WELL-MANICURED TACK

EQUUS - - Eq Handson -

I use a nail-clean­ing brush—like the sort used to give man­i­cures—to gen­tly scrub mud off my tack af­ter a messy trail ride. It’s strong enough to cut through the dirt, but soft enough to not scratch the leather.— Mor­gan Devos, Cor­val­lis, Ore­gon

Send your sug­ges­tions for in­ex­pen­sive horse-care sub­sti­tutes as well as hints for sav­ing ef­fort and time to Hands On, EQUUS, 656 Quince Or­chard Road, #600, Gaithers­burg, MD 20878; fax: 301-990-9015; email: EQLet­[email protected]­me­dia.com. Sen­ders of pub­lished items will re­ceive se­lected EQUUS mer­chan­dise.

many sup­pli­ers may be out of hay or have only poor qual­ity bales you are bet­ter off avoid­ing. If you can find good hay, by all means pur­chase it, but don’t set­tle for dusty, moldy or oth­er­wise ques­tion­able bales.

• Stretch your sup­ply. There are ways to make the hay you have last longer with­out com­pro­mis­ing your horses’ health. Be­gin mix­ing in al­falfa pel­lets or cubes with your horse’s ra­tion, cut­ting back on long-stem hay pro­por­tion­ally to main­tain the 2 per­cent thresh­old.

• Re­place hay with an­other for­age source. There are many hay al­ter­na­tives avail­able, in­clud­ing chopped for­age, al­falfa cubes and com­plete feeds. If you can’t stretch your sup­ply of long-stem hay, you can re­place it with one of these. This tran­si­tion needs to be made grad­u­ally, how­ever, well be­fore your sup­ply of hay is gone. And keep in mind that us­ing an al­ter­na­tive with less “chew-time,” such as a com­plete feed, can leave a horse rest­less and more likely to start gnaw­ing on trees or wood fences.

The key to man­ag­ing a hay short­age is to see it com­ing. You don’t want to be caught by sur­prise with an empty loft mid­win­ter.

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