A horse’s tail is very important to him. Not only does it act as a fly swatter in summer, it keeps his “bottom” warm in winter! The area between a horse’s hind legs is the only part not kept warm by hair, so it loses the greatest amount of warmth if left exposed by too much trimming.
From a horse’s point of view, the best tail is a natural tail.
Some horses have thin ragged tails, while others have tails so thick they cannot be braided for formal riding events and shows. To make the best of their appearance, thick or thin, different tails are treated in different ways. Some styles even go in and out of fashion!
A “banged” tail is cut straight across the bottom to give it a neat appearance. It makes a scraggly tail look thicker.
Often inflicted on harness horses to prevent their tails being caught up in the harness. Tail docking is illegal in many places as it’s considered cruel.
The hair around the dock area, at the top, is pulled out to give the tail a more refined look. Show horses often have pulled tails
The tail is first thinned at the top and then braided neatly around the dock for showing. Both manes and tails are usually braided for hunter classes.
Equis Asinus – The ass family
Jack, Jackass – The male of the ass family
Jennet, Jenny – The female of the ass family
Donkey – common nickname for the ass family
Burro – small members of the ass family
Mule – cross between a jack ,male ass, and a mare , female horse
Mule Colt – a mule of either sex under one year of age
Molly Mule, Mare Mule – Female mule over one year of age
Horse mule, John Mule – a male mule over year of age
Mammoth Jack or jennet – Large members of the ass family. Generally 14 hands or more in height
Here is a list of common vaccinations for your Mules and Horses
TETANUS; sometimes called “lockjaw”, symptoms include muscle stiffness and rigidity, hypersensitivity, flared nostrils, and the legs stiffly held in a sawhorse stance. As this disease progresses muscles in the face and jaw stiffen, preventing the animal from eating or drinking. More than 80% of all affected mules or horses will die. All equines. Foals at 2-4 months. Annually thereafter. Brood mares 4-6 weeks before foaling
INFLUENZA; one of the most common respiratory diseases in equines.
This virus is highly contagious and can be transmitted from equine to equine over distances as far as 30 yards by snorting or coughing. Symptoms are nasal discharge, dry cough, fever, depression, and loss of appetite. If your equine is exposed to other equines they need to be vaccinated against influenza. Most equines. Foals at 3-6 months, then every 3 months. Traveling equines every 3 months. Brood mares biannually, plus booster 4-6 weeks pre-foaling.
ENCEPHALOMYELITIS; sometimes called “sleeping sickness”. Most commonly transmitted by mosquitoes, after they have acquired it from birds and rodents. While humans are susceptible when bitten by a mosquito, direct equine to equine or equine to human transmission is very rare. Early signs include loss of appetite, fever, and depression. As it progresses a mule may stagger when it walks and paralysis develops in later stages. Symptoms may vary widely but all result from the degeneration of the brain. The death rate is 70 to 90 percent of infected equines. All equines. Foals at 2-4 months. Annually in the spring thereafter. Broodmares at 4-6 weeks before foaling.
RHINOPNEUMONITIS; is actually two distinct viruses, equine herpes virus type 1 and equine herpes virus type 4. Both cause respiratory tract problems, and EHV-1 may also cause abortion, foal death and paralysis. Infected equines may be feverish and lethargic and may lose appetite and experience nasal discharge and a cough. Young animals suffer most from respiratory tract infections and may develop pneumonia secondary to EHV -1. Rhinopneumontis is spread by aerosol and by direct contact with secretions, utensils, and drinking water. The virus can be present but unapparent in the carrier animals. Immune protection is short, therefore pregnant mares are vaccinated at least during the 5th, 7th and 9th months of gestation, and youngsters at high risk need a booster at least every three months. Many vets recommend vaccinating at two month intervals year-round. Foals at 2-4 months and younger equines in training. Repeat at 2 -3 month intervals.
The types of vaccinations required may depend on factors such as; environment, age, risk of exposure, age, value, general management and geographical environment. Consult with your vet to determine what is needed for your mule or horse. It’s your responsibility to give proper care.
Your Equine First Aid Kit
Your first aid kit can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. As long as you start with the essentials, you can build it up as you go if you wish. Here is a list of things to get you started;
Sterile cotton roll
Sterile contact bandage
Sterile gauze pads, assorted sizes
Sterile gauze wrap
Cling wrap, new roll
Adhesive wrap and tape
Rectal thermometer with a string and clip attached
Antiseptic solution or surgical scrub
Steel cup or container
Pliers, for pulling nails
Flashlight and good batteries
Note pad and pen
First aid for Horses and other equines
If you have mules or horses you know that sooner or later you will be faced with a medical emergency of some kind, things happen no matter how careful we are. There are several factors that make equines especially accident prone like the instinctive flight or fight response, establishing the pecking order in the herd, and their natural curiosity. These account for many of the cuts, bruises and abrasions that most of us contend with. There are other types of medical emergencies such as colic, acute lameness, foaling problems, heat stroke, and seizures. You need to learn how to recognize, respond quickly and calmly, and what should you do while waiting for the vet.
How Prepared Are You ?
If you have equines there is bound to come a time when you will be faced with a medical emergency. You must not allow panic to overcome you, this will cloud your judgment and ability to asses the immediate needs of the injured mule/horse. Have a plan of action, rehearse the initial steps you will take in an emergency situation. Here is a guideline to help get you started;
A. Keep the veterinarian’s number, including after hours number, by each phone. Don’t rely on everyone knowing the speed dial code.
B. Consult with your vet about a back-up or referring vet, in case your regular vet can’t be reached.
C. Know the most direct route to an equine emergency center in case you need to transport the mule/horse. It is also a good idea to keep written directions in the first aid kit or near the phone
D. Keep a list of friends and neighbors names and phone numbers who could assist you in an emergency posted next to the phones.
E. Prepare a first aid kit and place it in a clean, dry , readily accessible place. And make sure that everyone using the barn knows where it is.
F. Keep a smaller first aid kit in your trailer and a more scaled down version for taking on trail rides.
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EMERGENCY WOUND CARE
The initial steps you take to treat a wound can prevent further damage and speed the healing in your mule. Of course how you proceed will depend on the individual circumstances, and you must exercise your good judgment. The following is to be used only as a guideline.
1. Catch and calm the mule and move him to a stall without causing distress or further injury.
2. Get help before you attempt to treat or evaluate the wound. At best it could be difficult to inspect or clean a wound while also trying to hold the mule.
3. Once you have located and evaluated the depth and severity of the wound contact your vet if you feel emergency medical attention is needed.
4. Consult you veterinarian before attempting to clean the wound or remove debris or penetrating objects, as this may precipitate uncontrollable bleeding.
Don’t put anything on the wound except cold water or a compress.
5. Stop the bleeding by covering the wound with a sterile absorbent pad, not cotton, apply firm, steady, even pressure to the wound.
6. Do not medicate or tranquilize unless directed by your vet. If there has been severe blood loss or shock, the administration of certain drugs can be life threatening.
7. If the eye is injured do not attempt to treat yourself. Contact your vet and wait for him.
8. All mules/horses being treated for lacerations or puncture wounds will require a tetanus booster.
Can You Recognize Signs Of Stress?
It’s obvious there is a problem when your mule is cut or bleeding isn’t it. But what about colic or an injury that may not be as easily noticed, would you be able to see it building? That’s why you should know what the normal vital signs are for your mule, including temperature, pulse and respiration (TPR). You should also know their normal behavior pattern as well. Like how much water do they normally drink over night or through the day. All this requires being a good observer.
WHAT IS NORMAL ?
Of course will be variations of normal in individual temperatures, pulse and respiration counts so don’t assume that if you check one animal the other will be the same. You should take several baseline readings when your mule is healthy, rested, and relaxed. I keep a small notebook in the tack room to keep a record and it’s near my first aid kit for easy access. This is also a good place to keep emergency numbers.
Normal ranges for adult mules are:
Temperature: (rectal) 99.5 F – 101.5 F.
Pulse: 30 – 42 beats per minute
Respiration: 12-20 breaths per minute
You should contact your vet immediately if temperatures exceed 102.5 and temps over 103 degree indicate a serious condition.
Capillary Refill Time: 2 seconds
This is the time it takes the color to return to the gums adjacent to the teeth. Press the gum tissue with your thumb and release, color should return to normal in 2 seconds.
A Few Signs To Look For
Dehydration: Pinch or fold a flap of neck skin and release. It should snap back into place immediately, if it doesn’t this is sign of dehydration.
Color: The mucous membranes of the gums, nostril, inner eye tissue (conjunctiva), and inner lips of the vulva should be pink. Pale pink to white, bluish purple, or bright red coloring may indicate problems.
Lameness: Signs may be head bobbing, odd stance, reluctance to move, pain, swelling, being poor in the gait, or unwillingness to rise.
You should be aware of the usual color, consistency and volume of feces and urine of your mule. Any straining or failure to excrete should be reported to your vet.
It will help your vet immensely if you are able to give him information on the condition of your mule when you call him. Also, remember to stay calm. Your calmness will also help the mule to be less stressed. You are also more observant when calm.
When your horse sweats, he loses sodium and chloride (which combine to form salt) along with potassium and trace amounts of calcium and magnesium-simple inorganic compounds that are collectively known as electrolytes. These substances dissolve in the horse’s body fluids and regulate many chemical processes that occur both in and between the cells. The kidneys are the primary organs involved in regulating electrolyte levels, conserving or excreting the elements as necessary to maintain a stable state of equilibrium (homeostasis) within the horse’s body.
For the most part, a balanced diet supplies ample amounts of electrolytes for a moderately worked horse. Grain is high in phosphorus, and legume hays are excellent sources of calcium. The soil, in which grain and hay are grown, however, largely determines the feed’s mineral content. Your state department of agriculture can provide specific information about locally grown crops, and in many states, it’s possible to receive a complete nutritional analysis of your horse feed.
Only if your horse sweats heavily and frequently he is likely to require supplemental electrolytes. Salt is the exception, since horses virtually always need more than they can acquire from grain and hay. Give your horse free access to a trace-mineralized salt block (it isn’t advisable to add salt to his feed or water).
He will generally consume no more and no less than his body needs one half-pound per week is average for an adult horse.