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Fall 2011 is not that far in the future, and what part of the country you live in will determineHorses need special care in the winter some of the specific issues you and your horse will deal with over the next few weeks. However, there are some general issues that are common across the country:


The first thing to address in the fall is worming and vaccinations. Do some research and talk to local experts about how best to manage parasites and disease in your horseís neck of the woods. 

Before you use wormers, you may want to have a fecal analysis done on your horse to determine what parasites, if any, your horse has. If you donít know what parasites your horse might be carrying, how do you know what kind of wormer will be best suited to helping him? 

Does your horse need the West Nile vaccine? Do you know what the risk of West Nile is in your area? Do you need to vaccinate against it? Or can you work to control the risks in your horseís environment or work to improve your horseís immune system so that he can handle it himself? Some insurance companies are requiring that horse owners vaccinate for West Nile if they want the insurance to continue. 


What about shoeing?  Shoeing includes putting shoes on a barefoot or young horse and/or taking them off for a period of time. What activities are planned for your horse? Southerners may want to make sure that your horse is shod for the increased riding that you might be doing now that the heat of summer has faded into autumn. Northerners may need to look at putting ďstudsĒ and snow pads on their horses. Shoeing often depends on our individual plans. 

There is one thing that all of us should remember: if youíre not going to use your horse very much, get those shoes off and let your horse go barefoot! Your horseís feet could use the break in the shoeing cycle to let the hoof wall grow out and get rid of the nail holes. 

Giving your horse a chance to go without shoes can only help him in the long run. Some of you will say that your horse has to have shoes or he is lame, and of course the minute you take the shoes off of your horse, he limps around proving your theory correct. 95% of these horses prove sound with one trimming cycle. They can then grow out great hooves, and in almost every case they end up with a better foot. Take those shoes off if you can and let those feet rest.


Tack and your gear. Regardless of where you live, now is a great time to inspect and work on your tack. If youíre about to increase your riding, then you should be taking a good hard look to make sure that those items that were wearing out at the end of last season are repaired or replaced. Give your tack a good cleaning and oiling now so that you donít have to worry about it later. 

If youíre about to reduce your riding, then itís time to clean your tack and oil it from the wear that it received during the riding season. Either way, inspect and clean your tack now. Donít forget to get your blankets repaired and cleaned in preparation for winter if you live in that climate. Donít wait until the last minute. Check out: Saddlers Blanket Wash

Christmas list....of course I wouldnít forget this...now is the time to make that list of all the horse gear you want for Christmas. Make it a long one and give your friends and family plenty of choices.  

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