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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48 TheHorse.com THE HORSE October 2017 protrusions and cause a horse to panic. I know many a horse owner whose horses' halters and fly masks have gotten hung up on things like water faucets or whose cribbing straps have gotten stuck inside haynets. Patricia Cosgrove, an owner from Enumclaw, Washington, recalls once see- ing her Shetland pony standing very still for several minutes with his head next to the back fence of the arena. "When I went out to check on him, I discovered he had inadvertently latched his grazing muzzle to the 2-by-4 wire mesh fencing—he was clipped right to the fence," she says. Solution Avoid leaving anything on an unattended horse besides a flymask (which can tear more readily than other headwear). If your horse must wear a muzzle, "always turn the clips so they are on the inside, next to their head," Cos- grove says. Breakaway halters, muzzles, and clips are also smart options. Cluttered Pastures Don't store or install objects or materi- als in turnouts. "My horse, Jax, caught his fly sheet on a sprinkler head," says Helyn Hasse of Boise, Idaho. "He got scared and actually broke the pipe in half. It could have been really ugly, but fortunately he didn't get hurt and only ruined the pipe— and fly sheet." Solution Look for and remove anything stored in confinement areas or pastures with horses. Think about items such as homemade water tanks from old bath- tubs or water heaters. Some of these can have very sharp edges. Either frame these tanks with 2-by-4s or invest in a quality (and safe) stock tank or muck bucket for drinking water. Walk and inspect new pastures before turning your horse out in them. You could find anything from a kitchen sink and old tractor parts to deep holes, fallen branches, and other entrapments. Communal Fence Corners Placing the water trough or a gate in a paddock corner creates a potential bottle- neck and an opportunity for one horse to pin another—or a horse to rush through a gate to avoid crowding by pasturemates. I steer clear of pasture corners as much as possible; they are difficult to mow and allow horses to bully or trap one another. Solution Place waterers and gates mid-fenceline. When planning new fenc- ing, round the corners of enclosures into smooth curves. Fire-Prone Fans and Cords Inexpensive plastic box fans are com- mon cooling devices in barns. However, they can also be fire hazards if they have open motors not made for running outside. Dust, hay chaff, and cobwebs can clog the motor and cause a fire. Further- more, the extension cords used with them aren't often heavy-duty and outdoor-rated or plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. Solution Consider installing industrial- grade overhead ceiling fans that have enclosed motors and are water-resistant. For floor fans, spend the extra dollar on industrial-grade outdoor-rated fans with enclosed motors. Use only heavy- duty outdoor-rated extension cords and have outlets GFCI upgraded. Better fans and cords cost more, but avoiding a barn fire is worth the expense. Plus, better fans circulate air more effectively. At the very least, routinely take a can of compressed air and blow out dust and cobwebs from around box fan motors. Leaf blowers also work well. While it's preferable not to have exten- sion cords in the barn, be sure any cords in use are not trailing here and there, draped within chewing or tripping dis- tance of your horse. Hanging Buckets The metal ends of bucket handles can scratch an eye or catch a nostril. While most 5-gallon buckets come with protec- tive rubber tips on their handles, this material can sometimes wear out or fall off over time. Solution Make sure you always buy buckets with rubber tip guards or cover exposed metal ends with duct tape. You might also consider using a larger stall waterer, such as a muck bucket that doesn't have metal parts. Take-Home Message Our list of horse hazards could go on for days; pick any common object in the barn, and someone could probably tell a story about a horse who managed to get hurt on it. So take a few minutes to walk around and double-check your property for hidden hazards. It's common to not think about these risks until you're man- aging a horse injury because of one. h Barbed wire, field fencing, and metal T-posts (above) are major horse pasture no-nos. Plastic T-posts and hot tape (below) with functioning fence chargers are much safer bets. FARM & BARN ALAYNE BLICKLE PHOTOS

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