I’ll admit, I am very picky when it comes to my personal horse, Dually. While I am fully aware that horses are tough and adaptable animals that do not need stalls, bedding and blankies for their survival, I like my horse to be in tip-top shape, slick and shiny and comfy—for no other reason than it makes me happy. He works very hard for me and he tries hard to please me; in return, I try to do the best I can in caring for him. Between Rich and I, we own about half a dozen horses; while they all get excellent care, our two personal horses, Diggs and Dually, do get a little extra pampering.
Yes, they are in bedded stalls at night with heated water buckets in the winter and they get out every day to run and play in a large grassy field. They get exercised and groomed daily, even when I am not at home. They receive the best supplements on the market—Cosequin ASU for joint health, Proviable EQ (a probiotic) for gut health (something Dually really needs and is highly beneficial for him), Welactin (fish oil) for cardiovascular health and a gleaming hair coat and Calxequin, a hoof and vitamin supplement. Do they need all of this for their survival? No. But are they healthier and stronger for it? Yes. After all, I take this stuff everyday too (the human versions) and I believe strongly that if it is good for me, it is good for my horse.
Diggs and Dually also have a full wardrobe of apparel—blankets for every season and boots for every activity. Again, these things are not necessary for the horse’s survival but they are important to me. I want my horse to look good all year long—not sunburned, shaggy, scraped-up or bug-bitten. I want to make sure that when I load him in the trailer or ask him to perform a high-speed maneuver in the arena that he is protected from injury as much as possible as he does my bidding.
Last year I was fortunate to discover a new line of horse blankets, Bucas, a well-established European company, using high-tech materials and superior design features, which keep the horses comfortable and cozy in all four seasons. The shape and cut of the blankets are far more comfortable than other brands I have used, fitting really well at the shoulders and withers, with a remarkable attention to detail. The durability of Bucas blankets is exceptional—after a full year of use, Dually’s heavy blanket looked brand new after its annual washing (and he is notoriously hard on blankets). And because of the high-tech materials, the winter blankets are comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, as we get here in the high Colorado mountains, so one blanket replaces the need to be switching between a heavy and medium weight blanket. Since our horses get turned out in wooded fields with other horses with their blankets on, they can be pretty tough on them. Over the years I have found that it is cheaper in the long run to pay more for a high quality blanket that you can get many year’s use of, rather than buy a cheap, ill-fitting blanket that falls apart in the middle of the winter.
Our horses wear blankets or sheets all year long. In the summer, they wear Bucas fly/sun sheets during the day to protect from insects and to keep their dark, richly-colored coats from burning in the harsh high-altitude sun. Last week, as the night time temperatures began hovering around thirty degrees, we started using a blanket at night too, in an effort to keep their winter coats from coming in too soon. This is not just for aesthetic reasons but has practical implications since we ride indoors all winter and a long, wet hair coat is difficult to deal with in below freezing temps. The Bucas blankets have a special inside liner that has so much wicking ability that you can put it on a wet horse and he will dry quickly.
While I am fully aware that horses do not need all of this pampering and protection, it makes me feel good to do it. I love looking at our beautiful horses with slick and shiny coats, vibrant dapples and rippling muscles. I love seeing them run and frolic in the fields or sleeping peacefully in their deeply bedded stalls at night. It is personally fulfilling for me to provide the absolute best care for my horses. How about you? What luxuries or pampering do your horses get? What is most important to you in terms of your horse’s care and well-being?
Until next time,
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my horses and take really good care of them. I always say I am sappy over my horses, BUT I don’t think any horses says “I wish my owner would come see me” no they don’t! Maybe they think I am hungry, or better yet, let me out of this stall so I can run with a herd. That is what the horse REALLY wants and likes. That is where they are happy. I like to treat my horse like my baby, but if I am honest with myself HE doesn’t like that. He likes to be a horse running with his herd, so I let him.
I understand what you mean about wanting the best for your horses. We recently purchased 2 Appaloosa show horses and taking the best of care of them is a high priority for me. My husband tells me that horses live without blankests in Montana and Wyoming and I reply “Yes, but they aren’t my horses” We have several other horses on our property – some mine and others are boarders. The Appy’s have their own very generous size stalls with bright lights, nice bedding, and their own private paddocks. Both have an array of blankets – heavy, mid, light, cooling sheets and fly sheets. They have good quality grain, hay and supplements and daily turnout. Some days can be challenging deciding what weight blanket they neeed and I frequently have one for night and another for day. It’s like have children at home again; and as with children, they are worth every bit of the love and attention! They give me so much in return!!
I OWN WALKING HORSES AND THERE ARE A LOT OF NATURAL TRAINED WALKING HORSES ANY MORE. BOX HANGING 3 RANCH ( http://WWW.MOUNTAINBREDWALKERS.COM ) IN DUBOIS, WY TURNS OUT GREAT TRAIL PLEASURE HORSES. WINDY HILL WALKING HORSES IN MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA TURNS OUT GREAT PLEASURE HORSES AND THAT IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICE BURG. I GREW UP ON QUARTER HORSES AND I STILL LIKE A GOOD QUARTER HORSE BUT TO RIDE FOR PLEASURE,TRAIL, GAMES AND SHOW I WOULD NOT TRADE MY WALKING HORSE FOR ANY OTHER. BUMIN AROUND RANCH
I agree, too! My horses (Gisela is 14 and Sterling is 27) are ready for any weather with fly sheets, light, medium and heavy blankets. Both are on Omega’s and a joint supplement with HA. Gisela was diagnosed with high ringbone recently so she has had her pasterns injected, the farrier put her in clogs and I’ve been using magnetic pastern boots and Sore No More to help her out. So far, so good. I will probably start Adequan and/or Legend in the future with her.
By the way, I bought a Bucas for Sterling this year after a “buddy” in turnout tore his old flysheet to shreds and I love it!
I totally agree!! Even tho my horse is now 25 – I ask those around him where I board to treat him like the million dollar horse he is to me. And even tho he’s 25 – he is one of the youngest looking horses there because of all this: We have him on joint support, a coat suppliment, buy extra hay for him to munch whenever, and I have two of everything – medium and lite blankets, 2 buckets – heated and non … etc – oh and plenty of extra halters and leads. Why – because we love him and want the best for him. And I too try every day to make sure to at least give him a pat or two if I do not have time to brush or ride. It saddens me when I see others look over at us with a look in their eyes that say “I sure wish my owners would come see me” or “I sure wish you were my owner”. Keep up your love and care Julie!!!