Stoneways Insurance

Archive for June, 2013

When Your Horse Crib Bites

Unfortunately, stereotypes regarding a horse’s behaviour is very common when it comes to horses. Until quite recently these behaviours (known as vices) were considered to be the fault of the horse. But it seems that this is actually a result of inadequate feeding or caring, and is not the fault of the horse. Some bad behaviour includes crib biting, weaving, chewing wood and nodding. The biting actions (crib biting and wood chewing) are thought to be the effects of bad diet and feeding. Other bad behaviour is generally thought to be down to movement restriction.

Apparently a shocking 4% of equine horses crib bite! Horses that crib bite have reduced performance because of all the problems that can arise.  Lots of saliva is produced when a horse crib bites – which could be why he (or she) does it! This is because saliva reduces discomfort in a horse that is fasted; a horse that is fed too little forage and//or too much starchy feed. Crib biting horses salivate less than horses that don’t. Coincidence? I think not!

To combat this feed your horse plenty of forage and cut back on grain based starchy feed. You can add vegetable oil to feed to provide extra energy! Please do not use anti cribbing collars – they cause frustration and probably worsen the situation. This could be considered inhumane.

crib bites

Unhealthy Treats Your Horse Shouldn’t Eat

After talking about healthy treats in our last post, we thought it’d be good to educate you a little bit on what foods and treats NOT to feed your horse. After all, if you’re feeding your horse a few healthy treats, it’s no good giving them bad foods too! You potentially could be undoing all the good.

It may come as quite a shock then, when you find out that a lot of the ‘grain’ in some horse treats and horse feed is not whole grain at all, but extracted oils from other grains. What other grains you ask? Well it seems that the by products of the leftover grains at some mills are what is used. This news has led many to search for better, healthier – though more expensive – alternative diets for their horses.

The grain used was deemed unfit for human consumption of the mould, contamination, bad quality and bad handling it contained or had been through. Would you rather pay more for better quality feed/food that your horse can enjoy? There are already many horse owners out there that do just that.

Alternatives to processed food/treats are out there – you just have to look out for them! For example, did you know that raisins have in them some of the key nutrients found in processed beef jerky. Vegetables and bra are other alternatives to try! Although, you could always try to make your own horse treats! Seriously, give it a go!

unhealthy treats

Giving Your Horse A Healthy Treat

Nowadays all people want is to be fit and healthy. Okay that was a lie, but most of us do! It’s become the new ‘thing’ which is great! But it’s all well and good you being healthy, but what if you want to give your horse something healthy to eat? It’s no good – after all – giving him (or her) something unhealthy; especially after all that exercise they will have done!

In the 21st Century, rather than just giving a horse an apple or carrot (a nutritionally balanced treat), an owner will have a mountain of strange and wonderful treats to choose from. But with Mt. Treats growing bigger and bigger it can be a scary thought when contemplating what is safe!

Fruit is one road to go down; you can feed your horse anything from the common apple, to the more exotic fruit that nobody can spell! Mostly, your fruits will be decided by which ones the horse will and will not eat. However studies have shown that horses in the wild eat fruits not just for nutrition, but because of their water content and antioxidants. For example, watermelon rind and flesh will cool down a horse and can prevent heat stroke. Another example? Passion fruit seems to have a calming effect on horses. Berries are a great source of antioxidant as well!

Moving away from fruits, honey can be used as a cure for certain illnesses and ailments. It can treat constipation, malnutrition, indigestion and allergies (only a few though!) However because this would not be found in the wild, many advise against giving horses honey as I could cause more problems than it solves.

healthy treat

So, Your Horse Has Got A Wound?

If you own (or have loaned) a horse then it is only natural for your horse will get bitten, scratched, bruised and broken (to an extent!) Minor injuries of any type will heal fairly quickly and without much hassle at all. However it is essential for you to know the difference between a minor injury and one that actually requires medical attention.

First make sure you assess the wound. Don’t panic! Keep a cool head and you will be of far better use. Have a look; if your horse’s behaviour is normal then chances are he’s (or she’s!) fine. If your horse looks in pain, has bleeding that just won’t stop or is acting abnormally the seek veterinarian advice. Remember that a horse is much bigger and stronger than you, so keep a safe distance if they’re behaving erratically.

If your horse has got a scrape then they’ll usually heal on their own. They’re shallow and therefore are not very likely to get infected. Most of the time it is better to let them heal naturally.

Cuts are more serious. First establish whether it is a deep of shallow cut. If it is a minor cut you may be able to get away with not going to a vet. However deeper cuts will require some attention. Focus on minimising the bleeding and comforting your animal. If you can then try and disinfect the wound, but don’t make this your priority!

With regards to bruising, try not to worry too much about it. Most will heal on their own. Bruising on the soles of the hooves may be a signal that a hoof trim/shoeing is required!

horse wound

Loans For Your Horse

The recession has hit everyone hard. Some people get off worse than others, but we are all affected in some way. For the horse owner world this means that it is increasingly more appealing to loan a horse as oppose to buying one. The costs of looking after and raising a horse has become dearer; the costs of hay, horse feed and horse shoeing have all taken an upward turn for the worst.

Loaning is a solution to this – of course there are always things that are going to go wrong!

When loaning a horse a contract should be drawn up, one that is fair and spells out what is expected of both parties.

When looking to loan a horse you should act as if you were buying the horse (within reason). Ask yourself the same questions you would when making the purchase:

  • Is the horse or pony you are loaning suitable for what you want? Can it complete the activities you require?
  • Will the original owner allow the animal to participate in these activates?
  • Does the animal like you (is it agreeable to you riding it if necessary?)
  • Is the horse healthy?
  • What are the medical costs (if any) and can you cover them?
  • What is the horse’s general character and disposition?

Remember that the horse isn’t yours; someone else really cares for the horse (though you may too!) So take extra care when looking after it!

horse loans

How To Choose The Right Horse Insurance

If you need to choose what horse insurance to go for then I have some bad news for you – it’s quite a hard job. But since you’ve come this far, you’re in it for the long haul. It is an important consideration!  With the dozens of different companies and packages to choose from it is an important and daunting process!

Because vet prices have risen, most people’s horse insurance policies have also got more expensive. Whilst there are a lot of budget horse insurance policies out there, it is arguably more important that you put the needs of you and your horse first. There’s no point on spending money on insurance if it doesn’t cover adequate expenses. So here are a few tips:

  • Don’t choose horse insurance on price alone.
  • Some companies offer a better all-round service, keep this in mind.
  • Read the small print. You should know exactly what you’re getting into.
  • Ask friends and family for recommendations.
  • Look out for possible deals and discounts.

These are just a few pointers for you, remember if you think that a certain insurer would be a better choice for you, then by all means go for it!

the right horse insurance

Looking After Your Horse 101

It doesn’t really take a skilled vet to work out that horses are pretty tough to care for; they are, after all, pretty large animals! On occasion looking after your horse can be tedious, a burden even. So here is a little (very basic) guide on what to do. Seasoned veterans beware!

  1. You should give your horse a fresh supply of water daily. Horses are very thirsty animals! (They’re big, so give them loads!)
  2. It’s pretty simply, in the Summer shade them, in the Winter shelter them!
  3. Another obvious one: make sure you give your horse loads of exercise. These animals weren’t made to be cooped up all day! Let them out an about (if you’re a rider, ride them!) and into the open.
  4. Cleaning up after your horse is another must. You have to clean up after his (or her) manure. Do this regularly, about once every couple of days. This is so your horse’s health doesn’t suffer and to prevent flies.
  5. On the subject of flies, use lime or fly repellent to keep the bugs at bay!
  6. Clean horse once a week to keep it hygienic, and in between baths make sure your use a curry comb for their hair and skin. Don’t forget the hooves!
  7. After riding your horse you must make sure to let him (or her) cool off!

Remember looking after your horse is no easy task. It is a big ask, so be prepared to sacrifice a fair bit of time!

Looking After Your Horse 101

Simple Horse Insurance: A Guide

Understanding the horse world and the UK equestrian insurance market is essential when getting equine insurance. But this is no light task; with so many different providers and options it can seem that no one choice is right. So to make it easier for you, here is a simple horse insurance guide for you to use as a reference!

The minimum you really should get covered for your horse(s) are: death of a horse; theft and straying; and public liability. There are other options you can get of course (such as vets fees, personal accidents and losses), however the essential three are listed above. Below is a summary of what each category of equine insurance covers.

Death of Your Horse

This covers how much the accident, illness or disease cost you. Removal and disposal of the carcass may also be covered.

Theft and Straying

There is usually a set period of time (2 to 3 months) after which you can claim. But you have to inform the police. It is worth noting that your advertising costs will be covered.

Public Liability

Most insurers will offer at least £1 million if you are sued because your horse has caused injury or damage. Contact your insurer to find out more details.

Vet Fees

This covers large vet bills (with a maximum cap off) and will require you to pay an excess.

Personal Accident

This insures you and anyone else riding your horse with your permission. It covers death and accidental injury.

Permanent Loss of Use

If your horse can no longer be used for the activities you insured it for then you’ll be covered. Usually, if the horse can still breed then the insurers will only cover part of the sum.

Getting Started With Equine Insurance

Getting insurance for your horse is no easy matter; there is a great deal of factors to consider. The type of horse insurance you want to get is probably one of the biggest things you need to take into account. But before you even consider this, what does getting horse insurance even mean? Each equine insurer you go to will offer a different quote – of course – but each one will also offer to you a variant of cover. It makes sense for you, therefore, to have a look around and do a bit of window shopping. But if you are in a rush to get the right one then stay tuned for some great posts on the subject!

Remember that in some cases you’ll only be able to claim up to £10,000 per annum for your horse, so have a look at the “Vets Fees” section of your policy!

Remember that with any insurance policy, if something happens, you need to let the company know you may be making a claim so they can set things in motion. Before you buy, make sure you know what the deal is with this.

Essentially you are purchasing life and injury insurance for your horse. Whether this means getting it for a pet, companion or sporting partner, take your time. It’s a big commitment after all, and you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a bad decision!

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