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Friday, 27 September, 2019

Seaver's tips and tricks to address the change of season

Autumn has been here since a few days and it signs the end of the good days. It is time to forget the sun, the long evenings to graze your horse while enjoying the heat and the good weather and to say hello to blankets, sweaters and muddy paddocks.

The horse is an animal with a seasonal organism, particularly sensitive to changes in seasons and changes in his environment. It is therefore important to support him in this seasonal transition and to ensure his well-being. Autumn, however, remains a pleasant season for horses, mosquitoes go away, and the grass can turn green with the arrival of rains that allow horses to maintain their condition for winter.

We give you some tips and tricks to get through the fall season peacefully.

1. Deworm

It is important to deworm your horse (depending on his age, weight, condition and environment) when fall arrives, because the parasites are not the same all year round. The humidity and temperature range of this period are ideal conditions for larval and worm proliferation. Ask your veterinarian for advice on choosing the right molecule and whether there is interest in deworming depending on your horse, his environment and his way of life.

2. Ticks

From spring to fall, ticks are present perched on the tall grass, brush or leaves on the lookout for our equines. Bites are not serious in themselves, however, they can transmit a number of diseases such as piroplasmosis or Lyme disease. If your horse shows the following signs: anemia, tiredness, fever, dark urine, joint pain (swelling of the joints), limb edema, lethargy, then you should consult your veterinarian who will take a blood test and a diagnosis.

3. Acorns

Autumn is also the season of acorns that fall from oaks. If you find them in the paddocks/meadows, try moving them or installing fences around the oaks to prevent the horses from reaching them. Acorns are toxic by the tannins they contain. Some horses may be more sensitive than others and the green acorns would be more toxic than the more mature ones.

4. Temperature and feeling

We shouldn’t be thinking about how we cover horses based on our body feelings. Indeed, the mornings are cooler at the end of September and most of us put on sweaters and jackets, but the horse does not dissipate heat as quickly as a man because of his size. So, at equal body temperature, a horse will feel warmer than we do.

5. Clipping your horse

It is important to take into account that horses withstand better cold rather than heat. His winter coat allows him to face low temperatures. For horses at work, clipping is necessary, because excessive sweating following a session may lead to an increase in the drying time of the horse which will cause cooling. A horse that is too hot and sweaty, may become dehydrated.

There are several types of horse clips, the choice of clipping will depend on the activity of your horse, but also on his environment:

  • Full clip: all the coat is removed including the legs, head and ears (blankets are required). This type of clip is suitable for horses who work regularly or intensively.
  • Hunter clip: A popular clip for horses in medium to hard word. Although most of the coat is removed, the hunter clip gives the horse protection from the saddle and helps keep the legs warm and protected. Horse needs a blanket and an exercise rug.
  • Blanket clip: we leave the winter hairs on the whole back and kidneys of the horse and cut the parts or the horse sweating, that is, the neck, strap passage, flanks and fat.
  • Trace clip: looks like the blanket clip but leaves hair on the shoulder and neck of the horse. This shear is suitable for horses living mainly indoors.
  • Winter clip (classic): uncut limbs and body clipped. It is the most suitable clip for horses who work, but who continue to go to the paddock or live in the meadow.

6. Foot care

In autumn, with the arrival of the rains, the horses' feet tend to deteriorate and become much wetter, so it is necessary to watch them closely. Clean out and grease the feet regularly with a black ointment and check the condition of the shoes if the horse is shoed. If the ground is very wet and does not dry, you can apply Norway tar on the sole. It treats rotten forks, dries the hooves and protects from moisture.

Common pathologies: cracked heels and mud scab

The cause of cracked heels is the proliferation of bacteria around the pastern. It often forms between autumn and winter and mainly affects horses frequenting sandy and/or wet soils. The treatment is simple, shower to disinfect the area and any wounds, dry with a clean towel or a hairdryer then apply a creamy moisturizing cleanser.

Dermatophilosis, or more commonly referred to as mud scab, is a common pathology at the onset of rainy days. Located mainly on the limbs, it is mainly manifest by crusts that agglutinate the hairs. They are oozing and painful. Subsequently, the horse’s skin thickens and cracks to eventually give small, sore and painful areas. As soon as the first symptoms appear, it is advisable to shelter the horse as far as possible.

Treatments to fight mud scab:

  • Cut or clip hair of the affected area
  • Clean the area gently without rubbing to disinfect
  • Dry the area thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth
  • Apply specialized care product to affected areas

7. Horse feed

Adapt the diet according to the quality of the pasture, the activity of the horse and his body condition. Namely that the grass is less rich in this season, which can influence the condition of your horse. You can however supplement your horse by increasing the quantities of hay to compensate for this loss until the end of winter. You can also supplement your horse with products such as a mineral and vitamin supplement and/or linseed oil that will provide essential fatty acids.

8. Preparing the indoor competitions

The outdoor season is coming to an end, but many competition grounds now offer indoor competitions. This is the perfect opportunity for you to continue to go to competitions despite the bad weather. However, going from an outdoor competition to an indoor competition can sometimes be tricky. To avoid unpleasant surprises, we give you a few tips on how to get rankings all winter.

First of all, you have to practice jumping a little bit in the indoor arena. To do this, you will have to adapt the distances and shorten them to adapt to the configuration of indoor courses.

You can also practice jumping lines of three to seven strides, which most often corresponds to contracts found in indoor competitions, knowing that outdoors (outdoor competition), distances tend to be greater.

Also practice jumping fences with two or three strides off the turn. This is a challenge that is not typically found in jumping arenas.

You will also have to work on the control of the horses, the take-off, the path, because in indoor arenas, fences arrive more quickly, so you must be ready and anticipate.

If your horse is worried, you can start with a first preparation contest. Most competitions offer preparatory classes or warm-up events at the start of the competition.

When traveling, consider taking a dry blanket and a blanket adapted to the outside temperature for your horse. Be careful however not to cover your horse too much in transport, as the temperature tends to rise quickly get into a van or truck. Also get yourself a good coat, a pair of warm gloves, a hat/headband, a good pair of socks (or more) so you don’t find yourself strained once on horseback.

Fall is also the time to train at home (check out our exercises on the application), but you can also take advantage of this to participate in masterclasses. Many riders and teams offer advanced training courses throughout the winter before the return of the outdoor competition season.

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See you soon for a new article, 

The Seaver team 🙂