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Sackett Ridge Saddlery
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News about deworming
Everything you thought you knew about deworming is changing.
Worms are becoming resistant to deworming products.  So what to do?
Research shows that only 20% of the horses's in a herd shed 80% of the worm eggs.  So it is  suggested that you test your horse. There are inexpensive fecal test kits for $20 that you mail away from Horseman's Lab ( to detect the presence of adult round worms and strongyles in the digestive tract. These 2 species of worms are the most common cause of problems. Strongyles are the most common cause of colic. Strongyles are also the worms that most deworming schedules are based on.
If your horse is low egg shedder..that's a good sign.   If he is a high shedder you will need to give the appropriate dewormer. Be careful if your horse is heavily infested..give 1/2 dose one day..see how he is doing the next day. If ok..give the 2nd 1/2 dose.  Giving the whole dose at once to a very wormey horse can make it  sick..all the worms dying can cause many problems within the horse. Be careful and err on the safe side..less is better.
The more you deworm..the higher the risk of resistance.  This resistance to dewormer seems to vary from region to region and farm to farm.  If you live in an area where the temperature goes below freezing for the probably do not have to deworm until the first thaw.
One suggested parasite control strategy is to deworm all adult horses on the premises in the spring and in the fall with either ivermectin or moxidectin (Quest) (with the addition of praziquantel (Quest Plus)). Further dewormings of adult horses with higher fecal egg counts could be carried out with different products during the season when parasite transmission is most likely (summer in the north and winter in the south).
Since foals are much more susceptible to the effects of worm burdens, periodic dewormings throughout the year are recommended. It is also important to perform fecal egg count reduction tests in foals as well.

So gone are the days of following a rotation schedule..and hello fecal testing.  I am not sure how feasible it is to do a fecal count on a herd of horses at $20-25 a head.  But if you only have a small band of horses and they are low egg shedders..probably only need to worm them 2x a year.  Or find out who the large shedders are and worm them more often.
They have also discovered that pasture management is very important is keeping the worm count down.  The larger the pasture and fewer the horses..the lower the count.
Rotate pastures.harrow them to spread out the manure to dry in the elements.  In smaller turn outs..pick up manure daily.  Lower the number of horses per pasture.
It is also highly recommended that you consult with your vet to see what is appropriate for your situation.

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Advice on  western saddle's for the Morgan and Arabian Horse

Have a horse that is short backed and mutton withered?
Skirt size is important. If you get a saddle that is too long (from front to back) it will put your weight too far back on the horse and will also tilt you forward in the saddle. I suggest borrowing a saddle. Put in on..look at where it falls on your horse's do not want the back of the saddle going uphill.  You want the saddle to sit level and the center of the seat to be on the strongest part of the horse's back. The skirt width is not that important. I get a lot  of people requesting round skirts because their horse is short backed. The skirts are flexible  to a degree and unless you are barrel is almost never is an issue. I think the more leather you have (weight) the more stable it is on the horse. The light weight synthetic saddles seem to move around the most.

Now on tree width.  Remember you can always adjust a saddle that is a little too wide with pads.  You can fix a saddle that is too narrow...ouch.

I also get asked what to do to make the saddle more stable on the horse.  Well considering that the withers is what mainly keeps the saddle from rocking around..if your horse is mutton withered..
 my suggestions are
Never use a fleece backed pad (too slippery)..use wool felt , neoprene, or tacky backed
Always use a mounting block when getting on and off
Use a neoprene , felt , or high quality mohair girth
Check your girth tension..every so often
Balance- Balance- Balance- Keeping your weight balanced in the center of the saddle

My favorite saddles for these types are the flexII by Circle Y.  I am currently in the process of redesigning the Arabian/Morgan tree.  It should be ready for Spring of 2014. They have some flexability  (not enough that you could feel, but the horse does.  When you have a short backed horse..a traditional tree does not give. So when your horse's hind end comes up under him..the traditonal saddle slaps his back.  The flexII seems too roll with him, and does not creep forward in the canter. I think some of you out there know this problem. 
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Ice Management courtesy of The Horse

Ice chunks that build up in your horse's hooves will make him walk like he is on high heels, which is not good for his tendons and ligaments or for his muscles. Ice chunks need to be removed from your horse's hooves whenever they appear or at least twice daily. It is important to be extra attentive when picking your horse's hooves during the winter to remove ice chunks and check for lacerations caused by ice or other material.

Icy areas in and around barns and fields are problematic as they are usually slick and can cause accidents leading to injuries. Areas that are prone to developing ice should be closely monitored and might need to be sprinkled with sand, broken up (with a shovel or other tool), or fenced off to prevent slipping.

Water that becomes ice covered should also be monitored closely during winter weather. Best practice is to fence off wet areas and keep your horses out. Be sure to check the areas daily and be wary of horses that might venture onto the ice and fall through.

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Great training tip article by Bob Avila that we all too often forget to do

6 Overlooked Training Principles

1. Train off the rail.
Any horse benefits from this, even one destined for rail-class competition, and here's why: When a horse is ridden out in the open, he has to take all his guidance cues from the rider and learns to pay attention to what the rider's asking him to do. But if he's allowed to use the crutch of following along a fence (also a crutch for the rider), he soon gets used to using the fence as his autopilot guidance system. That allows him to tune the rider out to a great degree, contributing to problems with the next overlooked principle.
2. Keep the horse's attention captured.

A horse in training is just like a kid in school - if his attention wanders away from the teacher, he's not able to absorb the lesson being taught. There's a simple way to monitor a horse's attention, and that's to watch his ears. They point toward whatever's on his mind. When they're flicking back to the person in the saddle, that's where his attention's been captured. But when they're aimed straight forward or trained on something passing by, the rider's being ignored in favor of another focus. If the rider habitually allows that to continue without doing something to remind the horse, "Hey, I'm still up here," the horse will learn that it's OK for his mind to wander when someone's on his back.
3. Instead of protecting a horse from distractions, use them to develop attention span.

I've known people who are so careful about avoiding distractions during training that they'd ride inside an isolation bubble if they could. Initially, this may keep the rider from having to deal with blowups, but eventually it always backfires - simply because the horse never develops the skill of listening to the rider no matter what else is going on around him. I've found that the surest way to develop and confirm a horse's attentiveness to the rider is to train him in the company of other horses. By asking the horse to do work that requires attentiveness - something beyond going around in mindless, repetitive circles - the rider produces a horse he can ride confidently in just about any circumstance.
4. Training for "wait" is just as important as training for "go."

One indicator of a really, really broke horse is his willingness to wait patiently but attentively for the rider's next signal. Instead of making his own decisions about when and where to move into or out of a maneuver, he accepts that the rider's the one who calls the shots. This skill, like attention span, is one that has to be developed through deliberate training and lots of repetition. The hardest part about teaching a horse to stand and wait for new signals is having the patience to do it. The impatient rider can pretty much count on ending up with an impatient horse.
5. Thorough training is as much about lateral work as it is about going straight ahead.

This is a principle that's well known by dressage riders but largely ignored by many people who ride and train in western saddles. All forms of lateral work - sidepassing, two-tracking, haunch and forehand turns, etc., - yield performance benefits you just can't get from riding straight ahead all the time. Among them: increased coordination of horse and rider alike, strength through the shoulders and hindquarters, greater attentiveness to the rider's leg cues, increased attention span, and a higher degree of overall body control.
6. If you've been using a technique that isn't working, don't continue to use it.

This could be the one principle that's helped me the most in my own efforts to be a successful trainer. The horse is a creature of habit, so the more times he performs something a certain way, whether right or wrong, the better he'll get at doing it - and the harder time the rider will have in getting the horse to change.
Classic example: attempting to get a horse's head down and his speed slowed by pulling straight back on the reins. This encourages the horse to raise his neck as he leans into the rein pressure, and that just makes him go even faster. Though this technique never works as intended, you still see riders continue to use it over and over, hoping for magically different results.
Bob Avila trains and shows western performance horses from his stable in Temecula, Calif. Among his many wins is the 2003 open championship of the National Reined Cow Horse Association Stallion Stakes. His Western Horseman book, Win With Bob Avila, includes more of his champion-caliber advice. Look for it in the Books section of this Web site.

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Winter Feeding Tip..courtesy of The Horse

Horses can live outside in comfort year round with a few amenities provided by their owners. Winter horse care requires feed modifications, attention to detail, mud and ice management, and shelter from the elements.

Feed Modifications

The average horse needs to consume 2% of his body weight per day to maintain body condition. The bulk of the horse's diet should consist of forage (either hay or pasture). It is generally understood that some horses require less than 2% of their body weight per day in feed especially if they are easy keepers while others (pregnant mares, working athletes, breeding stallions, older horses, etc.) could require up to 3% of their body weight in feed per day. A normal 1,000 pound horse that receives the bulk of his feed in hay should usually consume roughly 20 pounds of hay per day. In especially cold weather that same horse might need 25 or 30 pounds of hay per day to stay warm. Your horse should be fed in accordance with his body type; level of exercise; and with the input of a veterinarian, nutritionist, or feed specialist.

Fiber digestion is what keeps your horse warm. During especially cold times it is important that your horse is fed adequate forage (hay or grass) to produce body heat from digestion. When bad weather comes you might need to feed your horse additional hay meals throughout the day to ensure he is eating enough fiber to stay warm.

The best way to manage that easy keeper is to purchase low nutrient grass hay (one that is mature, but dry and free of dust and mold) which will provide forage for his consumption but not add excess calories. Likewise an older horse or hard keeper is best managed on immature, tender, nutrient rich hay. These horses could reap the most benefit from alfalfa hay (or an alfalfa grass mix) as it is higher in calories than grass hay.

Water and Salt

Increased hay consumption can easily cause impaction if your horse isn't drinking enough. Check the horse's water source twice daily and remove all ice, or provide a safe tank or bucket heater. Horses prefer to drink water that is slightly warm in the winter and their water consumption typically increases if water is kept de-iced either with an automatic de-icer or manually.

Continue providing free choice access to a trace mineral salt block through the winter, or supplementing your horse's feed with a small amount of salt, as these should both increase water consumption.
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