© 2006 Cherry Hill
newsletter is a personal letter from me to you, a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.
My goal is to send you interesting stories and helpful seasonal tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.
WISHES TO YOU DURING THE HOLIDAYS
I love the holidays because they provide an opportunity to
do special things for people and animals! Show your family and friends that
you care by giving of yourself. Homespun, practical gifts are my favorite to give
and receive. Horses appreciate practical gifts much more than anthropomorphic
presents. That's why my suggestions in this month's article, "For the
Horse Who Has Everything" are things I'd like to receive if I were a horse!
For the Horse Who Has Everything
about Cherry Hill's riding and writing career over the last 25 years in the article
"Words of Wisdom" beginning on page 38 in the
issue of "Horse Illustrated"
a live chat with Richard Klimesh about winter shoeing,
log on to www.equisearch.com in December.
Postings on the Roundup Page
Book News and Reviews
Our Recent Magazine Articles
the Horse Who Has Everything
there is a special horse on your Christmas list that you would like to thank in
some way for his enjoyable partnership and devotion to duty? If so, show
that you really appreciate him by choosing something that a horse would enjoy.
Pass up the reindeer antlers and choose something from this, a horse's Christmas
As you might suspect, with horses, food
items top the list. If you have several horses, you can wish them all happy
holidays with a truck load of carrots. Some farms sell a pick up load for
$100 or so delivered. If you have a cool shady place to store them, they
will likely keep until the last one is fed. Carrots provide a welcome diversion
to the horse's normal ration and can be a healthy reward for good behavior.
Carrots are an excellent sources of carotene, the precursor to Vitamin A. Vitamin
A is usually the only vitamin that ever needs to be supplemented in a horse's
diet. If a horse is not receiving green sun-cured hay, he may not be getting
adequate carotene. If a truck load is not an option, then set aside the
$$ to buy large bags of carrots or apples, especially affordable if you belong
to a buyer's club like Sam's. If you're on a tight budget, you'd be surprised
at how many perfectly good (for horses) carrots and apples are thrown away by
grocery stores every day. Make friends with your local produce manager and
arrange to pick up goodies for your horse regularly.
When the temperature dips, oatmeal makes a healthy and warming breakfast for you.
Likewise, at the barn, during cold weather, your horse might relish a hot grain
mash. It takes a little practice and some testing to see what grains and
mash consistency appeal to each horse. Don't think of wheat bran as the
only choice for a mash. In fact, wheat bran, fed on a daily basis, can be
detrimental since it could add too much phosphorus to your horse's diet.
There should be no such problem if you only feed wheat bran once a week.
But also experiment with mashes made from rolled oats, sweet feed, cracked corn,
barley, shredded beet pulp, a handful of molasses or a pinch of salt, some oil
or chopped apples or carrots and you are on your way to satisfying your horse's
culinary pleasures (or at least enjoying the benevolent feeling you get from trying!).
Measure and mix the dry ingredients the night before and
bring them to the house in a pail. When you put the water on for your tea the
next morning, boil some extra water for the mash. Usually a 4:1 ratio of grains
to boiling water is satisfactory for most horses. It is best to err on the
dry side rather than the mushy side. Stir as you pour the water. Let
the mash steep in a warm place for about thirty minutes, preferably covered so
it can steam. Check the temperature and serve. Take a mug of hot tea
out to the barn for yourself, find a warm corner to sit and then listen to the
contented slurpings of your appreciative buddies. And know that beside the
nutritional benefits, a mash during cold weather can provide your horse with the
needed moisture he might be reluctant to sip from a cold bucket.
Swirl a candy cane in your horse's water pail? This is not just a frivolous
holiday act but can have a practical application. Peppermint oil is one
substance that can be used to disguise water for the horse that is often "on
the road" and will be offered different types of water to drink. Using an
aromatic and tasty substance in his water while he is both at home and away, may
be the best gift you give a reluctant drinker.
treat that doubles as a pacifier for the a horse that is stalled during cold weather
is a molasses grain block. Sold across the country under hundreds of local
feed mill labels, these blocks should be considered as an occasional supplement
to the horse's normal diet. Under most feeding circumstances, they are unnecessary,
but horses dearly love them. Comprised of grain products, molasses and minerals,
the forty to fifty pound cubes have a wonderful smell and a texture that entices
horses to both lick and chew them. Similar products are made for sheep and
cattle, but contain a synthetic source of protein called urea which horses can't
utilize. For horses, it is important to purchase the "premium"
horse version which contains protein from plant sources, such as soybean meal.
Most horses appear to enjoy these large "candy bar blocks" and, in fact,
some horses are determined to finish an entire block all at once. If your
horse falls in this category, you will have to roll the block out of his stall
or pen each day and only let him have access to it for a limited period of time.
Be sure he always has adequate water available, as even the small percentage of
salt in most of these blocks will increase your horse's thirst reflex - which
is a good thing during cold weather.
next most popular request on a horse's wish list is his desire to be allowed to
be a horse. Many horses like nothing better than to nose around a pasture
inspecting roots and sticks and tracing recent equine history. From observations,
it seems like a roll in the mud or the snow is hard to beat on the equine list
of all time favorite recreational activities. Contrary to our guidelines,
horses see nothing wrong in being dirty or having their manes flop over to both
sides of their necks.
Depending on the type of winter
management that you follow, you may wish To Groom or Not To Groom. A pasture
horse, left to his natural devices, grows a thick protective coat and further
seals his skin from wind and moisture by accumulating a heavy waxy sebum at the
base of his hairs. Horses that are turned out for the winter should not be extensively
groomed, lest you inadvertently remove your horse's valuable oily protection.
The best gift for the pastured horse is to let his waxy layer stay intact (no
vigorous currying), let his coat be fluffy (not smoothed down by brushing) and
to offer him shelter from wet weather or piercing winter winds.
If your horse would be more comfortable with a winter blanket, be sure to choose
a waterproof, breathable one that can be easily laundered so you'll perform that
task when necessary. Read the two articles in the Horse Information Roundup
that relate to winter blankets to help you choose and use a winter blanket properly.
The stalled horse that is in work not only appreciates
but requires vigorous grooming. A special Christmas session might include
body stropping which is an isotonic muscle exercise. You can use a cactus
cloth or a wisp for the stropping. It's a vigorous exercise which includes
pounding the large muscle masses of the neck, shoulder and hindquarter with moderate
pressure which stimulates circulation and then casting off waste products with
a sweeping motion. Massage your horse's legs with your hands using a circular
motion toward the heart. Massage your horse's head with an ear rub for the
finale - inside and out ending with a slight pulling as you slide your fingers
off the tips of your horse's ears. Be forewarned - horses given such a body
rub are likely to melt in a puddle!
If the cold weather
has kept your horse in and he is lonely, he might appreciate a stall companion.
Some friendships just happen and do not have to be arranged. Cats, chickens,
lambs and dogs have been known to voluntarily take up quarters with a compatible
horse. The daily treks and routines of both horse and companion provide interest
and comfort for each other. Pigmy goats and other pets or small livestock
can sometimes be successfully transplanted in a lonely horse's stall.
As we know, the holiday season is not complete without family
and friends. And so it is with equines. A real treat, especially for
a stalled horse, is to be turned out with a favorite (compatible!) companion.
There is nothing quite so joyous as two buddies ripping and tearing in the paddock,
playing all the bucking and twisting games that are so important in the horse
world. Even though mutual grooming can mess up a lovely mane, it provides
unequaled satisfaction and contentment for a horse that is starved for socialization
If you feel you must give an actual present to your horse,
perhaps an innovative stall toy is the answer. Designed to wile away the
hours and discourage wood chewing and other vices, stall toys can channel pent
up energies toward non-destructive play. Commercial models are often
huge rubber balls but a gallon milk container can works too. Experiment
with hanging the toy from various heights. Note that if your horse becomes
obsessed with playing with a toy, you may see some undesirable changes in the
curvature of his neck so monitor how he plays and what height is optimum. A variation
on this idea is giving a horse a sturdy beach ball to play with in a small paddock
or indoor arena.
Horses are appreciative when we make
their work easier and more comfortable. One way to do this is to make sure
he is shod for balance, comfort and safety year round. A consultation with
an equine veterinary specialist or a master farrier may turn up some helpful ideas
regarding your horse 's shoeing. Besides checking for proper break-over
and flat landing, you may be introduced to new ways to provide safe footing for
Another way to make a horse's work
easier is to become a more physically fit and athletic rider. Give your horse
the gift of becoming a more effective rider. Promise to stick with the suppling
exercises that help you to mount smoothly and ride more fluidly. Lose a
few pounds to ease his burden. Strengthen your body and become a working
member of the team, not just a passenger. Make a New Year's Resolution to
take some riding lessons to improve yourself so that you are a better member of
your horse-human team.
Finally, let your horse luxuriate
in some peace and quiet. Offer him a comfortable place where he can doze
or lay without distracting lights and noises. Let him sigh and whinny in
his sleep and wake when he's ready. Peace.
Postings on the Roundup Page
Training a Horse for Shoeing
Vices and Bad Habits
Fear of Water
Cribbing and Wood Chewing
News and Reviews
Stablekeeping and Trailering Your Horse, USCTA News, Issue Three 2000, p. 53.
Maximum Hoof Power review in October 2000 Quarter Horse Journal on page
Recent Magazine Articles
a roundup of the most recent magazine articles by and about the "Klim-Team",
Richard Klimesh and Cherry Hill
2001, Horse Illustrated
"Words of Wisdom", Profile
of Cherry Hill and her Reflection on the last 25 years by Kara Stewart, p. 38
2000, Western Horseman
"Shape Up Before You Mount Up",
Part One p. 118
December 2000, Horse &
"Winter Shoeing", p.60
2000, Horse & Rider
"Give Him a Peel" (Ergot Removal),
Winning Ways, "Ride Forward with Finesse" Horsemanship Pattern,
"Trailer Shopping Made Easy", p. 68
"Introducing the Fix-It Guy", p.
"The Fix-It Guy - "Keeping Rubber Mats Together", P. 166
October 2000 Horse & Rider
Wash - Flushing the Mouth before Giving Oral Medication", p. 39
- Cleaning a Stall and Manure Management", p. 44
2000 Western Horseman
"Selecting a Barn Site", p.
"The Klim Team", p. 102
2000 Horse & Rider
"Got Bots?", p. 37
on 2 Acres", p. 48
"The Cushion Question" (therapeutic saddle
pads), p. 88
September 2000 Miniature
"Electric Fence - How it Works...How to Troubleshoot
riding, more foal training with Sherlock, advice on buying and selling
horses, and horsekeeping tips.
it for this month. Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.
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