Stable Flies Are No Surprise – 6 Tips to Prepare for Fly Season

stable flies

With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of biting stable flies, nuisance house flies and other insects around the barn. Nice weather doesn’t necessarily mean you and your horse have to suffer the presence of flies. With just a few simple, preventative steps, you can drastically limit the fly population around your horses and their environment before they start to become a problem.

  1. Remove Manure – With the rough winter that has been seen across much of the country, manure removal or management has been hard. If your manure pile has expanded beyond its normal area, make arrangements to have it moved away from your property. Some manure without shavings mixed in (such as that picked from paddocks) can be spread across fields for fertilization or composted and used by gardening or farming facilities.
  2. Fill In and Level Paddocks – As snow melts and spring rains arrive, paddocks can get pretty torn up. Try to maintain paddock conditions as much as possible, filling in with appropriate footing (soil, sand, stone dust) as needed to help prevent puddles and standing water from collecting. Also take a look at other areas near the barn where standing water may gather, such as downspouts from drains. Standing water attracts stable flies and insects, so cutting down on areas where water can collect will help keep insect populations down as well.
  3.  Encourage Air Flow – Make sure to swap any glass on barn windows back to screens or leave open to allow air to flow through stalls. Leaving barn doors open as much as possible will also help air flow through your barn. Aisle guards can be used to help ensure horses are secured while barn doors are open. Stall fans and industrial fans in barn aisles that are approved for outdoor use can also help to move air on humid or extra warm days. Constant air flow keeps things from becoming stagnant and cuts down on stable flies.
  4. Utilize Fly Predators – Fly predators are small, non-pestering tiny wasps that fly predatorsnaturally control biting stable fly populations as well as house flies. Miniscule fly predators will not sting, bite or pester horses, humans or other animals. They feed on biting flies when they are in their cocoon stage. Just spread the fly predator eggs near manure areas, like the manure pile, in paddocks or near water troughs outside and ensure they will not be removed (such as stall areas that are cleaned daily, for example).
  5. Stfly sheetock up on Fly Protection – No matter how much preparation is done, it is
    impossible to eliminate stable flies entirely from an area with horses. Make sure you have a lightweight, comfortable fly sheet, like the Rider’s International Stretch Micro Mesh Fly Sheet, to protect your horse. This fly sheet will keep biting flies away from your horse’s skin, while also keeping him protected from dust and coat-fading sun rays. A fly mask, fly boots and fly spray will also help to keep pesky stable flies away from your horse.
  6. Have an Equine Spa Day – Stable flies are attracted to dirt and dust. Giving your horse a quality bath once the weather allows will help to make them less appealing to biting flies while sprucing them up for spring. Make sure you have all the bathing supplies you’ll need on hand so you’re ready when the next warm day hits.

Preparing now for the arrival of spring stable flies will help to ensure your horse is comfortable, calm and enjoying his time outside without flies circling around him.

How do you keep flies at bay around your barn? Let us know in the comments!

Brands We Love: GPA

gpa helmets

A helmet is arguably the most important piece of equipment you will purchase for horseback riding, so having a brand you can trust manufacturing this item makes buying one with confidence much easier. GPA® helmets are a rider favorite across many disciplines, with their up to date technology, ability to meet certification standards and physical design drawing the eye of many.

GPA began making helmets in 1964, originally for pilots, expanding to offer the first approved equestrian riding helmets in 1998. All of the GPA helmets feature technical innovation in security and comfort based in extensive research, with the equestrian lines being no exception. High performance materials, such as carbon, aluminum and titanium, have been used to improve the helmets, while the input of sponsored riders is utilized in many areas of helmet development to help ensure satisfaction for riders. Additionally, GPA helmets meet inspection standards of Europe, USA and Great Britain with three different shell sizes and six different internal elements to ensure a great, comfortable fit for many head sizes.

The GPA Classic Pro Helmet is a great gpa classic pro helmetexample of the core features of GPA helmets. This helmet is visually streamlined with a classic look. An inner shell of high-tech, high-density polystyrene helps to provide impact absorption, with an outer shell featuring a thermo-composite resin in front. The center strip over the helmet has ventilation elements to keep your head cool, while a foam nape protector in back provides support and additional coverage.

gpa speed air helmetFor those riders who want to help safeguard their skin with additional shade from the bright sun, the GPA First Lady Helmet was designed with an extra wide visor. This helmet also has the same removable aerated foam liner and ventilation that the GPA Speed Air Evolution has to keep your head clean, cool and comfortable. The First Lady Helmet stands out with a slightly glittery finish that is subtle and tasteful to make you shine just the way you want.

The most recent GPA gpa easyhelmet to our collection is one of our favorites, the GPA Easy Helmet. Just like its name suggests, this helmet provides coverage, style and breathability while being simple to maintain, clean and care for. Air intakes on the sides and back allow air to flow through freely, making this helmet very comfortable to wear while working in the saddle. Remove the antibacterial foams inside to wash for a perfectly hygienic helmet.

Let us know in the comments how you’ve enjoyed any GPA models you’ve owned over the years!

Introducing the New Veredus Carbon Gel Vento Boots

veredus carbon gel vento

Protecting your horse’s legs can be an important factor in keeping your horse working and living effectively and happily. Appropriate support material in horse boots is important, but is not the only factor to consider when purchasing new horse boots- the weight of the boots and their ability to not trap heat and keep your horse’s legs cool are also critical.

Even a small amount of weight added to your horse’s legs can cause changes in gaits or movement and increase the energy expended while moving. This effect of added weight is magnified when a boot absorbs and holds onto sweat or water. Boots that trap heat around the leg are a concern because tendons can be damaged from extreme or prolonged heat. For both of these reasons, ventilation and breathability are equally important as a sturdy outer shell to prevent cuts or punctures and a cushioned interior to absorb the impact of concussion.

Veredus® has recently designed a new double ventilation technology which they are utilizing in their Veredus Carbon Gel Vento Boots. These boots have multi-layer construction which helps to move heat away from the horse’s legs, while also protecting from concussion and cuts or punctures. Let’s break down what makes up the Veredus Carbon Gel Vento Boots:

veredus carbon gel vento boots

  • Aerox Micro-Perforated Neoprene – The innermost layer against the horse passes the heat from the horse’s skin through horizontally to the next layer.
  • 3D Mesh Ducted Fabric – Heat is distributed throughout this layer after it is passed from the initial neoprene. An air inlet on the exterior of the boot allows fresh air to enter as the horse moves, which pushes the heat gathered in the mesh fabric vertically.
  • Double Density Shell – The outer layer features an extractor flue at the top, which allows the heat to leave the interior of the boot, while protecting the leg from cuts, scrapes and punctures with a strong, durable shell.
  • Nitrexgel and Carbon Fiber – This final, partial layer protects the tendons from concussion and impact with strong, lightweight carbon fiber section combined with shock absorbing nitrexgel film.

In addition to the beneficial cooling and venting elements of these boots, they also feature a quick-release tip on the straps. This, combined with the anatomically shaped shell, makes these boots very easy for the rider to use and adjust and also provides complete freedom of movement and comfort for the horse. Not to worry, this same technology is available in an ankle boot for a complete set of breathable protection!

Have you tried the Veredus Carbon Gel Vento boots yet? What about other Veredus products? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

How to Utilize Horse Jumps

horse jumps

Once you are at the point where you and your horse have developed your foundation of flat work and are ready to start successfully jumping, you and your trainer may want to explore putting different jump patterns together to create a full course.  Setting a jump course is a great opportunity to allow yourself to be creative and come up with new ways to challenge your horse that are rewarding for both of you.

Horse jumps can be used and set up in a variety of ways, from the most basic set up with jumps on the outside lines and diagonals to the more complicated roll backs and bending lines. Some common elements you can include are:

  • Single Fence – place on the long sides, center line, diagonals or anywhere else your horse will have a good approach and landing.vertical horse jump
  • Straight Line – typically placed along long sides, but can go anywhere there is enough room for multiple fences. Set with any number of strides between fences, from three-stride lines and up.
  • In-and-Out – two fences set with one or two strides in between.
  • Bending Line – same as the straight line, but set on a gradual curve .
  • Bounce – two fences set with no strides between them, so the horse just touches down after the first fence before taking off over the second.
  • Rollback – set so a horse can jump into a line and then turn out, heading back towards where they came from to jump another fence. Should not have the first fence be part of a line less than 4 strides.

You can create these elements using a variety of types of horse jumps such as crossrails, verticals, oxers and other more unique types like Swedish oxers, triple bars and even walls and liverpools.oxer

Once you have an idea of how you want to set up your jump course, knowing how to measure the distance between horse jumps is crucial. Having the right distance measured between lines of fences will help you and your horse be able to jump through successfully. The average horse stride length is twelve feet, which is equivalent to four, three-foot long human steps. To get a feel of how long your step should be as you walk lines, place a twelve foot pole on the ground and take four, even steps alongside it. Typically you should allow two human steps for takeoff and two for landing. A three stride line, for example, would be 16, three-foot, human steps. The first time you set distances between jumps, it would be beneficial to get advice from a seasoned course designer.

Being able to correctly walk a line of horse jumps and set up a course is a valuable skill and will expand your ability to create and execute a variety of exercises with your horse. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a career in course design in your future!

Let us know in the comments what your favorite jump course element is!

William Micklem: The Surprises and Delights of Life

Micklem_1

We are pleased to have recently added two new bridles from William Micklem to our collection- the Micklem Deluxe Competition Bridle for jumping and eventing and the Micklem Diamante Competition Bridle for dressage. Learn more about William Micklem as he speaks about his recent Lifetime Achievement Award, Irish jumping greats, what is to come and the value of a small horse in this guest post straight from his pen: Continue reading

Make Your Horse Look Rolex Ready with Mane ‘n Tail

mane 'n tail

With Rolex coming up, your plans for competition and success with your horse may be ignited. Along with practice, skill and determination, a winning appearance can go a long way in making you feel like you’re performing at your peak. Some of our favorite products from Mane ‘n Tail® will do the perfect job of cleaning up your horse this spring. Whether you want to look your best for a big show or just a day in the pasture, here is what you’ll need:

  • Shampoo – Mane ‘n Tail shampoo has a micro-enriched proteimane 'n tail pro-tect shampoon, pH balanced formula, which makes it successful at cleaning your horse’s coat without stripping away natural oils. This high lather shampoo is gentle and non-irritating. As a bonus, it can be used on your dogs and even yourself as well! It’s a popular shampoo choice found in many bathing kits and showers. If your horse struggles with any skin problems, the Mane ‘n Tail Pro-Tect shampoo is antimicrobial and medicated. It is successful fighting against skin problems related to bacteria, yeast, mold, fungi and viruses.
  • Detangler – Working through the knots in your horse’s mane and tail can be frustrating. Make the task easy and help keep hairs from being pulled out by using the Mane ‘n Tail Detangler spray. This detangler is also a conditioner, helping to make your horse’s hair stronger while you brush through it. It can be used on wet or dry hair.
  • Whitening Spray – If your horse is light colored or has white areas, you know how hard it can be to get truly clean. Mane mane 'n tail spray 'n whiten’ Tail Spray ‘n White is a color-enhancing shampoo and conditioner that will deep clean your horse’s coat easily. Since it is a spray on, it is perfect for spot cleaning grass, manure, urine and dirt stains from socks and targeted stained areas without the need for a full bath. Just spray it on where you need it and wash it off to leave white, grey or gold hair glowing. Bleach and peroxide free for gentle cleaning.
  • Hoof Dressing – Once your horse’s coat, mane and tail aremane 'n tail hoofmaker spotless and shiny, don’t forget to give the hooves a little TLC. Mane ‘n Tail Hoofmaker dressing will help moisturize hooves, preventing brittleness. This hoof dressing can be used on the entire hoof, including walls, coronary band, frog and sole. It’s not sticky or greasy, so is easy to just pump out and massage onto the hoof with your hands.

Let us know in the comments what your favorite product to use when trying to look your best is!

 

Types of Common Horse Vaccines

Spring is right around the corner, and in between dreaming about riding outside in beautiful weather most riders are also thinking about taking care of their horse’s spring vaccines. There are a range of common horse vaccines available that owners can select from to help protect their horses. Here is a list of the most common horse vaccines that you may be considering for your horse this spring. As always, be sure to consult with your veterinarian on what is appropriate for your specific horse, especially in cases where a mare may be pregnant and with young horses.

  • Tetanus – Horses can be somewhat accident prone. The tetanus vaccine will help protect your horse from bacteria that can cause lockjaw and muscle spasms if he suffers a puncture wound or other deep wound that could become contaminated. Usually given annually in a two-dose series with a booster at time of injury.
  • Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis – Also known as “sleeping sickness,” encephalomyelitis causes brain and spinal cord inflammation and is passed through mosquitoes. The vaccine is usually given once a year with a two-dose series in the spring before the insects emerge.
  • West Nile Virus – Also spread through mosquitoes, this disease can be deadly to horses and is fairly widespread. Typically the horse vaccine for West Nile is given twice a year, although is sometimes just given annually with a two-dose series.
  • Rhino (EHV) – Caused by the herpes virus, this disease is contagious and affects the horse’s respiratory tract, as well as inducing abortion in pregnant mares. The horse vaccine series is generally given twice a year, but should be done more often for horses that travel to shows frequently.
  • Influenza – Both intranasal and injectable horse vaccines are available for this, and your veterinarian can recommend what will be best for your horse. Influenza causes a contagious, viral respiratory-tract inflammation, and should be vaccinated against twice a year in most cases.
  • Strangles- One of the most common respiratory infections in horses, it causes fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, and abscesses in the head and neck regions. If your horse travels often to compete, it is important to vaccinate against this disease as it is contagious. Typically Strangles is vaccinated against twice a year in a multi-dose series.

When selecting horse vaccines this year, keep in mind that we also offer needles and syringes for your equine medical supplies kit. Always discuss horse vaccinations and other medical treatments with your veterinarian or a knowledgeable professional before treating your horse.

Winter Blues? Stock up for Spring with CoolBlast!

coolblast

If you are in the cold parts of the country right now, it may be hard to imagine the weather warming up and spring arriving. Do not fret- spring is on the way! As the weather warms up, the time to hang up your winter barn jacket and warm layers will arrive, and you’ll need to make sure you have the right clothes for the warmer weather. Take a break from the frigid temperatures for a moment, pretend it is spring and stock up on one of our most popular brands. Continue reading

Brands We Love: Back on Track®

infrared heat radiation

Both you and your horse are athletes and should take care of your bodies as such. Products from Back on Track can help support joints and muscles and keep you and your horse active and comfortable. These products generate infrared heat radiation, which increases blood flow, helping to relieve sore muscles while decreasing chances of injury.  Back on Track makes their products with textiles that have ceramic particles fused into the fibers. When these fabrics are worn, the body heats up the fabric and the ceramic particles radiate that heat back onto the person or animal wearing it. Because the ceramic particles are part of the fabric, they never wash out and the product never becomes less effective, even with daily use. Continue reading

Developing a Horse Deworming Schedule

horse deworming scheduleParasites, including varying types of worms and bots, are present in your horse’s paddocks and living areas and can make their way inside your horse, affecting him throughout their life cycles. Left untreated, internal parasites can cause weight loss, itching, lethargy, digestive and gastro-intestinal problems, malnourishment and even colic. Fortunately, controlling internal parasites in your horse is fairly easy with an appropriate horse deworming schedule developed with the help of your veterinarian. Continue reading