Natural worming for horses

Using herbal alternatives to chemical wormers to control worms in your horses

Most horse owners are aware of the need to worm their horse to avoid symptoms such as weight loss, colic and poor condition and indeed, controlling the worm burden of your horses is an important aspect of caring for them. It must be noted, however, that healthy horses can carry a small load of worms without ill effects. It is even possible that in a healthy gut, a small infestation plays a supportive role in maintaining a balance. But there is no doubt that a heavy worm infestation in a horse can be very serious and may lead to all sorts of problems.

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Weaning foals naturally

Freyafoal2

Weaning is a very important stepping stone in a horse life, and it has to be done gradually and carefully. Horses that are not weaned properly may carry the trauma of a brutal separation with their mother for the rest of their life, and might never be happy horses. The brutal practice of taking a foal from his mother, shove it in a trailer and take it away for ever is not acceptable.
There are two aspects to consider when weaning a foal: the nutritional and the emotional impact of the separation from its mother.
The most obvious aspect of weaning is that it entails a change of diet. As the foal will no longer have access to its mother’s milk, nutrients that were supplied by the milk must be made available in its diet. Consequently, foals should not be weaned too early. A foal younger that about four months is getting a very significant part of its nutritional requirements through sucking and therefore shouldn’t be weaned. Only when the foal has started grazing for significant amount of time can weaning be considered. If you are keeping the foal over the winter, it is probably best to wait until there’s not enough grazing and you start feeding the mare (by which time it is more economical to feed the foal).

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Kids and ponies, how (not) to get your kids riding

kids-riding-ponies

Ciara and I looked at one another worriedly as Suzy cantered out of sight with Maude, our six year old daughter, on her back.
Uh oh, I thought, that wasn’t really the plan…
Things had been going well so far. Maude looked perfectly in control as she walked and trotted Suzy up and down the road. Their relationship had been developing slowly but steadily over the past year, and while Maude was still a bit apprehensive and generally refused to ride Suzy outside the arena, she always appeared in control of her mount. And that afternoon, she had seemed perfectly confident, and had asked herself to be let out on the road with Theo, her older brother, who was riding his own pony, Ginger. Read more

Equipment for working with horses on a small holding

working draft horse

Some organic farmers, particularly on the continent are now seriously considering draft animals as an economically viable alternative to fossil fuel powered machinery for some jobs. Horses are a particularly interesting option for small acreage farms producing high value crops, such as market gardens or vineyards. In that sort of setting, they often make economical as well as ethical sense as the manure that the animal produces can also be used to fertilise the land, adding another attraction to the draft animal option. This has led to a vast increase in the availability of modern horse drawn equipment, and in this post, we will look at some of the equipment needed to work with draft horses on a small holding.

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Natural hoof care for horse owners

A review of our first barefoot trimming workshop

Learning natural hoof care

Island life has a way of fostering self sufficiency.
For me, self sufficiency in hoof care started on a windy winter morning, when our farrier rang from the harbour on the mainland, saying that, no, he wasn’t coming out to the island after all, as the sea was too rough.
Sinbad and Misty, our two riding horses, had been without shoes for a month at this stage. “When can you come?” I asked wearily. “Well, since I need a full day free to go out to you, it won’t be for another six weeks”. Ten weeks without riding. There had to be a better solution.
That’s when I started to research other options and found out about barefoot trimming.
For years, my horses had been shod because, like most horse owners, I simply didn’t know horses could be ridden without shoes. In my ignorance, I assumed that riding a horse barefoot was cruel, or at best, careless. Read more