Quarter Horses

Keep Your Horse’s Skin and Hair Coat Looking Their Best to Make an Impression in the Show Ring

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The American Quarter Horse Journal
The American Quarter Horse Journal
Article from America’s Horse Daily 

Keep your horse’s skin and appearance in tip-top condition to impress judges in the show ring. Journal photo.

A life on the competition road presents a number of challenges to a horse’s skin and coat. Dampness from sweating and baths, the demands of training and showing, and harsh substances in some grooming products all contribute to skin problems such as flaking, itching, a dull coat and infections.

In this two-part series, learn how to keep your show horses looking their best by providing proper nutrition, avoiding harsh chemicals and recognizing the signs and symptoms of over-grooming.

Beauty From the Inside Out A balanced diet is vital to keeping your American Quarter Horse’s skin healthy. Skin and hair lacking necessary nutrients will not function properly. They are also more susceptible to damage and infections.

There are some specific vitamins and minerals that will ensure that your horse feels and looks his best.

Biotin helps metabolize the fats and proteins essential for skin and coat health. Inadequate biotin levels may result in dryness, flaking, fungal infections, a fine and brittle coat or hair loss.

Niacin and pantothenic acid (vitamins B3 and B5) help release energy from food for a sound skin and coat. Riboflavin (Vitamin B12) aids in healing skin trauma. Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) facilitates hair growth and reduces skin inflammation.

Vitamin A (retinol) is an antioxidant that supports the immune system and is critical in promoting good skin and hair. Vitamin E, another antioxidant, retards cellular aging, fights stress and supports the immune system, as well as contributing to thriving skin tissues.

Minerals also play an important role; imbalances and deficiencies are a common cause of coat-related complaints. Selenium contributes to the efficiency of the immune system and also works with vitamin E. But don’t over-supplement selenium, as it has a narrow safety margin.

A zinc deficiency may cause slow hair growth and shedding, delayed hair re-growth, flaking skin, poor wound healing, increased susceptibility to skin irritations and infections, and a dull coat color. Copper is another key mineral for the production of dark coat pigments; inadequate copper is often why a horse’s coat and mane bleach out from sun exposure.

Protein and amino acids are also crucial for skin and coat health. Although a deficiency in protein is rare, some amino acids might be lacking in a horse’s diet. Sulfur amino acids originating from methionine are the most abundant in hair, but the coat also requires generous levels of lysine.

If your horse is getting a balanced diet and still has skin problems, consider adding fat. It’s what gives the skin and coat a soft texture and forms a protective waterproof seal between individual cells and around the shaft of the hair.

The most important fats are the ones the horse can’t make themselves: the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Fresh grass contains high amounts of these fats, but they are lost when grass is dried and baled into hay. A variety of oils and other foodstuffs have these nutrients, but flax seed contains them in the balance that is most beneficial and with fewer calories.

“Flax is a very good source of fat,” says Dr. Rosanna Marsella, a professor of veterinary dermatology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida. “It is also an anti-inflammatory and antipruritic (itching). It really improves the quality of the skin and coat.”

Ground flax seed provides the greatest benefit. Ground flax, common in many skin and coat supplements must be handled with care and be “stabilized” to delay rancidity. Whole seeds may also be purchased, but you should prepare them before each feeding in a coffee bean grinder.

Continue reading at America’s Horse Daily to learn about the effects of stress on the coat and how to maintain an effective grooming program for your show horse.


Arizona Fall Championships

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Good Luck Courtney Ritter and Lady Red!

16601 N. Pima RdAZ-Fall-Championship-2013.ashx
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Dates: September 24-28,2014
Judges: TBA
Please Note: A Health Certificate is required for all out of state horses, and a Coggins Test is required for in state horses.





Check out West World Facilities  …  A Great place to Show!

Why horses are good for Kids

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I’ll never forget when Briar came to me and asked to quit dance. She was dancing competitively since age 4 and at age six she was dancing 4 nights a week for about 3hrs each night. She would then have events or competitions on the weekend our during the week. We lived and breathed dance, it was a wonderful experience that had finally come to an end. She was burned out and wanted to try something else. So she said Horses!

Well, I knew nothing about horses, nothing! But, I thought it must be cheaper then dance and I would regain some “me” time. So, I went on DSCF0852this search for horseback riding lessons. I went through many trainers. But, that experience lead us to competitions and ownership. Now we live and breath horses. I have a little more “me” time but I actually gained a lot more quality time with Briar and we love every minute of it.

Horseback riding is so much more then the act of riding. Riding provides exercise and freedom that only a rider can understand. It gives the child a sense of power that translates into self confidence. It puts them in control of a part of their life that helps them solve problems and release pre-teen frustrations. Anyone who rides will tell you it takes self control, perseverance, patience, problem solving skills ,strength and a will to never give up, because horses have a mind of their own and training them takes skill.

Horse shows provide another set of skills. They learn to prepare and care for the horses during the shows. They learn to socialize with others and create lasting friendships. They learn what constructive criticism is and what not so constructive criticism feels like. But, that’s okay, because they learn life is not always fair. They learn how to present themselves and be judged.

This kind of exposure creates well rounded, talented, hardworking, strong kids that understand there is more to the world then just themselves.
It can be a dangerous sport, but all sports have their risks. With proper training and the use of safety equipment it is safe and rewarding. I encourage everyone to at least ride once and get a glimpse of that freedom.
Please share your thoughts on kids and riding or what you love about riding.


Keeping Horses Safe Around Fireworks…

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I know I have gotten several questions about it in the past week so here is a re-post of my firework safety and horses post from a few year back. I hope you all still find it relevant. Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!!!

Happy 4th of July to all my fellow Americans out there! For all my international readers who are not familiar with the holiday the 4th of July is a holiday that is supposed to celebrate the creation of our country. For some reason in order to do this we have BBQ’s and watch fireworks. And since horses and fireworks tend not to be a match made in heaven I thought it was a good topic for a post.

For many years I have worked a several different horse farms. I have always loved doing the night turnout shift in the summers. This means that I am in charge when the big booms start to happen so if injury occurs it is on my head. So of course being the responsible barn worker that I am I did a lot of research on this topic and I am going to share it with you.   fireworks

My check list on what to do with your horses during a fireworks display…

1) Know your horses and where they feel the most comfortable. Some horses are not very spooky and don’t tend to be bothered by loud noises. My Genny, for example, does not get upset when he is turned out during a thunderstorm. He is perfectly content outside as the thunder cracks, but if he is in his stall during a storm he gets upset. Therefor my horse is better off outside (assuming the area is safe) during the 4th of July. Which he has been with no issues. He turned to face the boom, and when it first starts he will keep his head up, but Genny is just not the kind of horse to get upset by fireworks. The owner’s mare on the other hand is very sensitive to noises. If a thunderstorm is coming and you can hear the rumbling in the distance you can put money on the fact that the mare is tearing around her field in a state of panic. She is much calmer inside. Safety always come first so if one location if putting them in harms way you have to do the other, regardless of where your horses feel the most comfortable. Now keep in mind that this is where your HORSE feels most comfortable, not where you want them to be comfortable. If you want to have them in the barn because it makes you feel better, yet the horses are calmer outside just remind yourself that you are trying to keep them in the least stressful situation.

2) Know your neighbors. In both the farm I was working, and now the one where Gen lives now the neighbors see the openness of the pasture as a good place to aim the fireworks. So they aim the fireworks away from their homes and towards the horses. Therefor putting the horses outside is not an option because they might physically get hit with a firework. It is a good idea to pop over to say “hi” to your neighbors who set off fireworks on the 4th earlier in the day (preferably with a bottle of cheap wine as a gift for them) and just ask them when the fireworks are supposed to start and how long they think the show is going to last.

3) Be aware of your horses surroundings. Take the time today to check all the fence lines and door latches. Try and smooth out any rough terrain if you can and make sure that if your horses are inside that they have plenty of hay to try and distract them from the bombs going off outside. Also don’t forget to walk the field the day after and remove any of the debris from the fireworks.

4) Have sedatives around if necessary. There are TONS of herbal sedatives around like “Total Calm and Focus” and “Quietex” as well as veterinary prescribed sedatives that might be a good idea to keep on hand. As the farm owner you just want to take the edge off a sensitive horse so they don’t injure themselves. There are horror stories like this all over. Most sedatives take a little time to set in so if you think your horse might have an issue and you are concerned I personally feel that you should give them a single dose of a mild sedative as per the instructions on the package which can sometimes be hours before the fireworks display. It really depends on the horse, I know that Genny does not need a sedative.

5) If possible, buy a radio for the horses and leave it on playing relatively loud music. You don’t want to hurt the horses ear drums, but a radio that is on loud enough for you to sing along to it can help distract the horses from the big booms that are going off around them. If your horses are more comfortable outside and in no danger from being there it might not be a bad idea to leave the car with the radio on and the windows open in the driveway near their fields for the duration of the fireworks display. If your horses are going to stay in a barn radio can be purchased for cheap and left in the barn even after the 4th.

6) Desensitize all year if your horse really has a problem. Obviously, it is a little late in the game to be desensitizing for tonight if you are just reading this post now. This is something to keep in mind for next year. Police horses are trained thoroughly, and one of their training areas is fireworks and bombs. They start them small when it comes to getting used to loud bangs, like popping balloons, and work there way up so the horse does not bat an eye when they are out in a riot and people are throwing fireworks around.

So what should you do with horse if you know they are going to have a fireworks display near by?


Know where they feel the safest and keep them there as long as it is safe, know what time the display might start, keep your fields and stalls as danger free as possible, if necessary do not feel bad about giving a sedative to help keep them from hurting themselves, get a radio or some other form of background noise so the booms are not as prominent, and try and get your horse a little more comfortable year round with loud banging sounds so the 4th of July doesn’t seem like Armageddon to them. I hope these tips helped and stay safe everyone!

This great  article  was written by on the bit on July 3, 2010