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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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Keeping Your Horse Safe from the Heat of Arizona Summers: Part 1

With hot Arizona summer temperatures already upon us, looking at ways to keep your horses safe from the heat is essential. In this three-part series, we will take a closer look at the essentials and how you can be sure to keep your horse safe this summer.

Water

Obviously, water is an important part of keeping your horse safe in the hot heat of summer. Not only should the water be clean, but it also needs to be kept fresh and cool. Water can easily become quite hot as it sits out in the Arizona sun, so you should check it at least twice per day to make sure it is clean and not overly hot. An automatic water trough can be particularly helpful. In addition, you should add an extra bucket to the field or stable to ensure your horse has plenty of water available. 

Shade

Shade is also essential when it comes to keeping your horse safe from the heat. Having some sort of shelter available with proper ventilation will give your horse a respite from the sun. It is also a good place to keep water in order to help keep it on the cooler side. We will discuss more about ventilation in part two of this three-part series.

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Taking Care of Your Donkey Companion – Part 3

In this last of a three-part series on caring for your donkey, we will focus on providing your donkey with the right type of food.

Avoid Overeating

First, it is important to take steps to ensure your donkey does not overfeed and become overweight. Typically, donkeys only need to eat native grass and barley straw in order to stay healthy. They are, however, natural browsers and enjoy eating bushes, berries, fallen fruit and anything else that they may find in their natural habitat. 

Allowing your donkey to eat too much lush and foreign grass can lead to weight gain as well as a variety of health issues. One potential health issue that can result from overeating is laminitis, which is an inflammation of the laminae in the foot. Therefore, if you allow your donkey to free-range in a lush pasture, you should take steps to control the grazing or give straw or hay instead. 

Nutritional Needs

To keep your donkey as healthy as possible, it should have a diet that is rich in fiber while also being low in starch, sugar and protein. You should avoid giving treats to your donkey on a regular basis, as they have a tendency to put on extra weight very quickly. Too many treats can also lead to a verity of stomach issues. If you do want to give occasional treats, keep it limited to apples, carrots and bananas.

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Taking Care of Your Donkey Companion – Part 2

In this second of a three part series, we will further explore the basics of caring for a donkey. One of the first things you will need to determine is where and how you were shelter your donkey.

Horse v. Donkey

While donkeys may appear similar to horses, there are some very important differences that will affect the type of shelter that they need. For example, while horses have a natural build-up of grease, which helps to make their coat somewhat waterproof, donkeys do not have this same natural protection. In addition, donkeys originate from hotter climates. As such, they should always have access to a shelter or a stable where they can get themselves away from the elements. 

Creating the Proper Cover

In areas where temperatures get on the low side, a shelter that is completed enclosed is recommended. In the heat of Arizona, however, only a three-sided shed is needed. Regardless of the type of structure you choose, you should be sure to provide your donkey with a 4.5 square meters per donkey size ratio of space. 

This Isn’t Eeyore

While the Winnie the Pooh cartoons may have you assuming that donkeys like to be gloomy, the reality is that researchers have found that horses are much better at coping with gloomy weather. Donkeys are more likely to seek shelter when there is a light breeze or if it starts to rain. They are also more likely to seek shelter if the temperature drops below 14 degrees and they always want to have a dry place where they can lay down inside of their shelter.

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Taking Care of Your Donkey Companion – Part 1

Are you considering buying a donkey for your farm? If so, it is helpful to learn a bit more about how to care for donkeys. In this first of a three-part series, we will explore how to properly care for your new donkey companion.

Long-Term Companions

Before purchasing a donkey, it is good to know that they are very loving and affectionate animals that are known to live for 25 years or longer. Therefore, you need to be prepared to take on the commitment of owning a donkey before you make a purchase.

Gender Differences

Learning the proper terminology is also helpful when owning a donkey. For starters, it is important to know that males are called jacks while females are called jennets. Castrated males, on the other hand, are simply called geldings. 

Donkey Socializing

Donkeys typically do not care for being kept alone. Generally speaking, it is recommended to keep either two jennies or one gelding and a jennie when owning donkeys. If you only want to have one donkey, they can also live quite happily along with goats. 

Donkey BehaviorIt is also helpful to know and to understand that donkeys are typically quite strong and may sometimes even be stronger than a horse. They also have incredible memories and will remember you even if a long time has passed since they last saw you. 

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Treating Abscesses on Your Donkey at Home

While it is not desirable, it is possible to treat an abscess at home and without contacting a veterinarian to perform the job. It should be noted, however, that you should only treat an abscess on your own after you have been directly taught by a veterinarian or other animal healthcare expert. Furthermore, it is best to leave treatment of abscesses on the neck or the face to the veterinarian in order to reduce the risk of major bleeding. 

If no veterinarian is available and you absolutely must perform the procedure on your own, here are the general steps involved with treating an abscess:

  • Apply a heated, moist cloth (referred to as a poultice) to the site of the abscess
  • Trim the hair around the abscess
  • Disinfect the surface with an antiseptic
  • Make a small, low and vertical incision into the abscess with a sharp, sterilized knife
  • While wearing sterile gloves, carefully squeeze the abscess to expel the excess pus 
  • Flush the wound with disinfectant
  • Sterilize or discard anything that came into contact with the pus

You should then be sure to monitor the wound for up to a month to ensure it is healing properly. You may also want to isolate your donkey depending on the size and location of the abscess. This will help to prevent reinfection while also helping to ensure it does not infect any other animals that you may have.

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