Learn to Keep Happy, Healthy Horses in a Stable Setting
This is a good foundation course for anyone who aspires to work with horses; either in their own business or elsewhere; on a farm, stud, riding school or in an equine supplies business. This course follows on from Horse Care I. While the course is relevant to horses at grass, it does focus more heavily upon care of the stabled performance horse. The course covers feed is and nutrition , stabling, foot care, bedding, tack and conditioning of the horse.
This is a stand alone course and may be taken without Horse Care I as a prerequisite.
It can also be selected as a complete course of study in conjunction with Horse Care I and Horse Care III.
Course Duration: 100 hours
There are 7 lessons in this course.
- green feeds and succulents
- tempters and tonics
- feeding for special purposes.
- three ways to keep horses
- combined systems
- stalls, stables/loose boxes
- stable layout
- feed rooms
- tack rooms
- the medicine chest
- stable routine
- stable tricks and vices.
- Bedding and Mucking Out
- reasons for bedding
- bedding qualities
- bedding types
- choosing a system
- tools needed for mucking out
- mucking out
- bedding down
- managing the bed
- conserving bedding
- comparing bedding
- the muck heap.
- The Foot and Shoeing
- foot structure
- advantages and disadvantages of shoeing
- signs that shoeing is required
- the farrier's tools
- how the horse is shod
- what to look for in a newly shod hoof
- basic shoes
- surgical shoeing
- Exercise and Conditioning
- the difference between exercise and conditioning
- soft and hard condition
- exercising a horse
- the fittening schedule
- principles of fittening
- maintaining fitness.
- Tack and Tack Fitting
- principles of bitting
- the mouth
- types of bits
- where the bit acts
- fitting the saddle
- causes of sore backs
- care of the back when unsaddling
- saddle types
- saddle cloths and numnahs
- tack cleaning.
- Horse Facility Design
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Where to Keep a Horse?
There are three different ways of keeping horses:
- At grass - all day and night
- Stabled all day and night except for brief exercise and/or grazing periods
- The combined system a lengthy amount of time in both a stable and a paddock
The combined system is a very good way of keeping horses for the following reasons:
- It is a happy compromise between the two extremes of keeping a horse at grass all the time (best for the horse) and keeping it stabled all of the time (best for the rider). The combined system works well for the horse and rider.
- The horse's diet and exercise can be controlled. Although a grass kept horse is usually very healthy, he can only be used for gentle outrides and is not fit for fast, hard work. He is said to be in "soft condition". For a horse to be in "hard condition" or fit, he must be fed a high protein diet and undergo a well planned program of exercise. His access to grass where he will eat and exercise “at will” must be reduced.
- The grazing can be conserved. Horses are greedy eaters and will graze what grass is available to them. To make the grazing go further it is a good idea to limit the number of hours grass is grazed. This is possible with the combined system.
- Horses can be given shelter from extreme weather. Horses can withstand more cold than man and are quite comfortable in cold, dry weather. They suffer if it is very cold and wet, and also extreme heat. With the combined system, horses can be kept in when weather becomes too extreme.
- Horses can be protected from biting insects. Flies can make horses very miserable, and can cause loss of condition (the horse loses weight). Some biting insects can transmit deadly diseases. Examples include Tick paralysis, Trypanosomiasis, African Horse Sickness, Equine Infectious Anaemia, Equine Viral Encephalomyelitis, Anthrax. With the combined system, horses can go out to graze when there is less threat from biting insects.
- Horses can be protected from thieves. It is easier to protect horses against theft if they are stabled, watchdogs and alarms can be used.
- With the combined system, the horse has the benefit of a good diet, plus the advantage that he can graze in the sun and fresh air, and be with companions for half of the day. Horses stabled for long hours become bored and develop vices, because being stabled is not natural to the horse. The combined system gives the horse a chance to live semi-naturally.
- The combined system offers the rider a horse that is fit, well fed, clean and ready to ride. The horse will be well adjusted because he is able to be at grass for part of the day.
Different Types of Stabling
Horses can be housed in:
- Loose box
- Stable Block/barn
Horses stand in stalls, and are separated from each other by partitions. Stalls make it cheaper to house more animals in a set space. The stall should measure 2 X 4 metres and be solidly constructed from brick, timber or metal pipe. Sturdy partitions should be built between each stall to reduce bullying from neighbours.
The horse can be secured to a ring on the wall by a head rope. A log (wooden weight) can be used to prevent the horse getting a leg over the rope. The log should just touch the ground when the horse is standing (see Figure 2.1). Stalls work well if the horse only needs to be stabled for a few hours. They are not good for all day stabling as the horse cannot move around and is prone to boredom and bullying.
These are the preferred stables for horses. The horse can move around freely and is fully protected from bullying. One disadvantage may be that the horse often cannot see or touch his neighbours, and so lacks companionship. If however, the top half of the stable door is open (as it is during the day in good weather); the horse will be able to see other horses. Another way to overcome a lack of companionship is by using the combined system of keeping horses and putting the horse out to graze with friends for part of the day.
This is a more expensive type of stable as all boxes, the tack, and feed room are under one roof. Day yards are often attached. Enclosed boxes are suitable for commercial applications, because they can house a number of horses. The advantages include:
- Reduces drafts
- Controls ventilation
- Maintain internal warmth