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Tips From Hollihorse

Me on Boomer, photo by Carla Varisco of the News Journal

Originally published at Cheval Publications' Horse Tip of the Day

Crossties; Prevent common colic; Check hay for mold; hauling water; trucks hauling trailers.

Crossties and Teaching Horses To Stand in them

We crosstie our horses a great deal to work on them, and I've found many horses will be frightened at first of crosstying in an open area like an aisleway. Crosstie horses first in the stall; only attach one side at a time and use a leadrope in your own hand as the other tie until the horse is comfortable as you work around him. And instead of snapping or bolting your crosstie chain directly into the stall wall, instead tie a short, rather weak piece of haystring to the snap or eye screw then attach crosstie to the string - if a horse pulls back, the string breaks instead of the halter or the horse's neck. On confirmed pullers, use a bicycle innertube or another sturdy rubbery material AND a "breakaway" string. And if the horse pulls back and breaks the string, don't panic and yell whoa, just reach for the crosstie, get another string, and go right on with what you are doing. Making a big deal of it makes a big impression on a young horse and they will do it again. Ignore it and they aren't sure if it's a good thing to continue on with. We introduce the crossties gradually, usually with a comforting activity like grooming, handle horses consistently (the rule of "same way, every day") and have very very little trouble with pullers or badly behaved horses - the vets always compliment us on our horses' ability to stand quietly for most work!

Today's tip is from Hollihorse:

Prevent fall/winter colic with these simple hints:

It's fall, the weather is cooler, and now is the time veterinarians see lots of colics beginning to occur - impaction colics that can be avoided with a little more attention to the temperature of a horse's water. Horses like their water cool, not cold, and so drink less when the weather is frosty. However, lots of folks keep right on feeding the same amount of hay, grain, etc. without noticing the horse is drinking less water. Warm up the cold water in an outside tub with about one bucket of very hot water; as this should raise the temperature enough to take the chill off the water and encourage the horse to continue his level of consumption. Monitor your horse's water intakecarefully. Keep buckets and tubs clean enough for yourself to take a drink,and it will be encouraging for your horse, too. The best horses I've had always seemed to be big drinkers, so I try to get all my horses to drink asmuch as possible for their good health!

Today's tip is from Hollihorse

Check your hay for mold
Use your sense of smell, touch, and eyesight to check your hay for mold. While cattle can handle the occasional mold spot, due to their multi-compartmented stomach, horses have a very different digestive system which cannot handle the least bit of moldy hay. This time of year, you'll often start getting into the bales at the ends and bottom of the stack, and those are the ones with the exposure to the moisture from rain, leaky roofs, etc. Wet, moist, warm conditions create mold. While there are many kinds you can't see, you can smell and feel hay that isn't good enough to feed. Look for a bale to bounce when thrown down out of the loft. When you break flakes off the bale, look for them to come off clean in your hand - any resistance, and they could be stuck together with mold. Extremely dusty hay is often moldy, even if apparently dry and free of spots. Black, white, or even brown spots can indicate mold - from fist-sized spots up to the whole inside of the bale. And smell - it's that musty, Grandma's attic smell times two! If you take a big sniff and sneeze, so will your horse. Bad bales should be discarded back of the manure pile away from any horse. Contrary to popular belief, horses WILL eat some things that are not good for them. Better to toss a $5 bale of hay than have a $500 vet bill.

Today's tip is from Hollihorse:

Dry ways to haul water

When hauling water in a bucket to your horse, especially if you have to put in the back of a pickup or carry a long way, and don't have a lid, put an ordinary large plastic garbage bag in the pail first - fill with water - twist the top of the bag closed and tie a knot - then off you go! No spills, no splashing half of it out before you get back, and reuse the garbage bag for anything else.

What kind of truck to haul a trailer with?

Yesterday's "ASK FOR A TIP" subject was "I've been hearing that a lot of people are switching from gas trucks to diesel. I'm planning on buying another truck (I have a gas Ford 250 right now). What are the pros and cons of owning a diesel for horse owners? Does it make a difference pulling a trailer?"

From Hollihorse:

We have both types of trucks, and haul large and small trailers short and long distances with both types of vehicles. I can categorically say the diesel is better for hauling: more overall power, better fuel economy, easier on the horses because it runs better in both hot and cold weather for longer periods; longer range and not so dependent upon gas stations and frequent stops. If you get stuck in traffic the diesel won't overheat like a gas engine can. I think your diesel truck will also last longer with less maintenance and hold its value on trade in, also. Many folks in our business have their diesel trucks for over 200,000 miles and still going and that's a lot of tough miles on the Jersey turnpike, city driving, etc. Our Chevy diesel lacks a bit of takeoff power but is not as noisy as the Cummins diesel in the Dodge and Ford trucks. Regardless of engine type, make sure the truck has the heavy duty suspension, better tires and heavy duty rear end, that the hitch is properly placed on the truck and wired with heavy duty harness. The 3/4-ton truck hauls best; the very best ride is the dually but not everyone can afford that. Dually is hard to park and back, tho, if you do a lot of short trips or city hauling it may not suit you. A Tip: gooseneck for better ride for the horse.