This will more or less be a list of things- more or less!
If your horse shows a behavior change or starts misbehaving check for pain somewhere in his/her body. Remembered pain can also be a cause- often the case with foaling mares the first time they foal- even if the pain is unrelated to foaling!
If your horse develops runny, weepy eyes or nose check for allergies. Vet allergy panels are very expensive, but often adding Vit. C to the ration will help! If they persist in rubbing tail or mane, besides checking for ticks or mites, consider a conditioning rinse of Scope or a last rinse with either baby oil or Lubriderm in the water!
Be aware that late spring, early summer is prime time for hoof abscess's to arise- hoof has been moist all year and now is drying out rapidly, very susceptible to bruises.
Almost always accidents happen due to people actions or error! In either thought or deed. Over- reacting is a prime one. Don't run, yell, or rush when working with young horses. Stop and think before doing anything in the way of discipline.
If you must fight with a horse- YOU pick the time and place..
Expect the unexpected! Always pay attention to your horse, take nothing for granted- just cause he/she has ALWAYS done this or that, doesn't mean they always will.
Take your time, and give your horse time to adjust to new situations and environments. Let them look around, pause before entering or leaving a dark area into or from a light one- under trees, into or out of the barn.
Insist on good behavior at the gate! No rushing through but make sure the opening is wide enough! If you do have a bolt through the gate, turn around and do it all over again, until it is mannerly and quiet behavior- don't get them riled up doing this either.
If a horse seems 'out to lunch' or gone behind a wall of fear- try and shift the focus of their attention.
Don't "NAG" or 'bug' the animal with repeated snatching of shanks or whip tapping – if you must discipline- do it once with meaning- not countless little taps. And do it immediately after the bad behavior- horses will accept that and get the message.
Remember your reins/lines/ shanks are rather like a telephone- your means of communication with your horse- don't hold with a death grip, rather a light , steady, but firm hold works much better.
Don't anticipate bad behavior or that is exactly what you will get!
Horses are sensitive, self-aware beings- respect that always. And they will respect you for it.
Be aware of family group relationships – especially in regard to totally separating a stallion from his mares. If he can see them he will relax, no horse is a solitary critter, and if physical proximity is out of the question- in the case of a stallion and unbred mares etc- at least let them see each other.
In today's world a stallion usually lives by himself when outside, but he should learn to behave when living in the barn with the rest of the herd.
Barb wire is a NO-NO! And beware that high tensile electric fence can be equally dangerous to horse flesh. Use Surveyors tape to mark wire fencing.
While fences and horses are mostly psychological, horses are not cows and do require different fencing.
Oak wood in barns if far less susceptible to chewing than pine!
Sliding stall door can be horse-pushed off the track and feet caught. Double latching is a good idea for stall doors.
In hot weather , if stalled, two five gallon buckets of fresh water in a stall is a good idea.
If you find you need to feed wet hay, get hay nets, and soak them filled ( but not too overfilled) in an old bathtub or water trough- they are heavy to life so a yardarm comes in handy or a come along if need be.Let them drain before putting in stall. This does alleviate coughs and colic I have found. Is a royal pain to do, but it works! Drain and refill the bathtub or trough daily!
Horses generally like music- Country and Western seems to be the most acceptable to the most horses. I switched mine to Classical, but they never did like violins! Providing music seems to help calm them down, and get associated with relaxation and safety- very helpful later on when working at new things!
That's all for now!
Love and blessings, Ina
Ina M Ish