. Your horse will limit its consumption to the amount that it needs.

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