Saturday, April 25, 2009

Change of Seasons

Fern Valley Appaloosas has a nice post on what needs to be in a medical kit at the barn.  For me, spring is a good time to go through my med cabinet, discard anything that is out of date, and replenish and resupply.  It's one of those seasonal things like changing the batteries in the smoke detectors in your house!

On one of the first nice warm days, I also like to take all my brushes and other grooming tools out and give them a good wash with a mild bleach solution, and leave them to dry in the sun - there's no point in bathing one of my horses and then grooming with dirty brushes!   Pretty soon as well, I can take my rainsheets and winter blankets in for cleaning, rewaterproofing and repairs.

Pretty soon I'll be putting up the stall fans at the barn - our ventilation isn't all that good due to the poor window design, so we need stall fans for days when the temperatures in the barn get above 80.

I don't bathe my horses all that much - I like them to have the natural oils that make for a shiny, healthy coat, although I do rinse off if they get sweaty.  Sometime soon, on a warm day, I'll give them a first bath using EQyss Micro-Tek medicated shampoo - it helps a lot with any crud or crusties that are left from the winter, particularly on the legs.  I also bath manes and tails - I don't brush tails all winter and only start once they've been bathed in the spring.  After that first bath, I usually don't bathe more than once a month, and then usually with Vetrolin Shampoo, which I think the horses find pleasantly bracing.

I need to order some fly spray and some mosquito spray, and check the fly masks to see if any need replacing - Norman the pony won't wear one so we can forget that!  My truck and trailer are due to go in for their 6-month inspection, so I'll need to see to that next week.

Another feature of spring around here is spring thunderstorms.  We usually get quite a few, and although they're usually not as severe as people in the central Great Plains get, we do on occasion get hail, high winds and even the occasional tornado warning.  There's often a lot of lightening, and since our terrain is largely flat and treeless, lightening safety is important.  Our barn has a lightening safety system involving lightening rods and insulated cables running to the ground.  Although we don't bring the horses in for ordinary storms, even though there is some low risk that they could be injured by lightening, we do try if we can to bring them in if truly severe weather is coming - this happens a couple of times a year.  One important rule, however, is that nobody should go out to get horses if conditions are already dangerous - the likelihood that the horses would be injured in the pastures is low and we don't want to put people at risk.

What are your spring chores and routines?


  1. I have to clean the run in sheds and fix the internal fences. I already put out my first shipment of fly predators and will start the horses on feed through fly control.

    I have a ton of blankets and sheets needing tending and need to figure out which flysheets are in good enough shape to be worn.

  2. Ohh, you're making me envious! We're at the other end - coming into winter. Horses are woolly, the days are short and getting colder. Your spring routine sounds great, it reminded me I need to give my brushes a good wash before we lose our sunny days altogether!

  3. Great post....and thanks for the first aid kit referral over at Fern Valley App. I'll check it out! Hey, I thought we were the only ones that didn't brush tails in the winter! LOL! Good to hear that! It only breaks them off anyway! People always ask us how we get our horses tails so long and pretty! Have a wonderful horse riding season! Luanne

  4. I need to get the zillion blankets and sheets all over to the wonderful lady who cleans, re-waterproofs, and repairs them. I have over 100 blankets for her to do . . .

  5. I think it is a good time to clean my brushes, thanks for the great reminders! I came upon a very strange site a few mornings ago, my horse had a blanket on and a fly mask. Our weather has been so extreme lately, 100's last weekend (and lots of flies), then in the 60's a few days later. My horse has three blankets on her stall for whatever condition arises. I can't wait to put them all away. She is so sensitive, I took her sheet off yesterday morning and she started shivering, and it was in the sixties! This crazy weather makes me worry about colic.


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