Your horses are your pride and joy — especially if you plan to show them. However for your horses to do well, they need to be well-trained and in good condition. Keeping your show horses happy and healthy is a major factor in ensuring your horses are in winning condition.
We’ve been building horse feeders since 1985 for — and with — equine enthusiasts. These are the best strategies we’ve learned to keep your show horses happy and healthy.
6 Strategies for Happy & Healthy Horses
1. Give Them a Satisfying Routine
Like many people, horses thrive on routine and structure. Turning your horses out to pasture at the same time every day (weather permitting) keeps them feeling satisfied and helps them to trust you. Along the same lines, when hacking your horse, walk them along familiar trails and paths to keep them happy and comfortable.
2. Prevent Parasites & Don’t Overuse Deworming Medicine
Parasites are a common health problem in horses, and some equine enthusiasts combat this by administering frequent, preventative deworming. It’s true that parasites are responsible for a variety of health problems in horses such as respiratory diseases, liver damage, and even permanent paralysis.
However, some horse farmers double down on the cure, overusing deworming medicine. This can actually lead some horses to develop medicine-resistant parasites.
Instead, consider having your horse spend more time on dry lots or semi-dry lots. This prevents the horses from ground feeding and grazing, which is a major cause of parasites. Plus, if you have horses, you know that the dry lot gives them fantastic traction for running.
3. Let Them Breathe Easy — Protect Your Horse’s Respiratory Health
Horses are susceptible to respiratory illnesses, like COPD, which limit their lung capacity. This can make running or hacking very laborious for your horse.
Mold exposure is one of the most common causes for horse respiratory issues. Horses are exposed to mold in two ways:
- • Ingested by the horses after eating wet and moldy food
- • Breathed in by the horses from old and moldy stables
Keep your horse’s health in the forefront and inspect their stable for the obvious signs of mold.
4. Schedule a Professional Equine Massage from Time to Time
Chances are you know the basics of equine massage yourself. In fact, you likely incorporate many techniques of equine massage into your brushing and grooming care routine.
However, a professional can provide more advanced techniques to promote horse health and mobility.
5. Prepare Them for Time around Other Animals
Historically, horses have been prey animals and as a result have developed fear responses to many unknown stimulus, including other animals.
While not every horse is the same, most horses tend to be afraid of dogs, pigs, and goats.
As a result, many horse-only shows mandate that visitors leave pets and other animals at home. However, if you’re planning to show your horse around other animals, you need to be prepared.
One of the best methods to desensitize horses to the smells and sounds of other animals is to pasture them alongside other animals for brief periods of time.
6. Keep Horses from Becoming Overweight or Obese
Weight and diet are one of the biggest factors that undermine a horse’s health. Overweight and obese horses suffer from muscular-skeletal problems and even diabetes.
As any horse enthusiast knows, limiting a horse’s food intake is practically a full-time job. If given free access to food, any horse will eat itself into a state of obesity.
Since horse obesity is one of the biggest problems faced by horse owners and horse farmers, Farmco developed the SF Series Slow Feed Horse Feeder — designed to allow your horse to eat only what it needs.
A Hay Feeder Designed to Prevent Horse Obesity
The Farmco 608SF Slow Feed Horse Feeder is the only covered large bale slow feeder on the market designed to ensure a horse eats a healthy amount of hay.
We know what you’re thinking: Nobody can stop my horse from eating. How can your feeder do that?
The Slow Feed Horse Feeder accomplishes this thanks to the unique slow feed net panels. The polyester net around the hay bale protects the horse’s teeth and limits the amount of hay a horse can eat in a single bite, allowing them to eat all day, without overeating. The 2.5-inch net panel opening is designed to allow a horse to eat 1 to 1.5 pounds of hay per hour — the precise amount of hay experts recommend.
Using a covered feeder like the Farmco 608SF keeps hay dry, preventing dangerous mold from developing.
In addition, this advanced feeder also cuts your hay costs. The protective netting allows horses to eat as much as they want, yet it doesn’t allow them to pull their hay out of the feeder and ruin it. Your horses can have all the feed they need — but they can’t ruin it.
As is the case with ALL Farmco products, we make sure the feeder is safe for your animals. We ensure there are no sharp corners, only rounded edges. In addition, we design our feeders to be safe for horses by ensuring there are no places where they could become stuck.
Finally, we coat our feeders in weather-resistant polyurethane paint. The paint we use is designed not to chip, meaning paint chips won’t end up in your horses’ feed.