Category: Animal care

How to Properly Clean Your Horse Stall

Properly Clean Your Horse Stall

Stall cleaning is not a pleasant activity, but if you are a fan of cleaning and caring for horses, then it will be easier for you to come to terms with the hardships of cleaning, and the need for this process can hardly be overestimated. Today we are examining how to clean the stall correctly at minimal cost, and how often it should be done.

Stable odors can be more annoying in the summer than at other times of the year. In addition, the pungent odors of horse feces attract insects of all stripes. You can save yourself from them with mosquito nets at the entrance and windows, but believe me, you will not be able to get rid of insects completely in the stable. The litter accumulated in the litter can cause various hoof diseases, and ammonia fumes can be harmful to both your and equine’s sensitive lungs.  Yes, cleaning the stall is associated with a number of unpleasant things – and this is not only smell and impurities, but it must be done almost every day. The fact is, if you do this every day, then the cleaning process will take no more than 20 minutes. If every two days, then 40 minutes, and so on exponentially.

Let’s start cleaning the stall. Prepare the following things:

  • Special clothing. It can be old, which is suitable only for this work, or disposable clothes, provided that the clothes have no holes and are easily washed.
  • Gloves – do not take on such a dirty business with your bare hands.
  • Rubber boots. It is better to clean in such shoes – after all, it is easy to clean and protects from insects that may be in the litter. In addition, ammonia vapors do not affect rubber in any way, unlike leather.
  • A pitchfork – a more convenient tool for harvesting hay, mankind has not yet come up with.
  • Shovel for cleaning manure, shavings and sawdust.
  • Broom for final cleaning of the stall – remove cobwebs, sweep out the remains of hay or shavings – in this sense, the broom is indispensable.
  • Wheelbarrow – You will have to stack the hay and take it out of the stable.
  • Disinfectant solution, bucket and rag if necessary wet cleaning

Now that you are in full ammunition, take the horse out of the stall if, for some reason, it is not yet in the pasture. If it rains outside, move your horse to an empty stall. In general, for high-quality cleaning, the stall must be empty.

Bring the tools to the stall and put the wheelbarrow in the direction of the exit. Do this whenever you return to the stall with an empty wheelbarrow. Maneuvering an empty wheelbarrow is much easier than a full one.

Remove the litter with a pitchfork if it is heavily soiled, or shovel the manure into the wheelbarrow. Don’t overload the wheelbarrow! If it rolls over, you have to do double work. Better make two or three walks.

Check the litter for wetness. It is often advisable to remove only the contaminated areas and refill them with fresh shavings in order to save shavings or sawdust, but make sure the rest is completely dry and clean before refilling with new material. During the winter months, some grooms cover up a thick layer of bedding, and only the top is removed during harvesting. This is done primarily to keep warm. As a rule, cleaner bedding remains at the edges of the stall, and the central part takes the entire blow, but it is worth checking the entire stall in any case. When the stall is completely cleaned of the litter, sweep out the remains with a broom, remove the cobwebs from the corners, including the ceiling, treat the floor, walls and corners with a disinfectant solution and let dry.

After adding new material to the bedding, be it shavings, sawdust, or straw, fluff it with a pitchfork. The thickness of the litter depends on the floor covering. If there is rubber on the floor, the litter may be thinner, if the concrete, then thicker.

Move the manure and used bedding to a designated area that is not near the entrance to the stable, but at a distance. If you dump manure in one place, then, perhaps, later it can be sold for fertilization.

Clean the drinker and nursery. Add new food and fresh water.

So, the stall is cleaned. Now it remains to prepare for the next cleaning. Throw away all disposable items, rinse the instruments with water or disinfectant solution. The wheelbarrow can simply be cleaned of obvious dirt, but if there is stuck manure in it, then it is better to soak it with water overnight. Remember to wash your gumboots.

Here are probably all the simple procedures for cleaning a horse stall. If you have your own know-how or advice on cleaning a stall, write about it in the comments.


How to Wash a Horse Properly

How to Wash a Horse

Unlike cleaning a horse, which should be done daily and on which the hygiene and health of the animal primarily depends, many horse breeders call washing optional and recommend not to abuse it.

At the same time, in some cases (especially with severe pollution), one cannot do without a water procedure. Therefore, it is important to know how to carry it out correctly (safe for humans and harmless to animals).


In general terms, we can say that the horse should be washed only when there is no way to clean it. At the same time, in cold weather, this procedure is categorically undesirable, in warm (and even more so hot), it is necessary to adhere to a number of important recommendations.

Regardless of where the horse will be washed (in a pond or in a stall – from a container), the breeder will need:

  • special shampoo;
  • washcloth;
  • water scraper.

There are many tips on the internet on which chemicals are best for horses. For the most part, the result of following them becomes problems for the animal. Hence the conclusion: only specialized shampoo, developed by reliable manufacturers specifically for horses, and only in a trusted store.

It must be remembered that, contrary to popular belief, horses are not at all water-loving animals. They need to be retrained after long breaks in bathing. During the first procedure, warm (26-30 degrees) water should be used, and then gradually reduce it to the recommended 16-20 degrees.

Lower temperatures (especially on “hot” horses) are fraught with serious health problems.


If it is necessary to wash the horse, the procedure should not be extended in time: all operations should take a maximum of 10 minutes. In this case, drafts are strictly prohibited. Also, do not place the animal in the shade.

A few steps are enough for wet cleaning:

  • wet the horse’s skin;
  • apply shampoo with a washcloth;
  • carry out cleaning actions;
  • wash off the chemistry with enough water;
  • remove excess moisture with a special scraper;
  • additionally dry the head with a dry washcloth.

The tasks of the breeder do not end there. He should place the horse “in the sun”, and in cloudy weather – walk it at a leisurely pace until it dries completely, after putting on a special blanket. Putting a “wet” horse in a stall is fraught with serious colds and skin diseases.


Daily bathing of horses is only permitted in very warm weather. In this case, shampoos are recommended to be used no more than once a week.

With systematic washing, special attention should be paid to the condition of the skin: active washing out of the fatty coating can lead to dryness and various kinds of peeling.

Washing the feet is a separate line in hygiene: it should be done after each walk of the animal to prevent dirt from drying out or injury from other foreign objects.


How to Ride a Horse

How to Ride a Horse

As a rule, a horse’s loyalty is highly dependent on the type of training and how it is circled. A horse that has been circled correctly and has obeyed its trainer out of respect is more enjoyable than one that feels fear. Follow these tips when riding around your horse to build trust.


Earn the horse’s trust. Friendship with the horse is a top priority in building trust, which further enhances training. Spend time with your horse every day, at first just being around and combing the mane. Brushing will help you bond with your horse and form a relationship between him and you. Working alongside her in the pasture will give her time to feel confident in you. Talk to her and reassure her if something scares her.

  • Horses are often prey, so they can easily get scared. If the horse did not grow up next to people, he may be afraid of them.
  • If your horse or foal is too young to train, go ahead and start teaching him how to get used to people and earn her trust.
  • You must spend a significant amount of time building the horse’s trust before you start training it.

Observe safety rules. Horses are strong animals and can cause serious injury. When training your horse, you need to make sure you are safe. Stand where the horse can see you most of the time. If you must move to somewhere out of sight, run your hand along her side so that she knows where you are going.

  • It is best to stand on the left side of the horse, in line with the ear, at an angle to the head. From this place the horse is easiest to see you.
  • Talk to your horse when you are out of sight. That way she will know where you are.
  • Do not walk behind the horse. Also, do not stand directly in front of the horse’s face.
  • Do not kneel or sit near the horse. When exercising your hooves, bend over instead of squatting.

Do everything in stages. Dressing a horse is a slow process. You have to fully cement each step into a habit before moving on to the next. When you train a horse, each new concept you introduce needs to build on what you just taught. Remember, you must finally develop the habit in the horse, because otherwise, he will not be fully trained.

  • Never give up. For the horse, some steps may be easier than others. Dressing a horse is a big responsibility.
  • Try to complete each session with success. Even if it has only made little progress, such as when the horse allows the reins to be pulled close to the face.

Never be angry with a horse. Never shout at her, do not hit, do not throw objects or behave aggressively. It can scare her and break all the trust you’ve built. Talk to your horse in a calm, low tone.

  • If the horse does not obey you, correct it in a calm manner without showing aggression. Try using the sound “shshh” to tell the horse that it is doing something wrong.

Reward your horse for success. By giving your horse positive reinforcement, you will teach him to do what you want to do. This includes giving her a treat or petting her. You can also use negative reinforcement. This includes tapping with a finger or touching with a whip if the horse is not afraid of it. You can also try light reins, reins, or pressure on your legs.

  • Never use negative reinforcement in the form of intimidating or painful action. They should be consistent and calm, not harsh. Continue this negative reinforcement action until the horse recovers. Stop immediately after the horse does the right thing.

Bridle Training

Let the horse get used to your hands. The first way to train your horse to bridle is to get him used to the fact that you can keep your hands close to his head, ears and neck. Do it slowly. Stay within the horse’s field of view so as not to frighten him off. Come closer slowly. If you approach too abruptly, she may misinterpret your actions. Keep doing this until you can touch the horse.

  • Make sure that every time the horse is successful, you give verbal praise. You can only praise that this time the hand was closer to her face, or she only allows you to touch her for a few seconds.
  • Reward the horse for every successful action by giving it a treat.

Let your horse get used to the bridle. Start by letting your horse see and smell the bridle in your hands. For the first few days, just hold it close to the horse and let it watch and sniff it and be aware that it is not dangerous. Then, start slowly placing the bridle on your nose and head. At first, you may want to leave it unbuttoned on it. Once the horse gets used to this, you can attach the bridle behind the ears.

  • This may take several tries. Be patient and calm as you try to make a little progress every day.
  • After you are finally able to put the bridle on your horse, leave it on it for a few days.

Introduce the bridle. Start introducing the bridle to the horse along with the bridle. Rub the bridle gently all over the horse’s face. Try to keep her mouth open for the bridle. Do it gently.

Add a bit. In addition to training your horse to bridle, you must also train him to use the bit. Slowly insert the bit into the horse’s mouth. Do this for a few minutes first. Gradually increase the time the bit is in your mouth.

  • To make it easier to fit the bit into the horse’s mouth, adding a layer of molasses (molasses) will help, and this will give him more pleasure.

Put on the temples. Once the bit is in the horse’s mouth without resistance, place the temples over the ears. Do not fasten your seat belts yet.

  • Work slowly to fasten the belts. Remember to let your horse get used to the feeling of the bridle on the head and ears.

Teaching a horse to walk on a line

Understanding how to walk on the line. Pulling, or tethered training, allows you to lead your horse around the arena as you train it. When doing this, make sure to use the largest diameter arena possible. A ring that is too small can damage the horse’s legs, ligaments and tendons. Make sure the circle is at least 18 meters in diameter.

  • When you start teaching your horse to lane, you shouldn’t do it for more than 10 minutes in each direction. Gradually prepare the horse for longer sessions, as long stretching can result in overstretching the body.

Train your horse from the ground. Before attempting to saddle a horse, it is important to build trust with dressage on the ground. Attach a cord to the horse’s bridle.

Make the horse feel comfortable with the cord in its mouth. If you hit the bit sharply, you can create inconvenience for the horse. Discomfort to the horse or pain in the mouth will make the horse afraid to line.

  • Move with your horse so that the line has even tension. Eventually, the horse will perceive this contact and walk in a circle in a way that maintains it rather than pushing or pulling.

Lead on the lane. Pulling is a demonstration of leadership in the arena. Spend time on the line at least once every day. Use gestures to guide and accelerate. Gradually build up the speed and intensity of your lining until she can walk at a canter, all the while listening to your signals.

  • You should never touch your horse during training; all signals must be given by changes in energy and body position, or by the direction of the tension at the end of your cord.
  • Line driving is an exercise in trust; whenever the horse obeys your command, train to obey the gaze and loosen the applied tension.

Train your horse to follow your commands. Teach her to walk right next to you when you lead with the chombur. While the horse is moving in a circle, you need to teach him voice commands. Introduce the horse to the commands: bridle, stop, walk, and back. Be sure to teach the horse to understand the bridle and walk commands before doing anything else. Then, you can start introducing her to other faster commands, like trot.

  • Try to use “wow” instead of “bridle” as some of the commands sound similar in English, such as “halt” (bridle) and “trot” (trot), can confuse some horses.

Teach your horse to be respectful of your space. The horse can test you as you train. She may try to push you out of her space in order to understand who is in charge. When the horse comes very close to you, press on his ribs, about 30 cm beyond the shoulders. The leader of the herd does the same to discipline the horse. The horse will move to the side and give you space.

Teach your horse to respond to pressure. The horse must learn to react to the pressure on the bridle. Attach the chombur to the bridle. Stand on the right side of the horse. Pull the chombur to the right to apply tension. The horse must understand and turn its head towards you thanks to this command.

  • Repeat on the left side. Do the same back and forth by pulling the bridle in the desired direction.
  • The horse will learn to follow the pull so you release it.


Introduce the saddle. The horse must become familiar with the weight and sound of the saddle on its back. Just like with the bridle and bit, take a few days to get the horse used to the sound of the saddle, the smell, and how it looks.

  • After the horse has become accustomed to its appearance, hold the saddle over the horse’s back without touching it.

Place the saddlecloth / blanket on the horse. After the horse is used to the saddle, place a pad (saddle pad) or blanket over the horse’s back. Leave it on for just a few minutes. Then remove. Repeat a few times. Do this on both sides so that the horse gets used to doing it from different sides.

Place the saddle on the horse. Introduce and place the saddle carefully on the horse. Be sure to calm your horse well by talking and stroking it. Leave it on for a few minutes. Do this on both sides of the horse.

  • Make sure to remove the stirrups and harnesses while you saddle up.

Attach a girth to the horse. Do this very slowly. Tighten the girth a little every day, especially if the horse is shy. If the horse seems to be very scared, stop and let it adjust to the harness.

  • When the horse allows you to fully tighten the girth, gently lean towards the horse’s back.

Let your horse get used to the stirrups. Next, ride on a line with a saddle and a deflated stirrup. This will help the horse get used to objects on the sides such as legs. Also start putting the straps back on the saddle.

  • Do it slowly. Enter one new item at a time. Let the horse shake off the fear of him before you introduce something new.

Lead with a saddle. When the horse is accustomed to being saddled for a longer period of time, begin to lead the horse on the line in the arena with the saddle on its back.

Training a horse to be saddled

Prepare your horse to climb. Before these horses, I probably only saw you at or below eye level. Move your horse closer to the intersection of the fence posts. Climb onto the pole and stand high so that you are above the level of the horse’s head.

Introduce the horse to the feeling of weight on his back. To help you familiarize your horse with the weight of a person on the back, involve an experienced rider. First, the rider will throw his leg up and lie across the saddle. He needs to gently lower his weight onto the horse so that the horse doesn’t get scared.

  • If the horse accepts this, pet it and reward it.

Climb onto the horse’s back. The rider should slowly and carefully place his left foot in the stirrup. Keeping the weight on the horse’s back, ask the rider to swing the right leg over the horse’s back without hitting the horse in any way. The rider must then place his foot on the right stirrup.

  • Remind the rider to bend down, as the sight of him on the horse’s back will scare her. Keep the rider firmly in the saddle, but do not grip the reins tightly, as if he is thrown off the saddle, this will frighten the horse even more.

Lead your horse slowly. With the rider on his back, slowly drive the horse, gradually moving away from the animal.

  • Ask the rider to collect the reins and make contact with the horse’s mouth, gently so as not to frighten him. Have the rider gently ask the horse to walk with verbal command and gentle pressure.

Try to climb on a horse. After an experienced rider has climbed on a horse, now you need to climb on it. Climbing a horse for the first time can be very dangerous and should not be done without the guidance of an experienced groom or trainer. Gently climb onto the horse without hitting or pinching the horse collar. Let the horse walk a few steps, stop and get off.

  • Gradually increase your saddle time over several weeks or months. Do not try to increase speed until you feel 100% comfortable with the horse while walking.
  • It may take a full year or more before you can trot or gallop on a horse. Therefore, do not rush the process, as this will teach your horse to be fearful, or he will adopt bad habits.

How to Take Care of a Horse in Winter

Care for Horse

Taking proper care of your horse during the winter will help the animal to get through cold times without problems. Horses are adapted to winter – they grow a special coat that protects them from frost.  Nevertheless, you need to take care of the animal so that the horse is properly cooled after running, as well as monitor its nutrition and prevent the formation of drafts.

1 Think of the stable and stall first. When settling your horse in the stable for the winter, make sure the horse has a clean, warm, draft-free area with good ventilation. It is important to replace the straw frequently. In winter, the timely replacement of straw comes first. Get rid of anything that could hurt your horse: hanging lamps, protruding nails, toxic detergents, and so on.

  • If your horse lives outdoors in temperate climates in winter, watch out for rain. Wet cold is much less tolerant than dry cold, so you will need to cover the horse with something and arrange a shelter for it so that it can hide from the moisture.
  • Learn how to prepare your stable for winter.

2 Learn to look after a horse that is ridden in winter. Riding a horse in winter has two problems: getting the horse properly prepared and cooling the horse outside after a run. Below we will tell you how to do everything right. Remember that there are no restrictions on the temperature at which you can ride a horse, but provided that the horse is used to the cold (for this you need to regularly take it outside) and that you, as a rider, are not very cold. Windy weather, storms and hurricanes are not suitable for driving, so use common sense when choosing the time. It is very important to monitor the condition of the horse’s hooves, as dirt can cause damage. Grind hooves have better traction on icy surfaces than unmaintained hooves.

  • Try to ride a horse 4-6 hours a week in winter. This is especially important if you are preparing for a competition as a young horse needs to get used to the load.
  • Plan ahead. In winter, you have to drive to the stable longer, cook your horse longer, and the daylight hours are shorter than in summer. Consider time constraints when evaluating and caring for your horse.

3 Prepare your horse for riding. First check the condition of the soil on which you plan to ride. Look for ice and deep mud holes where your horse could slip or get caught, and go around these areas. Sprinkle salt or sand on slippery areas near stables, saddles, gates, walkways, and other areas. To prepare your horse:

  • Warm up the bridle. Pour hot water over it or rub with non-toxic heating gel. If you don’t have either one, remove the bridle, put it in a pocket close to your body, and do other things. You can even breathe on it to warm it up.
  • You can also use a mild steel bridle. It is not as hard as regular steel and therefore does not cool as much.
  • Clean the horse’s hooves thoroughly. Apply a layer of vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to the hooves to prevent snow and ice from sticking to them.
  • Warm up. This will not only help warm up your horse’s muscles, but will also help you prepare for exercise.
  • Use a blanket to keep the horse’s muscles from freezing while riding. This is especially important if you have a sheared, short-haired horse or a horse that spends a lot of time in the stable. Use it both while saddling and while running.

4 Saddle your horse. Find a clean, free spot where there is no dirt, ice on the ground and the soil is stable. The same requirements should be applied to driving tracks.

5 Be aware of where you are going as you ride. In winter, the dangers are different. They depend on whether the horse is running in snow or in mud, which can be frozen. Pay attention to the following factors:

  • Deep snow, especially if it hides holes, holes in the ground from uprooted trees, and cracks in the ground that a horse can get caught on.
  • Ice. Ice is very dangerous for a horse because there is no friction or resistance on contact with it.
  • Mud. If there is not enough dirt, nothing bad will happen. If there is a lot of it, the horse may slip or fall. Dirt also hides dangerous objects that can injure the animal. Try to avoid these areas.
  • Wet slopes. Be careful when driving on wet slopes because the horse can slip easily, especially when running fast or when running over wet rocks.
  • Do not make your horse run in a canter or gallop on snowy, icy, slippery surfaces or mud.

6 Let the horse cool off after riding. During this time, the body gradually passes from a hot state to a low temperature. In winter, the following should be done after riding:

  • If the horse’s ears are burning, lead the animal a little with you. Touch your ears again. They should be cool, not too hot or too cold. If the ears are very cold, it means that the animal is frozen.
  • Dry your horse. If the horse gets wet, dry it out in winter. It may snow or rain outside; rainfall will mix with sweat, making the animal very wet. Take a towel in each hand and start rubbing the coat in a circular motion. Tousling the coat will dry it faster. If your horse is used to the hairdryer, you can use that too.
  • Brush off the snow. If snow is stuck to the horse’s body (especially to the legs), it must be brushed off. Try to do this outdoors so as not to bring the snow indoors, because there it will melt and it will be slippery on the floor.
  • Clean the hooves and apply another coat of oil or petroleum jelly to them.
  • Scrub the horse with a comb when it is dry. This will help separate the hairs in the coat and keep the horse warm because body heat will heat the air between the skin and coat.
  • If you choose to wear something on your horse, choose a breathable blanket that allows the water to evaporate.

7 Take your horse to a stable or barn. Give her enough food and water. Use hay as food because it will help your horse warm up faster (heat will be generated as the hay is digested).

  • Make sure your drinking water does not freeze. The horse will be able to drink more water if it is warm, which will reduce the risk of developing colic caused by dehydration.
  • Stack straw along all crevices and doors outward to keep the stable out of drafts.
  • If you live in a temperate climate, still provide a shelter for your horse, even if he lives outside, so that he can hide there.

8 If your horse lives in a stable, try to take him outside more often during the winter. This will improve the animal’s health because it will breathe fresh air and will be able to regularly adapt to changes in temperature.

  • Get your horse moving more – this is how wild animals get warm.

9 Use blankets with care to keep warm. If you touch the horse with your bare hands, you will feel that the body is cold. However, the coat and natural body heat insulate the horse from frost, but you won’t feel it with your hand. Dr. Joyce Harman recommends using a blanket only if the animal’s fur has been shorn, if it is an old, sick, too thin, rescued horse or an animal that naturally has a lower body temperature. In addition, it is worth covering the horses that live on the street. Young and healthy horses do not need a blanket.

  • If you want to use a blanket, you will need to do it all the time because the horse will get used to certain temperature conditions.
  • Remember that what is cold for you is not necessarily cold for the horse. Do not wear too thick blankets or multiple blankets at once on the horse.
  • Wet cold is much worse for the horse than dry cold. The blanket will keep the horse from getting wet.

10 Be aware of possible winter ailments. Like humans, horses get sick in winter, so it is important to know what symptoms to look out for and how to deal with problems caused by human intervention.

  • In winter, horses are susceptible to respiratory problems. Ammonia, mold and dust inside stables can cause a wide variety of respiratory illnesses. Try to prevent this by regularly ventilating the stable and spending time with your horse outside. Clean stalls promptly.
  • Horses are also prone to skin problems in winter, including dermatophilosis, skin irritation, ringworm, lice, and infestation of cuts and scrapes. Keep your horse clean, trim it, and regularly invite a veterinarian. Do not cover the horse with a blanket if the animal is wet, and do not use non-breathable fabrics to avoid accumulation of fluid. If your horse develops a skin problem, take it to the doctor right away.

11 Spend more time with your horse. If the weather is bad, sit with the animal in the stable and talk to it, pet it, or just stay around. The horse will be glad to you, and this communication will bring you closer. It will also help you pass the days while waiting for good weather.

  • Take care of your coat and hooves regularly, whatever the weather.
  • If you are unable to ride to the horse often due to the weather and snowy roads, have someone visit the animal regularly to check if everything is in order.


  • Make sure your horse has access to clean and fresh drinking water and feed at all times.
  • If your horse gets hot when you get off it despite trying to cool it down, use a fleece blanket. Put it on your horse after training to keep it warm. This will also allow the temperature to drop smoothly (a rapid drop in temperature is dangerous as it can damage the muscles).
  • Sand on rugs, horse trailers, and areas in front of entrances to get rid of ice and snow.
  • Give your horse more hay and grains to compensate for the lack of the usual diet and to help the horse warm up faster.
  • Trim your hair behind the hoof to prevent dirt from sticking to it.
  • Horses use their subcutaneous fat for warmth. Try slipping your vest under your blanket before going outside. If the horse loses weight during the cold season, feed him solid food rich in fiber.
  • Wear multiple layers of clothing yourself. The bottom layers of your clothing need to breathe because you will sweat a lot while cleaning the stall, riding and grooming your horse. Take drinking water with you. It’s harder to get dehydrated in winter, but it’s a real problem that can occur at any time of the year, so keep an eye on how much water you drink.
  • The harness should be dried in a warm and dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid damp areas as this can cause mold to grow on your skin.
  • Wrap the legs around your horse’s legs to keep them clean and dry.
  • If your horse sweats a lot while running, consider trimming his coat.
  • If you apply vegetable peanut butter to the outside of the hooves, the hooves will be stronger and retain moisture in freezing weather.
  • Apply baby skin oil to the horse’s mane and tail. This will make the coat look cleaner and shinier.
  • Do not wash your horse with warm water for more than two minutes.
  • Wrap hooves as they can freeze.