Top Tools for Better Horsemanship and Horse Health Care.
- There’s been a lot that comes across my feed about horsemanship lately – namely asking if horsemanship is dead. And also what is horsemanship? An idea, a way of training, being holistic about your horse, a set of rules, doing the work yourself?
- I personally think horsemanship is knowing your horse inside and out, up and down. Spending the time to check on his health. Getting lost in the details about stall care, tack cleaning, preventative medicine. Being proactive about keeping your horse healthy and sound and comfortable.
And that takes time, learning, and a few tools. Here are my tools, besides my brain and time, that help me take my horsemanship up a notch.
- Leather halter – or another breakaway style of halter. It MUST be a breakaway! If you have a halter now that needs to be converted into a safer version, you can pick up a leather crown piece at a very reasonable cost.
- Thermometer – you will be the last one to know if your horse isn’t feeling well without one of these. Horses can be perfectly “normal” during a raging fever. Also, know your horse’s pulse and respiration!
- Weight tape – our eyes deceive us. The weight tape does not. There is mounting evidence about the dangers of an overweight horse – from joint issues to metabolic disorders to laminitis. It’s your job to prevent this.
- Hoof pick – I didn’t think I had to add this to the list until my Vet told me she wishes people would pick their horse’s feet. REALLY.
- Hay net – There’s not much “natural” about horse keeping these days, but using a hay net or some sort of slow feeder helps your horse eat more naturally.
This horse’s hay net is lashed into a tub for outside eating.
- Clicker – This tiny little tool helped me train a few gnarly unruly beasts into pleasant citizens. It’s operant conditioning, which is fancy talk for a new way to communicate with your horse. More on how I used it to train the spook *mostly* out of my seriously dangerous horse with help of a super book.
MIND BLOWN in the best possible way.
- Phone numbers – Vet, Farrier, Trainer, Equine Nutritionist. Ok – we all have them, somewhere. The key here is to USE THEM. It takes an actual village to own a horse, and sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and ask the seemingly dumb questions. Also, remember that the longer you wait to call for help, the more expensive it will be.
- Medical records log – For two reasons. I can’t remember when this, that, or the other happened with my horse. I also need the barn manager to have access to this in case of an emergency.
- Vet kit – The evolution of a Vet kit goes something like this – buy horse, get some Vet Wrap. A few years later, have a Vet kit that can help your horse, hold together the barn, and change a tire. And you will use it often.
- Hoof care kit – There are certain things that are DOOM for horses, one of them being a hoof emergency. Some can be fatal (nail in the hoof) some can be inconvenient (sprung shoe). Be prepared for it all.
- Grooming tools – The evolution of a grooming kit goes something like this – buy horse, buy all of the brushes and sprays and shampoos. A few years later, stop replacing things that are lost or empty or worn out. A few years later, use only the top-quality basics like grooming gloves. I’m there now, but let me tell you if I get a new horse the first thing I’m doing is dropping some major dollars for all of the new things.
You can pick up some of the things I mentioned here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which does not cost you a single penny more. I greatly appreciate your support!
HandsOn Grooming Gloves – also, use code PEG for some free shipping!
And a weight tape