Horse Sense

Reponses to Ike the rotten mini horse

I was sitting at my desk in July when a co-worker handed me an envelop with my name written on the outside. I opened the envelop with hesitation. I normally do not receive mail at the office unless it is junk mail. Much to my surprise, a reader of Ohio’s Country Journal had written to me with their own unique story of a loose horse. I was thrilled.

We all loved the letter so much that it is included in this column below as well as two other responses we received by e-mail. Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories. I hope those of you who are reading this column enjoy them and get a big laugh like I did.


The first e-mail comes from my mom’s cousin Eddie Luse of St. Paris.

“This true story takes place on a ‘perfect’ day in the early 1980s. It was March, cold, windy, some snow and I was to be ring man in Columbus, Ohio, in the coliseum on the state fairgrounds at the Spring Quarter Horse Show.… Continue reading

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Extreme heat and horses

By Phillip Dilts, DVM, Fredericktown Veterinary Clinic

As we enter into the hottest time of the year, horse owners need to be aware of the risks that come with heat and humidity. Horses are susceptible to heat exhaustion, hyperthermia and heat stroke. Horses can be at risk even when not being worked if not provided with adequate ventilation, but most problems will occur when the horse is being worked.

A simple equation to determine the level of risk on a given day is to add the temperature plus the humidity. If the total is less than 150 there should be no problem. At a total of greater than 150, a horse’s ability to dissipate heat is compromised, especially if humidity is more than one half of the total. At more than 170, a horse can lose very little heat and you should avoid any long or intense exercise. It would be best to schedule your riding during the cooler times of the day especially on days without a breeze.… Continue reading

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Ike the rotten miniature horse

Have you ever had one of those mornings when after feeding and completing your chores you wish you could just go back to bed and start over? I did in mid May.

If you remember, this spring was one of the wettest on record, and this particular morning was no exception. I was getting ready to head out to feed when I realized my Carhartts were covered with mud and still wet from the night before. There was no chance of wearing them on this morning.

It wasn’t extremely cold so I slipped a jacket over my T-shirt and a pair of rubber boots over my pajama pants and headed out. I decided that if teenage girls can wear their pajama pants to Walmart and the grocery store then I could probably get by wearing mine to the barn. Between my long jacket and my rubber boots you could only see about a foot of pj’s anyway.… Continue reading

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Nutrition for the older horse

By Randel Raub, equine nutritionist, Purina Mills, LLC

Before we can discuss diet requirements for the “older horse,” we first need to determine when a horse is considered to become older. While we typically may think of an older horse as one that is in its teens, the reality is that the genetics of the individual plus how it was cared for during its life will dictate when its nutritional needs begin to shift from that of an adult mature horse to that of a geriatric horse. That point in life may be sooner, or later, for some horses than it is for others. It’s also important to remember that aging is a gradual process and doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s estimated that there are more than 700,000 senior horses living in the United States today. It seems as if there was a “horse baby boom” in the mid-to-late 1970s, making 9% to 11% of the total horse population today older horses.… Continue reading

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Beating the heat — Caring for horses in hot weather

By Karen E. Davison, Ph.D., manager – Technical Services, Purina Mills, LLC

Heat and humidity put an added burden on horses during training, showing and hauling. Horses are actually better equipped to work in cold weather than in the heat. They build up a tremendous amount of body heat due to the internal heat produced by fiber digestion and the large mass of working muscles, combined with insulation from their haircoat and body fat cover.

Normal body temperature for a mature horse at rest is 99 to 101 degrees F. Under working conditions this can rise to 102 to 104 F. But with the same work under hot, humid conditions body temperature can elevate dangerously to 106 to 107 F. Body temperatures of 104 F or higher for any extended amount of time can be life threatening.

A horse’s main cooling mechanism is evaporation of sweat from the skin surface. Increased blood flow in the veins and capillaries close to the skin and elevated respiration rate help dissipate internal heat as well.… Continue reading

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Forages for horses

By: Katie Young, Ph.D., consulting equine nutritionist, Purina Mills, LLC

Why should horse owners be concerned about forages for their horses? Horses need to be fed at least 1% of their body weight daily (dry matter) in forage, and many receive more than 2% of their body weight per day in grass or hay. This means that a 1,000-pound horse may easily eat 15 to 20 pounds of hay per day, along with 3 to 6 pounds of a grain ration.

When problems occur that relate to nutrition, owners usually look at the grain ration. However, when the vast majority of the horse’s diet is hay or grass, more attention should be paid to the role that forage plays in nutritional status. Further, fresh grass and hay are quite different when it comes to nutritional value. Horse owners need to understand factors that affect the quality of hay to make informed choices regarding their horses’ rations.… Continue reading

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Confessions of a novice cutting horse competitor

By Kirby Hidy

Strangely enough, I didn’t feel all that nervous as I led my horse from her stall that hot July afternoon. I felt hot. I felt sweaty. I felt thirsty. But I really didn’t feel nervous.

It must have been 95 degrees, maybe 96 at the annual July 4th Mid-Ohio Cutting. Yes sir, I was feeling pretty calm, all things considered.

I led my mare to the regular spot by the tack room and tied the lead rope to the ring on the wall and began saddling her. I had only shown my horse (or any horse for that matter) twice before, and the bridle had never left the bag in which I had carried it home. The splint boots had been carefully washed so they looked fairly new and white.

I tried to look calm and casual so I might create the illusion I had been doing this for years.… Continue reading

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The inside scoop on spring vaccinations

By Kevin Hankins, senior field veterinarian, Pfizer Animal Health

Any preventative health program should begin with core vaccinations, such as those recommended by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). The organization’s guidelines state that Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile, Tetanus and Rabies are considered core vaccinations for horses. Horses in high risk groups, such as those that are competing and traveling, or those that live in an area that has prolonged mosquito activity may benefit from vaccinations against risk-based diseases such as Equine Influenza Virus (FLU) and Equine Herpes Viruses 1 & 4 (EHV 1&4), which can cause serious respiratory disease.

With a recent rise in cases of mosquito-borne diseases, regular vaccinations for horses are necessary to help prevent the spread of diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Unvaccinated horses are at serious risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses, even in areas where the disease may not be common.… Continue reading

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Do you have Horse Sense?

Welcome to a new feature of Ohio’s Country Journal, “Horse Sense.” This section is meant to educate and entertain farm families in Ohio that keep a horse or two around to enjoy. Some of you may be experienced horse folks and some of you may just love horses, but probably all of you realize these “hay burners,” as many non-horse loving farmers like to call them, will constantly surprise you.

Whether you are the horse lover in the family or the significant other who “puts up” with the horses, you are likely to find something useful and interesting in “Horse Sense.” It is my hope that the articles featured on these pages will educate, entertain and inspire you.

My credentials are listed at the bottom of this page, but I think I can justifiably say that I have made and witnessed enough mistakes with horses to have earned my “horse sense.”… Continue reading

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Julie and the crop duster

Enjoy this not-so-good video of my Percheron mare, Julie, and the visiting crop duster. I really needed to be a calmer and record better video but it was kind of a traumatic experience. Maybe I’ll do better next year.

Last year, my co-worker Heather Hetterick had a similar experience with a crop duster. She recorded much better video and you can even hear her screaming in the background. Feel free to go take a look at her video for comparisons.

For my complete column, read page 50 in the September issue of Ohio’s Country Journal or view it online inside the September issue on this website under OCJ Online Edition.… Continue reading

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