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Simplifying your horsey (and horse's) life

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  • Simplifying your horsey (and horse's) life

    Tell me what you've done in order to simplify/scale back. I'm not just talking about economically, but also just to have less frustration, less confusion from listening to a million different opinions, more time to just see a horse be a horse.

    I do OK with keeping my horses' lives natural, but I'd like to go further. I realize this can get long b/c there are so many different facets (feed, vet, farrier, training, chiro, massage, dental, lifestyle, etc.), but if you have the time tell me how less is more for you and your horse.

    I'm embarking on this b/c frankly I'm tried of people screwing with my horses then I'm stuck dealing with the fall out financially and emotionally.

    I've bought into some products that vets, farriers, trainers, etc. "sell" and IMO most I could do without and so could my horses. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the professionals (I work with some good ones), but as a horse owner, the more I can do myself the better.

    I also have bought into way too many supplements and have way too many blankets. My horses probably don't need all that. They also probably don't need chiropractic, massage and dental specialists too amongst other things.

    So if you have simplified or want to, what have you done?
    lesson less?
    change disciplines?
    cut out what extras?
    DIY everything?

    This is what I am doing so far:
    Horses at home 24/7
    currently all barefoot and learning to trim myself
    re-evaluating all the supplements
    thinking about going mostly blanketless in the winter
    doing more training myself

    Let' hear it

  • #2
    At home - out 24/7
    All barefoot - do my own trimming
    All on Purina Senior feed - youngest is 10 and doing great - I used to custom mix my own.
    Only one suppliment (Horseshoer's Secret) and psyllium every 3months or so for sand.
    Only blanket if it goes below 20 degrees
    Bed lightly in summer
    Clip my own
    Make my own fly spray
    Give my own shots when possible
    Pick up pastures so only worm twice a year or when needed
    Have always trained or retrained my own
    Don't lesson, show or clinic often

    Make a lot of things- fly boots, chaps, saddle pad
    Buy everything used when possible and sell things I don't need

    The things I won't cut back on are vaccines and dental.
    Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by CFFarm View Post
      Make my own fly spray
      Make a lot of things- fly boots, chaps, saddle pad
      How do you make your own fly spray? I tried one year with Skin so soft and other stuff but it ended up more expensive.

      How do you make fly boots?


      • #4
        I by a bottle of pyrethrin at the tack store, which you have to be very careful with, add some mineral oil and a bit of vinergar, dilute with water and ta, da! Works as well as the store bought (which I sometimes add a bit to my mix).

        You can buy http://search.sailrite.com/?refineTy...alue=Phifertex fabric (this is what the manufacturers use) and velcro from these guys and sew your own. I'm going to attempt fly masks next.

        Not sure if I'm making things more simple or more complicated sometimes?
        Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


        • #5
          I've leased a pasture instead of stalls (no blanketing either), no longer shoe unless the horse tells me otherwise, no supplements just treats , and most importantly NO NEW TACK. I truly have everything I need and enough pieces of things that I can cobble something together.

          I don't buy into the theory of multiple vaccines. I do deworm regularly and have the vet check their teeth annually.

          Just being in a pasture with the ability to wander at will has made a huge difference in my horses' overall health. And it is much cheaper on my pocketbook.
          Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Gestalt View Post
            I've leased a pasture instead of stalls (no blanketing either), no longer shoe unless the horse tells me otherwise, no supplements just treats , and most importantly NO NEW TACK. I truly have everything I need and enough pieces of things that I can cobble something together.

            I don't buy into the theory of multiple vaccines. I do deworm regularly and have the vet check their teeth annually.

            Just being in a pasture with the ability to wander at will has made a huge difference in my horses' overall health. And it is much cheaper on my pocketbook.
            I totally agree with free pasture turnout being overall healthier for the horses. I live in an area with many contageous equine diseases and horses and vaccinate as per my vets advice.
            Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


            • #7
              - sell stuff I dont need...
              - buy on off seasons stuff that I absolutely need (like if I need a new blanket, and I know I will need a new blanket I will get it during an off season so its cheaper)
              - down to 2 supplements (metabolic and MSM)
              - barefoot when I can
              - no more chiro/accupuncture unless needed for a lameness issue
              - only call the vet when needed
              - out 24/7 but at home
              - take notes after lessons (dont take lessons often) so that I have "homework" to practice....helps me to have it written so I remember!
              - use generics for meds/getting perscriptions instead of buying from vet when we can
              - I do my own clipping
              - use what I have before going to the store
              - use less "lotions" and "potions" on my horses

              umm if I think of anything else I will post!


              • #8
                Mine live outdoors 24/7/365 in northern NV and are not blanketed even in winter. Barefoot with me doing most trims. I do all my own shots, worm treatments, minor first aid (and so far no major problems that needed long term or expensive treatments....one colic/twist died before vet could get here, one broken leg put down by local police officer). Do all ground training on youngsters myself and most are sold before saddle age. Sending breeding stock out for 30-60 days one at a time (I have usually done their training as well but have a hip that is going to have to be replaced at some point and am waiting for Medicare coverage so don't want to damage it prior to that point). Have hay purchased/delivered directly from rancher. Use a lick tube made locally for mineral supplement for this area, salt block as well. Water tanks on float valves. Fences with electric top strand. High desert with average rainfall about 4 inches so manure in pastures tends to dry and blow away and what doesn't is welcome to stay as the soil is dry clay and very alkaline...I drag the fields about once a year (after the sage/greasewood/rabbitbrush is eaten down) and will be planting a dryland pasture mix this fall. Horses will be in pens for winter and spring to allow this to germinate and begin growing and then will be out for about 12 hours a day until this is established. Hay is in "big" bales (largely what is available but less expensive than the "small" bales). Compost manure from pens along with hay scraps...use on garden/landscaping. Make my own rope halters and cotton leads...also hobbles and other smaller items. Stock type horses so not a lot of fancy grooming...keep bridle path and whiskers/fetlocks trimmed and that's about it. Do Stallion Breeding Reports and registrations on-line..saves on postage and trips to town to the post office and is faster.
                Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                Northern NV


                • #9
                  Stop listening to so many people and trust your instincts. If you have been doing this awhile and you should know your horse best...trust yourself.

                  And have a horsey-tag sale! You probably don't need half the stuff you own and stuff = work.

                  You would be amazed at the fun stuff you can do without making it expensive or complicated. IE: Clinics instead of competing (alot less stressful and less work) . If you have a trailer find some horsey friends and go explore new places to trail ride.

                  Remember this is supposed to be FUN!


                  • #10
                    • Horse is out 24/7
                    • Self care
                    • Barefoot
                    • Worm based on fecal counts
                    • Forage-based diet
                    • Very few supplements (MSM, liquid HA)
                    • Take "tune up" lessons rather than working with a trainer continuously (I really just need to replay the lessons already in my head)
                    • Do all clipping myself
                    • Taught myself massage techniques
                    What I don't skimp on:
                    • Saddle fitting
                    • Vaccinations
                    • Veterinary care
                    • Regular farrier care
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                    • #11
                      I've been trying to "simplify" from the start. First, I only have ONE horse. I had 2 for a while and it was very stressful time and money-wise.
                      I can't have my horse at home, so:

                      -My mare is boarded only 15 mn away at a backyard barn. The board is cheap for my area, and I share the chores with the barn owner. I *wish* she could be on pasture 24/7! But even if she can't,

                      - Mare is turned out as much as possible with a couple buddies, depending on weather and bugs.

                      - I don't blanket unless absolutely necessary ( I am in Maine): cold rain, blizzard, temps in the teens and below. My mare is an Ottb but she grows a nice thick coat in the winter.

                      - Mare gets free choice hay, good quality grain, and 2 smartpaks (MSM and U-Guard).

                      - I take care of my tack etc. and don't buy stuff my horse or I don't really need.

                      - I board at an indoor for the 3 winter months so I can keep riding and I take lessons then. Ideally I would like to find someone who can share-board my horse, to keep the price down.

                      - I decided about 6 years ago to stop showing my horse. Now I only pay for the occasional lesson / clinic and Hunter Pace if I can get a ride ( I don't own a truck and trailer).

                      - I only call the vet when I feel I can't deal with the problem myself.

                      - Mare has no particular issue - knocking on wood as I type this) and gets no massage/chiro/acupuncture etc. (nor do I, lol!)

                      - I discovered that compared to others, I am a minimalist! All my "stuff" fits in one medium-size box when I'm at the indoor.

                      - When I need to buy something I compare prices online and find the cheapest price available.

                      - I don't let my horse habit rule my life. If I can't make it to the barn, I know my friend the BO will take good care of my horse, and I know that my horse can be left "idle" for a while without any adverse effects!
                      Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!