Archive for the ‘Horse Comfort’ Category

Keeping Horses Cool During Hot Weather

June 16, 2016

The summer hasn’t technically started yet but the heat is climbing steadily here in Upstate NY. Always be sure to do everything you can to keep your horse cool and comfortable this summer. Here are a few tips:

  • Provide shade. If your horse is outside in the paddock for the hotter part of the day, make sure there is provided shade. A run- in shed wouldhorse-1328890_1920 be the best option, but trees can also be a source of shade.
  • Choose Cooler Turnout Times. A lot of barns around here turn their horses out at night. If you don’t have the option to turn the horses out at night, then turn them out early in the morning or later in the day.
  • Create Airflow. If you are able to keep the horses in the barn doing the day, be sure that air is flowing through the barn and the horses are
    getting air in their stalls. Fans are a great source to help with airflow, but be sure that they are in a position where no horses can get ahold of cords and plugs.
  • Adjust your Riding Schedule. Try riding early in the morning or late at night. The temperature will be the lowest during these times of day.

Always check for signs of heat stress such as increased heart rate and respiration rates, profuse sweating, or droopy ears. If there are signs of heat stress, call your vet and hose your horse off with water and immediately remove the water with a sweat scraper while you wait for your vet to arrive. We all look forward to summer riding, just be sure to keep your horse comfortable this summer!

Do you turn your horses out at night or during the day in summer?

Advertisements

Dyna’s Story- Navicular Syndrome

May 3, 2016
12987958_944201372343172_1679259081_n

Cindy & Dyna

I love my job. Mostly because I love horses, and get to look at gorgeous barns, pretty horses, and I get to talk to horse people all day. But talking to someone who loves an animal as much as you do is probably my favorite part about my job. Selling the products that we sell at IGK Equestrian, I get to talk to lots of horse people! Last week I had a local woman, Cindy, call me who had heard about our mattress system, from a friend who has our mattresses in her dairy barn! She was so excited about our SuperStall Mattresses that she drove out that day to the office to take a look at our product. She told me how she has two horses, and that one of them has Navicular Syndrome. I immediately fell in love with her story and her horse. I wanted to do everything I could to help out “Dyna”! Here is her story:

“Dyna found me in 2006 at the age of 8. She had been a show horse in many types of events from jumping to western pleasure to a lesson horse by the time I met her. I knew I was purchasing a “lame” horse but to what degree was unknown and by then the bond was formed. I wanted her no matter what! We discovered her navicular at the time of purchase with a routine vet check. After X-rays and many vet appointments and farrier trials with new shoes consisting of rim pads and egg bars along with medication and joint 12980514_944201222343187_1139237171_nsupplements she has been comfortable until this past winter.Knowing that she could become more “ouchy” over time and with age I tried to think of continual ways to keep her comfortable. A friend of mine suggested your product. I researched it online and thought it would be the perfect remedy. The mattresses were installed right away (in both of my horse’s stalls) and I have seen instant relief in how Dyna walks out of her stall and overall movement. I am so grateful and thankful to have found IGK Equestrian. Dyna is a “family member” and I want her to be as comfortable and happy as possible. I love he

SuperStall Horse Mattress System

Dyna checking out her new SuperStall!

Cindy also owns Dyna’s son Riley. Riley is sound and she wants to keep him sound so she figured putting a mattress in Riley’s stall would be a great way to do that. I love hearing stories like this and how much our SuperStall Mattress can help. I have heard so many accounts about horses no longer limping out of their stall, or seeing more shavings on the horse’s body everyday because they’re constantly lying down on the SuperStall. I’m so glad that we could help Dyna feel much more comfortable! If you have any questions and would like to know how our SuperStall Mattress System can benefit your horse, don’t hesitate to give me a call!

Spring Cleaning Around the Barn

March 24, 2016

Spring is officially here! And you know what that means? Spring cleaning around the barn! I always try and do cleaning around the barn when I’m there, but it really is great when you take a day (or week!) to thoroughly clean the barn. Grab everyone that boards their horses there or grab some friends and make it a party with lunch involved! Let’s take a look at some good tips on cleaning your barn!

Start with de-cobwebbing your entire barn. After a long winter cobwebs can pile up, creating a fire hazard for your barn. Use a broom or a duster on a long pole so that you can reach higher places in your barn. You can grab one at Walmart for about $17! They are really handy! Once you got all of your cobwebs down, sweep every nook and cranny of your barn. Get every corner, behind tack boxes, under doors, everywhere! You’ll notice a huge difference in your barn immediately after completing both of these cleaning tasks!Renovating a barn, spring cleaning around the barn

Since freezing temperatures are in the past, you can take down all of your heated buckets. Be sure to clean them thoroughly with a sanitizing solution and store them upside down. You may have a few extension cords that you used with the heated buckets. Wrap the extensions cords up nicely and find a good place to store them. You can easily run to your local hardware and grab some extra hooks and hang them in your tack or storage room. That way when you need them next fall you won’t have to dig through any bins looking for them!

Finish tidying up the barn by cleaning out each stall completely. Conventional mats, you would have to pull the mats up, muck out whatever bedding or manure got under the stall mats, and then sanitize the ground under the mats. With our SuperStall Mattress System, which is a wall-to-wall system, you can use a power washer to clean your stall. The mattress connects directly to the stall wall, sealing the foam under the waterproof topcover. A quick sweep of a power wash with an attached detergent (of course make sure it is safe for your horses) can easily kill bacteria and make your stall sparkling again! Spend less time on maintenance and mucking out your stalls by adding our SuperStall system to your barn this Spring during Spring cleaning time at the barn!

How do you spring clean at your barn?

Broodmare Stall Tips

February 9, 2016

If you intend on breeding any of your horses or maybe have some borders that have bred horses, it really is important that you have a broodmare stall available at your barn. I’ve had some customers just open a partition between two stalls to create one big stall, or they put a big stall in the corner of the barn. However you build your broodmare stall, I have a few tips for creating the perfect atmosphere for your horse to bring her foal into the world.

A broodmare stall needs to be larger than a normal stall. Your mare needs to be able to roll around when she’s in labor, and the stall can’t be too small where she could accidentally step on her foal after its born. A lot of farms do at least a 12×18 stall, or if you are going to use two stalls with a partition you could go up to 12×24. Make sure that there is good ventilation in the stall area that you choose, but be sure that there is no direct drafts that may make the newborn cold.

The stall needs to be 110 percent disinfected. Be sure to strip any old bedding of the stall out and remove any buckets or feeders. Wash the walls of the stall, stall door, stall floor, basically any surface in the stall with a pressure washer or garden hose, and scrub with a stiff brush and detergent. You then can disinfect all stall surfaces with 2 ½ tablespoons of Lysol concentrate per gallon of water. Apply the solution with a spray bottle, sponge, or mop. Allow this to air dry. Pay close attention to any splintered pieces of wood or any imperfections that could harm the new foal. Fix or remove any problem areas.

The bedding in the stall should be safe for both the mare and the foal. Thick bedding in the stall is necessary, and needs to be kept clean. Straw is the best option for broodmare bedding. Shavings or sawdust can harbor bacteria, which could be a danger to your new foal.

Last but not least, double-check that you have enough lighting. There should be adequate lighting to be able to see everything that’s going on in the stall, but not so much lighting that your mare is stressed out from it. At night you should dim the lights or turn some of them off so that she has the nighttime feeling, but set the libroodmare stallghts so that you can still see the progress in the stall.

Many of our customers purchase out SuperStall system for broodmare stalls. It is very easy to sanitize and clean, and provides a comforting area for her to give birth in. They’ve even used it to go up the walls of the stall! Our stalls are all custom made for your exact stall size, so if you decide to create stalls that are partitioned, where the partition can be moved or if you do one large broodmare stall, we can make the stall for you!

How do you have your broodmare stall set up?

Footing for an Outdoor Arena

February 1, 2016

I don’t know about you but I am definitely missing riding in the outdoor arena. Riding in the indoor of course is nice, but there is nothing like riding outside in the fresh air with a great view. Finding the correct footing for an outdoor arena can be tough at times; here are a few things to look for when choosing footing for your outdoor arena.

  • Your arena should be able to be wet and still ride on; it should not become slippery and or hard after getting wet. There are a few footing options that can become very slippery even with the slightest amount of moisture such as dew on your arena. Slippery arenas can be catastrophic for your horse. (check out this blog I wrote on slippery footing!) It should also not be rock hard after rain. Some types of sand will become almost like concrete after rain, not something you want to have to spend time on trying to break up.
  • The footing should not break down outside. When withstanding the elements, some footings break down very fast and have to be replenished often; costing you lots of time and money. Any organic matter that is in your footing will break down in a rainy climate.
  • If you have additives in your footing, they have to be held in the footing. For example: if you have fiber or smaller rubber additives, they should not be blowing away with the wind. You don’t want to watch thousands of dollars just drift out of your arena and across your property.

Finding the perfect recipe of footing for an outdoor arena can be tough at times, but look no further than our dust-free footing products. All of our dust-free footingsFooting for an outdoor arena can be used in outdoor arenas. All of our footings are composed of pure silica sand that is sub-angular, giving horses the perfect amount of grip, while not compacting. The additives in the footing are bound to the sand with our wax component. The wax in the footing not only binds the elements to hold the footing together, but it also is what makes our footing dust-free, you no longer have to water your outdoor arena! The wax component allows for water to wick off of the surface, so that you can ride immediately after a rainstorm.

Don’t spend more time fighting with footing in your outdoor arena. Switch to our synthetic dust-free footing and no longer worry about your footing becoming hard, slippery, loosing your additives, or replenishing your arena constantly!

Do you like riding in an indoor or outdoor more?

Why Our Footing Cannot Be Mixed With Your Footing

February 1, 2016

Around this time of the year, customers are planning their spring barn projects causing our number of inquiries to rise; along with how many questions we get about our footings. Recently, we’ve noticed a few popular questions come up, with the most popular being: “what do I do with my old footing? Can yours be mixed in?”

Our footing is manufactured in a specific mixing facility in Upstate NY. This allows for us to control all aspects of the environment that the mixture isArena Footing cannot be mixed,  being created in. If we did not so closely monitor the manufacturing process, the footing could end up with particles in the footing that create dust, or an incorrect type of sand in the footing, which could cause the footing to compact. We have kept the same formula for our footing since we started in 2004, and do not want to alter it in anyway.

With our footing being manufactured in such a specific way, there is not an alternate approach for making our footing such our footing to be mixed in with what is currently in your arena. If you have a current arena with footing, it will have to be completely removed in order to install our products. The most common approach for removing footing is to hire a contractor that has worked with horse arenas before. It is important to check references before the contractor starts work. The footing has to be removed in such a way that it does not damage the base. More than likely, a bit of base work will have to be done before adding our dust-free footing.

We love all of the questions that we get asked and if you have any questions I may have no answered in our blogs, let me know!

Winterize Your Horse Barn

December 1, 2015

Here in Upstate NY, our winters are brutal. Being located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, we can get buried pretty quickly by lake effect snow. In the winter of 2015, we had 125.3” of total snowfall! As we start to batten down the hatches, or close the stall windows of our barn to keep the nasty cold out, you also should start thinking about how we are going to winterize your  horse barn. Here are a few tips!

  • Stock up on supplies you may need in the winter, such as hay or bedding. Some barns I know cut and bale their own hay, but if you purchase hay from someone else, stock up on it at the end of summer when prices will be the lowest. If you wait until the first of the year when you are running out of hay, prices can almost double. Be sure your hay is stored in a well ventilated area.
  • Take the extra time you’ll be spending in the barn to do a good dusting. Cobwebs in a barn can be a fire hazard and are not sightly. Use a broom covered with a cloth and go through your barn with a good cleaning. The cobwebs and dust that has collected over the summer aren’t good for your horses’ health or yours!
  • Walk around your barn and see where there may need to be repairs. Waiting until there are sub-zero temperatures to fix a gate is definitely not an ideal situation. Complete all of the repairs that you may see. Also be sure to know where everything is located around the outside of your barn. If you live in a climate like we do, snow can accumulate very fast and you may lose sight or forget where something was placed outside of your barn. Draw a map of your facility if you have to, so that you know where everything is located outside once the snow covers it up. Be sure that gates are all still accessible in the snow.
  • Although our first instinct is to close everything in the barn up for the winter to keep heat in, you still need to keep your barn well ventilated. During the winter, your horses are probably going to be spending 50 percent or more of their time in their stall. Mucking your stall daily, and keeping good ventilation throughout your barn will keep your horses breathing healthy air and keeping them happy.
  • Make sure you have enough space for your winter manure. A 1,000 pound horse can generate 50 pounds of manure each day. Even a barn with a few horses can quickly create a mountain of manure. Before winter comes, create an adequate place to store the manure for a few months, or construct a plan on how to remove the manure even with snow on the ground and how you’re going to dispose of it.
horse-422118_1280

Winterize your Horse Barn

The biggest issues that you may face in the barn in the cold winter months are spending additional time mucking out manure from the horses being inside more, and trying to keep the dust in your indoor arena down, without freezing your footing.  Both of these potential problems can be solved by installing our SuperStall Mattress System and our Dust-Free Arena Footing. Our one piece, wall-to-wall mattress system will eliminate deep bedding and cut down on time it takes to muck out your stalls. By installing our dust free footings in your indoor arena, you no longer have to worry about watering your footing in the winter and then the footing freezing from the moisture. Winters can be hard in a horse barn, but installing our products in your barn and taking some steps to winterize your horse barn
can make it easier!

Oops, I Spilled Water in My Stall!

November 23, 2015

I’ve helped out at a lot of different barns over the years. I like seeing exactly how everyone operates their facility and has their own particular ways. But no matter what, when I am in a barn and I am filling water buckets they always say “don’t let it overflow!!”

If you have a deep bedded system, the spilled water will create a big wet area, and you normally spill it right where the water bucket is, where the horse stands most of the time. Some barns will leave the water in the stall, and wait for it to eventually evaporate.  It is not good for your horse to stand in wetness for long periods of time. Too much moisture in the horse’s hoof will actually weakHunter Harrison 037en and break the hydrogen bonds that are in the cellular makeup of the hoof, and will make the hoof too flexible and reduce the hoof’s structure.  The hoof will become soft and weak. Other barns will pull out the three inches of bedding that it saturated and replenish that whole area with new bedding, becoming very costly. If you’re using thick rubber mats, this water can get under the mat and create mold; which is dangerous for your horse to be around.

If you were to have a SuperStall Mattress System in your stall, then spill some water, it is an easy clean  up! Our SuperStall Mattress keeps all liquids right on top of the rubber topcover. The topcover is not porous so you don’t need to worry about the topcover absorbing some water and creating bacteria, and water will not get under the topcover and create mold. You only need to bed your stalls about one inch, so you don’t have to worry about having your bedding being soaked. Most people with our stalls installed, just shop vac up the water that is sitting right on top of the cover and add a bit of refresher bedding. You’ll never have to tell your barn help “don’t let the water overflow!!” again!

 

Stall Floors

November 9, 2015

You would not believe the kind of questions I get during sales calls for our SuperStall Systems. How old is your oldest stall? (Our first one was installed in 2006!) How thick is your foam pad under the topcover? (1 1/8”) How thick is the full mattress system together? (Around 1 1/4”) The next question I normally get is “what flooring should be under the mattress system?”

When building a barn, you normally have a subgrade (your soil), then 2-4 inches of a subbase, composed of aggregate stone, and then 2-4 inches of a compacted crushed stone, such as limestone. There are a variety of floors that you can have in yourIMG_2205 barn. Some choose to keep this crushed stone base as the floor of their entire barn, some pour a cement center isle while keeping crushed stone in the stalls, while others will pour a cement floor inside the entire barn. Pouring cement in the entire barn, or at least a cement center aisle are the best options for horse owners. If you for some reason cannot pour any cement, there are ways to make crushed stone work. The most important thing when utilizing a crushed stone floor is to make sure that it is fully compacted. If you are using crushed stone as your entire floor, you will most likely disrupt only the top 1/2 inch in the aisle way. Everything under that 1/2 inch will not be disrupted if it has been compacted correctly. Both cement and crushed stone are not adequate enough for a stall floor. There should be some sort of barrier between your horse’s hooves and the hard surface. Think of how much our bodies hurt from standing on concrete all day, a horse is the exact same. They don’t want to stand or lay on a hard surface, and adding extra bedding for padding is not much help. The stall requires some sort of cushion for the horse.

Our SuperStall Mattress System works great with both crushed stone floors and cement floors. IGK SuperStall system is composed of foam and a rubber topcover. The foam lie
s directly on the floor, while the topcover is installed over the foam and attached to the stall walls, sealing the foam under a waterproof surface. When you have a crushed stone floor, we recommend that you have a plastic sheet under the foam, so the moisture that sometimes works its way up through the crushed stone, does not reach the foam. If you have any other questions that you would like me to answer in a blog please let me know!

SuperStalls Can Help You Go Green Too!

November 3, 2015

Horse Stalls Going GreenLast week I focused my weekly blog on how our footing can help your barn to “Go Green”. This week we’re going to continue the discussion and focus on our SuperStall Mattress Systems. Our SuperStall Mattress system is a wall to wall mattress consisting of foam and a topcover. The topcover attaches to the wall and seals off the foam mattress, creating a barrier so that no liquids can get to the foam. Our durable topcover keeps liquids on top and your horses happy. Since our SuperStall has the perfect amount of cushion, you don’t need to add three inches of bedding to give your horses more cushion, instead you only bed your stall at the most, one inch. When using less than an inch of bedding, you will be saving up to 60% in bedding. This not only saves in time and money, but in the environment too!

In our last post I spoke of composting your manure. By composting your manure, you will be able to recycle the manure and use it on your gardens or to fertilize pastures in the spring.  When you fertilize your pastures with compost, you are improving aeration and also water retention by creating healthy soil in your pastures. Composting your manure not only reduces your waste and improves soil quality, but reduces flies in your barn and can kill parasites and pathogens.  In addition to composting your manure, think about ordering your bedding in bulk. You should get a discount for ordering a larger amount and you’re also cutting down the amount of gas used to pick up or deliver. If you don’t think that you will use an entire load of bedding for your barn, perhaps think of a neighbor that would be willing to split the load with you. These are just a few options to make your barn more environmentally friendly.

What do you do to keep your barn environmentally friendly?


%d bloggers like this: