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MULE CROSSING: Owning an Equine Is Serious Business, Part 2

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By Meredith Hodges

As discussed in Part 1 of this article, there are many realistic and very important steps to choosing, housing and caring for an equine. Let’s begin at the beginning…BEFORE you make a purchase.

TIP: Before you buy your equine, take the time to educate yourself with books and DVDs. Knowledge is your most powerful tool.

Here is a checklist of things to consider BEFORE you buy:

  • Consult with knowledgeable professionals who can help you get started on the right foot.
  • Pick your equine for not only his particular athletic potential, but for his compatibility with your own personality.
  • Carefully choose your vet and farrier ahead of the time of your purchase.
  • When you are ready to buy, bring along a qualified professional to look at any animals in which you may be potentially interested.
  • When choosing your equine, ask the seller to demonstrate to you what the equine does, and then ask if you can ride him, doing the same moves yourself to make sure the animal will perform for more than just the seller.
  • Check the animal for any unsoundness and signs of tranquilizers or other drugs.
  • Ask the owner to load and unload the equine into and out of a trailer.
  • Make sure registration papers and health records are in order and up to date.
  • Get a pre-purchase exam from your veterinarian.

Once your animal is home, make sure that:

  • He has adequate shelter, good nutrition and a routine he can count on.
  • There is a safely fenced, two-acre area per equine for turnout, along with adequate shelter from the elements.
  • He is given feed that is appropriate for normal growth.
  • Feeding is done at the same time each day, both in the morning and in the evening—without fail.
  • You visit the barn twice every day in order to check your equine from head to tail, making sure that he has not injured himself and that he is not getting sick.

Become familiar with the first signs of possible illness:

  • Is your equine eager to see you—alert and attentive, with bright eyes and ears perked in your direction—or is he sullen and lethargic?
  • Does he go after his food immediately and chew with regularity?
  • Does he appear to have been rolling on the ground? (If so, is he still eating well?)
  • Is the manure a healthy color and consistency, and is there the usual amount of manure and urine? (If there is an abrupt change in amount or appearance, call your veterinarian.)
  • Is your equine sweating? (If he is, is it just the weather, or is it an elevation in his temperature?)
  • How is he moving? (Does he have regularity of gait, or is he exhibiting any lameness?)
  • Check the eyes, ears and nostrils for discharge or any other irritations. (If there is any discharge, is it clear and minimal, or is it thick and yellowish or bloody?)
  • Check the hooves for any cracks, stress rings or abnormalities in the foot. (How fast is the foot growing? Is the foot growing faster or slower than usual? Is he maintaining the proper angles in the feet? Prepare for farrier visits accordingly.)
  • Check the water and trace mineral salt block. (Is the water clean and free from debris? Has the salt block been used? If so, how much?)

To keep flies and other insects under control:

  • Feed the right kinds of healthy feed.
  • Keep water sources clean and fresh.
  • Daily—clean all stalls, pens and sheds so that they are free of manure, and add fresh bedding of straw or shavings, as needed.
  • Periodically—clean your barn with a disinfectant.
  • Keep all tack and equipment clean.
  • Each time you leave the tack room, spray for any residual flies, using a household spray made specifically for flying insects.
  • Keep manure collection piles well away from the barns and your house. (I suggest having manure hauled away weekly). Putting manure on pastures will only invite weeds to take over.
  • Regularly groom once a week to remove excess hair, mud, etc. This will help to eliminate places on your animal (including his legs), that may be a target for egg-laying insects.
  • For sores, scabs or bumps, use Neosporin. If these are severe, use Panalog—also called Animax or Dermalone—by prescription from your vet.
  • Do notclip the hair inside the ears.
  • Do notclip the hair on the legs (unless you absolutely must for showing).
  • Use Johnson’s baby oil on the manes and tails.This helps to keep the flies at bay and will also keep other animals from chewing on each other’s manes and tails.
  • Use Farnam brand Tri-Tech 14 fly spray once a week (it lasts the longest). This helps to control bugs and insects that can pester your equine, especially during warm weather. (I have found that herbal remedies do not seem to work as well.)
  • Use fly masks that have holes for the ears for those equines that have sensitive skin and/or are sentive around the facial area. The fly masks that have ears built in often do not comfortably fit donkeys and mules.

Farnam Super Masks will usually fit most equines.You can find them in most tack and vet stores.

NOTE: To further prevent the infestation of parasites, fields and pastures should be harrowed in the spring and the fall, and between hay cuttings.

Finding a good veterinarian and farrier is paramount to the health of your equine. You will need to find out which vaccinations are needed for your area, and schedule the spring vaccinations accordingly. If you are not a skilled, experienced equine person, it is best to have your veterinarian administer these vaccines for you, as sometimes certain animals can have adverse reactions to them. (Many inexperienced owners administer shots and other medications because they want to save money, but this can often result in adverse reactions and, consequentially, higher vet bills.)

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and encourage your veterinarian to help you to learn veterinary maintenance that you can do yourself. Most good veterinarians are happy to do this, as it frees them up to tend to the more serious cases in their practice. I would be suspicious of a vet who is reluctant to discuss the health of your equine with you.

Here’s a “health support team” checklist:

  • Is the vet you are using allowing you to ask questions about your equine?
  • Is he or she asking you questions about your equine, as well?
  • Is there open communication between you and all the members of your equine’s support team?
  • Do the vet, farrier, equine chiropractor, massage therapist and any other professionals involved in the welfare of your equine communicate well with each other?

NOTE: The overall focus should always be the health of the equine patient, including a cooperative effort from his health support team.

Now that you have a good idea of what it takes, on a daily basis, to properly manage your equine and his environment, you’re well on your way to reaching your goal of being a knowledgable, responsible equine owner. In Part 3 of this article, we will cover the responsibilities associated with your equine in preparation for future athletic activities.

To learn more about Meredith Hodges and her comprehensive all-breed equine training program, visit LuckyThreeRanch.com or call 1-800-816-7566. Check out her children’s website at JasperTheMule.com. Also, find Meredith on FacebookYouTube and Twitter.

© 2012, 2016, 2018 Lucky Three Ranch, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

YALER eNewsletter

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The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

April 24, 2018

Ears the news…

To quote the Beatles, “It’s been a long cold, lonely winter” but FINALLY! “Here Comes the Sun”! It has been the winter from H. E. double hockey sticks. I have never been so grateful for the arrival of spring.

The winter seriously tapped our finances and our morale. We had several sick animals, we lost a dear donkey named Merlin to colic. His buddy of 14 years Rupert, also colicked badly and we thought we were going to lose him, but with good veterinary intervention and the commitment of dedicated care givers he rallied. We got him a donkey buddy to help him overcome his depression over the loss of his best friend and now Rupert and Mr. Peabody are thriving and are ready to be adopted. Rupert was also battling with his chronic equine “asthma” while being so sick from the colic episode. He is on daily medication that he will need forever so his potential adopter needs to have the financial resources to ensure he will get his medication.

       Rupert & Mr. Peabody

On April 2nd we welcomed Zelda’s foal after an arduous wait! She gave us a healthy baby girl. We had a name the baby contest which was won by Barbara Henon whose name was chosen by randomly selecting a name from a bucket containing all the female choices. The little one has been aptly named Sassafrass, a.k.a. Sassy, and man oh man does she live up to her name! She is one sassy little one. She zips around her paddock, jumping over hay piles and the other day, right over the back of her mom who was trying to nap in the sun. Sassy is a sweet heart. She is already learning via clicker training, to pick up all four feet for the reward of a wither scratch.

Sassafrass & Zelda

As you know about me, if you have been reading this newsletter for any length of time, I HATE having to ask for help. Call me stubborn <G> but I seem to think I should be able to take care of things myself. Well, REALITY SLAM! I simply cannot, which is why I am reaching out for help yet again. This winter took its toll on our finances. We needed a lot of veterinary care, medications, special diets and for some reason hooves have been growing like crazy which necessitates more frequent farrier visits. It feels like it’s always something. One step forward; three steps back. The reality of financially managing an equine rescue can be mind boggling at times.

Our contract states that if an adopter can no longer keep the animal(s) they adopt from SYA, they must come back to the rescue. I want to know for sure that no animal we have helped will ever end up in the slaughter pipe line. We have had three families have to surrender multiple animals of late, due to no fault of their own, aging, illness, financial issues, life changes. Of course we are happy to take these animals back in to the fold, but it’s more financial strain.

f you have not already, please check out our Take a Long Ear to Lunch program. By donating any amount you chose on a monthly basis you can feel great knowing you are helping the animals every day. Any way you can help out will be very gratefully appreciated.

Thank you to all of you who are already supporters. I am on beyond grateful to you.

ChEARS,

Ann

President & Shelter Manager

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SYALER eNewsletter

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The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

 

Dear loyal SYALER friends,

As I write this Ann is out doing chores this frigid night, lugging hot water from her house to make mashes for the animals who get them, carrying and spreading hay for each group so every donkey and mule has access, graining and medicating those who need it, filling water troughs (yikes, don’t let the spigot run over and cause a skating rink now!) and most importantly checking that each animal appears bright and healthy as the day flips from dusk to dark.

In that manner, Ann works her way around to all four barns until every creature on the farm is fed, watered and content.

Come daylight, she will do it all again and hope once chores are complete she has the energy to go back to scoop manure and add fresh shavings so her charges can be as comfortable as possible.

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SYALER eNewsletter

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The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

Ears the news…

I hope everyone had a lovely, relaxing Thanksgiving. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for. Thanks to you, our loyal contributors, Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue has found great new homes for 36 animals so far this year!  We exist to help long ears in need and your financial gift makes this possible.

a lazy day at the rescue

Your donation is very important to us as it offers immediate resources that go directly to the current needs of the animals and the rescue itself. We have one, amazing paid farm hand, everything else is done by volunteers.

Hannah with her assistant, Daisy… sporting the shades.

Your gift of $500.00 will make a long term impact on the animals in our care. Please send a donation today to help us meet our annual fund raising goal of $35,000.00. You, our loyal supporters are the reason we celebrated our tenth year of running Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue as a 501 c-3 non-profit donkey and mule rescue this September. We could not do what we do without YOU!

Please take part in making this year’s fund raiser a success. You can mail a check to SYALER, 23 Saw Mill Road, South Acworth, NH or make a payment via PayPal by clicking on the DONATE button.

I thank you very much in advance.

Warm regards,

Ann

President & Shelter Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SYALER eNewsletter

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The following is from Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue:

Ears the news…

I apologize for the lack of newsletters. Between heading off to CA for the Donkey Welfare Symposium, coming home just long enough to unpack, wash my clothes and repack. I was then off to set up and (wo)man our booth at Equine Affaire along with great helpers Jennifer Molnar, Pamela Simmons, Joan Gemme, and Mike Dunham.  As always it was great to see many old friends who stop by every year to see what’s new for merchandise and to share stories of their donkey friends, many of whom were adopted from SYA! I also look forward to meeting new friends every year at this exhausting, but fun event.

Just before leaving I had a call about a very sad donkey named Sal. Sal’s person suffers from mental illness and had left his home for parts unknown leaving poor Sal behind. A kind neighbor called to see if Save Your Ass could help. Of course we were happy to take him in.  This poor fellow had not had his hooves trimmed in a very long time. They were sadly overgrown and misshapen.

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8 Copy

Breeding Letter from George Washington

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A letter from George Washington, written in 1786, was recently put up for auction by bookseller William Reese. The letter is in regards to a donkey sent to Washington’s Mount Vernon ranch for the purpose of breeding. Washington is well-known for his agricultural brilliance and for breeding the first American mule. The correspondence was written a during a breif period of retirement and a few years before Washington became president. washington-letter

Washington writes: “Dear Sir, When your favor of the first inst., accompanying the she ass, came to this place, I was from home – both however arrived safe; but Doct. Bowie informs me that the bitch puppy was not brought to his house. Nor have I heard any thing more of the asses at Marlbro’, nor of the grass seeds committed to the care of Mr. Digges. I feel myself obliged by your polite offer of the first fruit of your jenny. Though in appearance quite unequal to the match, yet, like a true female, she was not to be terrified at the disproportional size of her paramour; and having renewed the conflict twice or thrice it is to be hoped the issue will be favourable. My best respects attend [Mrs. Sprigg] & the rest of your family. With great esteem & regard, I am Dr. Sir Yr. most ob. serv. Go. Washington.”

SAYLER Update and Auction Items Needed

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Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue is planning for their 2016 Cabin Fever Auction (March 6-13) and are accepting donations of artwork, jewelry, gift baskets, gift cards, tchotchkes, hand- made items, services …anything you think someone might enjoy and be excited to bid on. Donated items do NOT need to be donkey or animal related. Contact them though their website to arrange for donations. Below is an update on Stan, a donkey they recently rescued.

Stan the Donkey“We recently took in a 35-year old donkey who’s long-time buddy passed away. Stan came into the rescue in pretty rough shape. He was not at all friendly and wanted nothing to do with people or the other donkeys. He was covered in burrs and his poor tail was so matted it looked and felt like a club. His forelock and flanks were chock full of burdocks stuck tightly to his skin. He was examined by our vet and it was discovered that he is blind, with large cataracts in both eyes. He was also in dire need of dental work – it’s doubtful that he had ever had dental work in his lifetime. He had such sharp points on his molars that they actually punctured his tongue, and he had so much tartar build up on the outsides of his molars that the inside of his cheeks had become ulcerated. Every time Stan moved his jaw he must have been in excruciating pain. No wonder he was not friendly!

Dr Lea Warner sedated him and floated his teeth, my helpers Annie and Hannah worked on getting the burrs out, and our farrier, Matt Caprioli, worked on getting his feet trimmed while Stan was in la la land.

Well, in the weeks since then Stan has blossomed! He is a new man! He must feel so much better! He is now friendly and seeks attention. He did not want to be touched when he first arrived and now he enjoys being groomed and has a big honk for me in the morning when I go out. He gets on very well considering his age and disability.”

 

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