Foxtrotter Trail Horse
November 23, 2022

Horse care and grooming, why?

Horse care and grooming provide you with an opportunity to go over your horse and check for any issues that may cause a problem before you get on to ride.  At Rafter M training stables we believe our horse’s have needs that go beyond normal everyday horse care. Horses that have been athletes have the same aches and pains that other professional athletes endure. There are several modalities available and each have a place and a time for your horse. Whether its veterinary visits, chiropractic care, massage, the Masterson method or Tucker Biokinetic I believe horse’s benefit from each of these modalities.

Popcorn with Dr James Ennis, Chiropractor

Equine Chiropractic and Equine Dentistry

We have a Chiropractor come to our facility once a month to do check ups on our horse’s in training. Many times the horse’s we get in have been turned out for a period, they may be young horse’s just being started. It’s important to us to know that these horses are not in any pain before we begin the journey to a reliable trail horse. We also believe in having their teeth checked before we start. Many horse owners do not give a horse’s teeth the proper attention. Once a year you should have the equine dentist or the veterinarian float your horse’s teeth. This will eliminate the possibility that your horse’s teeth have sharp points that cut into the inside of the mouth. How would you like to have someone put a bit in your mouth and pull on it and have your teeth cut into the side of your mouth? Not very likely that you would hold your head still and gently turn and walk off the direction asked. That could be a reason your horse either shakes his head, holds it up instead of softening and bringing the head down when asked to stop or turn. Teeth should be on your list of check ups every year. Most of the time a simple trip to the veterinarian solves the teeth issues but when a bigger problem shows itself then an equine dentist would be the person to call. Equine dentist’s specialize in mouth issues and would have experience in more complex issues.

Stretching and flexing is always good

Equine chiropractic has evolved over the past few years as we are looking for alternative ways of helping our horse’s without giving them unneeded injections. Not only are they expensive but we are injecting a horse with medications that we really don’t know the harm it might do to the horse’s system. As we begin the journey and learn there are ways to help our horse’s just as there are ways to help humans that do not always require medications. As a rule I have found that horse’s who are off at the walk and normal at the trot usually require an adjustment by the chiropractor or other modes of care. The horse’s body is connected from the top of their head to the end of their back in a series of muscles that are completely interconnected. When a muscle is contracted and knotted there is a real reason for your horse to be off or stiff and not flex properly. Which, also brings me to flexing your horse. You may have heard about flexing and just never implemented it into your daily routine. This is one simple way to help your horse in an unbelievable number of ways. Flexibility, softness, balance, these are just a few of the things that a simple exercise will help your horse one hundred percent of the time. Your time spent flexing is not wasted time, it is time well spent. Let’s all move past the days when the horse was just a work horse and a little of grain was all it received after a hard day ride. Warming your horse up and stretching his muscles before the ride will automatically give you a better ride. As well as techniques to massage, or allow the horse to relieve himself of stress and tension in his muscles. These new ways to think are going to give you a whole new set of tools in your toolbox and your horse is going to love the treatment. Feel free to email me if you would like more information about any of the methods I have mentioned.

Horse care and grooming includes worming.

Worming, that’s a subject that most horse owners know they need to do, but don’t know a lot about the mechanics of worming your horse’s. Mike and I believe the best way to worm is to take a stool sample to the veterinarian and let him check the sample and tell you what worms you are combating. The reason for this approach is that worms are getting immune to the worm medication on the market because of over use. Instead of a broad spectrum worm medication, let’s kill the kind of worms your particular horse has contracted. Over use of drugs of all kinds in our horse’s cannot be a good thing. Just as it is not a good thing in people. It’s all a learning experience, we have even found that it was the time of year to worm and our veterinarian checked the stool and guess what? NO WORMS FOUND! We would have given them medications that did nothing besides affect the horse’s gut. Don’t get me wrong, horse’s need wormed to be happy and healthy but only if they have worms!

Horse care and grooming with ease.

Daily brushing allow you a comfortable avenue to become friends with the animal and gives you a few minutes to look him over for scrapes or scratches that should be addressed.  A stiff brush should be used when they have been turned out and have dried sweat or mud attached to their hair.  After your stiff brush you will need to go back over the horse with a soft finish brush that will remove dust providing you with a healthy glow provided your horses coat has the nutrients it needs for a healthy coat.  We will discuss feed and nutrition in another post.  If I find scratches or cuts I use Spurs Big Fix to spray on the affected area.  Spurs promotes hair growth and has healing properties.  Next, I will comb out the mane and tail to remove tangles, debris and knots.  I recommend Cowboy magic de-tangler to remove knots and hair that has spun around itself.  It provides the finished hair with a beautiful sheen.  Take caution when combing out a horses tail and stand off to the side just a bit.  When walking around the rear of a horse take care to walk close and put your hand on his rear so he knows you are walking behind him.  If your horse has an issue and might kick take a wide birth around the horse or take him to a profession to eliminate the problem behavior.  Always check your horses feet for any stones or rocks that have wedged under the foot or beside the frog of the horse.

Remember, we believe that each time you are with your horse you are teaching it something.  Let’s learn how to teach your equine friend that you have their best interest at heart!

3 thoughts on “Horse care and grooming, why?

    1. Thank you Melvin! Please stop in often for more information about horse care and the world of Missouri Fox Trotter horses!

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