The Horse

OCT 2017

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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47 October 2017 THE HORSE themselves on the wire. At one place where she boarded, Byam says Toby would get out of his paddock and into the adjacent alfalfa field anytime the chargers were off. Solution Keep fence chargers on in paddocks with electric fencing, and always be sure they are working properly. "It is funny to watch him test it now," Byam says of Toby. "He uses the hairs on his muzzle to sense the electricity without even touching it. I check our charger at least twice each day before going back into the house. I don't go to bed without checking it again—I can see the fence charger light from the back window of the house." Piercing T-Posts When I first started in horse and land management education 20-plus years ago, an equine veterinarian told me a $10 bag of plastic T-post caps would go a long way toward preventing many of the injuries she treated. She told me tales of frolick- ing baby horses impaling themselves on T-posts, as well as horses scratching their faces on fences and injuring eyes. "I had a horse swing her head down—probably to bite a fly or itch her head—and put an un- capped T-post right through her temple," says Byam. Solution Use T-post caps, plastic T-posts, fence posts with rounded tops eliminating T-posts altogether, or another type of fencing product from the many available. Unsecure Gates We all know the idiom about clos- ing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Indeed, preparation is preferable; shutting a stall door or latching a gate properly can prevent you from having to chase your horse around the property, or much worse. Solution Byam offers a fail-safe for this risk: "I am paranoid about gates, so most of my gates have a second line of defense in terms of double latching. In addition to the main latch, I have either a strap or a strand of hot wire across the top. This not only works as a safeguard if the first latch fails, but it also gives me two things to think about so I don't overlook securing something. The second step makes me pay better attention." Stray Splinters and Nails Terri Herrera is an equestrian property realtor who owns a dressage facility in Redmond, Washington. She says improp- erly maintained stall walls can quickly lead to large splinters or nails popping loose that can poke an eye or scrape a horse that rubs against them. "We all know that if there is a nail, just one nail somewhere in the barnyard, a horse will find it," says Herrera. Solution Check stall walls (and fencing) at home, at shows or clinics, or wherever you might travel, and fix any problems before putting your horse into the area. Carry a hammer, pliers, and duct tape in your horse trailer for just that sort of thing. Flimsy Stall Walls Thin stall walls can be accidents wait- ing to happen. Sheri Clevenger, a horse owner from Winlock, Washington, recalls when her mare Melody kicked through a wall. "Melody bent the board enough to get her leg through it, but it then became like a can opener, and she couldn't pull it back," she says. Solution "We had built the stall with a removable wall in case we ever needed a double stall but quickly added a center vertical support brace to prevent it from ever happening again," Clevenger says. "We were so lucky she didn't panic and (that she) let me help her out of what could have been a disastrous situation." Consider reinforcing all walls to a strength that a horse can't kick through, with, for example, ¾-inch plywood or 2-by-6 studs. Snagging Halters and Muzzles Anything left on a loose horse is a po- tential disaster. Halters, grazing muzzles, and cribbing straps can all catch on Exposed bottom edges of stalls and other walls can ensnare hooves and limbs. ALAYNE BLICKLE PHOTOS Don't place fence rails on the outside of posts—as seen here. They're more likely to break if horses lean on them, and its easier for horses to get snagged on nails and fasteners.

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