Action Point: Become skilled at identifying lameness.
Rational: Being able to identify a lame horse will allow me to get the horse medical attention in a timely fashion. The sooner the vet is called the better chances of a successful recovery.
Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I need to gain further understanding and knowledge of how to identify, outside of readings that the course offers, as I personally need a bit more help. Therefore I will read at least 2 reliable articles.
Articles for me to Read:
Action Point: Put up horse hoof anatomy charts and diagrams in my barn.
Rational: I personally find horse hoof anatomy to be difficult, as it is so detailed. By having a visual (and physical) chart I will retain more knowledge and understanding, as it will be something I will look at daily.
Steps to Achievement: To achieve this goal I will print off the charts/ diagrams, laminate them, and hang them in the barn in a high traffic area (I will also place a copy in my binder to help me with further assignments).
Charts and Diagrams:
Action Point: Make a SWIPER poster and put it in my barn.
Rational: Having a SWIPER poster in my barn means that I will have a daily reminder of what it means, therefore I will be more prepared in the case of an emergency, as it will be memorized. Even if I don’t read the sign every time I go into the barn, my sub-conscious mind will make note of it.
Steps to Achievement: In order to achieve this goal I will need to make a neat and clear to read sign, print it off, and hang it in my barn where it can be easily seen by myself as well as others.
S scan the horse (and environment)
W what’s wrong?
I immediate needs (prioritize)
R reassess and repeat
Action Point: Have a first aid kit that is easily accessible in my barn.
Rational: By having a first aid kit in my barn emergencies or injuries will be able to be treated faster to avoid further damage. Currently most first aid supplies are stored in my house (less convenient)
Steps to Achievement: To accomplish this goal I will purchase the necessary supplies that I don’t already have (cotton roll, hemostats, container, surgical scrub, 6” diameter PVC tubing) and store it all in one big container labeled “FIRST AID.” I will ensure that everyone knows where to locate the kit. As something get removed, I will replace it immediately.
Action Point: Keep grain in a sealed container.
Rational: Grain for the horses is kept in bags, not in a sealed container. This means that rodents could get in the grain. Not only does this create a mess and damage, it can also cause several diseases in the horses through feces or botulism. Rodents in my area include mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons.
Steps to Achievement: To achieve this I will buy plastic storage totes with a sealed lid, and transfer the grain from the bags into the totes.
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.
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/)
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).
Action Point: I will ask my vet questions, or for clarification / a demonstration when needed.
Rational: Full understanding is a very important part of effective communication. Once one understands they can begin to evaluate the situation and make rational decisions or further educated questions.
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.