What's the best management for my horse?
So, whenever I can actually get the deal squared away, my new boy will be coming home soon. This will be my first horse, and I'd like to make sure that he has the absolute best care I can afford to give him.
He's a great boy boy overall, but he is known to stall weave when left in for a few days with little exercise. My first thought is to just pasture board him, that way we avoid the stable vice, and it's one of the most common (and effective) "treatment plans" I see recommended...
However, he also apparently has an insect sensitivity, he welts up when he's bitten by flies. So in that case we would rather give him night turnout with a stall and fan in the day, except for that he stall weaves.
I'm thinking that the insects may be the lesser of two evils in this case, and just try him on pasture board, and we can change him to night only turnout if he really needs it.
Good fly spray, mask and a garlic supplement are what I'm hoping will help him with the bugs, do you all know of anything else that I can do for him? What would you do in this scenario? Stall him or turn him out? If I do have to stall him, I've heard that trying to keep him busy with toys, slow feeders, or a (safe) mirror might help, what works best in your experience?
I do plan to start him on Smartpaks, I'm thinking of MSM to help prevent joint issues (and it may help with itchy skin caused by bugs), garlic for bugs, and B1 to try and help reduce any nerves that might be causing or affecting the stall weaving. Smartpak should be calling me to discuss his supplements this week, and I'll see what they have to say about it, but feel free to suggest other options. I do need to keep my supplement budget under $30 each week, so I can't afford the fancy stuff, but if you've got a recommendation for something you know works well by all means share it!
If it's not too terribly hot where you live, you could try turning him out in a fly sheet. It worked for my guy thay is sensitive to bugs, but it's too hot now. He just has to get gly sprayed twice a day.
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I'm on the fence about fly sheets. It can get miserable around here with the heat/humidity, so I worry that he may get too hot in one. My other issue with them is that unless you also get a neck cover, belly band and fly boots most of the horse is still exposed, and that's a lot to ask my BO to put on him every time he gets turned out. :-( I've heard good things about the Kensington brand, that it helps the horse stay cooler and holds up well for multiple seasons, so while I'm not totally against them, I'm not too sure about them. Might try it if I get desperate. :shock:
I'd go the full turnout - there are many advantages to it for their health & wellbeing, & many disadvantages with keeping a horse cooped up. 'Stall vices' are a product of them & often have physical causes. A light, white flysheet shouldn't make him too hot.
Healthy diet & well balanced nutrition, as well as a healthy, stress free environment, will help him be healthy & less prone to 'sensitivities' and infections. Magnesium is a mineral often deficient/imbalanced that is associated with nervous behaviour too. FeedXL.com is a great resource for diet & nutrition.
We feed diatomaceous earth and spread it on our manure/urine spots. It reduces the fly population by limiting where they can breed. "Food grade diatomaceous earth is great for internal and external parasite control. The mineral and silica content seems to increase feed utilization. Reported to kill 75% of flies and fleas that come in contact with it within 72 hrs. Mixed with grains at a ratio of 2% keeps out pests. Great for eliminating ants, aphids, bed bugs, flea beetles, fleas, earwigs, sowbugs, mites, lice, etc. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be applied as a foliar spray or sprayed in buildings or just lightly sprinkled in pest infested areas or compost/manure piles. Great for internal worming purposes for humans and animals. Helps detox heavy metals. Diatomaceous earth is a drying agent, and thus reduces odor and moisture in barns and stalls. Fed to animals daily, food grade diatomaceous earth keeps fly larvae from developing in manure, noticeably reducing the fly population." All Natural Horse.
Brewers yeast is also effective as feed thru it make the horses repell flies whether thru smell or taste I'm not sure but it has additional health benefits as well. It is also a calming, anti anxiety holistic remedy used for horses.
A last feed through option is apple cider vinegar. And as you noted garlic, but be careful with your dosing it can cause a form of anemia.
One or a combination maybe effective for you.
As far as fly sprays we have gone from commericial prepared one (my favorite was always Farnam Repel X) to Avon's Skin So Soft Bath Oil applied directly with a cloth. My daughter makes a diluted solution with dish soap and water. If you are interested I can get her mix. It has been as effective as the premixed fly sprays we used to purchase and I feel better about whats in it.
Turn him out, outside with flyspray and a fly sheet
Smartpak actually has a bug-off supplement that has MSM in it, and some omega fatty acids (and diatomaceous earth too - that stuff is AWESOME). I looked at the customer reviews, and it seems like there are horses this works for, and works well for, and horses for which it doesn't work at all. Might be worth a month trial. I give my horse their Omega 3 supplement because it's more efficient than supplementing with rice bran, and it does very nice things for his skin and coat. He HATES bugs, and has tender skin, so he welts up pretty good if he gets bitten or stung. :( The omega 3s seem to have helped that a little too.
I use Wipe II fly spray - it's been reasonably effective so far. We're having a horrible bug season this year, and the bugs still bother him, but they bothered him worse with the other fly sprays I tried.
I also have a Kensington fly mask and I've been REALLY happy with it. It stays on - he's only managed to get it off twice in the last year - and the stuff it's made of is super durable, and it's nice and stiff too so I don't have to worry about it touching his eyes. Be sure to get the fly mask WITH the ears. I don't really know why they even sell fly masks without the ears - it seems like bugs in the ears are as much of a problem as bugs in the eyes, if not more.
Turn him out! Better for him to be welty than crazy, and there are far more things you can do to minimize the impact of bugs than you can do for stall vices. So far I've found Endure to be the best fly spray where I'm at, though I still apply it daily, no matter what their label says. If I forget, it seems to last a couple of days though, compared to the twelve hours or so I was getting with the other fly sprays I've tried. If it's an option for you (price, area, weather, etc) a fly sheet may well be the very best way to go.
In your horse's case I would turn him out 24/7. Just make sure to keep him sprayed. I like Pyrahnna.
My girl gets welts from bugs, too. I have her on PM turnout, because of the bugs as well as needing to monitor her poor from ulcers (:lol:) and to keep her cool. However, even though she is a 4Y0 TB, she doesn't mind being stalled. She eats her hay and then falls asleep under her fan. :lol: But we are having 110F+ heat indexes!
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