Some Common Errors We Make When Dealing With Our Horses

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By Walt Friedrich

Horses: big, beautiful, lovable critters, there’s no question. And we enjoy their company. We head out toward the stable, thinking of the excellent experiences we’ve had together with our beauties.

But as we might have expected, a negative thought sometimes creeps in, and one thing leads to another, and we marvel about how positive and pleasant thoughts can suddenly get clouded by “what-ifs”, as our pleasant and positive thoughts dissipate and we face the reality of what we actually may be about to experience: will my horse get elusive and make himself difficult to catch again? Is it my fault, for being too rough and demanding as I try to tack him up? Do I really frighten him, and why? — I certainly don’t want to. Yet yesterday he was calm and cooperative, but that was really unusual. Maybe I won’t even be able to mount because he won’t keep still, and maybe I ought to put away this tacking gear for today and get in a little of that barn work instead, if I find him elusive and uncooperative.

Well, meet Mistake #1, known as Ambiguity. Here we are, acting like we know what we’re doing, but our boy sees us question ourselves just by our body language — horses are very good at that, you know. But how can he take us seriously when he’s reading us in an entirely different way, and because of our own uncertainties, he’s quite right in questioning our leadership qualities. They’re confusing to him, and he won’t long put up with it — we may end up watching his beautiful butt disappearing into the dust in quest of something that makes sense to him, like maybe that cute little filly over there. Our fault, of course; we need to know what we’re doing and what we want from him if we expect to get his positive reaction even to our very presence. Don’t send mixed messages; be consistent with everything you say to him; make clearing your mind be your first actual action with him, then stay with the basic objective.

Mistake #2, Not Being in the Present Moment. We all live in the past sometimes, and the more optimistic of us often think seriously about the future. But horses exist in the here and now, and they always expect the same from us. They even expect that we know more about predators in the vicinity than they do, though truth be told, ’tain’t so, but we should proudly wear that rank and live up to it. Although most of us have learned a great deal from past experience, we have also applied those valuable lessons to the present, as have horses, very much to their benefit — it’s protected their entire species for centuries now. However, we should recognize that they do live mostly in the present — and seeing a halter in your hand may generate a reaction, as most of us know, because they have experienced reactions in the past. Note that much of their reactions to the world around them is because they are reacting to what they remember from the past — their minds and bodies are reacting to them in the present, and we would be wise to join them in what is going on in their minds which we observe by their actions. We will always do best whenever we join them in their present moment, and if that means we delay our morning ride for that day, it’s well worth it. And if we force the issue because we demand he do things our way, we must back off and rethink matters. The horse is usually right in his reactions to what’s going on around him, he lives in the present, and we should make sure we’ve joined him there.

Mistake #3, Being Dominant. Whether we wonder what we’re going to do with our horse today, or have it all planned out to the exact detail, it all takes place in our conscious mind. We may want to believe that we are not being dominant with our horse, but if we have a plan, no matter how big or small it may be, and we carry it out without even “asking” our horse how he feels, then we are being dominant and we expect him to be subservient. But you also can’t fool him. And if you’ve been aboard his saddle a few times, you already know how your horse feels without reading it in the paper. Every horsewoman (or man) who sincerely loves her horse has “heard his voice” and unquestioningly knows how he feels at any particular moment (he’s told you often enough in his own language), and for those of you who recognize what I’ll be saying, here, you will have already taken your relationship with him up to a heady and wonderful plane — you’re communicating! But there are still too many riders who discard these thoughts and their benefits to both you and your horse and stick with the “Me Tarzan You Jane (or the reverse, whichever gender reference applies), I suspect you’ve been dumped on occasion. For those “Tarzans” among you, you probably have had more than your share of being dumped, and my comments here, if followed, will help prevent some aches and pains.
A little more time on this matter is always in order: your status in this mixed world of horses and people doesn’t matter; you will avoid such uncomfortable events if you will just listen to your horse telling/showing you how he feels — and this is a perfect way to learn a whole new language — “horse talk” — and think how shocked some of your riding friends will be to realize that you and your horse are actually communicating. Listening to your horse talking to you, once you realize that you actually do “get it” — understand his language — imagine that!

Mistake #4 — Assuming horses are “dumb animals” and don’t know what you are thinking.
But they do. They have minds of their own. Just because they know rather well what’s going on in your mind (when you are the subject of their thoughts, which is the best time) t0″talk nice” and solidify your friendship with him. With no other human near you, just be yourself with your lovable side well exposed. Your own lifestyle will also help, sometimes in a big way: assume for a moment that your horse is shod and you want the iron off of his feet. Bring in your blacksmith and his tools, making sure he is truly a horse lover and will never mistreat your animal in any way — you’ll be turning two individuals into friends in the process as long as you understand that the horse understands you, and you take advantage of careful and proper removal of that iron from his feet. Suggest to your farrier that he restrict his thoughts to happy and positive ones as he works — if he’s wise enough, he’ll “get it” that happy and supportive thoughts have much power that he, himself, can use whenever he deals with his charges’ horses. It’s eerie, how you can hide some medication in your shirt, intending to use it on your horse. As soon as you appear on the scene, your horse is likely to go hide in a corner, or get himself through the door. Yet there is no way he can know you’ve got that “little surprise” for him, but he eludes you no matter what you do. His form of telepathy is the same one that allows a lion, filled with lunch, to walk through a herd of wapiti on an African plain and nobody runs away, yet a mile away another lion, this one hungry, can’t get anywhere near a herd of “lunch animals” without scaring them off instantly. The same works are in play as those horses who shunned you when you walked into their stall with medication injections “hidden” under your shirt. We don’t know how they do that, but the wapiti are quite pleased. So we can’t explain their clairvoyance, but we know it when we see it.
Isn’t the animal kingdom exciting and interesting? Now we have not only horses reading our minds, but African Veldt denizens as well.

Are other animals “dumb” or just horses and wapiti?
Well, I can’t answer that. But it makes no sense to allow a blessed two or three species such special capabilities and forget the millions of others. Most of us can think of a number of dogs and cats we’ve known, some quite friendly but others we’d rather not meet in a dark alley some night.

Omega Fields’ Horseshine Supplement to Provide Omega 3’s

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Written by Rachel Long

The well-being of my horses is the most important responsibility of my life. Well, perhaps it is among the most important, but sometimes the stress of figuring out what to feed them can make it seem that way! I am so thankful that I’ve again solved their need for forage, and so grateful that I have been confident in their nutrition while figuring that out thanks to Horseshine.

I’ve always enjoyed browsing catalogs of equine supplements, testing different brands here and there for my horses. While studying for my Animal Science degree, I got to learn a lot more about the science behind supplementing a horse’s diet, and feeding horses in general! For awhile, I actually planned on going into the field of equine nutrition, but changed my mind when I realized what I would actually be spending my time doing….

When allowed to graze naturally, horses can consume nearly all of the nutrients that they require from the plants they graze on. Of course, this requires a lot of space, which most of us simply don’t have in today’s world. Instead, our horses are given hay. Hay is filled with protein, fiber, and varying levels of vitamins and minerals – but it lacks most of the omega 3’s that it once had when it was in its grass form.

There are two types of fatty acids that horses utilize from fresh grass, omega 3’s and omega 6’s. If the ratio of omega 6’s gets too high, negative side effects such as inflammation are known to occur. Grass has a higher ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s, making it a perfect balance. Now, there are lots of different omega 3 fatty acids out there. But there is just one that horses cannot produce, and therefore need to consume. Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) can be converted into two other omega 3’s once the horse has it available. You will find the best source to supplement this is flaxseed, as with a ratio of almost 4:1 of omega 3’s to omega 6’s it closely mimics fresh grass.
Fun fact – give a horse flaxseed, and they will be able utilize all three omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil does not contain the essential ALA, so give a horse fish oil, and they will only have those other 2!

HorseShine Review
I started feeding Horseshine last year when I had to move my horses from grass pasture. This is a very economical flaxseed supplement, but more importantly it is a top quality supplement. And perhaps most important – the horses LOVE it. After speaking with the president of the company about the thoughtfulness that goes into the milling of the product to achieve maximum nutrient value, I was confident that the supplement would be a beneficial addition to their diet. Tucker at the time was struggling a ton with weight loss, and had started to have diarrhea the week before I introduced Horseshine. Within one day of feeding his first dose there was an improvement in his manure. After a couple of days, everything was back to normal.
I then added more pelleted feed to his diet to add more calories, but I don’t think I would have seen such dramatic results if not for the flaxseed supplement! He gained so much weight the first week of receiving both! The biggest difference that I noticed other than the weight gain was how much more energy he had on the trails after a week or so of having Horseshine every day.

I have continued to feed Horseshine since last year, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop…unless we somehow find ourselves living on tons of land with amazing pasture, of course. We have since moved locations, and it was comforting knowing they had Horseshine during the transition. They still live without pasture, though with the winter grass they do get a few minutes of hand grazing everyday. I haven’t witnessed their summer coats while on the supplement yet, but their winter coats are very different than they have been in the past! They are thicker instead of longer, and they aren’t shedding as much as they normally would at this time. Trubee has had zero skin issues, and normally he has something weird happen every winter (knocks on wood). Tucker isn’t receiving nearly as much feed as he was before, and is maintaining perfect weight!

Happy Horses
Did I mention that they love this supplement? Tucker will empty his bowl of food if the Horseshine is underneath. I have to feed it to him separate from the the pellets because he wants, needs, to eat the Horseshine first. It is wonderful for easy keepers – if I don’t want to feed Trubee the extra calories, I can just toss in the supplement by itself. We also use the treat version of this supplement, Omega Nibblers Low Sugar & Starch, on a daily basis. If we have a treat-heavy training day, I can skip their Horseshine dose, as 15 of these guys is equivalent to the serving of 1/2 cup!

Omega Fields Introduces NEW & IMPROVED Omega Horseshine®

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Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Omega Fields, Inc. is excited to announce its newly launched Omega Horseshine® formula that includes 10 mg of Biotin per ½ cup serving, chelated minerals and added Lysine for better uptake. Along with the updated formula, Omega Horseshine® packaging has a new look for all three available product size options – 4.5 lb pouch, 20 lb preprinted bag and 50 lb poly woven bag and label.

“We are excited to introduce our new formulation and packaging for our flagship product, Omega Horseshine®. We have been a leader in omega-3 supplementation and nutrition for over 20 years, we felt it was time to more strongly highlight why we have been a long-term success -capturing the essence of the horse and rider bond. By supplementing with Omega Horseshine® you are helping keep your first promise to your horse – to care for them exceptionally for their benefit and yours”, said Omega Fields President, Sean Moriarty. Continue reading Omega Fields Introduces NEW & IMPROVED Omega Horseshine®


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Your horse moves so smoothly that you always pause, just to watch and admire her – head held high, mane flowing, little puffs of dust from under her feet with every step – she makes you want to be on her back, enjoying the ride. And she makes it look so easy, you rarely think about what’s going on in that beautiful body, moving her 1,000 pounds so effortlessly. This is just a tip of our hat to those moveable parts – especially those feet! They sustain and support all of that half-ton of weight with every step she takes, and they rarely have a complaint – and so we tend to take them for granted. But they are probably the finest shock absorbers your horse’s Maker ever designed. Join me as we consider what makes them tick and what we can do to keep ’em happy on the trail. Continue reading YOUR HORSE’S HOOVES ARE GREAT SHOCK ABSORBERS


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Written By Guest Writer – Walt Friedrich

An inappropriate tag for any horse, actually: the words imply a psychological problem, and while every horse can exhibit great caution – even phobia – toward an external circumstance, fear is actually a completely natural and rational response. Practicing that cautious behavior is what’s kept horses prospering on this Earth for countless millenia, despite all the hungry predators along the way. Continue reading SCAREDY-CAT HORSES?


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Written By: Walt Friedrich

It is a condition – or more precisely, an infection – in the hoof. It is not a disease. Its elimination has been the goal of massive efforts to develop the ultimate product, as witness the vast variety of thrush-busting products on tack shop shelves. All of them do sell, and each of them probably does reduce and control the infection in some hooves – but there are a couple problems: one is that a given product may clear things up for some horses, but seems ineffective for others. And secondly, many of those hooves whose thrush does get controlled end up with a re-infection a couple months later. Right up front, the problem is not a simple one. Continue reading EQUINE THRUSH – WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT

Maintaining Your Horse’s Weight: An On-Going Challenge

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Winter weight loss is a common issue that arises every winter, and to some degree normal and to be expected. But how do you know what is a healthy weight range for your horse to lose and remain healthy? There is not a single weight range that’s ideal for all horses, as it will vary between breed, discipline, and individual, but here are a few guidelines to follow to help monitor your horse’s weight: Continue reading Maintaining Your Horse’s Weight: An On-Going Challenge

Red Snow In Winter

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A common question that always seems to come up in winter months is why a horse’s urine looks red. People usually notice red, orange or brown spots in the snow where their horses have urinated. Normal horse urine sometimes turns red or brown after standing for a while. This is due to the presence of plant metabolites called pyrocatechines. These oxidizing agents cause the urine to change color when mixed with oxygen. It can happen year round (the same Continue reading Red Snow In Winter


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Written by Walt Friedrich

Most of us horse-owners are quite well aware that our horses can pretty much take care of themselves. They may be prey animals, but so are field mice, along with thousands of other species in between, and of them all, horses are probably one of the best equipped for self-protection. Weighing in typically at a thousand-pounds plus or minus a few hundred helps, along with immense strength, and maybe the quickest reflexes in the animal kingdom; he can break your leg or even kill you with a well-placed kick, and he has enough speed to outrun a hungry mountain lion. He tends to keep himself quite well self-protected. Continue reading TOXIC TREES AND THEIR DANGER TO HORSES