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Feeding and Breeding Horses: The Do’s and Don’ts



There are hundreds of different types of horses that live all around the world, in all kinds of climates and terrain. Although they may share some similarities, each breed has its distinct characteristics and quirks that can change how you care for them. That’s why it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of horse care before bringing one home. This guide will help you learn how to feed and breed horses in the safest way possible.



In horse racing, like in any industry, it’s important to not only understand your work environment but also how that environment works. This is especially true when it comes to racehorses. Understanding how they are fed, what they’re fed, and when they’re fed is key to providing top-notch breeding stock. Here are some tips on what you need to do to ensure your horses stay healthy and perform well in races…




You must maintain a healthy diet for your horse, but you should also be cautious not to overfeed. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which carries its own set of complications—just ask any orthopedic surgeon! For example, think about a pregnant woman: if she gains too much weight during her pregnancy, her hips are going to widen, potentially making labor and childbirth more difficult. While horses can’t speak human languages (yet), they certainly don’t want any added complications when it comes time to deliver their foal. Feed your horse just enough so that he or she maintains a normal weight—not so little that his or her body starts craving extra calories to maintain itself, not so much that he or she becomes obese. Just like humans!




Horses are beautiful animals, but like any animal, they shed. You can use a rake or slicker brush to remove loose hair before it becomes messy or collects around hooves, legs, or manes. If your horse has a particularly thick coat, you’ll want to choose a body brush that can handle some tugging and pulling. Just be careful not to pull so hard that you injure your horse! Bathing: No matter how often you groom your horse—daily, weekly, or monthly—you’ll need to bathe him from time to time. Regular baths will prevent dirt from becoming ground in and help keep his coat shiny and healthy-looking. Pick up some shampoo for sensitive skin as well as a sponge for washing his face.




Where horses sleep makes a big difference in how healthy they are. All horses should have access to clean, dry bedding, like straw or wood shavings. You can also find composite options, made of corn cobs or recycled newspaper. As you might imagine, natural bedding is more expensive than synthetics (and less renewable), but it’s easier on your horse’s digestive system and they seem to enjoy it more. Make sure your horse always has enough bedding to lie down on—the general rule is one bale per 100 square feet of stall space.




This is a big topic with lots of considerations. The first thing you have to think about is whether you want to breed your horses, or just raise them for riding or other purposes. If you’re breeding horses, you should plan on putting in a lot of time and money into caring for your animals; they’ll need constant attention, space to roam, food, and water… And then there are birthing costs (if your mare is going to foal). That said, if you love animals and want an additional source of income—or something fun to do—this could be a great choice!



Horse Psychology

This is an important aspect of horse training and horsemanship in general. Understanding your horses’ instincts, motivations, aversions, preferences, etc., can make it easier to communicate with them. Some horses are highly motivated by food, some fearfully so. Others have a strong desire to be with other horses of their species or type. Some are naturally gregarious, while others prefer solitude. Identifying which category your horse falls into will aid you in making your animal as comfortable as possible before proceeding with any discipline program.



Hygiene and Sanitation

You wouldn’t believe how easily horses can catch a cold. They can get just as sick as you if their cages aren’t kept clean. To prevent health issues from getting out of hand, keep your horse(s) cage very well-maintained at all times—and don’t hesitate to call for a pro if your lack of knowledge about maintaining such large animal forces you to seek outside help in any way. Better safe than sorry!




Of course, you can’t breed a horse if it’s not in good health. An unhealthy horse won’t be able to sustain a pregnancy or support its foal, which means you should ensure your mare is healthy before breeding. If she isn’t already well-fed during her gestation period (she should get at least 1/2 pound of grain per 100 pounds of body weight each day), begin feeding her more heavily around 5 months after breeding, when embryo development begins. A general rule of thumb for feeding pregnant mares is that one pound of grain contains about 3,000 calories; so give your mare about 15 calories per pound of body weight each day—as much as 2 1⁄2 times her normal feed amount.

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The Moral Conundrum of Eating Horses!



Horses are currently banned from human consumption in the United States, but this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, before being made illegal in 2006, up to 100,000 horses were slaughtered every year in the US alone. This prompted an ethical debate regarding whether horses should be allowed as food or not, and many believed that horses should not be consumed by humans due to their intelligence and capacity to experience fear and pain. However, other arguments have been made that dispute this idea and say that horses can just as well be killed for human consumption as cows or chickens are. So what do you think?



Is eating horses, right?


There’s been a long-standing debate about whether or not horses should be eaten. Horse meat is still eaten in other countries such as France, Belgium, and Italy. But for whatever reason, horse consumption has never really caught on in North America. The idea of eating horses is often met with disgust and fear. After all, many people treat their horses like family members.

But what if the only alternative to eating a horse was starving? If it would take more food to keep the animal alive than it would feed an average human being – then it might make sense to eat the horse. In this case, you might consider it justifiable to kill and eat a horse to avoid starvation. But what if there wasn’t an alternative?



What are the arguments in favor of horse consumption?


Horses are domesticated animals and as such, they have adapted to living in our world. They have grown accustomed to humans and the ways that we live. The people who care for them have likely become their friends, feed them treats and give them affection. If a horse is treated well throughout its life, then it seems logical that it would not mind being killed to provide us with food.

If a horse is treated well throughout its life, then it seems logical that it would not mind being killed to provide us with food. There’s also the argument that because horses evolved alongside humans, their meat could be the most natural option for human consumption out there.



What are the arguments against horse consumption?


Some would argue that eating horses is morally wrong because it is unnecessary. The horse population in the U.S. has been dwindling for years and most horse owners are reporting a surplus of horses, so why take away what little food they have? Furthermore, there is no reason to eat horses when we produce enough beef and chicken to feed the entire country, not to mention the billions of other animal sources around the world that could be used as food. Horse meat also poses an increased risk of developing certain diseases such as Mad Cow Disease or Encephalitis.

Some would argue that eating horses is morally wrong because it disrespects their role in society as companion animals.





Today, horse consumption is a controversial topic. Those in favor argue that horses are a renewable resource and they have not been overpopulated like other animals like cows or pigs. However, opponents argue that eating horses is immoral and creates an unsustainable population of hungry humans and hungry horses. We may never come to a consensus on the ethics of eating horses, but one thing is for sure: you should at least know what you’re getting into before deciding on something as serious as this.

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5 Different Types of Saddle Pads and How to Pick the Right One for Your Horse



When it comes to the saddle pad, there are five main types of saddle pads that horse owners can choose from to put on their horses’ backs. Each type has its unique benefits and features. Finding the right one that fits your horse’s needs can be tricky, though, so here is an overview of the most popular types of saddle pads and how to pick the right one for your situation and horse type.



1) Half-pad saddle pads


If you are looking for a saddle pad that will keep your horse’s back cool, then a half-pad saddle pad might be perfect for you. A half-pad saddle pad is made up of two layers with a space in between them. The top layer is typically made from wool felt or silk, which absorbs sweat and wicks it away from your horse’s back. The bottom layer consists of foam, which is more supportive than sheepskin or fleece material. If you want even more protection against sore backs, some people also add an extra layer of wool felt on top of this foam layer.



2) Dressage saddle pads


Dressage saddle pads are usually square-shaped and provide a layer of protection between your horse’s back, the saddle, and your hands. Dressage saddle pads offer superior shock absorption, which lessens the pressure on your horse’s spine. They also protect your saddle from sweat, dirt, or other substances that may fall onto it when you are riding. Dressage saddle pads are available in synthetic materials like neoprene or wool as well as natural fabrics such as cotton or felt.

A good dressage saddle pad will be firm enough to support your horse’s back but flexible enough to allow for free movement in his spine. In addition, a good quality dressage saddle pad should have all four sides bound by sewn seams rather than rubberized tape strips or fabric piping.



3) Weatherbeeta Rundecke blanket


The Weatherbeeta Rundecke blanket is a great all-purpose blanket, with a soft fleece lining that can help keep your horse warm in cold weather. The Weatherbeeta Rundecke also has a high-quality wool outer layer that can offer warmth, and protection from water, wind, and dirt. The Weatherbeeta Rundecke comes in three different sizes: short horse (which fits up to 160cm), medium horse (which fits up to 175cm), and large horse (which fits up to 190cm).



4) Sheepskin saddle pads


Sheepskin saddle pads are one of the most popular types of saddle pads, but they do have some drawbacks. If you live in a climate that’s cold during the winter, sheepskin will not be a good choice because it’s not very warm. Additionally, sheepskin is porous so if your horse has skin problems, you’ll need to find a different type of pad. Fortunately, many companies make sheepskin substitutes for these reasons.



5) Sheepskin underlay pad


Sheepskin underlay pads are typically used under a saddle pad or saddle blanket. They have thin fleece on one side, wool on the other side, and sheepskin in between. This is a great option for horses who tend to sweat excessively as it offers high levels of comfort and breathability. The wool acts as an insulator against heat while the sheepskin wicks moisture away from your horse’s body. However, this type of pad might not be durable enough for use with saddles that are highly polished or those that can cause friction against your horse’s back.

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Why I Disagree with People Who Think Hitting Horses is Okay



Horses have been used as work animals and means of transportation for centuries, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to hit them if you have the urge. If you don’t think hitting horses are okay, you’re not alone. Many horse owners don’t like the idea of their animals being beaten into submission just because it happens to be the easiest way to make them do what they want, especially when more effective training techniques exist and have been around for decades if not centuries.



How does it make you feel when you watch horses being hit?


One of my biggest pet peeves in life (yes, bigger than someone who chews and slobbers while they eat), is people who hit horses to make them do something. It makes me sick when I hear people say things like it’s what horses are bred for, they don’t feel it, or well if you don’t want it done to your horse then don’t have anything to do with racing. We just went through one of these discussions here on Kivaki about a trainer who had their filly struck in the face by another horse. Someone defended what happened and said that racehorses aren’t pets and shouldn’t be treated as such.



What about people who need to hit horses to ride them competently?



If you’re hitting a horse to ride it properly, then your skills are not quite up to par. But if that’s why you need to hit a horse, then it may be time for you to find something else to do with your life. There are plenty of professions where you can still find enjoyment while making an ethical living. Hitting horses isn’t one of those professions. The only reason people feel like they need to hit horses is that they can’t communicate with them in another way or because they don’t want an animal that doesn’t enjoy being ridden.



Couldn’t there be an alternative way to make horses submit/cooperate?


Instead of whips, horses can be trained by other means. For example, clicker training makes use of a simple noise-making device (the clicker) to mark the desired behavior and allow for positive reinforcement. The horse learns that when he or she tries different actions, he or she will get rewarded by learning what works best. Although it’s not widely practiced today because of time constraints, verbal cues are also used in some cases to motivate horses into action. With alternative methods like these available, why do people continue to resort to violence?



Where do we draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable abuse of animals?


Animal abuse comes in many forms, from neglect to deliberate cruelty. Society as a whole has agreed that certain forms of abuse are unacceptable: we don’t condone hitting dogs or cats, for example, and we don’t think pulling out cows’ tails is good practice. But what about other animals? Horses have been used by humans in labor and entertainment for millennia—so why do some people think it’s okay to hit horses when they misbehave? It doesn’t seem right to me…

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