The Last Ride

Large Animal Removal and Disposal

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Tips for Feeding Hay to Your Horse

Nearly everyone is aware that horses eat hay, but what else do you know about horses and their need to eat hay?

How much is the right amount of hay? And how is it properly fed to your horse to keep it healthy and happy?

Determining How Much to Feed

Determining how much hay to feed your horse depends on its weight. Most experts agree that a full grown horse should eat between 12 to 15 pounds of hay each day, which amounts to about 1.5 to 3 percent of its body weight if the horse weighs around 1000 pounds. Of course, this is a very rough average and your horse may require more or less than this amount depending on its workload, the time of the year, its health, its metabolism and whatever else it may be eating. 

How to Feed Hay to Your Horse

To feed hay to your horse, you should offer small amounts frequently throughout the day. In this way, the feeding will more closely match the natural grazing habits of your horse. In doing so, you will be offering the healthiest option for your horse’s body as well as for its mental health. Furthermore, if you try to feed your horse the full day’s allotment all at one time, it will likely eat only the best parts and will leave behind the parts that it finds to be the least tasty, which will be a waste of valuable hay. If your horse is able to self-regulate, however, it may be possible to simply leave the hay out all day for your horse to graze upon it whenever it desires. 

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Keep Your Horse Happy with Companionship

A horse without a companion can be a very unhappy horse.

As herd animals, horses typically feel safer when they have more of their own kind to live with and to interact with on a daily basis. In the wild, for example, horses tend to live in small herds with an actual social ladder where every horse has a place within the herd. If you have only one horse and you have noticed that it is chewing on wood, walking the stalls or engaging in other abnormal repetitive behaviors, it may be a sign that you need to find a companion. 

If you cannot afford to buy another horse to be a companion to your horse, you may want to consider the following options: 

  • Offer Boarding: If you have the space and time to take care of another horse, you may want to consider offering boarding. Not only is this a great way to give your horse a companion, but it can also help you to generate a little extra income too! Just be sure to choose carefully and to ensure that the two horses will get along. 
  • Get a Companion Horse: You may be able to obtain a free companion horse by simply contacting a horse rescue or looking around in the classifieds or within the horse community. The companion horse may be older or otherwise one that cannot be ridden, but it can still serve as a good companion to your horse. Before taking on a companion horse, be sure to find out about any special needs that it may have.
  • Consider Other Types of Companions: If these two options don’t work, perhaps a miniature horse or even a donkey, goat, alpaca or llama may serve as a proper companion for your horse.

Whichever route you choose to go, your horse will be sure to be happy to have a companion to enjoy!

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Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Death in Cattle Part 3: Make Good Use of Water

Making good use of water is another way to help reduce the risk if heat-related death in your cattle. 

Water is essential for all mammals. Yet, of the six classes of nutrients needed for cattle, which include fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, protein, minerals and water, experts say that water is the one that is most frequently overlooked. 

For cattle, meeting water requirements is not all about providing fresh water to drink. Rather, feeds contain water and even the process of metabolizing certain nutrients helps to produce water. Silage and pasture grasses tend to be high moisture feeds while harvested forages such as straw and hay tend to have little water. 

Despite these facts, it is important to remember that water requirements double for cattle when temperatures increase from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 95. In addition, water needs are also influenced by weight and the physiological stage of the cattle. 

Aside from being offered for drinking, water can also help to keep your cattle cool in the form of misters and fans. Of course, while this is a viable option for feedlots, it can be much more difficult to install this type of cooling method on the range. Nonetheless, offering cooling stations for your cattle can go a long way toward preventing heat-related illnesses and death.

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Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Death in Cattle Part 2: Offering Shade and Reducing Workload

When it comes to keeping your cattle safe from the heat, offering shade seems like an obvious answer. On the other hand, offering the proper type of shade may not seem quite so obvious.

While your cattle will certainly appreciate a shady spot and will utilize it if the heat gets to be too much, they also may not use the provided shade if the area if the shaded area is not a comfortable space. For example, a shady area that is located along water may also be swarming with biting flies. Or, the shady area may be located in a space that does not receive any wind or airflow. Generally speaking, cattle prefer to spend their time on high spots or ridges that are away from flies and offer a cooling breeze. 

Just as shade is important, so is taking steps to reduce the workload of your cattle. If you must work your cattle, try to do it in the early morning or late in the day when the temperatures are cooler. You should also try to avoid bunching them up and you should give them rest periods throughout the day. Even simple stress can elevate the body temperature of your cattle, so take steps to reduce stress in order to help them stay as cool as possible. 

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Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Death in Cattle Part 1: Provide High-Quality Forage

With heatwaves and dying cattle making headlines recently, you may be wondering what steps can be taken to help reduce the possibility of your cattle passing away from becoming overheated. In this three-part series, we will explore some of the ways that you can help your cattle stay healthy when the heat reaches uncomfortable and unsafe highs.

The first way that you can help to protect your cattle for becoming overheated is to provide them with high-quality forage. This is because high-quality forages generate less heat during the digestion process. Since metabolism and heat of digestion are the two things that affect the cow’s heat the most, creating less heat during the digestion process will help your cattle to better regulate their own temperature. 

To eat at optimum levels, your cattle should be fed at least two hours after the peak ambient temperature. This way, when they generate heat from digestion, it will not take place during the hottest time of the day. Since cattle do not typically care to eat or move around much when it is hot, they will likely be cooperative with this feeding arrangement.  

Regardless of the time of day that you feed your cattle, it is essential to continually monitor them for heat-related stress and to take the necessary steps to address this stress if it occurs. 

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Properly Releasing and Feeding Your Horse

To keep yourself safe when you are releasing your horse to pasture or to its stable, care must be taken to ensure you and your horse both stay safe during this process. The same is true when it comes to feeding your horse in the field or using a bucket of food in order to catch a horse that is out to pasture. Here is a look at a few ways to stay safe in these circumstances.

Releasing Your Horse

Whether you are releasing your horse to pasture or simply ready to release it back into its stable, you will need to remove the head collar that you put in place. To do this, you should first lead your horse to the turnout area and then turn it around to face the door or gate before you release it. This helps to minimize the chance of your horse trampling or kicking you if it becomes overly excited by the release. It also helps the horse to clearly see the exit so it can leave directly and without causing itself injury.

Feeding in the Field

Whether you are feeding your horse in the field or you are simply using a bucket of food to help catch a horse that is out in the field, you should take certain steps to keep yourself safe. This is particularly true if there are several animals kept in the same area, as they can become aggressive as they each vie for the food. As a result, you are at risk of injury as well as your horse. Ideally, you should avoid this situation if at all possible. But, if it is unavoidable, consider having someone else help you in order to keep an eye on the other animals. You should also approach slowly and within clear line of vision of the animal so you do not accidentally catch it off guard and cause it to spook.

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Positioning Yourself for Safety When Working with Your Horse

When working with your horse in any kind of way, it is important to position yourself in such a way that gives you the best opportunity for safety. This includes the position of your body in relation to the horse as well as how you hold your body while working with the horse.

Choosing the Right Location

One of the first steps you need to take toward safety is to position your body in a safe location while working with your horse. For example, you should never stand directly behind or in front of your horse. In addition, if you are holding your horse while it is being treated by someone, such as a veterinarian or a farrier, you should position yourself on the same side of the horse as the other person. 

Opting for the Right Position

If you are doing something with your horse that requires you to be closer to the ground, such as working on its feet and legs, you should squat beside the horse rather than sitting or kneeling. This is because squatting will allow you to react more quickly and move out of the way if necessary. Similarly, when lifting the horse’s leg, you should rest your arm in front of its cannon bone. In this way, if the horse pulls the leg away, you will be less likely to be kicked. 

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Basic Tips for Horse Owner Safety

As a horse owner, it is essential to take steps to keep yourself safe. While horses are certainly a pleasure to own and to handle, they can also present a number of dangers if proper care is not taken. 

Basic Commands

The first step toward keeping yourself safe with your horse is to ensure it has learned how to understand basic commands. Some of these commands including teaching your horse to stand still and walk clear of the handler. 

General Handling

When leading and otherwise handling your horse, it is also important to wear gloves to help prevent injury from the ropes and lunge lines. In addition, you should never wrap the ropes or lunge lines around your hand, nor should you allow them to trail along the ground. 

Grooming SafetyIt is also important for you to tie up your horse when you are grooming it, even if you are grooming in the stable. In this way, you can move quietly and confidently around the horse without danger of becoming trapped in a corner. To ensure your horse is also kept safe, you should fit it with a well-fitting head collar with a lead rope that is secured through a loop of string that is attached to the tying-up ring. In this way, the horse can break the string if it panics and pulls back, thereby minimizing the possibility of being injured. 

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Keeping Your Horse Safe from the Heat of Arizona Summers: Part 3

Even with taking all of the proper precautions for your horse, it is possible that the hot summer sun can lead to sunburn for your horse. Knowing how to prevent sunburn and how to treat it, however, will help to keep your horse more comfortable this summer.

Preventing Sunburn in Your Horse

To prevent sunburn in your horse, you should use sun cream on the pink areas of your horse’s body, such as around its head and heels. Sun cream for horses is available, but you can also use children’s sunblock. Either way, you should test a small area of your horse first, just to be sure it is not allergic. You may also want to consider putting a full face mask on your horse in order to further protect it from sunburn. 

Treating Sunburn in Your Horse

If your horse actually does become sunburned, specialist creams are available to help rehydrate and soothe your horse’s skin. If the sunburn is crusty or if it is weeping fluid, you should contact your vet right away to learn more about your treatment options. Your vet will be able to treat the sunburn and prescribe the proper medication to get your horse healthy and happy again. 

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Keeping Your Horse Safe from the Heat of Arizona Summers: Part 2

When taking steps to keep your horse safe from the heat of an Arizona summer, proper shade and shelter is essential. In order to ensure that the shelter is a safe place for your horse, however, you need to make sure there is plenty of ventilation in place. Otherwise, the shelter may become more of a hotbox rather than a safe haven for your horse.

Creating Air Flow

In order to ensure there is proper ventilation in the shelter that you have in place for your horse, you should take steps to get enough air flow in the shelter. This typically involves using a large fan. Of course, you will need to be sure that the fan is placed in a safe location where the horse will not be able to touch it or the power source for the fan. You may also need to give your horse or horses time to get used to the fan, as the motion and the sound from the fan may be scary to them at first. 

Utilizing Mist Fans

You can take your cooling measures a step further by installing misting fans in your shelter. Your horse will enjoy a bit of a cool down when it absorbs water through its skin. If misting fans are not an option, even a nice mist from the hose will go a long way toward keeping your horse cool.

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