What To Look For In A Used Horse Trailer

horse trailer EQUISPIRITWhile we all dream of a big, beautiful, brand new horse trailer, sometimes the reality of finances has us looking at used horse trailers instead.  The end of horse show season is often a great time to search out good used trailers, but you may have to look hard and long (and often near and far, too!) as well as be able to compromise on your dream list.

Slant load vs. straight load?  Bumper pull vs. gooseneck? Ramp vs. step-up? Regular vs. stock trailer? Two-horse vs. three-horse?  All have advantages and disadvantages so don’t be quick to dismiss an otherwise good trailer because one of your preferences isn’t met.

But there are certain things in a used trailer on which you absolutely cannot compromise.  Those are the things that will keep you and your horse safe on the road.

  • The horse should have enough room to move its legs forward and sideways to keep its balance while moving. The horse should also be allowed to lower its head so he may remove debris (hay dust and other contaminants in the trailer) by coughing, therefore keeping his respiratory tract clear.
  • Rubber torsion suspension is available on almost all newer trailers. This type of suspension greatly reduces the amount of shock the horse absorbs through the floor of the trailer, also reducing stress. There is also a safety advantage to this type of suspension. If you have a flat tire, the remaining three wheels will maintain the trailer until you can get to a safe place to change the tire.
  • There should be no sharp edges or protrusions anywhere on the trailer, inside or out.
  • Floor boards should run vertically (the length of the trailer), not horizontally (across the trailer) and there should be good support underneath.
  • Horse trailer mats should not be slippery.
  • Ramps should be non-slip and not steep.
  • All tie rings, center dividers, chest bars, and butt bars should be easily worked by quick release.
  • All parts should also be strong enough to hold up to the largest, strongest horse you will be hauling.
  • When considering construction material, think about how well it will hold up to a panicky horse, or a traffic accident. If you have large horses, strength, not weight should be your first priority.

Does this sound like what you’d look for in a new trailer?  It is, but now you also have to horse in trailer LSU AgCenterlook at the condition of all these areas.

  • Make sure the floor and undercarriage are in good condition. This goes for both wood and aluminum floors, and structural beams under the floor.
  • Check the suspension and tires. Uneven tire wear can signify some problem in the axle alignment or balance of the trailer. Dry rot is a common problem.
  • Sometimes the coupler can be worn inside, causing the coupler to be too large for the ball.
  • Check for rust or cracks in places where there is stress. Surface rust is typically not a problem, but anything that compromised the integrity of the trailer is. Stress fractures are a special consideration for all aluminum trailers.  Make sure the frame and welds are structurally sound.
  • Don’t forget to check the roof for stress or cracks that could let rain in.
  • Know if the brakes and lights work (and find out how much it will cost to fix them if they don’t!).
  • If repairs need to be made, ask yourself if you will be putting more money into it than the trailer is worth. Spending too much money for restoration may make the trailer suitable for your own use, but do not expect to add that much value to the trailer when you sell it.
  • Know that your tow vehicle will be able to safely haul (and stop!) the weight of this trailer.
  • Finally, be sure the trailer has a valid title and b sure the vehicle identification number matches the title.

Start your used trailer search with an open mind.  There may be features that you like or dislike, but you at least need to know which imperfections are tolerable and fixable on used horse trailers – and which ones are deadly and to be avoided at any cost.

photo credits: EquiSpirit, LSU AgCenter
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What To Know About Leasing A Horse

horses and friendsLeasing a horse is an ideal way to see if you want the responsibility of owning your own horse.  You have the responsibility of caring for the horse in addition to riding it and you can see if the time required to own your own horse fits with your lifestyle.  Too often people are quick to buy a horse and then realize it’s too much work.  Sometimes the horse suffers from neglect when stuck in his stall for days, or the owner wants to quickly sell the horse and isn’t that concerned about the buyer.

Leasing is also a great way to always have a horse that is suited to the level at which you ride or your riding interest.  For example, if you want some additional “saddle time” when you’re just learning to ride, you might want to lease one of the riding school’s lesson horses.  But as you progress or start jumping, you may want to start riding a horse that takes more skill to ride or can take you over bigger jumps.   If the horse is for a child, you may want her to start with leasing a small pony, but as she grows you can switch to leasing a larger horse.  If you bought the horse that was right for you at that point in your riding career, you’d be buying and selling horses just about every year.  But with leasing, you can just end a lease on one horse and start a lease on another.

Most often, owners lease their horse because either they don’t have enough time to exercise their horse every day or they need help with the expenses of keeping the horse at the barn or in training.  If you are considering leasing a horse, it is important to get everything in writing.  I am not an attorney so this is not legal advice – it wouldn’t hurt to run a lease agreement past an attorney.

It’s important that you are very clear on who will be responsible for what expenses for the care of the horse.  It can be anything from splitting everything in half to you having complete responsibility for expenses.  Most often, this is based on how much you are going to ride the horse.  If you have a full-lease, you typically can ride the horse any time you want and as much as you want.  With a half-lease or partial lease, you and the owner (and possibly other leasees) will each have certain days on which to ride the horse.  It is important that you put in writing which days who has the opportunity to ride the horse.  Most leases end when both people show up to ride the horse at the same time.

Another problem sometimes occurs when the horse is hurt when someone is riding them.  Will it be the owner’s responsibility to pay for the horse’s care or will it be up to whoever was riding when the horse became hurt that will pay?  How will you determine who is at fault?  Let’s say you just rode the horse yesterday and when you put him in his stall he was fine.  But sometime in the night, he might have gotten himself cast and he strained a leg muscle struggling to get up.  Is it your turn to pay for vet treatment because you rode him last or should the owner pay because she has ultimate responsibility for the horse?  These things are best put in writing as a contract that is reviewed by an attorney.

rider watching another riderOther issues such as mandating wearing a helmet when riding or not going out on trails or what bit to use when riding are all additional questions that should be discussed before the lease begins.  Only by being sure that both (or all) parties involved in the lease understand the rules can a lease be the ideal situation for all, including the horse.

photo credit: Horse Network

20 Ways To Be Safe On The Trail

trailriding KRAKOWTOURS.netTrail riding this time of year is a treat for both you and your horse.  Cooler temps and beautiful fall colors, followed by a winter wonderland.  But don’t take for granted that your “bombproof” horse will stay bombproof in the colder weather and the appearance of more woodland wildlife.  Consider taking these steps to have a safe trail ride.

  1. Always wear a helmet. You might also want to consider wearing a safety vest.
  2. Always ride with a partner or let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  3. Carry a cell phone and/or GPS.  Carry them on your person, not in a saddle bag.  If you and your horse are separated, your cell phone may go galloping down the trail without you.
  4. Always wear proper riding apparel and foot wear. They can help prevent you from scratches from branches or a fall.  Proper boots will keep your foot securely and safely in your stirrup.
  5. Pack a rain coat or light sweater – weather can change in an instant.reflective gear ACTION RIDER TACK
  6. If you will possibly be riding after dark, wear reflective clothing and take a small flash light.  Reflective items for your horse are another good idea.
  7. If riding during hunting season, even if you are not riding in a hunting area, wear highly visible clothes (orange or fluorescent) and make enough noise to hunters are alerted to your presence and that you are not a deer!
  8. Have your horse wear a halter under his bridle and bring a lead rope in case you have to tie your horse on the trail.
  9. Bring a people first aid kit.
  10. Bring a horse first aid kit.
  11. If you ride during bug season, use a fly mask and fly spray on you horse, bug repellant for you.
  12. Carry a hoof boot in case your horse loses a shoe.  
  13. Think long and hard before going on a trail ride bareback. Then think again.  There are a lot of things on the trail that can cause your horse to spook and having a saddle can help you stay secure and control your horse.
  14. Keep at least one horse length between you and the horse in front. If your horse might be prone to kick a too close horse, make sure everyone knows it or tie a red ribbon to your horse’s tail.
  15. Wait until all riders are mounted and ready before you move off.
  16. Stay alert. While it’s natural to get lost in the fun and beauty of a trail ride, remember that you are still riding and must stay alert to potential problems.  If you see a potential problem (like a hole), make sure you notify the other riders.
  17. Always go at the pace that’s most comfortable for the least experienced rider or greenest horse. If your group decides to move at a faster pace, especially canter, make sure everyone in the group agrees or don’t canter.  Horses are herd animals and will want to stay together and a beginner trail rider may not yet be comfortable at the faster pace.
  18. Stay on the designated trail. Not only will this keep you from getting lost, but can also be a safer route.  Off the trail there may be holes, poison ivy or tree branches that can trip your horse.Hikers and horses on trail MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL
  19. On multi-use trails, horses have the right of way due to their size and unpredictability, but don’t assume that other trailer users will know this. Bikers should yield to hikers and horses, and hikers should yield to horses.  Politely ask them to move off the trail while you pass.  Thank them. 
  20. Know what to do in case of emergencies. These include an emergency stop, how to deal with a barking dog or wild animal on the trail and knowing some basic self-defense moves to keep YOU save from attackers.

Follow these same rules next spring and summer to stay safe year-round!

Photo credits: Krakow Tours, Action Tack, Marin Independent Journal

 

 

 

Putting A Stop To “Scratches”

scratchesPastern dermatitis, often known as scratches, is a common problem of inflammation of the skin behind or around the pastern of the horse.   In most cases, the infection is caused by bacteria or a fungus that enters the skin through any openings in the skin – small wounds, cracks or even chapping.  The most common signs of scratches are scabs and crusting around the pasterns.  There may be a clear liquid substance leaking from the area.

Treatment is fairly straightforward.  Gently wash the area with an antibacterial soap or solution, then thoroughly dry the area – both the hair and the skin.  It is important to keep the area around the pastern clean and dry to prevent reinfection.  It may help to clip the hair around the pastern.  You can also apply a thick ointment to help protect the pastern as well as remove the scabs and promote healing.  If the area doesn’t heal in a couple of weeks, contact your veterinarian to see if stronger medications or cleaning solutions are necessary.

While scratches aren’t a life-threatening illness nor is the treatment difficult or long-term, it is always better to prevent the problem in the first place.  Scratches seem to develop when your horse has prolonged exposure to wetness.  Moisture from bedding or mud can weaken the skin and make it susceptible to cuts and possible infection. The following ways will help you prevent this problem.

Keep stalls clean.  This means not only picking up manure in the stalls and paddocks, but being sure to remove any urine-soaked bedding.  After the area has been clean, you can add some stall freshener like PDZ, but allow the area to dry thoroughly before adding bedding to the spot.   

horse in mud CanadianHorseJournalKeep paddocks, shelters and all turnout areas dry.  Since moisture is bad for the horse’s skin and is the leading cause of scratches, having him stand in wet grass or, even worse, ankle high mud is just asking for trouble.  During wet weather, use a sacrifice area with well-drained footing like crushed gravel to help keep feet and pasterns dry.  You can even use stall mats like the ones by Classic Equine Equipment in paddocks or in high traffic muddy areas such as the opening to a shelter.

Know your bedding.  Some types of bedding may be coarse or may have been chemically treated.  While this won’t affect all horses, check to see if your horse’s bedding is retaining moisture or otherwise irritating his pasterns. 

Be kind to pasterns.  Bell boots are helpful in preventing horses from stepping on their front pasterns with their back feet, but make sure the boots fit properly and are not rubbing against the pastern and causing irritation.  Once a horse gets his legs wet from walking through a puddle or wet grass, everything seems to stick to them.  Sand from an arena can also cause irritation if it isn’t brushed off before putting on leg wraps or boots.  Also, if your horse has been standing in mud, be sure to brush or wash his legs off.  However, take care and don’t become too aggressive in cleaning the pastern areas.  Remember that too much water will soften the skin and make it inviting for bacteria.  Brushing dried mud with a stiff brush can cause those tiny cuts through which bacteria love to enter.  Finally, some people like to keep the pastern area neat and clean by clipping – just make sure the clippers are clean and you don’t nick this sensitive area.

With these tips, you can help prevent your horse from getting scratches or keep it from coming back.

Photo credit: Canadian Horse Journal

Breed Profile: The Haflinger

Haflinger 2As many long-time equestrians get older, our taste in horses begin to change.  Where once we all rode big Warmbloods or Thoroughbreds, we start to notice just how high it is to mount and dismount these breeds.  Many of us have problem knees that the horse’s height can aggravate.  Finally, some of us may want to try other equestrian sports, such as combined driving.  Check out the breeds that might the needs of the riders “of a certain age” and you will probably come across the Haflinger.

Haflingers were bred to be versatile enough for many under-saddle disciplines, including endurance riding, dressage, equestrian vaulting and therapeutic riding, but still solid enough for draft and driving work. The Haflinger was originally developed to work in the mountainous regions of its native land where it was used as a packhorse and for forestry and agricultural work. 

The history of the Haflinger horse traces to the Middle Ages. The origins of the breed are uncertain, but there one theory is that Haflingers descend from horses abandoned in the Tyrolean valleys in central Europe by East Goths fleeing from Byzantine troops in 555 AD. These abandoned horses are believed to have been influenced by Oriental bloodlines which may help explain the Arabian physical characteristics seen in the Haflinger.

Haflingers are always chestnut in color, and come in shades ranging from a light gold to a rich golden chestnut or liver color. The mane and tail are white or flaxen.  The height of today’s Haflinger has increased from 13hh to between 13.2hh and 15hh.  The first official documentation of the present day Haflinger (named for the Tyrolean village of Hafling) was in 1874 when the foundation stallion 249 Folie was born of the half-Arabian stallion 133 El’ Bedavi XXII crossed with a refined native Tyrolean mare. All modern purebred Haflingers must trace their ancestry directly to Folie through seven different stallion lines: A, B, M, N, S, ST, and W.

The head of the Haflinger is refined, with the neck is of medium length, the withersHaflinger 1 pronounced, the shoulders sloping, and the chest deep. The back is medium-long and muscular, the croup is long, slightly sloping and well-muscled. The legs are clean, with broad, flat knees and powerful hocks.  The Haflinger has rhythmic, ground-covering gaits. The walk is relaxed but energetic. The trot and canter are elastic, energetic, and athletic with a natural tendency to be light on the forehand and balanced. There is some knee action, and the canter has a very distinct motion forwards and upwards. An important consideration in breeding and what makes the Haflinger an ideal horse is its temperament. A requirement for a quiet, kind nature has become part of the official breed standard and this is part of any breed inspection.

The Haflinger is also recognized around the world for another reason.  On May 28, 2003, a Haflinger filly named Prometea became the first horse clone born.  But for regularly born Haflinger, registration is done through the American Haflinger Registry .  There are many rules there for registering and breeding your Haflinger, as well as tips for buying your first Haflinger.

If you are looking for a horse that is safe, versatile, intelligent, athletic and long-lived, the Haflinger may be a great choice. 

Photo credit: American Haflinger Registry

A Halloween Tale: The Dullahan

dullahan 3Many, especially around Halloween,  have heard the spooky tale of “The Headless Horseman” and his rides into Sleepy Hollow.  But the original story from which it was derived is actually much scarier – and much more gruesome.  So read on about “The Dullahan” of Ireland – if you dare…..

The Dullahan (or “dark man”) is a ghost from Irish mythology. He is also known “Gan Ceann” (Without Head).  While usually male, there are some female versions of the story. The Dullahan stalks the lonely country roads of rural Ireland. When the moon is shining brightly, he enters the mortal world to summon the souls for the dead.

He appears in the form of a hideous, decapitated corpse, dressed in black robes and seated on his black horse. In one hand, he clutches a whip made from a dead man’s spine. Under his other arm, he carries his severed head which glows with an eerie light. He uses it as a lantern to light his way along the darkened roads of the Irish countryside. By holding his head up high, he can see great distances, even on the darkest night.

WARNING – HERE COMES THE REALLY GORY PART…The Dullahan’s massive severed head is covered in rotting flesh and smells like moldy cheese. The mouth is usually in a hideous grin that touches both sides of the head. Its small, black eyes are constantly moving about and can search for fresh victims across the countryside even during the darkest nights. The entire head glows with the phosphorescence of decaying matter 

Sometimes the Dullahan is seen riding a headless black horse that gallops through the night, sparks and flames shooting from its nostrils, spreading terror in its wake. At other times, he appears on a carriage drawn by six black horses. The carriage is lit with candles and made from coffins, tomb stones and human bones. It travels so fast that the friction from the horses’ hooves is said to set fire to the hedges along the sides of the road.

When the Dullahan is on the loose, nobody in Ireland dares to leave their home for fear of running into him. Nothing can stop him and all gates, door and locks open of their own accord when he approaches.  Its disembodied head is permitted to speak just once on each journey it undertakes, and then has only the ability to call the name of the person whose death it heralds. A Dullahan will stop its snorting horse before the door of a house and shout the name of the person about to die, drawing forth the soul at the call. He may also stop at the very spot where a person will die. 

He does not like to be seen and if he catches you watching him, he will blind you by lashing out your eyeballs with his whip or throwing a basin of blood in your face.

The Dullahan’s only weakness is that he has an irrational fear of gold. Even a single gold pin can be enough to frighten him off and send him galloping into the darkness

Here is a version of the original story:

One night, a man in Galway was on his way home when all of a sudden he heard the sound of a horse’s hooves pounding along the road behind him. He turned around and when he saw what emerged from the darkness, all he could do was stare in dread. It was the Dullahan. The man tried to run, but it was no use. Nothing can outrun the Dullahan. Desperate to escape, the man searched his pockets and found his gold wedding ring. He tossed it into the road and ran. There was a loud roar that split the silence of the night and when he glanced back over his shoulder, he saw that the Dullahan was gone.

say book and scary on

Keep Your Barn Environmentally Friendly

Making your barn more environmentally friendly makes good business sense.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has Cooperative Extension programs across the country.  Congress created the Extension system nearly a century ago to address exclusively rural, agricultural issues. At that time, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, and 30 percent of the workforce was engaged in farming. Today, fewer than 2 percent of Americans farm for a living today, and only 17 percent of Americans now live in rural areas.  But Extension agents still serve a purpose by helping farmers grow crops and small farm owners plan and maintain their acreage.

mudd and manure HorsesForCleanWaterMany states have an Extension programs and can provide a wealth of information to barn managers.  Two of the ways that can help keep your farm environmentally friendly are through mud and manure management.  The first thing they suggested is to put gutters on your barn or any outbuildings.  Rain can make a waterfall off the sides and front and rapidly turn the openings into mud.  With this easy fix of gutters directing water away from the openings, going in and out of the barn is a much easier process.  Another option is to collect the water from the gutters and store it in a rain barrel to irrigate your garden or pasture in the summer.

Remember that Classic Equine Equipment’s collection of rubber stall mats and it innovative Stable-ity grid system can also options to keeping your farm mud-free.

The second suggestion is to establish a sacrifice area for the horses during the wet, winter months.  By keeping them off most of the pasture when the grass is easily destroyed by hoofs, it allows them to have much more useable pasture the following summer.   To keep pastures healthy during the summer, they also suggest rotational grazing.  Using simple temporary fencing, horses are moved around the pasture each week, never allowing them to graze down more than 4 inches.  Once the horses are moved off that pasture, it is given a chance to rest and regrow before the horses are put back on.  To keep the horses and pasture healthy, manure is picked up every day in the stalls, paddocks and sacrifice area, and the pastures are dragged weekly to break up and spread the manure for fertilizer. 

A horse can produce over 50 pounds of manure each day.  One of the best ways to turn manure after composting MillCreekSpreadersmanure into a valuable commodity is to compost it.  Compost, a combination of manure and other materials, is an excellent natural fertilizer.  Once composted, you can give it away to friends who want to naturally fertilize their gardens, sell it to nurseries, or keep it yourself for your own garden.   By taking what can be a nuisance around the farm and turning it into an income producing resource, you are literally “taking lemons and making lemonade!”

Photo credit: Horses for Clean Water, Mill Creek Spreader

Basic Blanketing

cold blankets flyonoverDepending on the part of the country in which you live – and your weatherperson’s forecast for this winter – you may be considering blanketing your horse. Horses actually can do quite well without a blanket in even the most harsh winter storms.  Their coat fluffs up like a down blanket and can provide extra warmth and insulation.  But before you decide, here are some things you’ll want to consider are:

Whether he has access to shelter in rainy and windy weather

If your horse gets wet and/or it gets windy, that wet coat isn’t going to fluff up at all and your horse can become chilled.  However, with a shelter (3 sided works best) where he can get in out of the worst of the rain and wind, he can still manage quite nicely all winter without a blanket.

The age of your horse

As your horse gets older, his ability to keep warm can become diminished.  Many older horses have trouble keeping weight on to give them that extra layer of fat for the winter.  Many horses keep warm during the winter by the very act of eating and digesting hay.  But if your older horse has dental problems that compromise this, he may not have that avenue to help keep warm.  Finally, horses can keep warm just by moving around.  But older horses often become arthritic or can develop navicular problems and their desire to walk around decreases, so they can become more chilled.  Most older horses appreciate a blanket during the winter.

Whether your horse has been clipped

Depending on how “clipped” your horse is, he may need a blanket.   A belly and neck clip may not require any extra blanketing, but the trace and other clips leave a lot of the horse’s shorn body exposed to the elements.  Blanketing is a must.

If you decide to blanket, there are literally hundreds of choices out there – stable sheets, turnout blankets, coolers and more.  Most horse owners have an extensive “wardrobe” for their horses – something for every occasion.  But  you can easily get by with just three essentials:

  1. A fleece cooler or Irish knit anti-sweat sheet.   There are other materials available, but I’ve found these to work the best.  If you prefer something different, look for one that wicks away moisture from your horse and insulates against chill.  These are the blankets you use after exercising your horse in the winter.  He may still be a little damp and these blankets help continue to dry him off while keeping him warm.
  2. A light weight turnout sheet. Skip the stable blankets and wool sheets. Even if your horse isn’t turned out during the winter now, someday you may be in a place where he is.  Turnout sheets are waterproof so he can go out in less than perfect conditions and still stay dry and warm.  Look for ones that say that they are “breathable.”  Your horse may go out in the a.m. in a cool drizzle, but if it suddenly turns sunny, you don’t want him to start sweating in his cover-up.  Breathable fabrics allow moisture to escape to avoid this.
  3. A medium to heavy weight turnout blanket. The weight of this depends on your winters.  Again, this should be of a waterproof, but breathable fabric.

With these three blanketing essentials, you can mix and layer to meet the weather needs of your horse: 

  • Just a cool fall evening? Use the fleece cooler.
  • A raining late spring day? The turnout sheet. 
  • A cold winter rainy day? The turnout sheet WITH the fleece cooler underneath for extra warmth. The waterproof sheet keeps the cooler dry.
  • Cool days and cold nights? Put the turnout sheet on during the day, add the blanket as another layer at night.
  • Cold days and cold nights? Use the cooler, layer the turnout sheet on top, then add the blanket at night.

Layering has been proven to provide more warmth than just one heavy cover because it traps warm air between the layers for added “toastiness.”  The waterproofing of the sheet and blanket will also aid in insulation against the cold.

If you decide to blanket this winter, your horse will appreciate this winter wardrobe.

Photo credit: Fly On Over

New Uses For An Old Favorite – Stall Mats

Did you know that there are other uses for stall mats besides providing comfort for your horse in his stall?  You can use full or partial stall mats in non-traditional ways to make your barn and home safer, cleaner and more user-friendly. 

Loktuff logo mat

Classic Equine Equipment offers high quality stall mats that will fit both standard and alternate uses.  Backed by a 12-year wear warranty, our LockTuff interlocking mats are guaranteed never to buckle or curl.  Available in the versatile 4′ x 6′ size, they come in  ¾” thickness or ½” thickness with a color speck.

mighty lite stall matOr check out our Mighty Light stall mats.  At about 12 pounds each, Mighty Lites can be snapped together in minutes and easily moved. Sized at 36″ x 48″ x 7/8″, they have interlocking edges and are reversible for extended wear. The slip resistant surface is easily cleaned and are impermeable to liquids. They are also great to take to shows. 

Around The Barn

  • Stall mats can help eliminate muddy hooves and feet around gates, doorways and paddocks.
  • Stall mats in paddocks are easier on your horse’s legs and easier to clean up manure. Also easier to shovel snow.  Great for use in pasture run-in shelters.
  • Stall mats in the hay and feed rooms make it easier to sweep and keep clean and helps keep your hay dry.  They also provide a deterrent to mice burrowing up into the feed room.
  • Stall mats in indoor wash racks are, comfortable, non-slip and easy to clean.  
  • Stall mats in the shoeing area are easier on your horse’s legs when being shod – and on your farrier’s too!
  • Stall mats on the tack room floor are easier to clean than carpeting and are softer and warmer on your feet than concrete.
  • Stall mats make great walkways in a variety of areas – down the aisle over concrete to keep horses from slipping or as a pathway to the barn in rainy or snowy weather.

Other Uses 

  • Use in front of your sink to keep your feet warmer and prevent leg strain from long periods of standing.
  • Use as a mulch in the garden or around trees.
  • Use as a welcome mat to keep mud out of the house.
  • Use as a place to store wet or muddy boots.
  • Use in the garage or workshop to insulate the floor and cushion feet while working.
  • Use in the back of your station wagon or SUV to keep it clean when hauling wet or muddy dogs.

horse stall with mats

And, of course, Classic Equine Equipment’s  mats are perfect for your horse’s stall, aisleway or trailer.  They are versatile and durable.  

“There’s Nothing Like A Classic!”

 

photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment

 

Facts About Riding Accident Concussions

falling off horseTwo events that have something in common took place recently – the start of professional football season and Riders4Safety International Helmet Awareness Day.  The common factor?  Concussions.

Concussions occurring in sports have been linked to the decline in an effected person’s attention, verbal learning, reasoning, and information processing, as well as depression and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a form of tauopathy, a class of neurodegenerative diseases.

Education on prevention, signs and symptoms, action plans, and helmet safety is paramount to avoiding the repercussions of a potentially dangerous concussion. 

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. The sudden movement can cause the brain tobounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cell and creating chemical changes in the brain.
Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening, but the effects can be serious.

After a fall, athletes (you or another) who show or report symptoms below may have a concussion or a more serious injury and should be evaluated medically by a professional immediately:

• Can’t recall events prior to to or after a fall;
• Appears dazed or stunned;
• Forgets an instruction or is confused by an assignment
• Moves clumsily;
• Answers questions slowly;
• Loses consciousness (even briefly);
• Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes;
• Headache or “pressure” in head;
• Nausea or vomiting;
• Balance problems or dizziness;
• Double or blurry vision;
• Bothered by light or noise;
• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy;
• Confusion or concentration/memory problems;
• Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.

If you suspect that an athlete has a concussion, you should take the following steps:
• Remove the athlete from the horse; do not allow him/her to remount.
• Ensure athlete is evaluated by an appropriate health care professional.
• Do not try to judge the seriousness of the injury yourself.
• Allow the athlete to return to practice/competition only with permission from an appropriate health care professional.

It’s important to remember that signs and symptoms usually show up soon after the injury but may not show up for hours or days. Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a set of symptoms that may continue for weeks, months, or a year or more after a concussion – a minor form of TBI. A diagnosis may be made when symptoms resulting from concussion
last for more than three months after the injury.

Though there is no treatment for PCS, symptoms can be treated; medications and physical and behavioral therapy may be used, and individuals can be educated about symptoms and provided with the expectation of recovery. The majority of PCS cases resolve after a period of time.

Information provided by “The Facts About Concussions”, US Equestrian.   For additional information, visit Riders4Helmet and remember – always wear a helmet!

Photo credit:  Horse Journals