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Ten Gifts Spring Brings to Horse Owners
 By Winniefield Park   •   3rd Apr 2015   •   3,123 views   •   0 comments
Horse Spring Time

Spring is in the air! The robins and other spring birds have arrived and out in our barnyards and stables, other gifts of the returning season are evident.

Hair
It gets in our eyes, nose, ears, mouth and we wear it on our clothes. Shedding hair is a sign of spring, but like many signs of spring it gets a little messy. Your horse actually starts shedding out its winter coat in January, and putting it back on by late summer. You can help your horse by brushing frequently. Some people help the hair fall out by bathing, or giving oil rubs which in itself can make quite a mess. But, the hair will only fall out on itís own schedule, so itís perfectly alright not to go to too much trouble to get rid of it. Just keep your mouth shut while brushing, because it doesnít taste good and is hard to swallow. One thing I love about shed horse hair is finding it used to line bird nests. I dump any I groom out over the fence for the birds to find.

Chaff
Remember all the beautiful hay stored in your barn last summer? All thatís left is a dusty pile of chaff where it used to sit. Some people feed it to their horses. Thatís okay if thereís only minimal dust in it, but if youíve got a horse with any sort of respiratory condition, itís best to toss it on the garden, where it makes lovely mulch.

Manure
Your horse was eating all winter. Under that clean, white blanket of snow hid the by-product. As the snow melts, all is revealed. Soon your paddocks look manure covered, rather than snow covered. The only solution is a tractor with a loader or blade to clean things up as soon as the ice is gone. And, sometimes the ice takes a long time to go away, because the manure insulates it from the sun so it doesnít thaw as quickly as Ďuncoatedí snow. Again, this stuff is a gift for gardeners, who will appreciate aged manure to help their plants grow.

Mud
Itís everywhere! Itís a gift of spring, because like shedding hair it means warmer weather has arrived. Itís a pain in the neck because your horse, itchy with a shedding coat doesnít think twice about rolling in it. Your painstaking grooming can come undone in moments. And, your boots, pants and anything that comes in contact with it will be in constant need of cleaning. I remember how wonderful mud is when I see it in swallow nests who come to eat the summer bugs.

Torn Blankets
After a winter of use, turnout rugs can be in pretty rough shape. Hopefully, you donít have a pasture menace that makes a hobby out of ripping everyone elseís blankets. I find that Iím constantly taking my horseís blanket on and off this time of year and am tired of fiddling with the faded, many times patched one. About the time I decide I need to buy a new blanket, the hot weather arrives.

Chipped Hooves
Even if youíre diligent about keeping your horseís hooves trimmed, winter ice and frozen ground can leave your horseís hooves ragged around the edges. A regular trim schedule can do a lot to correct this Ďgiftí.

Untamed Manes
I havenít shortened or thinned my horseís mane since last summer. So, I get the gift of spending some quality time with her, putting things right. Not all horses enjoy this process as much as mine does.

Extra Weight
Did you take your horseís winter blanket off and think - wow, thereís a lot of extra horse under there! Less riding and plenty of good hay means a lot of horses put on weight, even though it was cold. While a diet may not be in order, some exercise might be. Iíll be making my horse exercise by carrying a slightly heavier rider this spring...

Lost Halters
A real gift is finding that halter your horse lost back in January. Granted, after spending months frozen into the ice, it might look a little woebegone. But, if itís nylon a bucket of soapy water can right that. If itís leather, it may take more work to get it back in shape. Itís surprising though, how you can restore good quality leather.

Extra Energy

Itís spring! Yahooooooo!
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