Insect Control

Action Point: Hang insect strips in the barn and remove tall weeds in the paddock.

Rational: While I use fly masks and fly spray in the summer months, an insect strip and the removal of tall weeds would greatly reduce the insect population for my horses. Insects can carry disease which can’t always be vaccinated for, cause horses to scratch or rub on things (damage mane/tail and coat), and cause stress for horses.

Steps to Achievement: The steps to achieving this goal include purchasing insect strips (available at my local feed store) and taking the time to cut down weeds. Both steps are easy and inexpensive.

Grooming Equipment

Action Point: Buy each horse their own set of brushes.

Rational: My horses share brushes, which can cause skin infections (ex. rain rot) to spread. While it is important to still clean brushes regularly, no sharing ensures a higher level of cleanliness.

Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will buy 2 new brush sets (I have 2 horses) and keep them sorted by colour. For example, the red brushes are Pache’s, blue are Shiloh’s. Here is an example of a grooming set; (https://www.horse.com/item/great-grip-8pc-grooming-package/SLT901699/)

Flooring

Action Point: Put rubber mats in the stalls and shelters.

Rational: The floors of my shelter/stalls are dirt. Porous materials are difficult to clean and easy for bacteria to multiply when other horses use the same stall. Dirt floors can only be cleaned by scraping away manure. Rubber mats can be cleaned with water and a disinfectant.

Action Point: Concrete flooring would be the best (and easiest to clean) choice, but is currently not financially feasible for me. Therefore in order to achieve my goal I will buy rubber mats such as these (https://www.amazon.ca/Rubber-Cal-Diamond-Rubber-Flooring-10-Feet/dp/B005SUIY0U/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1549224949&sr=8-5&keywords=rubber+horse+stall+mat).

Performing Body Condition Scores

Action Point: Perform a body condition score at least monthly on each horse.

Rational: By recording and performing the BCS of each horse at least every month I may be able to detect a loss or gain of condition, therefore helping me intervene early if necessary.

Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I need to get more experience by practicing on a variety of different horses. Within the next month I will practice on a few friends horses to get a better feel of the scores.

Performing the Health Check Daily

Action Point: Perform the health check daily on all of my horses.

Rational: By performing and recording the Health Check daily I will be able to pick up on any patterns as well as early warning signs of a problem.

Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I need to practice to get more efficient. I also need to work on finding my horse’s heartbeat, which will also hopefully come with practice.

Further Improve a Unit 1 Goal

Action Point: Further improve my unit 1 goal regarding keeping my equine records organized.

Rational: To further improve my organization I will put my equine information into the Horse Health Check Record template this week (week 2) that was provided in this unit. By using a template it will be easier to read as opposed to random papers in a binder.

Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will print off the Horse Health Check Record and transfer my information into the templates, while still using the binder and divider method.

Evaluating Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine

Action Point: Get more practice at evaluating evidenced-based veterinary medicine.

Rational: I would like to get more experience and practice learning how to critically evaluate information so I will be able to get a better understanding as well as ask more educated questions and have more meaningful conversations with my veterinarian.

Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will read one extra type of evidence (articles outside of the course), per week, for the length of this course to develop reading strategies and skills.

Organization of Records

Action Point: Keep my equine records more organized

Rational: By keeping my equine health records and schedules (ex. vaccination, deworming, and farrier dates; conclusion of vet visits) more organized I will be be able to communicate with my vet better because I will be able to easily find papers and previous treatments.

Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will gather up all of my equine health papers and put them in a binder. I will have each horse’s information separated by a binder divider.

Job Description for the Ideal Owner

Job Objective: The job objective is to provide a healthy and safe environment for the horses, meeting all of the basic needs, as well as going above and beyond.

Expectations/Responsibilities: In order to have a safe and healthy environment the owner has to ensure everything is kept on top of as well as make any changes that might be needed to further improve the wellbeing of the horse. It is best if the owner makes a daily routine that works for them and the horse. Routines insure that nothing gets forgotten about, as well as insures that there will be time to get all of the necessities done in the day, as everything has already been planned out. Everyday the horse will need shelter, fresh water, hay of some form (bales, haylage, hay cubes, etc), the shelter/stall mucked out, bedding replaced, freedom of exercise, and any medications given if applicable. It is important to note that when mucking the stall and replacing bedding the horses should be removed from the stable and the owner should wear a dust mask to prevent long term and short term respiratory damage. Grooming and cleaning of the hooves should also be done quite frequently, as it is a good way for the owner to notice if there is any cuts, scrapes, or anything that needs medical attention. A weekly routine is needed as well, this should include a horse health check and a check of the barn/facility to make sure that everything is in order. If a problem is found (with either the horse or the barn) the situation needs to be evaluated to determine the following steps that need to happen to resolve the issue. It is important to have a discussion with your farrier to create a schedule that works best for the condition of your horse’s hooves. A yearly routine should consist of a deworming schedule, vaccinations, a vet check, and a dental check.

Qualifications/Requirements: There are many qualifications and requirements that go with the job of being an ideal owner. Characteristics of an ideal owner may include patience and flexibility, as some days will not go as planned. Being a resourceful owner can save you time and money, it also helps you understand and ask educated questions. Passion is a needed component in being an owner, without passion towards the horse and the job, there is no goals or objectives that you deeply care about. Being motivated and optimistic helps contribute to the overall wellness of the horse and owner, attitude is a key component. One characteristic that people often forget about is being future-oriented. Owning a horse is often a long term commitment. Factors such as illness, old age, and death of the horse need to be taken into consideration before they happen, to avoid unexpected expenses. All of these characteristics go hand-in-hand. Think of it as a cycle, everything runs off of each other, when one thing falls apart the whole system starts to come crashing down. Therefore, as an ideal owner it is important to “bring” all of your excellent qualities with you when you go to the barn. There are also several skills or education requirements that are needed to fulfill the responsibilities, such as the knowledge to recognize health problems and problems in the barn, farm, or surrounding area. While the ideal owner may not be able to cure or treat these problems, they need to know who to call and when they need to.

My Strengths: I am a person that has always had trouble identifying my own strengths, therefore this sentence should probably be classified as something I need to improve on. If I had to pick a couple strengths for myself it would be that I am future oriented. Everyday I am trying to figure out how I can continue to provide the best life for my horses despite that times are changing. I am very optimistic and patient. As we all know there can be some very frustrating days when it comes to working with horses, but I remind myself to brush it off and move on with my day.

Improvements I Need to Make: One of the top things that I would like to improve on is obtaining more knowledge about equine health and wellness, which is why I am taking this course. While I have many goals, the overall goal is to understand how horses work and how to prevent problems from happening. To achieve this goal my plan is to study frequently and take notes throughout the whole course.

Overall: There is a never ending list of responsibilities and requirements when it comes to caring for equines. It is such a diverse topic and can be done in so many different ways based on the needs of the horse(s) and owner.