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Any ideas on how I can disguise my horses' medicine?Q. Im supposed to be giving my horse his medicine in with his feed but he knows it is in there and leaves the food. Any ideas on how I can disguise the medicine?A. Try adding garlic, as the smell of this should mask the medicines. Or try mixing the medicine in with soaked sugar beet. If it's a powdery medicine you might be able to get it down him by making little wells in half apples, tipping in the powder and putting a layer of apple over the top. Including other 'untainted' apples and other succulents, such as carrots, should also help.
A badly fitting saddle can cause discomfort to your horse by rubbing, pinching and impeding muscle develpement. The horses movement and abilities may well be compromised and eventually manifesst into bad behaviour and reluctance to perform simple tasks.These basic checks should be performed at regular intervals especially if the horse is gaining or losing weight and as they develop in fitness and consequently change shape along the top line.Always check without using any numnahs or saddlecloths underneath and that it is securely girthed. Look at the saddle on your horse, for instance does the saddle sit level on your horse's back or not? Perhaps you already feel as if the saddle is pushing you forwards or backwards when you are sitting on it. Look at your saddle from in front, the side and behind. Standing in front, can you see a reasonable gap between the horse's withers and the saddle pommel? You ought to be able to get a couple of fingers' width in here. From the side, does the saddle have a good contact with the horse - or can you see that the panels of the saddle at the back are just in fresh air and not touching the horse's back at all? Can you easily lift the back of the saddle away from your horse's back? If so, this is not good! Feel down the front of the saddle, either side. You should be able to get your hand (up to where your fingers meet your palm) relatively easily between the horse's skin and the underside of the saddle. If you find that your hand gets stuck as you try to move your hand from the pommel down, then the saddle is too tight. Looking from the back and the side, do the saddle panels sit evenly on the horse's back or is one side only slightly in contact. Some horses are not muscled evenly so a saddler may have to adapt padding to accommodate this. Feel from the front to the rear of the saddle, running your hand along the saddle panels as they sit on the horse's back. Is there contact between the saddle and horse's back all the way along? If there's a gap in the middle the saddle is said to be bridging the horse, which is not good. A saddle that bridges can cause pain to the horse's shoulder and lumbar area. You could also lunge your horse with and without his saddle. Notice whether he is equally happy and willing to go forwards on both reins. If his saddle hurts him you will see that his stride is shorter and, depending on your horse's temperament, he may have his ears back and look less happy. Fitting a saddle read more
You could get an approved saddle fitter to check things for you. This will involve a charge and obviously, if your saddle is too bad, it may mean investing in a new or secondhand saddle that is a better fit.Ask someone you trust, like an experienced instructor, to recommend a saddle fitter to you, because as with every profession, there are good ones and others who are not so good. Try to find someone who has been recommended by more than one person - this may take you a little time to find out who's who but your horse will thank you for your effort.For more advice on saddle fitting read more
They should check your horse over before even trying to select a saddle for him. These checks should include monitoring the horse's reactions to gentle but firm pressure applied to his back. The saddler is looking for any sensitive areas and also assessing the horse's muscle tone.Your saddler should run his fingers along either side of the horse's spine, press on the sacro-iliac area and check the longissimus dorsi muscle (main weight-bearing muscle) on each side of the spine. He should also check the trapezius muscle, which lies across the wither, as a badly fitting saddle could have damaged this.In addition, a saddler should stand the horse up square so that, looking from directly behind the horse, he can see whether the shoulders are the same size or are uneven, because of muscle wastage, or uneven muscle development.You should also be asked to walk and then trot the horse away so that the saddler can see if the movement of the horse's quarters varies from side to side and how level the hips are (or not!).
One of the pleasures of owning a horse is being able to go out for a ride, explore your local countryside, enjoy the views and spend time in the company of your horse and other horse-owning friends.It is also good for giving your horse a break from working in the school or competitions - but of course you can still use hacks to educate your horse. Use quiet lanes or bridleways to leg yield your horse or try shoulder-in. Why not practice your halts or work on your transitions along bridleways?Riding your horse out allows him to see different things - from traffic to mums with children in pushchairs, barking dogs to flapping bits of rubbish. While you cannot prepare for everything there is some work you can do to get your horse ready for the sights he may meet out on hacks.Preparatory workTake a leaf out of the police horse's training book and accustom your horse to sights and sounds in the safety of your school or stable area. Here are just some of the ideas you can implement: Ask anyone you know with cycles, motorbikes, dogs, children etc to visit you and your horse at home. Lead and then ride your horse around the objects, dealing with just one object at a time, until he knows that it is ok to walk past the motorbike etc. If your horse is new to you and you're not sure how he will react out on the roads, this approach is a good way to find out in safe surroundings! Place objects such as open umbrellas, footballs, and flapping bags and so on in the arena and spend time getting your horse accustomed to them. You may need to enlist the help of a more experienced horse to give yours confidence in going past the flapping bag etc. REMEMBER to deal with one hazard at a time - it may take a few days before your horse is happy going past the dummy roadworks you've set up in the school, but get him happy and confident with one issue before you move on to the next. Stay confident and calm yourself - your horse will look to you for reassurance if he is worried so it is vital that you are cool under pressure. If you don't think you can do this, ask a more experienced rider to help. Enlist the help of an instructor if necessary. It may be helpful if, for the first few times you ride a new horse out, that your instructor or a reliable friend accompanies you on a sensible horse. If you do ride out alone, remember to tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be. Take your mobile phone with you.Read loads more riding articles and tips