Friday, March 16, 2007

My Springtime Horse Evaluation Ritual

Ahhhh, daylight savings is here along with spring-like temps. Pear trees, red buds, daffodils, soon azalea blooms, and finally some green grass starting to grow. Already I have spring fever! I just want to be outside enjoying this awesome time of year.

I like to take this time of year- along with any seasonal change to assess my horses and get organized! April fools day is my yearly animal health care check up day. Time to have my vet do routine health checks including vaccinations, worming schedule assessments, teeth, and overall nutritional and body condition assessment.

It's important to monitor body condition and nutritional requirements year-round, but with spring comes the challenge of introducing your horses to rich, spring grasses. In my personal opinion, you just can't beat quality grass for nutritional value and weight gain for horses! But it's important to monitor horses going out on freshly growing grass closely to make sure not to "overdo" a good thing!

Horses out 24/7 can usually adjust well to the growing grass; however,during this time of year especially, horses prone to founder or overweight horses need to be carefully monitored on rich grass. If pastures are good and horses are able to get lots of good daily turnout and grazing time, it may be necessary to adjust your feeding regimen-grain/pellets, winter fed hay, winter supplements, cushings meds, etc. to prevent too much weight gain for horses on good spring grass. Monitor your horses condition closely, and always get your Vet's healthcare and nutritional advice!

For tips on determining your horse's best weight, click here to read an Equisearch article with photos to help distinguish between an overweight, too skinny, and just right horse.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Carriage Driving Basics- the nitty gritty stuff

So, I've taken up carriage driving. I am by no means "literate" about all of the different types of carriages, their parts, or harness. I can hook up a mini- with the cart and harness that I'm used to using, but that doesn't mean I can quote the parts or hook up another horse to another cart!

I'm a work in progress and will eventually get around to learning more of the nitty gritty. Right now, it's just fun to hook up and drive!

But back to the nitty gritty of carriage driving, I have run across some useful informtion that I'll pass along about driving. First let me simplify the types of carriages for fellow "simple-minded k.i.s.s. folk" like myself, here's a nice way to break down horse vehicles:

Cart - Two Wheeled vehicle
Buggy - Basic 4 wheel vehicle
Carriage - fancier 4 wheel vehicle
Wagon - Farm type vehicle - Pick Up truck of the day.

Now we're going to be really ambitious and tackle the parts of a vehicle. The most basic parts of any cart are as follows:

Shafts- the two metal or wooden poles that go along the sides of the horse.

Singletree (also called swingletree or whiffletree)- that wooden piece that sits above the shafts and has a pivot point in the middle of it. You attach the traces to these and the horse pulls from it.

Floor- the place where you put your feet

Dash- the section of the floor that curves upward toward the shafts.

Seat- do you really need an explanation of this one?

Wheels- again, you got it.

That's about it for your truly basic cart parts. Anything beyond that probably won't show up on anything but a championship level knowledge bowl.Now, for those of you who like pictures, don't think I'm going to leave you out. Here are some diagrams and links to various vehicle and harness parts!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Horse Show Results

Want to keep up with the latest midsouth area hunter/jumper horse show results? Then check out Horse Shows Online website for the latest show updates in the area.