If you're a looking for a horse facility to help you take care of your horses, you're at the right place. Whether it's your upcoming travel or an any unexpected situation or you simply don't have space. We have compiled a list of horse boarding stables in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
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Blue Horse Farm, LLC, Alison Thomas
41333 County Road 39 Bay Minette, AL 36507 Tel: 210-842-0838
Bin Swindled Farm, Kathy and Bill Carleton
340 Watson Road Cropwell, AL 35054 Tel: 205-365-3185 or 205-704-0967 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Knowledge about breeds of horses can at times seem to be mystifying. How can you honestly tell one breed of horse from another? What are the ways to distinguish one breed of horse from another?
If you have ever heard a term like gaited horse, you might be wondering what exactly that is and what connection it has, if any, to gates.
Well, this article will set your mind at rest and provide you with all the information you need on gaited horses. You will never again have to ask the question what is a gaited horse because you will already know the answer.
What Is A Gaited Horse?
Let’s start by addressing the simplest question first – what is a gaited horse?
A gaited horse is a horse that can travel across any terrain using all four legs independently, rather than in sequence as the majority of horse breeds do.
Of the over 300 different breeds of horses, there are about thirty breeds that are naturally gaited and as such these particular breeds of horses are highly prized for both their skill in equestrian circles and as horses to transport people and goods across long distances.
You might be wondering which horses are part of the gaited subgroup of horses. Well these are some of the breeds of horses that are gaited horses:
These small, gaited horses originated in Brazil and are descended from the horses that were part lost from an expedition in 1541 by the Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca.
Another result of historical expeditions, this gaited horse breed is descended from horses taken over to Iceland during the 9th and 10th centuries by Norse Viking travellers who would eventually colonise Iceland.
Mentioned in both historical and literary records, the Icelandic horse is renowned as one of the swiftest horses known to man.
Missouri Fox Trotter
This gaited breed originated in Missouri and takes its name from the fact that its gaited walk was considered to be similar to someone dancing the foxtrot.
This breed was officially recognized in 1948 and has since become popular amongst people across the United States.
This gaited horse is one of the oldest breeds in the history of the USA and takes its name from Justin Morgan, a late eighteenth century breeder who bred the founder of the Morgan breed Figure in 1789.
The Morgan horse subsequently went on to become the most popular cavalry horse in the US and was used by both sides in the American Civil War.
Now that we’ve explained exactly what a gaited horse is, let’s explain how you can spot whether or not a horse is a gaited animal or not.
How To Spot A Gaited Horse
Whilst you might be able to tell if a horse is a gaited horse or not simply by being told what breed it is, especially if it is one of the ones listed above, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know how to identify a gaited horse based on its physical attributes.
If the person you are talking to doesn’t know what breed of horse it is that they own then it is always worth having the knowledge to be able to distinguish between a gaited and non gaited horse for yourself.
The most obvious way to tell if a horse is gaited or not is to see how it moves. Gaited horses vary in size and color so by simply watching whether or not the horse moves its hooves individually or not you should be able to tell if it is gaited or not.
Most gaited horses have a tendency to follow a pattern of placing their right hind leg down first, then their right front,
then their left hind and then their right front and so on. If you watch the horse walk up and down slowly the pattern should become fairly obvious in a short amount of time.
Now that we’ve explained how to spot if a horse is a member of a gaited breed or not, let’s explain what benefits there are to owning a gaited horse.
What Are The Benefits Of Owning A Gaited Horse?
One of the most obvious benefits of owning a gaited horse is one that we have already mentioned – that a gaited horse can be an incredibly quick horse, meaning that it can cover a large distance in a relatively short amount of time.
However, there are other positives to owning gaited horses. A gaited horse is much easier to ride than other breeds of horse, simply because the horses aren’t as bouncy as other horses and are much harder to cause a rider to fall off than horses that aren’t gaited.
This means that gaited horses are particularly easy for people to ride who are riding horses for the first time and also if you have older people who want to ride they are less likely to get injured if they ride a gaited horse because it doesn’t dislodge them as easily.
Similarly, gaited horses are also found to be much gentler than non-gaited horses. Whilst this of course is a generalisation and each horse truly is an individual in the same way each human being is,
this means that gaited horses are also easier to handle if you are of a nervous disposition meaning they are perfect for people who want to interact with a horse but are nervous about doing so.
If they meet a gaited horse, then any fears they have about horses will be sure to disappear instantly.
Why You Should Own A Gaited Horse
As this article has illustrated, gaited horses are wonderful animals. They are generally calmer, easier to ride and can be ridden for longer distances than other horses;
they all have fascinating histories and can be connected to some of the most interesting parts of world history, and they will form a special bond with you that is unlikely to break anytime soon.
So, if you have ever considered owning a horse, then make sure it is a gaited horse because you won’t regret it – they truly are wonderful animals that deserve to be fully appreciated.
If you are wondering how many teeth a horse has, then we advise you to stay away from the nearest horse’s mouth you can find, instead, we have put together a guide to horses teeth,
the different types of teeth that horses have, and at what age these different types of teeth come through on horses.
If you have a horse then it is very important to know the ins and outs of your horse’s mouth, including floating a horse’s mouth and what exactly wolf teeth are. This article will have all the answers, but first how many teeth does a horse have?
An adult male horse will usually have around 40 teeth whereas the mare could have anywhere between 36-40 teeth. This is because the mares are less likely to have canine teeth. Horses also have two sets of teeth.
Much like humans, baby horses will have temporary baby teeth that are replaced with their adult teeth when they get older, adult teeth will usually include incisors, canines, molars, and premolars.
However, the number of teeth a horse has will really depend on its age.
When Do Horses Grow Teeth?
In order to really answer the question of how many teeth a horse has you first need to know the ages in which your horse will grow its teeth. Below we’ll explore the different ages that horses grow or lose teeth to get to the bottom of how many teeth your horse has.
Birth To Foal
When a foal is born it doesn’t have any incisors, it will take around 6-8 days for its central deciduous incisors to come through, then after 6 to 8 weeks we will see that the foal has gained its second pair of deciduous incisors, and a third pair will erupt after 6 to 8 months.
At 8 months, a foal should have all of its baby teeth in place, these teeth are also called milk teeth. At this time, the foal will have 24 deciduous teeth. Permanent teeth will not come along to replace these teeth until the horse is around 2 and a half years old.
2 ½ Years Old
This is the age when the central deciduous incisors are replaced by permanent adult incisors.
These teeth are the first of the milk teeth to be replaced as the incisors are the teeth that are used to clip grass and thus the teeth that are most used by the horse.
There will be a total of 12 incisors in the horse’s teeth, six on the top jaw and six on the bottom jaw.
4 ½ Years Old
At four and a half years old, the last of the deciduous incisors will be gone from the horse’s mouth and start to be replaced with the permanent incisors. These will be fully replaced by the time the horse turns 5.
It is around this age that we start to see the canine teeth of the horse present in the males. In the mares, smaller canine teeth will come through and usually accumulate a lot of tartar.
This can be dangerous to the mare’s dental health and these teeth will have to be removed. Canines are very prone to tartar in horses and will have to be observed constantly and ground when necessary.
At this age, you will also see that your horse has 12 molars and 12 premolars at the back of their mouths. These along with the 12 incisors will bring the horse to the 36-40 teeth depending on the canines.
At this age or around this age cups will appear on the teeth, however, the age at which this happens all depends on your horse and every horse is individual, so this shouldn’t be used as a way of calculating a horse’s age.
Cups are rings of enamel on the tooth, usually close to the tongue and on the edge of the incisor. The cups can have deep open pockets in horses around 5 years old and are often filled with food debris.
If a cup is degraded with food further, it will gain a dark-colored enamel ring that is known as the mark.
Between 6 And 8
When a horse is aged 6 to 8 years these cups on the primary incisors will start to disappear, around the same time a horse will develop similar cups on the second pair of its incisors. These cups could stay on the horse’s teeth until they are between 9 and 15 years of age.
15 Plus Years
The majority of horses that are 15 and over will start to lose their dental enamel. This could change the way that your horse’s teeth look as they get sharper.
The sharpness of the teeth could also be painful for the horse and could warrant extraction. The incisors of the horse could also become wobbly and loose, which may also lead to them being taken out.
When your horse hits 15 years or older then it is important to pay attention to your horse’s teeth. Because of the loss of enamel and teeth starting to get loose, your horse’s teeth may start to get uncomfortable and they may need drastic action.
Wolf teeth are a common occurrence in horses and act the same as wisdom teeth do in humans. Wolf teeth are small premolar teeth that are found in around 70% of all horses.
Wolf teeth normally occur when your horse is around 6 to 18 months old and if the wolf teeth are large or placed awkwardly they could be uncomfortable or even painful to the horse and will have to be removed.
Floating teeth is a dental procedure that is used exclusively for horses. It involves using a file to smoothen sharp teeth that could be causing the horse some discomfort or pain,
especially when the horse is eating. It is important to get your horse’s teeth floated once a year or every two years.
Some signs that your horse may need its teeth floated include showing signs of discomfort/pain, throwing back its head or other unusual head movements, and dropping food out of its mouth.
To Sum Up
Depending on the number of canines and the horse’s wolf teeth, adult horses can have anywhere between 36 to 44 teeth at a time. In mare’s, this number will be around 36-40 after the canines are removed and in male horses, this will be around 40-44.
Which is way more teeth than humans have. It is important to check your horse’s teeth regularly and always call a veterinarian if you think that there may be some issues.
Even though it might seem like it would hurt for a horseshoe to be attached to the hoof, you might be surprised to know that if done correctly, it does not hurt the horse at all.
When it comes to the hooves, they are similar to our own fingernails because they are both made out of keratin. Whilst the nails are attached to our fingers, they do not feel any pain if broken or pierced.
When the procedure of attaching a horseshoe to a hoof by a nail is done perfectly, such as the nail not going in too far, then the horse should feel no pain, but because there are still times when a horseshoe can hurt a horse, let us look at them in more detail.
Why Are Horseshoes Used?
The main reason horseshoes are used is because it helps to stop the stress and general wear that happens to the hoof. Rough surfaces can also be a problem, so horseshoes help to avoid the hooves from degrading.
Another reason is because it can help with traction to improve the grip a horse has on the ground. This is especially true with certain breeds who have a high step, or race horses who need the extra stability to make them run smoother and faster.
Also, sometimes a horseshoe is custom-made when a horse has muscular or bone issues that need correcting.
Does A Horse Need Horseshoes To Stay Healthy?
Whilst horseshoes are not necessary for a horse’s health, it makes sense to wear them. The horseshoes themselves will protect the horse’s hooves, especially if they are walking across hard surfaces like concrete and stone.
Also, because they will be walking ‘barefoot’ across these rougher surfaces, it will begin to wear down the hoof unevenly, which will put extra stress on their joints and affect their gait.
Even though it will not directly affect the horse’s health, you will have to look at their general lifestyle and see whether having horseshoes will benefit their health in other areas.
What Can Cause Pain With A Horseshoe?
Even though hooves are made up of keratin, just like our own fingernails and hair, it does not mean they can never experience pain. When we pull at the hair on our head or hurt the fingernail at the nail bed – it hurts.
The hooves themselves have no pain receptors, but if the shoe is mounted incorrectly, it can cause damage to other areas of the hoof which can result in feeling hurt.
For example, it can rub across the soft tissue surrounding the frog and the sole. This will cause your horse to stop walking properly and appear lame.
To avoid this situation, always get a professional to do the job. Here are other reasons a horseshoe might hurt:
Using An Inexperienced Farrier
If you find that you are having to ask an inexperienced farrier, perhaps somebody new to the job, to carry out the work of fitting a horseshoe, they could potentially apply the nails too deep.
This means that the nails are further in than they should be, therefore reaching the horse’s pain receptors in the sensitive laminae (the bit underneath the hooves) causing it to hurt.
When this happens, it is usually referred to as ‘hot nail’ and the horse will let you know if it has happened due to the area being extremely sensitive to pain and general touch.
Bruising From Not Wearing Horseshoes
If a horse does not wear horseshoes and walks over hard and rough ground, then they may have bruising to the soles of their hooves.
This is especially a problem if you ride the horse and they are not wearing horseshoes – just think about the stoney uneven ground that they may have walked on. Ouch, right?
Mounting horseshoes once bruising has occurred is a painful experience for a horse. The farrier will need to clean out the hoof and then attach the horseshoe which will be very unpleasant.
To avoid this issue, it is best to keep a regular schedule with an experienced farrier who can mount horseshoes when you need them to.
Wrongly Fitted Horseshoe
A horseshoe needs to fit the size of the hoof, as well as be shaped properly. If not, the ill-fitting horseshoe can cause potential pain to the horse’s hoof.
Think of it like you are wearing shoes that scrunch up the toes because they are too small. Whilst you maybe can wear them for a minute or two, after a while your toes will start to hurt and pain may occur.
Horseshoes that do not fit correctly can also cause the hoof to become cracked. If this happens, it will need to be treated as soon as possible to avoid the horse being in pain and a longer healing time.
Can You Opt Not To Use Horseshoes?
Whilst you might be tempted to ditch horseshoes altogether, it is not recommended. There are pros and cons to each, but due to wanting to protect the horse’s hooves, it is always better to wear them.
If you are going to protect your own feet, then it makes sense to wear some kind of footwear, especially if you are walking over hard surfaces.
It is the same with a horse, they need added protection so their hooves do not wear down, and rough areas can damage the softness of their soles.
A major reason to wear horseshoes is to avoid the hooves from cracking, as this will need immediate attention.
If you do plan on not letting your horse wear horseshoes, then you need to make sure that they do not walk over hard surfaces, especially if you are riding the horse, and that you check their hooves regularly.
The Different Types Of Horseshoe
Even though you might think there is only one type of horseshoe, there are actually quite a few. Here are just a handful of them:
This type of horseshoe includes a straight lined bar on the heel area. It has this feature to protect the hoof from any potential bruising, and it is usually worn by horses who suffer with laminitis.
This is the one you will likely know best, and it is also the most common type of horseshoe used. It is best for recreational horses because the crease of the hoof fills with lots of soil and adds to the grip.
Sliding Plates Or Sliders
Most likely used on a reined horse, they include a rocker toe and are wider than the average shoe. This is because the wider size allows for bigger slides.
These are similar to the straight bar horseshoes, except they go further behind the heel to protect that area of the hoof. If a horse has navicular syndrome, or sheared heels, they are likely to wear this type of horseshoe.
This type of horseshoe is suitable for horses that need to run fast and then stop, such as if they are involved in a sport like polo. The groove (or rim) is placed on the outside edge of the horseshoe.
Even though it does look painful to mount a horseshoe, if fitted correctly, it is not. This is because hooves are made of keratin, the exact same thing our fingernails and hair are made out of.
Whilst the horse may not feel anything when it comes to their hooves, if something reaches the fleshy area under the hoof – that is when the pain receptors become alert.
Just like when our hair is pulled or the nail bed is attacked in some way, the area that holds the keratin in place will feel the pain.
The reason a horseshoe may hurt is because of a bad fit or general bruising, not because of the horseshoe itself.
Botflies aren’t the nicest of creatures. Although they are technically harmless, they can cause some problems and are often associated with disgusting behaviors.
If you’ve ever seen Alien, you might associate botflies with that movie – they tend to burrow into their host until they’re ready to leave and will eventually break out of their host through their skin or other orifice like the ear.
Their process of burrowing doesn’t usually harm their host, whether that’s a horse or a human but can cause an area of swelling which can be unpleasant and itchy, which we’d all like to avoid if possible.
So, how would you know if there’s a botfly around? What do they look like exactly?
This guide will help you identify a botfly along with providing some helpful information surrounding the creature which can help you in the future!
What Is A Botfly Exactly?
A botfly is a type of fly that has many different varieties, each of which have their own name linking to their behaviors.
Their name in the scientific community is Dermatobia Hominis and they’re normally located in South and Central America.
Having said that, if you think you’ve spotted one or heard of one in the United States, you’d be right too, but they only frequent Southern California normally.
There have been reports of other places in the States, but this is usually down to people returning from vacation in South America.
The variety of botflies are named, as we say, by their behavior. So, the botfly that targets cows for example is called Hypoderma Bovis, but there are varieties of botfly that target goats and sheep or donkeys and horses.
Botflies have a strange relationship with mosquitos, in which the female botfly will seek out a mosquito after mating and lay her eggs on them. Once that has been completed, the female botfly will fly away and end their brief life.
When the mosquito, who now has eggs on it, bites their chosen host, they create a small hole. This is where the larvae will be able to enter and continue their process – a process that should be harmless to their host.
They’re sometimes mistaken for horseflies, yellow flies or bees due to their image as they appear quite fuzzy or hairy. The way to distinguish between these is that a botfly does not have the capability to bite you.
So, if you’re seeing something that you believe to be a botfly near you but it’s harming you – the chances are, it’s a yellow fly or a bee.
Horseflies also bite but they’re often more easily distinguishable as they’re generally larger than botflies.
Both botflies and horseflies frequent the same areas, places like stables, liveries or other animal pens. Although not a common occurrence, botflies can lay their eggs in the bite holes left by horseflies.
How Exactly Do I Distinguish A Botfly From Other Flying Insects?
Aside from their behaviors like not being able to bite or sting, their imagery is slightly different from other flying insects. They have one wing set and large, hairy heads which can be described as well-rounded or bulbous.
Their color can be described as either black, black with white or a light red which can sometimes appear orange. In terms of size, they’re not very large. Typically, a botfly is about 0.5 to an inch in length.
If you have ever spotted their larvae, you’ll always be able to identify them again. They look spiked with oval shaped lumps that stick to their chosen host.
When they have burrowed into their host, the outside skin looks like a boil because they only live just inside their host’s skin.
Are Botflies Problematic Or Dangerous To Their Hosts?
Botflies, contrary to some beliefs, do not transmit any foreign bodies or diseases unlike things like mosquitos.
After burrowing and their larvae leave their hosts, there are no lasting problems – although you may experience an uncomfortable itch or swelling, if you were the host.
What Do Botflies Feed On?
Actually, nothing – since botflies have no mouths. There is no real need for a botfly to eat due to their short life span, which is around a few days to a week after leaving their host.
Their sole purpose is to reproduce, which is what they do well – and is why they have survived.
If anything, they eat themselves when they shed their skin before the end of their lives.
Should I Get Rid Of Botflies?
Although they won’t be life threatening to you or your animals, they can be uncomfortable and can cause animals like horses some distress.
To get rid of botflies that have already burrowed into the skin, the easiest way to terminate them is to block off their air supply.
When they burrow, they leave a breathing hole which is essential to survive. If you cover that up, they will quickly leave the area for air, where you can pick them off.
You can actually use petroleum jelly to do this, assuming you’re not allergic. This jelly is not noticeable when applied and quickly dispenses of your botflies. It’s wise to use tweezers to pick them up when they leave the skin.
The maggots under the skin will also emerge if the air around them is toxic or unclean, so if you are a smoker or near a fire – sometimes the smoke can cause the maggots to leave the skin to get clearer air, where you can get at them.
To prevent botflies, which is your best bet when it comes to botflies – you should avoid trips to places where they are prevalent and prevent their form of travel. As this is normally using mosquitos, preventing mosquitos is a good idea.
Pesticides will not work after botflies have infested because botflies die too quickly for that to be a viable option. However, you can put pesticide in areas where mosquitoes will frequent like dirty water areas that your animals do not use.
Botflies can be a problem but not a major one – it’s more their carrier, the mosquito, that is the real issue. Preventing mosquitos will in turn, prevent botflies.
However, knowing what they look like will help you to identify what you should do when you see evidence of them – which we hope this guide has been helpful at doing.
Cowboys are amongst some of the most recognizable figures in history. If we asked 100 people to picture a cowboy in their mind, it’s very likely they’d picture very similar images or elements.
Of course, a good cowboy is nothing without their trusty hat, their boots, and maybe even a light bandana around the neck.
However, one of the most often forgotten elements of cowboy attire is chaps. Not many people even know what chaps are, let alone that they even had a name. And even fewer people have a clear idea of what exactly it is that chaps do.
So what exactly are chaps? Why are they so popular amongst cowboys, both in the past, and through to this day? And what exactly is it that they do?
These questions are likely cycling through your head like a herd of wild buffalo, right? Well, let’s wrangle them up and put them to rest, why don’t we?
Join us down below as we explore exactly what chaps are, what they do, and why they continue to be so immensely popular and iconic.
What Are Chaps?
Chaps refer to an element of a standard cowboy outfit which is designed to cover the legs.
They are often worn right above a pair of sturdy pants or jeans, and they very often do not offer any cover for the crotch or bottom area of the wearer.
You might recognize chaps from their iconic flared shape, and the various tassels that hang off of the side. These extra elements can have a function in some cases, but very often they are there for design purposes.
Chaps are designed to have flared bottoms in order to protect the entire surface of a pair of riding boots, to keep them looking great, even in the worst conditions.
Why Do Cowboys Wear Chaps?
So why exactly do cowboys wear such exaggerated coverings over their pants. The general purpose for chaps is to protect the wearer from the outside world.
Working with horses can be extremely dangerous, and while riding them, you’ll likely encounter a lot of varying terrains.
Naturally, as a horse gallops forward, they will kick up various bits of dirt and debris, which could hit the rider accidentally.
Chaps help to protect the rider from facing the brunt of the debris, so that not only do their pants come out the other end looking brand new, but their legs also come out unscratched and unharmed.
Chaps also protect a rider’s legs from scrapes and scratches from taller or higher hazards, such as cacti, or mosquitoes.
This makes them an incredibly valuable piece of kit for a cowboy, and also explains why you have likely seen them worn many times, despite not knowing what they are for.
What Are Chaps Made From?
Chaps have been made from many differing materials over the years. Modern chaps are most commonly made from cow leathers, which are easier to produce, and can be made in larger quantities.
Slightly cheaper chaps may be made from faux leathers, or plastics, to still provide adequate protection without costing too much to produce.
Historically, chaps have been made from materials as far reaching as sheep skins or bear skins, which will have been cut from animals hunted by the cowboys themselves.
Leathers and other products made from these skins can prove to be very durable and protective, and may even prove much warmer than cow leathers.
Why Do Cowboys Still Wear Chaps To This Day?
Generally, chaps are still worn to this very day because of the benefits they provide. Chaps are able to protect cowboys and horse riders from debris and scrapes, and also help to keep their pants clean and free of holes!
And it cannot be denied that chaps are rather iconic in their own right. If you wanted to create a full cowboy look, you’d likely want to include some chaps.
This is another reason that modern cowboys, to this day, still continue to wear chaps. Chaps can really add a dramatic flair to a look, thanks to their wide legs, and the tassels that are commonly found on a pair of good chaps.
Why Don’t Chaps Cover The Bottom Or The Crotch?
This is likely to make chaps slightly more comfortable to wear. The two legs of the chaps not being connected over the crotch or the bottom make it easier for the wearer to move around,
as they are not being restricted by the leather that makes them.
It is also aids in horseback riding, as it allows the rider to be closer to the horse, so that they can get into a more natural rhythm while riding, so that both the rider and the horse are comfortable over the course of a journey.
Chaps are an iconic part of the stereotypical cowboy aesthetic. However, they aren’t just there to look good.
They serve an important role in protecting the rider, while also still being very comfortable and light to wear, so that they don’t feel restrictive, and so the rider can still ride perfectly atop their horse.
Chaps are often made from animal leathers, even to this day, as they are very sturdy, and help to protect the rider from flying debris as they ride, as well as scratches and scrapes from things such as cacti or rocks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do The Cowboys Wear Spurs?
Cowboys wear spurs in order to get closer in touch with their horse. Cowboys can lightly tap their spurs onto their horse to communicate that a horse should speed up, turn, or slow down.
Spurs can be used with a light touch so as not to harm the horse when they are used.
Why Do Cowboys Wear Handkerchiefs Around Their Neck?
Handkerchiefs help to keep cowboys warm, as they can be worn high on the neck, or even just over the chin, to keep winds and cold air from reaching them.
Handkerchiefs can also be worn over the lower half of the face, to keep sand from entering a cowboy’s lungs on a ride.
Why Do Cowboy Boots Have Heels?
The heels of a cowboy boot help to keep a cowboy boot from slipping forward in a stirrup. This helps to keep a rider stable and upright as they ride, which makes a journey more smooth for both the rider and the horse.
One of the curious facts about horses, that tends to surprise people, is that they sleep standing up.
They do this because, out in the wild, horses had to remain alert, and had to be able to quickly flee if any danger came near them. So if they sleep standing up, they are ready to bolt when needed!
The way they do it is quite efficient too, as they have something called the apparatus. This is essentially a system of tendons and ligaments, with which a horse can lock the joints of the legs in place.
This way, they can completely relax their body and sleep, without falling down!
But, if horses sleep standing up…do they ever lay down? Are they even able to lay down?
The answer is yes. Horses can lay down! In fact, if a horse feels especially safe and comfortable, and is especially tired, it might sleep laying down!
However, it isn’t that common to see a horse laying down on the floor, which is why some people think they never do so. It is also why, sometimes, people confuse a horse laying down with it being dead!
So yes, horses can lay down. But since they don’t do it that often, we will talk about when and why they might do so, what it means, and when it is something to worry about. Does that sound good? Then let’s get right into it!
Reasons Why A Horse Might Lay Down
Horses can indeed lay down, even though they don’t do so super often. And the reasons for which they lay down can vary! Most of the time it’s nothing to worry about, and it is completely normal behavior.
Here are some of the main reasons why horses might lay down from time to time:
To Get Some REM Sleep
Okay, so you know how we said that horses sleep standing up? Well, although they achieve most of their sleep while standing, they need to lay down for a small amount of time in order to get some REM sleep.
This is because they cannot get REM sleep while standing, as a part of their brain is still somewhat alert, in case they need to flee.
As a general rule, horses need between two to three hours of REM sleep every 24 hours, and they will usually get this REM sleep by laying down for short amounts of time (usually around 10 to 30 minutes), in the form of power naps!
So although they get most of their sleep while standing, they will have very short power naps in which they lay down, every now and then.
The problem is that a horse will only lay down if it feels comfortable and safe within its environment, so it is important to ensure that your horse has this, so they can get their REM power naps in!
To Relax And Laze About
If your horse is happy and comfortable and feels completely safe in the environment it is in, it’s quite normal for them to lay down and relax for a bit.
This is especially common on nice sunny days, in which horses will lay down and laze about, enjoying doing nothing at all. You could even join your horse and lay down with them!
Because They Are In Pain
If your horse is in pain, due to an injury or an illness, it could be that they are unable to remain standing for long periods of time, which is why they are laying down.
In fact, if a horse sleeps laying down all through the night, this is usually a sign of illness or injury, unless it is a sign of old age or exhaustion.
If you do notice your horse laying down more than usual, make sure to check for any injuries or illness!
Because They Are Extra Tired
If a horse is extra tired and has reached a point of exhaustion, it is quite normal for them to lay down rather than remain standing, as their muscles will be in pain.
Should You Worry If Your Horse Is Laying Down?
Now that we have gone through some of the main reasons why a horse might be laying down, you should be able to better identify and understand why your horse does so.
That being said, if your horse is laying down more than usual, it might be something to worry about.
If your horse lays down many times throughout the day, or through the night, it might be a sign of something being wrong. Here is why you need to keep an eye on how often your horse is laying down, and why it might be bad:
Laying Down Too Often Is Not Safe For A Horse
Horses are quite large animals, and as such, laying down for long periods of time can actually cause physical damage.
This is because laying down can restrict the blood flow to different organs and limbs, due to the weight placed on them, and over long periods of time, this can seriously harm your horse.
This can depend on the horse, and some horses are okay to lay down for longer than others. If a horse is overweight or especially big, this is something to watch out for more.
Laying Down Often Can Be A Sign Of Injury Or Illness
Laying down can often be a sign of your horse being in pain, which is why you should always worry if your horse is laying down more than usual.
It could indicate that your horse is unable to stand for long periods of time, or that your horse is in serious discomfort due to an injury, or an illness.
It’s best to be safe than sorry, so if you do notice your horse laying down, when it usually wouldn’t, make sure to contact a veterinarian and have your horse’s health examined.
(if your horse is old, laying down more often could be a sign of the body weakening, which is normal).
So…can horses lay down? The answer is yes, and in fact, horses need to lay down in certain situations!
For example, horses need to lay down in order to get some REM sleep, despite them doing most of their sleeping standing up.
So it’s normal for them to power nap for short amounts of time throughout the day, while laying down!
It is also okay for a horse to lay down every now and then in order to relax, especially if they feel comfortable and safe.
However, if a horse is laying down more often than usual, this could be a sign that they are in pain, and that they have an injury or illness that should be checked out.
Horse hooves are essential to the horse’s wellbeing. Without solid, round, strong feet, a horse would not be able to hold its weight, run as fast as it does, and jump as high as it can jump.
Horse hooves are actually an incredible example of engineering. The hooves are really complex, and are made up of several different parts in order to keep the horse healthy.
The hooves are even connected to the heart, as blood is pumped through the arteries towards the hoof, which physically expands and contracts in order to pump the blood back up to the heart.
But what are horse hooves made of? Let’s find out!
What Are Horse Hooves Made Of?
What you may not know is that the hoof is one of the most complex parts of the horse, and even a small injury to the hoof can cause severe damage and pain for your horse. This is why having strong hooves is so important.
Naturally, horse hooves are made up of a protein keratin. This is the same fibrous protein that makes up hair, nails, horse, hooves, wool and feathers. Keratin serves as an important protective material that can prevent harm from delicate areas.
This is the same for horse hooves as it is for fingernails. Our fingernails protect our nail beds, much like horse hooves protect the feet and legs of the horse from harm.
But, horse hooves are not just made of keratin. Keratin makes up the majority of the outer structure, and this part grows continuously like fingernails, which is why horses need regular hoof trimming appointments.
Other parts of the hoof are made up of tissue, bone, nerves and tendons that work together simultaneously to protect the feet and provide stability for the horse when moving and standing.
Parts Of A Horse Hoof
There are various different parts of a hoof, but we will start with the hoof wall. The hoof wall is the outer structure of the hoof that supports and protects the structures inside of the hoof.
This is the part that supports the horse’s weight, and does not have nerves or blood vessels. As a result, this is the keratinous part of the hoof that the horseshoe is nailed into.
Then we have the coronary band where the hairline meets the hoof. Following this, we have the periople, which protects the hoof wall. You also have the inner wall, which absorbs shock and protects the inner parts of the hoof.
Underneath the hoof, we have the sole, but this is concave in shape and so it does not touch the ground. If you look at the underside of a hoof, you will see the frog.
This is the V shaped structure pointing downwards from the heel of the hoof. This is a sensitive part of the hoof that helps the horse understand the ground it is walking on, and cushions the feet.
You will also notice that there are bars that turn in at the heel, running along the frog, which strengthen the heels and also help to support weight. Then, you’ll see the central sulcus which is wide and shallow underneath.
At the innermost parts of the hoof, there is a digital cushion just below the coffin bone. This is one of the most vital shock absorbers in the foot.
The coffin bone is the bottom bone inside of the hoof itself. Finally, just behind the coffin bone is the navicular bone that helps to stabilize the hoof so that the horse does not trip over when walking on uneven ground.
Do Horses Feel Pain In Their Hooves?
This depends where in the hoof the pain is. If there is damage to the internal structures of the hoof, then yes horses can feel pain in the hooves.
For instance, many things can affect a horse’s hooves, such as laminitis, puncture wounds, infections, scratches, thrush, bruises, cankers, fractures, or navicular disease. These may cause some pain in the hoof if a horse is affected.
However, simply walking on the hooves and having horseshoes fitted involves just the outer structure of the hoof, which does not have any nerve endings, and so this does not hurt the horse or cause any pain.
Are Hooves Like Fingernails?
In some ways, yes hooves are like fingernails. As mentioned above, horse hooves are made up of the same material as your fingernails, which is called keratin.
However, this is only the outer part of the hoof, as the inner bits may be more tender and soft as these parts are made from soft tissues, tendons and bones.
Does It Hurt Horses To Have Horseshoes?
Horseshoes have been fitted on horses as early as 400 BC. They have always been a means of protecting the feet and providing horses with a stable, strong base to walk, trot and canter on.
A horseshoe is specifically made and shaped to fit the horse’s hoof, and is nailed into the outer structure of the hoof.
Therefore, no it does not hurt the horse as it is fitted on the outer part of the hoof, which has no pain receptors or nerve endings that would cause the horse discomfort or pain.
That being said, horseshoes should always be fitted by a professional farrier, as those who do not know how to shoe horses properly may go too deep with the nails, or not position the shoe properly, which can then cause pain and discomfort for the horse.
To summarize, horse hooves are one of the most complex structures that Mother Nature has ever designed. They are made up of a range of parts, and are composed of bone, tissues, and tendons.
For the most part, horse hooves are made up of keratin, which is the protein that is in fingernails, horns, and hair.
This acts as a protective structure that ensures the foot and the hoof is safe and secure at all times, so that horses can stand, walk and run without pain and with the support that they need to remain healthy.
Warm seasons like summer and spring are probably the best seasons to own a horse.
With dry and sunny weather comes long riding sessions outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and scenery during some bonding time between you and your horse.
However, with all that outdoor time comes a price – botflies!
Botflies are a pest that plague humans and horse owners alike. They can make your horse seriously ill and not only is it horrible to see your horse in agony, but treating your horse for botflies can leave you with some expensive vet bills.
But how do horses become infected in the first place?
We are going to be looking at botflies, how and why they are attracted to horses and stables, and even leave you with a few ways to reduce the risks of botflies making themselves at home inside your horse.
Take a look down below for some very helpful information when it comes to botflies and horses!
Botflies And What They Do
Botflies are a pest that comes from a family of flies known as Oestridae. They are usually brown in color with a black stripe, and are rather large and fluffy.
Their larvae are known as internal parasites – meaning that they grow their eggs, hatch and live inside or on the flesh of mammals like horses.
Female botflies will stop at nothing to lay their eggs and will infect hosts including other small insects, cattle, horses or even humans.
Their eggs are small and yellow, resembling small flecks of paint. If a female botfly manages to reach your horse, it will lay its eggs on your horses’ legs and underside.
But the infection does not stop there – these areas will begin to feel itchy for the horse, and it will attempt to nuzzle and lick at the skin to try and scratch the itch.
This can lead to your horse ingesting botfly eggs where they will hatch and grow as larvae inside your horses’ stomach.
The larvae will pass out eventually through manure, but your horses will definitely suffer a range of issues if this infection is not treated.
Larvae on the legs and underside will bite and crawl inside the skin causing serious irritation and possible infections.
The larvae on the inside of your horse can cause stomach ulcers, colic, and even blockages if the horse is seriously invaded by a large number of eggs.
The whole point of the botfly laying and hatching eggs on a mammal host is so the larvae can use the host to steal nutrition. This can lead your horse to lose weight, lack appetite, and fall into a state of poor body and hair coat condition.
Overall, botflies can make your horse seriously ill – but what attracts them in the first place?
What Attracts Botflies
Female botflies start to lay their eggs in the summer as they like the hot weather and warm temperatures. Those eggs will then hatch in the following spring,
so the warmer seasons that we enjoy so much are also the prime time for botflies. This is when they will be at their highest numbers and on the prowl for somewhere to lay their eggs.
This means that botflies will travel far and wide until they find a horse. They may be attracted to places that smell of manure – a sure sign of nearby potential hosts – so bad pasture management can attract botflies.
Other than that, there is nothing that really attracts botflies – they fly around during warm seasons looking for horses, staying close to areas with lots of manure.
They are not attracted to lights nor are they more commonly found near bodies of water or woods. Botflies will get around until they find a horse.
Because of this, it makes preventing botflies a little more tricky. The only want to completely protect your horse would be to lock them inside during the warm seasons when botflies numbers are up.
However, it is not fair to lock your horse indoors to try and avoid attracting botflies by going outside – so when it comes to preventing botflies, you will have to try other methods that will help keep your horse happy and safe.
First up when it comes to preventing botflies is to keep your pastures clean and remove manure from paddocks as often as possible.
This not only will hopefully decrease the number of botflies attracted to your stables, but will also kill any botflies living in the manure.
You can also spray your horses with an equine insect spray. This will deter most bugs from your horse and it is definitely a good place to start. This method does require constant respraying as horses will sweat off the insecticide.
You can also put up fly traps to catch botflies before they lay their eggs, and dress your horse in a fly sheet and fly socks so botflies are less likely to land on their underside and legs and lay their eggs.
But the most important thing when it comes to preventing botflies is that you ensure that your horses’ worming schedule is up to date.
Your horse should be wormed in fall/spring about one month after the bot fly season has ended. Use a worming paste that includes Ivermectin that helps ensure the larvae are killed.
By ensuring that your horse is wormed during the right times, this means that even if your horse is infected, it will not suffer from further health problems as the larvae will be dealt with.
You can also try to remove the eggs yourself from your horse, but this requires a lot of time and equipment such as bot knives and insecticide.
This will further protect your horse from the situation worsening, so if you do spot any eggs on your horse, we recommend you try carefully removing the eggs and killing them.
So how do you get botflies?
Botflies are more commonly around during the warm season and will be attracted to your horses through the smell of manure.
They are relentless, so preventing botflies from infecting your horse requires a lot of persistence and maintenance.
Keep your stalls and paddocks clean of manure, treat your horse and ensure that they are dewormed at the appropriate times.
This will help prevent your horse from feeling any side effects of botfly infection, keeping them fit and healthy during the botfly season.
Follow this advice through and hopefully, you will have less botflies to deal with and your horses will enjoy a happy summer!
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is something that every horse owner should know about.
As a horse owner that is worried about their horse becoming sick, you might be curious to know: What is EPM in horses?
In this article, I will cover some significant information about EPM, including what EPM is and what causes it in horses.
Let’s get into it.
What Is EPM In Horses?
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis, more commonly known by the abbreviated name EPM, is a serious equine disease that affects the spinal cord and brain.
This disease can be notoriously challenging for veterinarians to diagnose, as clinical signs of EPM often mimic other neurological diseases.
While some horses that are exposed to sarcocystis will develop the disease and exhibit symptoms, not all horses will if their immune system is able to combat the disease.
That being said, horses under stress are particularly susceptible to succumbing to EPM, and if left untreated, it can be fatal.
What Causes EPM In Horses?
EPM is caused by a microbe, sarcocystis neurona. EPM is not spread from horse to horse, the disease is spread by the opossum. The opossum acquires the organism from the intermediate hosts, which are animals such as cats, skunks, and racoons.
As a result, horses can develop the neurological disease through the consumption of contaminated drinking water or food.
Once ingested by your horse, the sporocysts move from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream before crossing the blood/brain barrier. From here, they are able to attack the horse’s central nervous system.
Although EPM only causes disease in around 1% of horses that are exposed to it, early diagnosis and treatment is essential to your horse’s recovery.
The Symptoms Of EPM In Horses
There are a wide variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe. However, as EPM can mimic other neurological diseases, EPM can be very difficult to diagnose.
The signs of EPM can include but are not limited to
Weakness And Incoordination
You might notice that your horse is weaker when going up or down hills, or may seem as if they are less coordinated than usual when walking.
Abnormal Gait Or lameness
If your horse has EPM, they could seem as if they’re not able to walk normally or seem as if they are lame.
Paralysis Of Muscles
You might notice that your horse’s eyes, mouth, or face are drooping due to paralysis.
Your horse might be struggling to drink and eat due to them having difficulty swallowing, or may have a reduced appetite and thirst as a result of this.
Your horse might lean against its stable walls for support or tilt their head due to them having poor balance.
As these symptoms can overlap and mimic other health conditions, it can be difficult for a horse to be diagnosed with EPM. That being said, it’s essential to call your veterinarian as soon as you notice something seems irregular with your horse or their behavior.
They will be able to assess your horse’s symptoms and carry out a thorough physical examination that will reveal more about their condition.
It’s crucial that you are in tune with your horse and how they behave normally so that you are better prepared to notice when something is wrong. The sooner your horse is diagnosed with EPM, the better chances they will have for making a full recovery.
If your horse isn’t diagnosed or is left untreated with EPM, this can result in permanent neurological damage, and can be fatal.
How To Prevent EPM In Horses
Almost all horses are susceptible to EPM in America. This comes down to the transportation of horses and feed all over the country.
That being said, there are a variety of different ways to help prevent EPM in horses. These preventive measures include but are not limited to:
Regularly Maintain Your Horse’s Water Sources
One of the most important ways to prevent EPM is to regularly maintain and clean your horse’s water tanks.
Your horse requires an average of 5 to 10 gallons of fresh water every single day, meaning that their drinking water is a prime place for harmful organisms to spread should you not be maintaining their drinking tanks properly.
Providing them with a fresh source of water minimizes the risk of them being affected by harmful organisms, and ensures that harmful bacteria aren’t able to breed.
Never Feeding Your Horse From The Ground
To prevent your horse from getting EPM, you will need to ensure that you never feed your horse from the dirty ground. Feeding your horse from the ground increases the risk of contamination.
Bearing this in mind, you should make sure that you give them their hay from hay nets as opposed to the floor as this will minimize spillages and the risk of contamination.
Regularly Clean The Area Where Your Horse Eats
Making sure that you regularly clean the area and maintain a level of cleanliness is essential for the health of your horse.
Always make sure that you clean up any spilled food, as failure to do so can attract wildlife such as possums and rats.
The bacteria from their feces and urine can affect your horse, so ensuring that you keep the space vermin free is vital to protecting your hose from EPM.
Ensure That Your Horse’s Feed Is Protected From Wild Animals
While buying your horse’s feed in bulk can be cost effective, you will need to make sure that your horse’s feed is kept in secure containers and that your hay is locked away so that wildlife cannot contaminate it.
Making sure that you keep the area free from vermin is essential with the use of traps. That being said, when you are laying traps like these, you will always need to make sure that you get rid of any animal carcasses.
You should also never use poisons around your horses, as they could easily come into contact or ingest the poison.
Despite the fact that your horse is still susceptible to EPM, these are preventative measures that will help to keep your horse as protected as they can be from this deadly disease.
EPM in horses is a disease that affects both the spinal cord and brain. Hopefully after reading this article you have a better understanding of EPM in horses, and the signs that you should be aware of.
If you suspect that your horse has developed EPM, it’s essential that you contact your veterinarian immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry, as leaving EPM can lead to irreversible neurological damage and can even be fatal for your horse.
The sooner you get them diagnosed, the better chance they have at recovering from this deadly disease.