First comes mud, then comes cold, hard ground, then comes abscesses.
Right now we have three horses with abscesses. Many people soak the hoof in epson salts and then wrap.
Some people just leave them and let them work out on their own. Both seem to work. I believe movement is most important and, as hard as it is to see a horse limp around, the abscess bursts faster and the horse is happier than being put in a stall of some kind. If a horse gets an abscess at our ranch, they still are out limping around.
We are all about slow feeders and hay nets this time of year – hay eating season.
This is the second year we’ve used 100 gallon water tanks fitted with frames and nets from DIY Slow Feed Hay Feeders.
We started out using the plastic frames, but the horses broke those, so when they came out with medal frames, we bought those and so far they have worked well.
We also have hay nets from Hay Chix. I love their nets. They are strong and last long. And we need strong, cause horses break everything.
We have all sizes. Small square bale size, like the photo above. We also have two round bale sizes that we used for round bales this summer, but now we can’t find round bales that are horse quality and also priced decently, so we’ve set up goal post looking stations and hang the nets on those to keep them mostly off the ground and easy to fill with loose hay.
We put them close to the electric fence so the horses can’t get behind them as they are open in the back for easy access.
We just put medal T-posts in the ground and covered them with pvc pipe and used plumbing fixtures on the end to fasten the top piece on and then used rope to hold one side of the net on. I can’t say they are full proof because sometimes the horses knock off the top horizontal post. It’s an easy fix, but it always frustrates me.
The horses aren’t supposed to get behind them, but then they do. . .
We also hung one with a small hay net. We have it kept open with a plastic frame we made with pvc pipe, for easy filling. But the horses kept breaking the plastic frame. Should I be surprised? So we are now trying out a medal frame.
None of it looks pretty, but it gets the job done, and makes our lives a little easier.
We also continue to use hay pillows,
but we mostly just put those inside our arena/shelter as when it gets muddy they turn into a big muddy mess and are very hard to use. The zippers get stuck and it just doesn’t work. We used them a lot last year, but have turned to using hay nets much more this year. The hay pillows are great when the weather is nice, but this is Illinois and this time of year, the weather is never nice.
Winter is hard. Winter is harder when you have to be out twice a day feeding horses. But we muddle through and we try to come up with ways to make our lives easier. Then we wait for the horses to break them.