Monday, December 17, 2012

Is Your Horse Ready for Winter?

Like it or not, winter is just around the corner. Is your horse ready? Extended cold weather takes its toll on horses given the greater amount of energy required to deal with the cold and a more difficult weather environment.

You may want to have your vet conduct a well horse visit to assess his health prior to winter’s arrival. Have a fecal egg count done on his manure to examine what kind of parasite load he may be carrying and be ready to act if the load is heavy. Parasites will negatively affect your horse’s health at a time when he needs to be in good condition. It is also important to have his teeth checked for any problems that may inhibit eating or digestion. Assess body condition to make sure your horse is carrying an adequate amount of weight. A horse that is too thin will have a difficult time generating energy to keep warm and healthy.

Have your farrier visit to trim feet and assess if anything needs to be addressed with regard to hoof health. If possible, shoes should be pulled to prevent snowball and mud build up that may stress the foot and legs.

Nutritional needs vary depending upon age, health, activity level, and weather conditions. Grazing will be limited during winter months; therefore, it is important that quality hay is provided throughout the day. Horses prefer hay that is clean, fresh, and palatable. Hay should be mold and dust free to protect your horse against illness. Grain, supplements, or ration balancers may also be required based upon the nutritional needs of your horse and his body condition going into winter. Horses drink less water in the winter months, most likely because they do not like to drink ice cold water. Placing a submerged heater in a trough or using a heated bucket will keep water at a more palatable and desirable temperature. Feeding free choice minerals or a mineral block will also encourage your horse to drink.

Covered shelter will allow your horse added comfort from winter elements such as freezing rain, but turnout time is very important to allow for exercise and fresh air. Stalls should be kept clean to prevent ammonia build-up in soiled bedding from causing breathing problems for our horses.

Exercise is required during the winter to keep your horse in a good toned body condition. While we may not like the cold much either, we need to make an effort to keep some semblance or a working routine for our horses. Even during inclimate weather, we can provide exercise even if it is as simple as walking our horse up and down the barn aisle.

A healthy horse going into winter will be a healthy horse come spring when you are ready to hit the trails again.

Happy trails!

By: Darlene M. Cox (

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tip Your Hat: Trent Miles, Marketing Manager

Trent & Abby Miles
Photo by: Henry Photography
Hey everyone. It’s great to finally join the Horse Saddle Shop team! Finally? Yeah, I’ve been eyeing this place for a while now! There’s something about a family owned business, the art of handmade leather products, and a two-minute drive from home that kept drawing me to this place. I always knew Chuck and the crew were up to some great things here, but I can’t tell you how exciting it is to finally be in the saddle.

I’ve always loved a great story. I went to school for Public Relations where I learned that everyone, even companies, have a story. Horse Saddle Shop is no different. It’s easy to fall in love with a company and story that has it’s roots in God, family, and a passion for what they sell.

I can’t wait to get to know you all a little better on our Facebook page and Twitter channel! But in the meantime, here are some fun facts to help you get to know me.

Your most recent purchase?
A clothes dryer belt. Installed at lunch today. My husband duties are complete for the weekend.

What is something most people don't know about you?
I love film photography. Yeah, the old fashion stuff. I do wedding, engagement, and family photos on the side and I shoot film 90% of the time.

If you could vacation anywhere...where would you go? 
I’d spend a week in Maine where I would eat nothing but crab legs and lobster for every meal.

What inspires you? 
The creative class - leather experts, film photographers, blacksmiths, letterpress, boot makers, and the list continues. There’s something I love about the process of creating something by hand. It inspires me.

What famous person do people tell you that you look like? 
The Brawny Man or Josh Hartnett

Favorite food? 
Haluski. Yeah, you probably haven’t heard of this before, but if you have, you know what heaven will be like. It’s a family tradition and, from what I gather, a traditional Polish dish. It’s made up of cabbage, noodles, potatoes, bacon, and butter... lots and lots of butter.