Caring for horses requires more than love and care. Any individual in the equine industry understands that your horse requires a routine and program to ensure maximum health and performance, whether for recreational riding or professional performance.
Part of this routine is grooming and feeding the horse. While some people consider them as pets, their diet, exercise, and grooming regimen needs to be controlled and routinely done.
Years of research have shown that the use of natural solutions, products, and feeds is important to maintain a horse’s optimal health. Yet what really happens when toxins get in the way of a horse’s TLC? It’s best to understand how toxins can impact a horse.
The Dangers of Toxins
Horses can come across various toxins, in both their diets, grooming, and even exercise. Horse owners may have preferences when it comes to the products and solutions they use for grooming.
Apart from this, there are many ways that horses can encounter toxins in their daily lives. That’s why it’s best to know the most common ones that are also the most toxic and do the most damage.
While most people would associate botulism with Botox, this toxin actually comes from a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. This is found in haylage, lawn clippings, treated hay, corn silage, and dry hay. Experts caution that risk of exposure to botulism increases as the moisture content of the material also increases because like any bacteria, botulism grows with moisture.
Botulism poisoning typically brings a myriad of symptoms. These include weakness of muscles, tremors, and tremors, while the worst cases could end in respiratory or cardiac failure.
Some places that are near gold mining areas tend to be more susceptible to arsenic poisoning. For horses, arsenic can be beneficial in trace amounts, but with accumulated exposure, this can lead to dangerous side effects.
In areas that are prone to a lot of arsenic content in the soil and water, horses are more likely to get into contact with it. It is necessary to have your horse checked if there are symptoms of liver dysfunction, hoof issues, a dryer coat, hair loss, skin conditions, and muscle weakness, as these are the most common ways that arsenic can affect horses.
Pastures may be nice grazing and exercise grounds for horses. Yet owners need to understand the structure and composition of the lands where they let their horses roam. Pastures fertilized with either rock phosphates and super phosphates or sewage sludge may endanger your horse with cadmium poisoning.
A foal who is suffering from cadmium poisoning may suffer from orthopedic disease, swollen joints, and lameness.
Using pesticides and other rodenticides may be targeted to eliminate other pests like rodents and gophers. However, when you use them in your area, you may end up endangering your horses with the powdered or pelleted bait.
Pesticides contain toxic agents that are lethal when ingested by horses. Even a small dose can cause bleeding and hemorrhaging even in larger species like horses. Considering how foals can easily put anything, even these small pellets in their mouths, accidents can easily occur.
Avoid using baits that have sweet flavors, as they tend to attract horses as well. If this cannot be avoided, one other solution is to make sure that your horses cannot access them in any way. In the event that you would need to use these, create a barrier that will not allow your horse to get through.
Importance of Natural Caring for Your Horse
In the same way that pet owners will keep away certain foods or items away from their dogs or cats, this same caution must be practiced by horse owners. The best way to do this is to minimize the presence of toxins and chemicals that are accessible to your horse.
Even though some of the toxins may come from plants, there are toxins that have been processed and incorporated into solutions, items, and containers, which can endanger your horse.
4 Things To Remember When Caring For Your Horse
Personal grooming is a therapeutic experience for you and your horse. Some owners and riders use this quality time as a way for them to further bond with their foals. Brushing their mane alone allows you to show affection, and as an owner, this simple act is a soothing way to keep close to your horse without the need to participate in games or training.
- Keeping Hoofs Healthy
When you think about it, a horse’s hooves are a major part of his foundation. Between supporting him and enabling him to walk, hooves need to be maintained and taken care of to avoid future posture and mobility issues.
Hooves need to be groomed and trimmed regularly. Professional trimming can be done on a regular basis, but it pays to have knowledge on some aspects such as safe shoe removal.
Your horse needs to have proper and regular exercise. Consistent exercise and motion actually strengthen the hooves as it promotes circulation and growth. This exercise will be safer if your horse wears proper shoes. Choose a hoof moisturizer with natural ingredients so it will be safer for your horse.
- Maintaining His Muscles
Competitive training can be tiresome and taxing for any horse. In the case of overworked or strained muscles, it helps to use a natural cooling muscle wash. Specifically, this type of solution is beneficial for the legs, hocks, and back. The cooling sensation will further relax your horse.
- Care for His Magnificent Mane
Brushing is an important part of his grooming. Even if he has shiny and silky locks, your horse will still look and feel unkempt if his mane is always mangled and tangled.
Your horse’s coat also needs to be properly and regularly maintained. To get that extra shine, use a coat refresher solution to clean out the grime and dirt. Afterwards, go for coat conditioners that are made only of natural ingredients. Pairing these two solutions will ensure that your horse’s coat shines and retains body.
- Practice Aromatherapy and Relax Your Horse
If you have ever done some aromatherapy at home, you would know that this has a unique but effective way of relaxing your senses. The same effect applies to horses; this naturally therapeutic approach allows them a horse to achieve balance, especially when they have been through a bout of training or exposed to new stresses.
Essential oils have a synergistic effect on the body, as it penetrates the dermis and helps with cellular regeneration and strengthening the immune system.
To effectively induce relaxation in your horse, let them get accustomed to the scent, especially if it is this first time with natural essential oils. Let them smell the oil. Once they are used to it, place a drop on the forehead and neck crest.
Be mindful of how your horse reacts to the essential oils. Some may take to it easily; others may not feel relaxed or comfortable. Just like how humans have preferred oils, horses will also have different reactions, so try to experiment while being watchful of your horse’s experience.
- Provide Proper Diet and Exercise
Just as you would care for your horse’s grooming, part of having a healthy foal is to ensure that he also glows healthy on the inside. Diet for your horse is extremely crucial, whether they are still growing or are already in their prime.
A horse needs to have a well-balanced diet that has the ample amount of calories, vitamins, proteins, and minerals for proper and complete nutrition. This is even more crucial and specialized for competitive breeds, because they will be enduring stricter and more taxing training.
Throughout the years, your horse’s nutritional needs will differ. The biggest aspect to note is that, as much as possible, try to avoid processed foods and food items that may contain toxins and other substances that may be harmful for them.
Maintain a regular grooming schedule with your horse, and make sure you use this time to also bond with them. These are the special moments between training and rest where you can cultivate communication and encourage relaxation when he is around you.