The Horse

NOV 2018

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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66 November 2018 The Horse | FARM&BARN NANCY S. LOVING, DVM B e it due to space restrictions, cli- mate, or geography, not every owner has the luxury of turning horses out on expansive, nutrient-rich pastures. The devil is in the many details when it comes to keeping horses in good condition even without access to grass. Still, many horses live happy and healthy lives on drylots. This type of living arrangement does pose some basic challenges: dust, the potential for sand colic, balancing nutri- ent intake, insect control, herd health, and lack of free exercise, to name a few. Let's take a look at how to handle such hurdles. Doing Battle Against Dust Horses in dry locations stir up a lot of dust, particularly when stamping flies during insect season. Running horses at play often appear shrouded in a haze of sand and dirt as their hooves churn bone- dry ground. Dust not only makes keeping horses and facilities clean difficult but also poses respiratory risks for both horses and humans. Logan Potts, DVM, of Clovis Veterinary Hospital, in Clovis, New Mexico, sees this as a growing concern and recommends wetting down paddocks, corrals, and stalls as often as possible. "Dust irritation can cause horses to develop signs of nasal discharge, eye irritation, and subsequent decreased na- solacrimal duct (tear duct) drainage," he says. "Some may develop inflammatory airway disease (IAD), which is often initi- ated by inhalation of dust particles and environmental irritants. IAD contributes as much as 20-50% to poor performance in equine athletes." Jason Turner, PhD, professor and extension horse specialist at New Mexico State University, in Las Cruces, also en- courages wetting the ground to manage dust: "If water resources allow, every- other-day watering of the drylot area with a sprinkler helps keep dust down," he says. "If water is not available, then consider a more permanent alternative such as using plant oils (such as soybean or sunflower) to hold down the dust. Although used in riding arenas, it can be messy if horses are allowed free use of the area where they can lie down and roll. Therefore, carefully consider this option before deciding to use it, as once applied, it cannot be easily undone." Dealing With Mud and Wet Ground Not all pastureless properties are arid; some see their fair share of rain and mud. "In wet climates detour standing water away from stalls and runs," says Potts. "Proper barn design uses gutters and drainage lines to avert water from animal and human traffic. "In dry regions horse owners often soak their horses' feet in 'mud holes' or water to help the farrier trim hard hooves," he adds. "However, in one study (Hampson et al.), hoof wall moisture In areas with few turnout and grazing options, spacious runs attached to stalls get your horses out of the barn, help reduce boredom, and improve respiratory health. ALAYNE BLICKLE The Drylot Life Things to consider when housing horses in pastureless regions

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