is the average life expectancy for a horse?
expected life span of a horse or pony is approximately twenty to thirty
years. Although according to the Guinness Book of Records Old Billy believed
to a Cleveland Bay cross eastern horse foaled in 1760 and lived to the
incredible age of 62.
can horses sleep when standing?
and ponies can sleep standing up because of an unusual stay apparatus
in their patella (kneecap). A hook situated on the inside and bottom end
of the thighbone, on its hind leg, cups the patella and the medial patella
ligament, preventing the leg from bending.
are the terms used to describe the gender of a horse or pony?
- A female horse or pony not yet fully grown
- A male horse or pony not yet fully grown or gelded (castrated)
- A fully grown female horse or pony
- A fully grown male horse or pony that has not been gelded
- A male horse or pony that has been castrated
horses be kept apart from other horses?
- horses are herd animals, they are used to living as part of a group
and they feel secure in the company of other equines and familiar surroundings.
can I tell what my horse is thinking?
indicate their feelings in a number of ways and the ears are a good indication
of what is going through a horse's mind:
Ears laid flat back against the neck shows the horse is unhappy or annoyed
Ears pricked alert and facing forward indicate that the horse is happy
Ears lowered slightly to the sides show the horse is relaxed, bored
or that it feels unwell
Flickering ears indicate the horse is listening and attentive
do you measure a horse?
horses and ponies are measured from the ground to the withers and
are measures in "hands". One hand is equal to 4 inches.
When measuring them it is best to ensure they are stood squarely
on solid ground, this will give the most accurate measurement
do horses eat?
are grazing animals and forage feed is necessary for the proper functioning
of their digestive system, as it is their most natural diet:
Apples - they are relished by all horses
Barley - this should be boiled or soaked for at least two hours before
feeding as it swells when wet, which prevents it swelling in the horses
stomach which can cause problems. It can be fed dry if rolled and crushed
Bran - is easily digested
Chaff - adds bulk to food and prevents the horse from bolting down its
good too quickly
Cod Liver Oil - is a useful supplement to help build up resistance to
Eggs - these are a good source of protein and one or two fed daily can
be useful to a hard-working horse
Horse nuts or mixes - these are specially prepared foods, comprising
many of the basic feeds, there are different types designed to meet
the nutritional needs of various horses with different exercising routines
Linseed - is high in protein and only a handful should be fed with a
feed. It is poisonous raw so MUST be cooked first
Maize - this should be flaked and cooked to make it easier to digest
Molichaff or Mollichop - is a mixture of chaff and molasses, used to
add bulk to the food and the molasses makes it more appetising
Oats - they are easily digested if fed crushed, rolled or cooked. They
are a high energy food and excessive feeding of oats can cause exuberance
in some horses
Root vegetables - such as beetroot, carrots, parsnips, swedes and turnips
can be fed but in small quantities. They should be cut into strips,
rather than round pieces as they can become lodged in the throat
Salt - fed in small quantities in the feed helps to aid digestion
Seaweed - is good for young horses
should be fed at regular times and should be given a few hours between
a hard feed and carrying out strenuous exercise.
should always be available to both the grass kept and stabled horse or
pony and it is particularly important that it is available prior to feeding.
Grooming is an important part of looking after a horse, not only
does it maintain the horse's coat but it acts as a means of massaging
the horse. This help the circulation and also gives the opportunity
to thoroughly check the horse for any scratches, wounds or minor
equipment do I need to groom my horse?
Kit is the name given to the collection of brushes and combs that are
needed to keep a horse clean, shining and healthy. Each brush or comb
serves a different purpose and the most common items which form this kit
Body Brush - This usually has either a hard or soft, often leather,
back and is used to remove the grease and dust from the coat, it can
be used on sensitive areas such as the head. It needs to be rubbed over
a curry comb regularly during grooming.
Cotton wool or Sponge - Used for cleaning eyes, nose and dock area as
well as cleaning wounds.
Dandy Brush - A brush with long stiff bristles, it is used for removing
dry surface dirt out of the coat, it is usually used on the less sensitive
parts of the horses body.
Hoof Pick - These are either metal or plastic and are used for removing
dirt and stones packed into the underside of the horses hooves. It is
worth tying a piece of baler twine on to it, to prevent losing it in
bedding or the bottom of the grooming kit box.
Mane Comb - Sometimes plastic but mostly metal, they are used to comb
the mane and tail of the horse. Short metal combs are also used to pull
manes and there are special combs which can be used to cut the mane
Metal Curry Comb - These should never be used on the horse itself, they
are used for removing dirt and dust from the Body Brush whilst grooming.
Rubber Curry Comb - are made specifically for the purpose of removing
mud and loose hair from the horse.
Stable Rubber - Can be dampened and gently wiped over the body to give
the horse a final polish.
Water Brush - These are used when applying water to the horses coat,
mane or tail when dampening or washing.
is the best way to deal with worms?
can affect all types of horses whether stabled or at grass. If they are
not controlled they can cause, colic, weight loss and in severe cases,
not overstock your pasture
Rest your pasture for six months if possible
Make sure your horse always has enough to eat and DO NOT feed him directly
off the stable floor
Pick up droppings in the field regularly
Use a wormer
plants are poisonous to horses?
following can be harmful to horses: Acorns, Alder Buckthorn, Black
Bryony, Black Nightshade, Box, Bracken, Broom, Buckthorn, Buttercup,
Greater Celandine, Charlock, Cherry Laurel, Chickweed, Clover, Columbine,
Corncrockle, Comrockle, Cowbane, Cuckoo Pint, Damel, Deadly Nightshade,
Foxglove, Ground Ivy, Groundsel, Hellebore, Hemlock, Hemlock Water-Dropwort,
Hemp Nettle, Henbane, Herb Paris, Horse Radish, Horsetail, Iris,
Laburnum, Larkspar, Lily of the Valley, Linseed, Lupin, Marsh Marigold,
Meadow Saffron, Melilot, Mercury, Monk's Hood, Oak, Pimpernel, Poppy,
Potato, Privet, Ragwort, Rhubarb, Rodeondendron, Rush, St Johns
Wort, Sorrel, Spurge, Thorn Apple, White Bryony, Wood Nightshade
is colic and how should I treat it?
is a term used to describe abdominal pain. There are many different causes
some of which may be mild but others can be life threatening. In the early
stages it is difficult to tell the severity of the cause, so all cases
should be treated seriously. Often the cause is not known but can include,
irregularities in feeding, a sudden change of diet, indigestion, gas build
up, gorging on grain, eating of a substance which expands when dampened,
intestinal accident, blockage, contractions and inflammation. The risk
of colic occurring is higher with carbohydrate diets and inadequate access
to grass or hay. Stabled horses are often more prone to colic than grass
regular feeding schedule, access to clean water, adequate forage, an exercise
routine and the avoidance of sudden changes in diet will all lower the
risk of colic occurring.
to look out for include:
A high temperature
- Pulse and respiration rate will increase
- Poor appetite
- Kicking at the belly
- Pawing the ground or rolling in an effort to disperse the pain
- Lying down more than usual
- Frequently standing outstretched as if to urinate
- Turning the head towards the flank and curling of the upper lip
advice should be sought immediately. Food should be removed and nibbling
at bedding should be prevented until the Vet arrives. Walk the horse as
this will distract from the pain and will also help prevent rolling. If
it is not possible to stop the horse from rolling, place the horse in
an area where it can inflict little damage to itself.
colic can be due to more serious causes such as tumours, ulcers and problems
with one of the abdominal organs and should be investigated by a vet.
are the symptoms of Influenza in horses?
in horses is very similar to flu in humans, the first symptoms are usually:
The horse seems lethargic
- High temperature
- A harsh cough
- Nasal discharge
- Lack of appetite
is highly contagious, so any horse suffering should be isolated and rested
with feed modified accordingly. A soft feed and soaked hay is preferable
as this can be swallowed easier.
against influenza is available and should be repeated annually.
botfly or Gasterophilus lays its eggs on the forelimbs, chest and head
regions of horses between May and October, they can be seen as small yellow
dots in the horse's coat.
find them particularly annoying and this causes them to lick and bite
themselves. This action stimulates the eggs to hatch and the larvae then
burrow into the mucous membranes of lips, gums, cheeks and tongue of the
horse. Although this does not appear to cause the horse any discomfort,
the larvae incubate for 3-4 weeks before migrating to the stomach where
they grow and attach themselves to the stomach wall of the horse.
quantities of eggs in the stomach can cause loss of condition, a dry coat,
increased temperature, restlessness, kicking at the belly and a lack of
appetite. It can also cause intermittent diarrhoea or constipation. The
larvae can cause gastritis, ulcers and in severe cases perforation of
the stomach causing fatal peritonitis.
larvae remain in the stomach until springtime when they pass with the
faeces, pupating on the ground to emerge as adult flies one or two months
later to repeat the cycle.
control Botfly infestation it is necessary to work the horse regularly
with a suitable wormer that will ensure that larvae in the stomach are
eggs should be removed from the horse's coat daily either by hand or using
a Bot knife.