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Equi-Spa All-Natural Horse Grooming Products

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  • 515-770-3517
  • Sherie Vermeer
  • August 10, 2018 08:39:30 PM

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Equi-Spa is a pioneer of spa quality, premium horse-care products formulated from natural ingredients and aromatic plant essences. The Equi-Spa grooming range combines the healing power of nature, and the principles of aromatherapy to benefit horse, rider, and the environment.

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    Warning: 10 Subtle Signs of Laminitis in Your Horse

    Laminitis is a painful disease that affects the hoofs of the horse. In medical terms, it is inflammation of the laminae (the soft tissues that attach the pedal or coffin bone to the hoof wall), which causes instability in the coffin bone and extreme pain. Laminitis is a crippling condition that can lead to permanent […] The post Warning: 10 Subtle Signs of Laminitis in Your Horse appeared first on...

    Laminitis is a painful disease that affects the hoofs of the horse. In medical terms, it is inflammation of the laminae (the soft tissues that attach the pedal or coffin bone to the hoof wall), which causes instability in the coffin bone and extreme pain.

    Laminitis is a crippling condition that can lead to permanent structural changes in the foot of the horse. The pedal bone rotates downwards and, in some cases, punctures the sole. It can even lead to fatality in severe cases. As it is not a curable condition, prevention is necessary.

    Researchers are racking their brains day in, day out to unearth the actual cause of laminitis. Some common causes of laminitis include inaccessibility to rich pastures or digestive upset (grass-founder), concussion on the hoof (road-founder), or weight distribution problems due to a previous injury.

    Woman cleans the horse's hooves with a special brush before riding. Horseback riding, animal care, veterinary concept.

    The only way to deal with the disease is early detection and quick management. Unfortunately, only 45% of owners manage to identify this disease in their horses. In the majority of cases, it remains undiagnosed, and hence, untreated.
    If you keep a watchful eye on your horse, you may be able to detect the presence of this debilitating disease. Here are the ten subtle signs of laminitis in your horse:

    Sign #1: A hot hoof for a long duration
    The temperature of the hoof rises due to a large influx of blood into the feet. However, if the feet cool down after a couple of hours, then there’s nothing to worry about. If your horse’s hoof stays hot for a very long duration, it is a sign of laminitis.

    The rise in the temperature could be due to the hoof’s natural response to the disease in the laminae. In many cases, this temperature rise is followed by lameness that starts to show within 8 to 12 hours.

    Keep checking the temperature of the hooves with your finger. You can also use an infrared surface temperature gauge for the same.

    Sign #2: Bounding digital pulse
    The digital artery runs in the lower limb through the groove between the suspensory ligament and flexor tendon and progresses down the posterior of the fetlock. Hold it gently to feel the pulse of your horse. In normal conditions, you may feel a faint pulse or absolutely nothing. But, if you feel a strong pulse, it is a warning sign. It is referred to as the bounding pulse.

    If you feel a bounding pulse in both feet, it is due to laminitis. However, a strong digital pulse also indicates other types of foot pain. You should know how to differentiate between a bounding pulse and a strong pulse.

    Close up of brown horse legs and hooves.

    Sign #3: An increased heart rate
    Heart rate is a very potent indicator of laminitis. In normal horses, 30 to 40 beats per minute is the resting heart rate, but in laminitis, the heart rate tends to rise before the horse goes lame.

    Check the heart rate of your horse. If the heart rate has increased by six bpm (beats per minute) or more, take it as the onset of laminitis. Use a stethoscope or feel the pulse at the pastern or beneath the jaw. However, keep in mind that ambient temperature, excitement, and exercise also increase the heart rate.

    a Farrier rasping an horses hoof, close up on the hoof

    Sign #4: Unusual rings or distorted hoof
    In healthy hooves, the growth in the front (dorsal) part is faster as compared to the growth in the quarters. But laminitis hinders the normal growth pattern. In laminitis, the pace of growth at the heels surpasses the pace of growth at the toes. As a result, the growth rings are wider at the heels and narrower at the toes, creating an abnormal pattern on the surface of the hoof wall. It leads to lameness in the future.

    Keep checking the shape of the hooves of your horse to identify the onset of laminitis.

    Sign #5: Abnormal foot lifting
    A horse shifts his weight between his feet about two to three times every minute. If you notice a deviation in this normal pattern, that is, if the frequency of weight shifting increases to three to five times per minute, it is an early sign of laminitis.

    Also, observe any change in his stance to identify laminitis. A horse begins to shift his weight back to the haunches and stretch his legs out to relieve pain. It is the classic laminitis pose.

    Sign #6: A short stride
    After the onset of laminitis, a horse begins to shorten his stride before beginning to limp. Take your horse for a walk and observe his stride on hard surfaces. If the stride length is shorter, it indicates laminitis.

    Sign #7: Reluctance in turning
    If your horse walks easily in straight lines but shows reluctance in taking turns, it’s a warning sign. Laminitic horses find it very difficult to move in circles or turns and show lameness while turning.

    Sign #8: Stretched or bleeding laminae
    When the laminae begin to stretch, they start separating from the hoof wall. It becomes evident with a gap along the white line where the hoof wall meets the sole. The widening of this line is called “seedy toe”.

    Also, if there are blood spots along the white line, it indicates hemorrhages, a sign of laminitis.

    blacksmith sanding a hoof

    Sign #9: Increased insulin level
    The normal insulin level in a horse should be 20 units or lower. If it is more than 40, take immediate measures to bring it down to the normal range before your horse gets laminitis.

    Insulin activates IGF-1, a growth factor in the laminae, which causes them to grow. Hence, it’s important to keep the insulin level in check.

    Sign #10: Inflammatory response
    A systemic inflammatory response can cause laminitis. Inflammatory response leads to enzyme reaction in the feet that leads to the destruction of laminae.
    Hence, if your horse is suffering from high fever or has an infection or diarrhea, laminitis could be the next. The best way to deal with it is by packing your horse’s feet in ice. Do this before the clinical signs of laminitis begin to show to prevent the destruction.

    Summing it up
    Laminitis doesn’t happen overnight. It starts at a microscopic level and gradually proceeds until lameness kicks in. If you are alert and watch out for these signs, you can identify laminitis in its early stage and prevent irreversible ailment.

    The post Warning: 10 Subtle Signs of Laminitis in Your Horse appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    Here’s How You Can Get Your Kids Familiar with Horses

    It’s no secret that parenting is challenging, rewarding, and everything in between. When kids start growing up and developing their unique personalities, many parents struggle finding a way to spend more time and connect with them. Finding a shared interest is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with your children. When a child […] The post Here’s How You Can Get Your Kids Familiar with Horses appeared first on...

    It’s no secret that parenting is challenging, rewarding, and everything in between. When kids start growing up and developing their unique personalities, many parents struggle finding a way to spend more time and connect with them.

    Finding a shared interest is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with your children. When a child and parent mutually put in effort in a shared activity, a lot of great things can come out of it. This helps with your child’s self-esteem. Moreover, it enables you to build a deeper relationship with your children. Creating something or practicing a hobby together can be something you both can cherish in the years to come.

    Do you love riding horses and want your children to join in the fun? Horse riding is not only a great way to exercise and improve balance, but it has also been shown to have a positive impact on one’s mood. When people ride or spend time around horses, the body releases a chemical known as serotonin, which is responsible for inducing the feeling of happiness.

    Cute girl with horse at ranch

    That’s why it makes sense that you would want to get your kids familiar with horses and horse riding. While some children would love to interact with these majestic creatures, others might not feel naturally comfortable. And that is okay. Here are a few tips to make your kids feel at ease and confident around horses. Take a look.

    1. Teach Them About Horses

    Children are curious beings and love to explore all living things. In particular, kids are fascinated by animals. Before taking your children near horses, it would be helpful to teach them more about horses. Tell them fun facts that would get them interested in seeing and interacting with horses in person. 

    Furthermore, you can spark their interest in horses by showing them entertaining horse movies. Black Beauty, The Black Stallion, Dreamer, and Spirit are some highly-recommended movies. 

    Does your child idolize certain celebrities like Miley Cyrus or Bella Hadid, who love horse riding? You can use their example to inspire them.

    2. Don’t Invalidate Their Fears

    Facing something strong and tall like a horse for the first time can make your child feel nervous or even fearful. Wouldn’t you feel scared if you were suddenly next to an animal several times your size? 

    Don’t make the mistake of invalidating their fears! Because kids don’t deserve to be shamed for a legitimate fear. In fact, mocking them can have the opposite effect.

    Little cowboy sitting on a horse

    Take time to ask and understand what your child is worried about. Maybe they heard a story of someone getting hurt by a horse, or they might be afraid of falling. Acknowledge their fears and explain to them that injuries can be prevented with the right precautions and techniques. And of course, assure them that you will do everything to keep them safe. 

    3. Show Them How to Love Horses

    Horses are intelligent, loyal, and affectionate animals. Introducing your children to horses with their names and fun personality traits is a good place to start. You can also show them horse books, pictures, paintings, movies, and Youtube videos before taking them to actually meet one.

    This will grow their love and respect for horses. For fearful children, this will help them realize that horses can become their lifelong friends. 

    4. Don’t Pressure Them

    It isn’t the best idea to push your child to do more than what they initially agreed to. If they just wanted to go see the horses, you shouldn’t pressure them to start riding one. 

    It takes time to build confidence. So, give your child an opportunity to get comfortable around horses. When you start teaching them how to ride a horse, show them the basics on the ground rather than asking them to mount the horse. This way, they won’t feel overwhelmed and would feel more in control.

    Mother and daughter next to horse. Little girl in a summer field. Family playing with a horse

    5. Find a Well-Trained Horse

    Once your child is comfortable enough to meet a horse, it’s crucial to make their first meeting a positive experience. An aggressive or crabby horse can create an unfavorable impression on a young child. 

    So be careful and find a well-trained horse for your child’s first interaction. Ponies are smaller and may make a child feel at ease. However, if your child is considering riding for the first time, a pony can be harder to control. Usually, mares are willing and easier to handle. 

    6. Encourage Your Kids to Ask Questions

    It’s typical for children to ask several questions. Rather than dismissing their doubts or telling them false stories, make an effort to answer all their questions honestly and as clearly as possible. Don’t just tell them the rules and etiquette but also give them the reasoning behind them. If you lack the experience, don’t hesitate to ask an expert to give your child some guidance. 

    7. Get Them to Join a Club

    Most kids enjoy being around other kids and doing activities together. If you didn’t find the right approach to introduce your kids to horses, signing them up for horse riding might help. They can socialize with other children and learn more about horses in a fun and supportive environment. This could also be a productive yet entertaining activity to do during summer vacations. 

    8. Keep it Fun

    It would be unfair to introduce your child to horse riding and expecting them to become an award-winning equestrian. If you start overburdening kids with responsibility and force this lifestyle on them, they may lose interest or even start resenting the activity. 

    Remember, the ultimate goal is to spend quality time with your kids and introduce them to the joy of befriending a horse. So keep it light and fun. 

    The Bottom Line

    If you have horses, then involving your kids can help take some work off your plate. In addition to helping you out, caring for horses can teach your kids valuable life skills such as trust, respect, and responsibility.

    The post Here’s How You Can Get Your Kids Familiar with Horses appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    Four Horse Mane And Tail Braiding Techniques You Can Do Yourself

    Braids are not just a horse mane grooming technique for show ponies. They are also the best way to protect your horse’s tail and mane from getting tangled and dirty during physical activity like riding. Braiding techniques can be a little fussy, but if you have the right tools and know the techniques, they can […] The post Four Horse Mane And Tail Braiding Techniques You Can Do Yourself appeared first on...

    Braids are not just a horse mane grooming technique for show ponies. They are also the best way to protect your horse’s tail and mane from getting tangled and dirty during physical activity like riding.

    Braiding techniques can be a little fussy, but if you have the right tools and know the techniques, they can be a fun experience for both you and your horse. Read on to learn more about some simple starter braids you can do for your steed.

    Grooming Supplies For Braiding

    Before we get started with the braiding instructions, it is important to gather all the appropriate tools and supplies. Here is what you will need:

    ● Comb: A basic A-7 plastic comb will work great to comb out the hair before brushing.
    ● Clipper Blade: Some braiding techniques require trimming the mane and tail.
    ● Yarn: Make sure to use 100% acrylic yarn because it is strong and will not break.
    ● Scissors: These are for cutting the yarn to the perfect length.
    ● Latch Hook: Latch hooks are a crafting tool, but they make braiding easy.
    ● Small Elastic Bands: These are the same bands that we use to braid human hair.
    ● Spray Bottle: Spraying the hair with water makes it easier to braid.
    Orchid Gloss Spray: You need to moisturize the hair so it does not get tangled during the braiding process.

    Once you have gathered all your supplies, you need to prepare your horse’s hair. Before braiding, see to it that the horse mane grooming routine has been completed and that your horse’s tail is clean and free of tangles. This will ensure that as you braid the hair it doesn’t break or hurt your horse.

    Easy Mane Braids

    Portrait of a horse with braided mane

    There are several types of braiding techniques that are ideal for a mane. Here are some for beginners to try:

    Hunter Braid – Hunter braids are designed for activities like riding and hunting. They are perfect for preventing tangling from riding gear. This is also the classic horse mane grooming technique for hunter competitions.

    1. Prep the mane for braiding by trimming it to 6 inches, and then gently apply a light spray of Fairy Tails Orchid Gloss Spray. Cut your yarn into 12-inch lengths.
    2. Separate the hair strands into 2-inch sections. These will be your braids.
    3. Section each strand into three and braid halfway down. Afterward, start braiding in the yarn.
    4. When you get to the end of the braid, tie it off with the yarn. Tie the remaining yarn into a loop. Repeat until the whole mane is braided.
    5. Take your latch hook, and starting at the base of the mane, insert the latch hook through the braid until it forms a loop.
    6. Tie the braid loops down with the yarn. Then tie a knot across the center of the loop.
    7. Trim the yarn and repeat until the mane is done.

    Button Braid – Button braids are perfect for dressage competitions and protecting your horse’s mane from getting dirty or tangled.

    1. Prep the mane for braiding by trimming to about 6 inches in length, and then gently apply a light coat of Fairy Tails Orchid Gloss Spray.
    2. Split the hair into 1-inch sections. Then braid the sections down to the end.
    3. Tie off the braid with the small elastic bands. Repeat until the entire mane is braided.
    4. Starting at the end of your braid, roll the braid up to the base. This should create an attractive spiral.
    5. Tie the rolls into place with the small elastic bands. Repeat until all braids are rolled.
    6. Alternative: Once braided, fold the braids in half and then half again. Secure with an elastic band at the base of the mane.

    Running Braid – A running braid is absolutely stunning—it is essentially a French braid for your horse. It is designed to help keep the horse’s mane beautiful and clean during normal activities. This horse mane grooming technique is perfect for horses with long manes.

    beautiful girl with horse and braided hair
    1. Prep the mane by combing the hair out and applying a light coat of Fairy Tails Orchid Gloss Spray.
    2. Make sure your horse’s mane is on one side of their head and neck. You can also part the mane down the middle and do this technique on each side for a different look.
    3. Start right behind the ear and section out three 1-inch strands.
    4. Braid the strands two or three times just to get it started.
    5. Take the next inch of hair and work it into the braid.
    6. Braid two or three times before adding the next 1-inch strand and working it into the braid.
    7. It is a good idea to use your spray bottle to wet the hair to make it easier for you to work down the mane.
    8. Continue this process until you get to the end of the mane.
    9. Tie off the braid with a small elastic band.
    10. Finish with one more gentle spraying of Fairy Tails Orchid Gloss Spray.

    Tail Braid

    Once you have finished your mane braids, it is time to move on to the tail. Here is an easy one you can try:

    Pinwheel Braid – This braid is great for active horses. It is also the standard braid for hunter competitions.

    1. Prep the tail by combing the hair out and applying a light coat of Fairy Tails Orchid Gloss Spray.
    2. Starting at the top, reach underneath the tail and section out two sections and pull them forward.
    3. On each section, start a small braid of about 2 inches and secure with a small elastic band.
    4. Take a small section from the top center of the tail. Make a small 2-inch braid and secure with a small elastic band.
    5. Afterward, take the two back pieces and start a braid with the top pieces. The braid will wrap around the bulk of the tail.
    6. As you work your way down the tail, pull small strands from the underneath side, wrap them around the tail, and braid them in. This is a modified French braid with the center area.
    7. Continue until you reach about 8 inches from the end of the tail and tie off the section with an elastic band.
    8. Braid the remaining 8 inches and tie off with an elastic band.
    9. Roll the final braid into a pinwheel shape and tie it with an elastic band.

    Braiding is a fun and beautiful way to keep your horse’s mane and tail clean and tangle-free. For more tail and horse mane grooming techniques, check out our blog. And if you try any of the ones we have mentioned here, we would love to see the results! Share photos of your horse with us at info@equispa.com.

    The post Four Horse Mane And Tail Braiding Techniques You Can Do Yourself appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    Handy Horse Facts You Should Know About

    Horses are interesting creatures; they are known for their superior strength. They are endowed with wild beauty; no wonder many people adore these animals. For horse owners and enthusiasts, knowing everything about horses is key to understanding them fully. There is so much to horses: this article looks at some top facts that come in […] The post Handy Horse Facts You Should Know About appeared first on...

    Horses are interesting creatures; they are known for their superior strength. They are endowed with wild beauty; no wonder many people adore these animals.

    For horse owners and enthusiasts, knowing everything about horses is key to understanding them fully. There is so much to horses: this article looks at some top facts that come in handy when you are caring for horses. If you plan to get a horse or get a job in the horse industry, this information is critical to have on your fingertips.

    There are three types of horses

    Horses are generally classified into three main types. There are heavy horses, light horses and ponies. This classification is mainly factored on horse size, proportion and overall build. Primarily, the differences are in weight and bone structure of the horses. The equine world goes further to distinguish horses by breeds; there are hundreds of breeds. This is a more detailed look into a horse’s lineage and general characteristics like color. Below is a closer look at the types of horses;

    Science horse skeletal system illustration
    happy little girl and her friend white purebred shetland pony
    1. Heavy horses

    These are visibly heavy or big horses that usually come with broad backs. They are known to have short thick legs which make them suitable for performing heavy tasks like farming. They move slowly with short steps which allows them to perform their work effectively. Apart from pulling carts and plowing land, heavy horses are also showcased at fairs. Good examples of heavy horse breeds are the American Cream Draft horse and the Clydesdale.

    1. Light horses

    These are the best horses for riding. They are certainly lighter and linear with longer legs. They do not bend their legs when they walk unlike draft horses. Fitting saddles on their backs is pretty easy making riding very comfortable. Thoroughbreds, quarter horses and miniature horses are a few examples of light horses. However, it is important not to confuse miniature horses with ponies as explained below.

    1. Ponies

    These horses are known for their small stature even when they are fully grown. They come with thickers coats, manes and tails. Their necks are thicker with smaller heads compared to the other types of horses. Child riders love ponies because they are less intimidating and cute. Ponies are very intelligent but can be stubborn. Adults can also ride these horses as long as they are trained for adult riders. Shetland pony is one example of a popular pony breed.

    What horses eat to keep healthy

    Beautiful horses grazing freely in nature.

    Horses are herbivores and they eat a variety of plant based meals. With a long digestive system, they have to feed on small quantities of high-fibre feeds for many hours for effective digestion. Horses therefore eat pasture grass and tender plants, grain, hay, concentrate mixes, minerals and salt, and water. Oats and corn are the most common grains fed to horses. However, grain like wheat is not suitable for horses. Concentrate mixes are usually made from a variety of feeds including flaxseed, grains, beet pulp, bran, vitamins and many other nutritious ingredients. Hay is the best alternative when pasture grass is not available. Horses are also fed on treats like apples and carrots. Keeping the horse diet nutritious and low in sugar is ideal.

    What is the lifespan of a horse?

    Because of the advanced knowledge on horse care and health, horses are living longer than before. Today, horses are living up to 30 years while enjoying high quality of life. However, without proper care for your horse, they are likely to live below 20 years. It is therefore important to seek expert advice to ensure that you employ sound equine care.

    Fun things to do with your horse

    Apart from riding, horses enjoy many other activities. In the wild, horses walk and traverse long distances as they explore the environment. If you are looking to break the monotony for your horse, you can go for a walk within your neighborhood. Allow them to explore and take in the environment. This brings the most natural feeling that keeps the horse entertained and happy.

    Cute girl with a horse. Lady in a white t-shirt. Woman in a summer ranch.

    Touching and scratching your horse is another great way to spend time with your horse. Studies have found that scratching a horse on its withers is calming. Every horse is different and when you are exploring your horse, you are sure to find the right spot where the horse is most pleased. A quivering lip and glazing eyes will inform you when you have hit the spot. This bonding time is also helpful to the horse owner.

    Horses also love to play with water at water holes, rivers or ponds. On hot days, this is an activity that will surely keep them happy and cool. You can also give treats to your horse as you train them. Toys can also be incorporated into training to make it fun. However, make sure to use appropriate toys for this task.

    Horse care tips

    The well being of your horse will depend on what you do and the products you use. You need horse care products that are both safe and effective. From hoof care to grooming products and sun protection, it is critical to give your horse the best treatment possible. Equi-Spa is the best partner for natural horse care. Here, you find balms, gentle antiseptics, essential oils, hoof care and all manner of grooming products for your horse. Help your horse thrive naturally with Equi-Spa products. Horses may be strong but they are very sensitive creatures as well. Infections such as bacterial or fungal can take a toll on them and reduce their quality of life significantly. Therefore, take preventive measures and treat them early to keep them fully productive and happy.

    The post Handy Horse Facts You Should Know About appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    New Normal for Horse Industry as Covid-19 Pandemic Bites

    When jockey Manuel Franco edged closer to the elusive finish line on 20th June 2020, it became apparent that his horse, Tiz the Law would win the 152nd Belmont Stakes. The three-year-old colt was cheered on by a small group of trainers, grooms and press members to mark a unique fanless event that took place […] The post New Normal for Horse Industry as Covid-19 Pandemic Bites appeared first on...

    When jockey Manuel Franco edged closer to the elusive finish line on 20th June 2020, it became apparent that his horse, Tiz the Law would win the 152nd Belmont Stakes.

    The three-year-old colt was cheered on by a small group of trainers, grooms and press members to mark a unique fanless event that took place in the midst of a global pandemic. Not even horse owners were allowed to the event to watch their horses perform. In addition to having no spectators for the race, the total prize winnings for the Belmont Stakes had been slashed to $1 million, down from $1.5 million the previous year.

    New Reality for Horses in Covid Era

    It all started thousands of miles away at a little known province in China called Hubei. By December 2019, a cluster of people in the province had suffered pneumonia. Further investigation led to the identification of a novel or new coronavirus that was named COVID-19. This highly infectious virus prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare it a global pandemic on 11th March, 2020. The virus has proven a hard nut to crack and from early 2020, many countries started to lockdown and shut down sectors of their economies in a bid to reduce the spread; to bend the virus curve. People were advised to observe social distance, observe personal hygiene and even stay at home. Learning institutions and other non essential sectors were closed and preventive measures were implemented by governments.

    horse laying down in field

    The horse industry has not been spared by this pandemic. Multiple horse shows, tournaments, exhibitions and training were cancelled in line with government directives. Even the Summer Olympic Games were also pushed to 2021. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in a bid to follow recommendations against COVID-19 canceled and postponed many equine events. These events included camps, training, clinics and selection trials. Even local horse shows by non affiliated horse event organisers have been affected. The Belmont Stakes were actually postponed and held on 20th June, instead of 6th June, 2020. Organised by the New York Racing Association (NYRA), the Belmont Stakes not only had to be pushed; but the racing distance had to be shortened as well.

    Major Changes in Event Schedules and Handling

    The Belmont is part of the American Triple Crown which normally begins with the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May. It is then followed by the Preakness Stakes two weeks later. The Belmont Stakes then crowns the event in early June. These major racing tournaments are preceded by prep races up to six week before the Triple Crown. In the wake of the pandemic, a new normal has been registered. The Belmont for example was held first; which warranted for a shortening of the race from 2.4 km to 1.8 km. The 2020 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for the first Saturday in September; this is according to Churchill Downs officials. Information from Pimlico has also indicated that the 2020 Preakness Stakes are scheduled for the first Saturday in October.  

    On the ground, things could not be worse. Many equine rescue organizations in the United States have had to close down operations or scale down. Quality horse care and welfare has simply become an illusion for many. Would-be donors and volunteers are also shying away from committing monies when their financial future could be in jeopardy. With cancelled events and training, incomes have dwindled; in fact, many equine care organizations now have no income whatsoever.

    In Canada, Equestrian Canada (EC) together with the provincial and territorial sport organizations (PTSOs) recommended the closure of all facilities that host equestrian activities. These facilities included lesson barns, boarding stables; among others. The restrictions in movement have affected horse groomers and caregivers. With no camps, clinics or conferences, incomes have suffered as COVID-19 ushers in a new world order. Major jumping tournaments such as the Masters among others were cancelled by Spruce Meadows in Calgary. Top races like The Queen’s Plate were also postponed. For the first time in 100 years, the Calgary Stampede was cancelled.

    The ripple effect has been massive layoffs in the horse industry. Athletes or riders have been rendered jobless with businesses maintaining essential staff members only who they can afford. Seasonal staff have also suffered with the dimming opportunities for work in this sector. Another problem that has arisen has to do with insurance. A rider who injures themselves and needs medical attention during the pandemic may not automatically qualify for cover. This is because many government directives have advised people to reduce risky activity during the pandemic. Risk assessment by insurance companies is therefore another source of worry for people in the horse industry. Coverage and claims could be affected for barns that defy government recommendations and stay open.

    How some equine businesses are staying afloat

    Looking after horses while maintaining high standards of care is not cheap. Horses need to eat with feeding expenses like hay and grain. Other expenses are farrier work, sawdust, feeding work, water stable care and blanketing. A barn hosting 55 horses for example may average up to $25,000 every month for basic expenses. These high overheads have led some barn owners to look into alternative incomes to stay afloat. One such method is a program where you can adopt a horse through packaged contributions online. Horse lovers can get all the updates on their adopted ponies or horses. Other income earners are virtual riding lessons; among others.

    Veterinarian examining horse.
    Veterinarian examining horse.

    Many fundraising initiatives have been launched to help the horse industry withstand the COVID-19 shocks. Governments have also explored creating special funds to cushion equine businesses that are vulnerable. Equine professionals such as vets and farriers have also developed special protocols to observe safety while caring for the animals. Equine suppliers such as tack stores have enabled more digital business to avoid in-person interactions. Horse trainers are also producing video content for online consumption. In addition, some horse sales have gone online as well. However, with all the online enthusiasm, stakeholders are concerned about the longevity of the pandemic. If the situation does not open up for business, the impact could be catastrophic and ultimately, horses will suffer.  

    What is the way forward for the horse industry?

    No one really knows the actual impact of COVID-19 over the next few months or years. However, experts in different industries are rising to the occasion to give a raft or recommendations that might hopefully help in the long run. The equine industry has received interesting recommendations from many sources. In a Hartpury University study, equine experts engaged the horse sector in  bid to understand the problems. The experts drafted some mitigating measures that might help governments or administrations manage better in the wake of the pandemic.

    Professors, equine consultants, veterinary surgeons and equine nutrition specialists under Hartpury University carried out this study and uncovered interesting points. The study found that one-third of horse owners were worried about the financial impact facilitated by the pandemic. This economic strain will affect not just horse welfare and management, but the mental status of the horse owners. Keep in mind that having a horse creates the same bond as having a pet dog or cat. In addition, horses are therapeutic animals that contribute greatly to the mental welfare of their owners.

    Helping the Equestrian Industry Bounce Back

    The study and the recommendations therein are tailored to help the equine industry understand the impact brought by COVID-19 and how best to adapt to the new normal. The study report contains practical advice to all the stakeholders including horse owners, yard managers, horse professionals and bodies like farriers, vets and welfare officers. This study was in the form of a survey containing 16 questions in multiple choice answers with two questions left for free-form answers. The survey brought together 6,000 eye-opening responses.

    Among the recommendations include more guidance by governments regarding the access to financial support where businesses have been affected negatively. The study also advises support for equine charities to create the right capacity that will eventually translate to better horse welfare by owners. To mitigate mental wellness by owners or people who have been affected by the access restriction to horses, the study advises on creation of support systems or networks to foster positive coping mechanisms moving forward.

    Veterinarian examining horse leg tendons

    Horses Coping with Covid

    This survey will be repeated later in the year to assess the progression of the crisis on the ground. Hartpury is a leading equine educational institution in the world. The research findings are incorporated into teaching while affecting industry trends and curriculum for best practices.

    The COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid situation that could head any direction. Uncertainty on when things will fully open up is a source of great heartache for many players in the horse sector. Many governments are working on strategies, guidelines and protocols of how to start reopening various sectors of economies. With many grey areas, what is clear is that the pandemic has changed how we do things for good. Medical and economics experts have stated that it is impossible for things to go back to how they were before. Embracing new norms could therefore be the best way forward to cope with the pandemic. Even with the equine sector affected gravely, all people are reminded that safety has to come first. Evading the deadly virus and protecting others is the sure way to get a good fighting chance to salvage other components of our lives.

    The post New Normal for Horse Industry as Covid-19 Pandemic Bites appeared first on Equi-Spa.


    Do Horseshoes Hurt My Horse And Other Questions About Horseshoes You’ve Always Wanted To Ask

    Shoeing or shodding horses is a pretty common practice among horse owners. Horses have been wearing shoes for thousands of years. Some historians believe that we’ve been shoeing horses since the ancient Roman times. Even with such a long history, many modern horse owners still don’t know that much about horseshoes. So today, we’re going […] The post Do Horseshoes Hurt My Horse And Other Questions About Horseshoes You’ve Always Wanted To Ask appeared first on...

    Shoeing or shodding horses is a pretty common practice among horse owners. Horses have been wearing shoes for thousands of years. Some historians believe that we’ve been shoeing horses since the ancient Roman times.

    Even with such a long history, many modern horse owners still don’t know that much about horseshoes. So today, we’re going to answer all the questions you’ve always wanted to ask about horseshoes but have never had the chance to. And remember, it never hurts to familiarize yourself with your ferrier.

    Do Horseshoes Hurt My Horse?

    The answer to this question isn’t straightforward, but it depends. Horse hooves are made with keratin, the same material that makes our nails and hair. Like human nails, horse hooves themselves do not contain any pain receptors, so nailing a shoe into a hoof does not hurt.

    However, what can hurt is an improperly mounted horse shoe. When a horseshoe is mounted incorrectly, it can rub the soft tissue of the sole and the frog, causing pain and leaving your horse lame. To ensure that horseshoes don’t hurt your horse, make sure that you only work with a professional ferrier.

    ferrier working on a horse shoe
    fFrrier at work

    Are Horseshoes Necessary For My Horse’s Health?

    The simple answer is that horseshoes are not necessary for a horse’s health. However, they can help protect your horse’s hooves and feet. If your horse walks on rough surfaces like stone or concrete, shoeing your horse can prevent wear and tear.

    Furthermore, the wear and tear from rough materials is not always even, and when their hooves are uneven, it can affect their gait and stress their joints. Whether or not shoeing your horse protects their health depends on your horse’s lifestyle.

    Why Do We Use Horseshoes?

    Horseshoes have many uses. The most common is to avoid the stress and wear and tear from running on rough surfaces. However, horseshoes can be used for corrective shoeing. Corrective shoes are custom-made to your horse and help horses with bone or muscular problems.

    Horseshoes can also be used for traction, and they can improve grip on the ground. Some horse owners use horseshoes for gait support. These are typically used on show horses and breeds that are known for high steps. In addition, they can be used for performance on race horses to help them have more grip, add support, and make them run faster and smoother.

    woman tends to a horses rear leg
    Hoof care in general is very important

    Are There Different Kinds Of Horseshoes?

    YeDo Horseshoes Hurt My Horse And Other Questions About Horseshoes You’ve Always Wanted To Ask

    Fullered Front Horseshoe: This is the most common type of horseshoe and is generally used on recreational horses. Fullered shoes get their name from the central crease. This crease fills with soil and helps your horse have a strong grip.
    Straight Bar Horseshoe: Straight bar horseshoes have a bar on the back of the shoe that runs along the heel. They protect the heel from bruising and can protect the bulbs behind the heel. These shoes are generally used for horses that experience laminitis.
    Egg Bar Horseshoe: Egg bar horseshoes are like straight bar horseshoes. They extend further to the back behind the heel and protect the rear portion of the hoof. They are typically used on horses with sheared heels and navicular syndrome for protection.
    Sliders: Sliders or sliding plates are wider than normal shoes and have a rocker toe. These shoes allow for exaggerated slides and are generally used on reined horses.
    Sliderette: A sliderette or a baby slider is similar to a slider but not as wide. They are generally used on rope horses that need some slide but also a little more control. They are also used on young reined horses.
    Rim Horseshoe: A rim horseshoe has a groove or a rim along the outside edge. This rim wraps around the outside edge. This shoe is designed for horses that run fast and stop a lot, such as barrel horses and horses in sports like polo.

    These are just some of the more common styles of horseshoes. There are also patent bar horseshoes, aluminum race plates, rock and roll shoes, and many others. To pick the right shoe for your horse, talk to your ferrier.

    woman uses special brush on horse hoof

    Are There Modifications To Horseshoes?

    There are a lot of modifications available for horseshoes that can help with performance. You can have a toe grab, which is a bar that wraps onto the toe of the horseshoe. This helps with grip at high speeds. There are toe extensions that can help horses that have severe injuries and can restrict the expansion of a cracked hoof. These prevent the horse from knuckling over from a lack of support.

    There are also horseshoe studs that can give your horse added grip, especially on softer surfaces like grass and mud. Studs help reduce the risk of your horse slipping and falling.

    How Do I Clean A Shoed Horse’s Hoof?

    Cleaning a shoed horse’s hoof is relatively similar to grooming a barefoot horse’s hoof. You start by picking out the hoof area to remove any rocks, dirt, and manure. Work from the front of the foot to the back, taking extra care to clean the crease line between the horseshoe and the hoof.

    Next, you’ll want to remove the excess debris with a stiff bristled brush. Make sure to clean around the top of the horseshoe on the outside. Then, apply Kiss A Frog Foot Wash along the soft tissue areas of the sole and the frog. Let it dry for 2-3 minutes.

    Afterward, finish the job by spraying Jojoba Hoof Moisturizing Mist along the periople and let the product drip down. With a small cotton ball, spread the solution onto the hoof, allowing it to absorb. When you are cleaning, make sure to inspect the horseshoe for any issues like peeling, rust, or damage. If you notice anything unusual, contact your ferrier to fix the issue.

    We hope this article has answered all of your most urgent questions about horseshoes. Let us know in the comments if you have any other inquiries about horseshoes, barefoot horses, and caring for your shoed horses with Equi-Spa products. We’ll happily answer them.

    The post Do Horseshoes Hurt My Horse And Other Questions About Horseshoes You’ve Always Wanted To Ask appeared first on Equi-Spa.


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