No conscientious horse owner likes seeing their horse harassed by flies. The swishing and twitching, flicking, and stomping can make both a horse and rider crazy.
Occasionally you may come across a horse with a large appetite for salt, whether it’s salt blocks, salt licks, or loose salt. Can a horse have too much salt? Will it harm your horse?
This is a question we've heard from horse owners for decades. We've been in the salt business for many years, and have yet to see a case of a horse eating too much salt. In rare situations, however, in can occur.
Why do horses eat salt? Salt, especially mineral salt, provides many benefits to horses. In fact, it's the most crucial mineral horses require. While horses usually only consume as much as their body needs, occasionally a horse may eat too much salt.
Salt toxicity in horses includes symptoms of colic, diarrhea, drinking too much water, frequent urination, and general weakness. A horse displaying these signs should be seen by a vet immediately.
Salt is water-soluble, so generally a horse will naturally balance salt intake by drinking water to flush out any excess. You should always ensure your horse has access to fresh, clean water when using a mineral block or loose salt mix.
What makes it amazing is all the time in the saddle I spent figuring them out. It takes a lot of training for a horse to get to a professional level in barrel racing. Lots of time riding. Hauling to small jackpots, then to larger ones, then–if they’re fast enough–open rodeo. From there, if they’re good enough they go to the pro rodeos. It takes countless hours of figuring out what works best for that horse and you. What ground conditions they do best on, what tack they perform best with, what exercise routine is the best for them. You have to be completely in sync with each other. I love to win and I love to compete. In order to win you have to know your horse and know what he’s going to do in different setups and different situations. One-tenth of a second is the difference between first and last place. To get to the top you have to put in a lot of work, and putting in a lot of work and time with the same horse makes you learn a lot about them. I know a lot of weird things about my horse and it’s because I spend a lot of time with him. He has to scope the pasture in the morning and make sure everything is in place before he eats. He will only pee on shavings so he always has access to shavings. He absolutely hates dogs. He is happiest in the back stall of the trailer. And he doesn’t like people in general. If you walk past his stall he will bite–but he’s not like that with me. He gives me 100% of his heart and soul. He is a one-person horse and he needs to always know that he is number one. He needs that constant attention. He’s very emotional. That’s how he thrives and feels really confident.
I run a full-service equine training facility. We take in around 8-10 young horses a month. I am determined to have a successful training business and that doesn’t happen by wishing and hoping it would happen. It happens by being a determined human and reaching toward those goals one step at a time, little by little, every single day. It happens because I wake up with a goal, get up, and kick butt all day long. There is no slacking in my life and there never has been. I am a huge advocate for working hard for what you want.
Horses are incredible creatures, and as winter approaches, they can naturally adapt to the changing environment to increase their defenses against the harsh weather. They will add some extra body fat for warmth and grow a thick coat with which they can fluff up to withstand the chill. Our horses can also manage their blood flow, pooling the majority in their core and vital organs and allowing their lower legs to tolerate the cold. This enables them to stand on ice or snow. If you have ever felt their almost frozen ears in mid winter it’s clear they can handle their cold extremities. Nevertheless, even though they adapt well and we may not be riding, we cannot ignore them during the winter. They need us to do some things that they can’t.
Here are the six things you can do to help your horse through the winter.
1.Tend to their hooves – Ensure they can dry their hooves off and have a dry place to stand. Wet hooves can lead to rot and infection, especially when left for long periods. Hooves grow slower in cold, but still need maintenance and checking on. Take his metal shoes off and trim him every 6-8 weeks. Pick out his hooves and make sure they are clean with no bacteria or rotting deep in the crevasses of the frog. When we give the hooves attention, we can catch any potential problem early and have him happy and ready to ride in the spring.
Even though I boarded at this facility, and did not own it, I needed to take responsibility for every single piece of my horse’s care and health. I could not excuse unsafe fencing or dusty arenas or insufficient feeding routines just because I was not in charge of the barn operations. You have to love all of this, Manolo Mendez told me, meaning every mundane detail of my horse’s wellbeing.