These Are a Few of My Favorite (Horse) Things!

A Short List of Equine-Related Items that I Couldn’t Do Without.

horse running through topical water

I will start by saying that I don’t have a professional relationship with any of the companies listed, aside from being an “affiliate” with Fly Predators.

These are just some of the things I have come across over the years that help me take care of my horses and that I enjoy using. Feel free to share and also post at the bottom if you have any favorite horse products!

small hole hay netSmall hole haynets are just great for everyone that eats hay. We use them all the time because they decrease the amount of wasted hay and keep the animals amused longer that they would be if we fed from the floor or used a regular haynet or haybag. They are especially good for horses with metabolic issues on limited hay, because the small amount of hay they are allowed to eat just lasts longer. I use them in the stalls, and in the trailer for both our horses and sheep.

Baby wipes are really handy to have in the grooming tote. I use them to clean ears, nostrils, around eyes and under tails. They are also pretty safe for cleaning out a small wound when the first aid kit isn't available.

Heated water buckets are a time and labor saver and help promote good hydration in the winter. My favorites are the blue plastic (they seem to only come in blue) ones made by Allied Precision. They come in several sizes including regular water bucket sized and muck tub sized, both of which I own a few of. The heating element is completely concealed in the base and the electrical cord is wound with metal wire to keep the animals away from the current. The cords also store in the base for warm-weather use. I have tried other brands but keep coming back to these and haven’t broken one yet. Good stuff.

I mentioned these in my last blog post, but I will say it again. I use round Fortex/Fortiflex rubber feed tubs for feeding pellets, holding large salt blocks, and soaking foot abscesses all the time. They are pretty tough, although they do split eventually and don’t do well over time with vegetable oil top- dressing of feed. Overall, they are a really useful thing to have.

horse wearing fly maskCashel flymasks are my favorite flymasks so far. I prefer the ones with the soft ears to keep out the midges, but they also make models with longer noses for horses with a tendency to get sunburn on their muzzles, which is neat. The Velcro is really sturdy and they fit nicely.

I hate flies. I use flyspray like everyone else (I prefer Endure because it lasts longer than most), but I have had a great experience with Fly Predators since we started using them a few years ago. They are tiny predatory wasps that come in the mail and keep flies (but not midges) from reproducing. I didn’t think they would be effective, but they really do work. We use a lot of flyspray at our farm but only to keep the midges away, since they are terrible in our area. I am always surprised when I visit other farms and see how heavy their fly population is without the Fly Predators. If you want to try them, plan to start in late Spring before the flies start coming out. You can check out their website online and mention my name if you are new to ordering.

spalding's fly predatorsI love Likit products. I was introduced to these in the UK several years ago and have spent way more money on them than I probably should! I wrote about the feed ball in my last blog, it is called a Snak-a- Ball, and it is a really cool product. We also use hanging Likit holders in our stalls to keep our horses entertained when they have to stay in. The trick is to find a flavor of refill that is not too tasty, or the whole refill will disappear overnight!

I get asked about my twitch a lot. It is a 4 foot-long Hickory wood twitch with a nylon rope end that was handmade by the awesome people at Quillin, in Paris, Kentucky. Why do I have a nameplate on it, do you ask? Nearly every equine vet in Florida, Kentucky and every other especially horsey place owns a similar twitch. They are coveted for their quality and not inexpensive, so we have to make sure they don’t get lost! These twitches are great for horses that rear or hold their heads up high since the handle is so long. Don’t knock it ‘til you've tried it, these are the best twitches you can purchase. FYI, Quillin also does some beautiful leatherwork, including chainshanks and halters. Good for gifts, too…hint, hint!

horse wearing fly maskBeing a vet, I don’t have a lot of free-time and I usually ride my horses alone when I can squeeze it in. I try to let someone know where I am going and when I expect to be back, but I like to have my phone close-by just in case. I don’t always have pockets to hold it, but I use a stretchy neoprene holder large enough to fit a smartphone, that Velcros around my upper leg. I don’t even notice it and it doesn't mark my leather boots. If I fall, it will still be attached to my body, as opposed to in a saddlebag, and is less likely to be crushed as it could easily be in a pocket on a belt. Unfortunately I also leave the ringer on and my phone always goes off while I’m riding. Oh well.

Some things we learn the hard way. My horses, as well as a neighbor’s, were let out of their fields by an intruder on separate nights, in the dark. They were luckily caught early, but could have been found much further from home by someone else. My halters now have dog I.D. tags on them with the horses’ names and my address and telephone number. While it won’t stop them from being injured, it might help if they ever get lost.