Welcome to Misty Manor's horse-care web page! At Misty Manor Riding Stable, one quickly discovers that the first priority of the farm's owner, Judi Reinke, and others who also care for the horses, is the well being of all of the horses at Misty Manor. Proof of how much Judi Reinke cares about horses is demonstrated not only by the obvious well being of the horses at Misty Manor and her helpfulness to borders and visitors, but also by the fact that she's been known to occasionally acquire horses neglected by their former owners and bring them to Misty Manor, where she's seen to it that they've returned to excellent health.

On this page, beginning equestrians can find helpful horse-care information.

Horse Care Articles by R. D. Davis

Equine Dentistry at Misty Manor

While proper veterinary care is vital to your horse's health, sometimes the proper care of horses' teeth is overlooked---but not at Misty Manor Riding Stable. At Misty Manor, an excellent equine dentist, Dr. James Casey, is available to care for the horses belonging to the farm and to boarders.

Farriers and Hoof Care at Misty Manor

Boarders have two excellent farriers to choose from, who visit Misty Manor regularly, to keep their horses' hooves in great condition!

Equine Massage at Misty Manor

To ensure that your horse is comfortable and performing optimally, massage therapy and accupressure is available for the horses at Misty Manor.


Quick Checkup by R. D. Davis

While grooming your horse, do you also take a few minutes to feel your horse's pulse, listen for normal bowel sounds and observe the horse's breathing to count the number of breaths per minute? In addition, there are other things that you should keep check on as well, once a week or so, which will be mentioned below.

Your horse's respiration rate, at rest, can be determined by watching or feeling the horse's chest as he or she breathes; a stethoscope placed over the horse's windpipe may be used as well, and can keep you informed of any other breathing abnormalities. There should be 8 to 15 breaths per minute; at the lower end of the range in cold weather and at the higher end of the range in hot and humid weather. If too fast or too slow, obtain veterinary help.

30 to 40 beats per minute is a normal pulse rate for a resting and calm adult horse; yearlings and foals will have significantly higher resting pulse rates. The pulse rate can be determined by feeling the lower left side of the horse's chest, inside foreleg just below the knee-joint, underneath the horse's jaw (inside lower-left jawbone, towards the front) or by using a stethoscope on the horse's chest. Also pay attention to how weak or strong the pulse is; a pulse too weak or too strong can be indicative of a health problem, so you want to be alert to any changes in the strength of the pulse. Another thing to keep track of, which is indicative of your horse's cardiovascular condition, is how fast its pulse is when exercising and how fast it returns to it's normal resting rate. If the resting pulse rate is abnormally high or low, or the pulse strength is too strong or weak, get veterinary help.

Now then, bend down to your horse's flank and listen for bowl sounds; if you hear what sounds like the sounds of a human stomach gurgling normally, at least once each minute, all should be well; if there are no sounds, or if the sounds don't sound right or are too loud, there may be something wrong. Familiarize yourself with what your horse's normal sounds are. No sounds are a sign of colic. Be very observant of your horse while listening for bowel sounds, being careful not to get cow-kicked.

A rectal thermometer, with a string attached to the end, should be used to measure the horse's temperature, which should read around 99 to 101 degrees under normal conditions; if over 102, your veterinarian should be consulted

To check your horse for dehydration, pinch the skin on the point of your horse's shoulder then observe the pinched area to see how quickly the skin becomes flat, like it was before being pinched. If it takes longer than two or three second to return to being flat, then your horse is moderately dehydrated and at risk of colic and other problems; if it takes six to ten seconds, or longer, to become flat, then the dehydration is severe and the risks greater. Make sure that your horse is drinking enough water and is getting enough salt. If the horse is being exercised in hot weather, add an electrolyte supplement to his or her grain. If your horse is on field board, when bringing your horse in from being out in a field or turning him, or her, out, remember to make a stop at a water trough and encourage the horse to drink. Sometimes if the horse doesn't appear thirsty, and the horse's human bends down and pretends to take a drink from the trough, the horse will follow and take a drink. If the horse is kept in a stall, make sure that fresh water is available in abundance, making sure that a five gallon bucket is filled twice a day.

Mucous membranes are something else that one needs to keep an eye on, which tell you about your horse's blood circulation. Where you want to look to check on this: the inside of the horse's nostrils, lining of the eye-lids and gums. Look for these areas to be pink and moist. If they look whitish or pale, contact your veterinarian; a problem such as internal bleeding or anemia could be present. If mucous membranes are bright red, the horse could have been exposed to a toxic substance or be experiencing mild shock; again obtain veterinary assistance. If the color is blue or grey, veterinary help should be obtained as quickly as possible, since this is a sign of severe shock, depression or other illness.

Capillary refill time is one more thing that you want to monitor, which also presents information about your horse's blood circulation. This test tells you how quickly blood returns to the blanched area. Raise your horse's upper lip and press a finger against part of the horse's gums for about 2 seconds---long enough for a whitish spot to appear. After removing your finger, watch to see how long it takes for the color to return. If it takes longer than two seconds, it's possible that your horse is in shock, and a veterinarian should be consulted.

Cooldown! by R. D. Davis

After exercising your horse, or returning from a trail ride, what's the first thing that you do? If walking your horse slowly to cool it down isn't what you do, then read on---your horse will thank you for doing so.

Before you exercise your horse, feel his, or her, breast, noting the temperature. After riding your horse, feel your horse's breast again and notice how warm it feels, in addition to the perspiration that may be found there. Walk the horse slowly for a cooldown until the breast feels as cool as it was before you began riding and until the perspiration has stopped and the coat is mostly dry, then brush the horse's coat---paying careful attention to the area beneath the girth strap. In hot weather, as part of the cooldown, hosing your horse off helps as well---be sure to also pour water from the hose on the horse's legs to help cool the horse down; to dry the horse, use a squeegee. Don't forget to pick your horse's hooves before turning the horse out in a field or paddock, or before putting the horse back into a stall.

Never attempt to feed your horse before he or she has cooled down and the perspiration has dried; otherwise, you're putting your horse at risk of colic, which can be life-threatening.

Hey, Hay Belly! by R. D. Davis

As peculiar as it may seem, it's possible for a horse to appear both fat and thin at the same time. The reason for this is that when horses eat copious amounts of hay, but don't receive adequate nutrients, worming medication or exercise, they can have ribs showing and score a little lower than they should on the Henneke body condition scoring chart.

Firstly, if your horse appears too thin, be sure that you're worming your horse adequately---once a month, with appropriate worming medication, in warm weather and at least every other month the rest of the year. Also, check with your veterinarian to ascertain that no underlying health problems are the reason for the lack of adequate body fat.

Secondly, is your horse receiving adequate nutrition? Obviously, if your horse has a hay belly, he or she is eating more than enough hay. However, a scarcity of land for farming, which has made crop rotation less commonplace, due to too much land destruction, or "development", has resulted in much hay being grown on land that's become depleted of minerals. As a result, minerals that your horse needs are not found in the nutritionally deficient hay grown on such land. If better quality hay isn't an available option, discuss nutritional options with your veterinarian, such as probiotics or a quality feed supplement.

Lastly, make sure that your horse is getting adequate exercise. Poor muscle tone can cause a horse to appear thinner than it should while also having a large hay belly.

A Clean Warm Bit by R. D. Davis

Now that fall's here and the days will soon be turning cold, don't forget to not only clean, but warm, your horse's bit before putting it in his or her mouth. You already clean it anyway, year round, don't you? If not, there's no better time than now to start. Hint: it's easier to clean the bit after you've been riding than before you go riding, since all of the chewed hay, etc. probably hasn't dried on the bit when you first remove it from your horse's mouth. While whether you clean it before or after riding isn't important, what is important is that you do put a clean bit into your horse's mouth. When bits of old hay, etc. dry on a bit, and become hard, it's not pleasant for your horse to have such a disgusting object inserted into his or her mouth. You wouldn't want something like a dirty bit to be put in your mouth, would you? Nah, I didn't think so. To clean it, a wet paper towel will do quite nicely... as will some water on your shirt as a last resort. Better a dirty shirt than a dirty bit, right?

As to warming the bit: Even on the coldest of days, the bit will warm up reasonably quickly in your bare hands. It's far better to get your hands cold for a few minutes than to put a freezing cold bit in your horse's sensitive mouth. Your horse's well being is what's most important, don't you agree? If it's a bitter cold day, you might find it easier to just warm the bit in your car, in front of a warm heater duct.

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