Icy Cold Exercise – Ensure Health and Safety

horse snow

It has now become apparent that this winter seems to be settling in nicely.  It has challenged us with ice induced power outages, frigid temperatures and a lovely dumping of snow.

While we’d all like to be snuggled up next to the crackling fire and forget about looking out the window, the outdoor work won’t look after itself.

During these times, and for the duration of the winter, it’s important to keep in mind what our horses require for activity.  After all, they don’t appreciate a crackling fire quite like we do.

Exercise should not stop during the winter months. During extreme winter weather, many horses are often confined to stalls for longer periods than they are used to. As well, their valiant riders tend to reduce the number of times they tempt frostbitten toes in the arena.

Confinement and limited exercise can lead to lower leg edema (stocking up).  Efforts should be made to provide turn out or exercise as often as possible.  Although these periods of exercise may be shortened due to the cold, even shorter bouts are better than none.

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, caution needs to be taken when riding in deep, heavy or wet snow as this could cause tendon injuries and is extremely hard work for an unfit horse.  Sometimes we forget the extra effort it takes to walk through a foot of snow – especially for our horses.

Avoid icy areas for both horse and rider safety.  This is especially important given our current weather conditions.  Spreading sand or salt on icy patches will help reduce injury from slipping.

One of the greatest challenges with winter riding involves cooling down a horse with a thick winter coat. Leaving a hot, wet horse standing in a cold barn can lead to illness. If horses are exercised regularly to the extent of generating sweat through the winter months, a ‘trace clip’ can be used

With a trace clip, the hair is shaved to about 1/8 inch in length from the underside of the neck and abdomen to the sides of the horse and from the elbows to about a quarter of the way up the body. Other types of clipping patters are often used as well.

It does need to be kept in mind that clipped horses have higher energy needs to simply maintain their body heat, and should be fed accordingly.

Clipped hair will not grow back as rapidly in the winter as it does in warmer temperatures. Once horses are clipped, appropriate shelter and blankets must be used throughout the winter and into the early spring months.

So, enjoy the snow safely and with health in mind, whether it be from the back of your horse, in a heated tack room, or beside the crackling fire.

www.thefigureseven.ca   |  jen@thefigureseven.ca   | 519-699-0303

Weathering out Colic – Is weather induced colic fact or fiction?

With statistics that approximately 10 in every 100 horses are prone to colic, it is not surprising that there are and extensive number of causes.

colic

With the onset of winter, and the fluctuations in temperature many colic cases get blamed on the change in weather.  A recent article by Kentucky Equine Research addresses the theory behind these cases.

Many studies have been unable to find statistical evidence of increased risk. Early reports from Europe suggested weather changes were associated with the highest incidence of colic, specifically changes to cold and damp conditions or to warm and wet during advancing weather fronts (Barth,1980).

A recent study in Texas found an increased risk of colic associated with weather changes asrecalled by owners of horses with colic (Cohen et al., 1999). Cold weather, which affects water intake,has been linked to increased impaction colic.

-Maryland study, weather did not appear to be related to colic (Tinker et al., 1997b). When events were investigated by looking at a 14-day window preceding colic episodes, low humidity and snow marginally increased colic risk (Tinker et al., 1997b).

In a study in Virginia, seven cases of colic occurred during aheavy snowstorm over a three-day period (Tinker, 1995). This was unusual as there were only 104 cases of colic in approximately 1000 horses monitored for a full year.

What became apparent from records kept by the farms was the change in management due to the snowstorm. Horses were kept in stalls, rather than being turned out, and the diet was not altered, even though horses had no turnout or exercise.

The focal increase in colic episodes in this study was most likely not directly related to the weather, but rather due to management changes caused by the weather.”

www.thefigureseven.ca | jen@thefigureseven.ca  |  519-699-0303

Happy New Year from The Figure Seven

happy new year

As we reflect upon 2013 it’s hard to believe the year is already over, and that in a few short hours we will be ringing in 2014.

This year has seen so many opportunities that we are having a hard time keeping up, and deciding what directions we want to head in 2014.  With the help of so many fantastic people we are so blessed to have the support and guidance to take The Figure Seven to new heights.

We would like to thank our amazing customers – we have met and helped many new ones over the last 12 months, and it has been so much fun!

We would also like to thank our fantastic suppliers for constantly bringing us amazing products that work and keep our customers happy.

The Figure Seven would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year – 2014 – The year of the horse!

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Happy New Years Everyone!

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Owned by Julie Walker and Jean Bernard Renaud, this filly might appear to be an underdog, but her potential on the track is already starting to show.

Purchased at the London sale as a yearling in the fall of 2013, she had digestive issues when introduced to grain.  Extremely loose stool and poor coat condition were tell tale signs that she needed some digestive help.  After a few months on Kombat Boots sponsored by The Figure Seven, she seems to be doing much better.

We wish this team a superstar 2014, and can’t wait to update you on their progress in the New Year

Wishing Figure Seven Team Member Maya Markowski and Lumiere a great Season in Florida

Wishing Figure Seven Team Member Maya Markowski and Lumiere a great Season in Florida

Olympic hopefuls Maya and Lumiere are heading south to further pursue their 2016 Olympic Dreams.
After being selected to compete as Canadian delegates in the Nations Cup in March of 2013, we wish them a season as good as the last.

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