by Equine Rescue France
This time last month it was t-shirt weather, so the rapid weather change has been a bit of a shock to the system, both to humans and horses! Where did autumn go?
The drop in temperatures has been very sudden, so there will be a fall in the nutrient value of the grass (if you are lucky enough to have some left after the dry summer!). It’s important your equines have enough fibre to keep warm, so if horses are not rugged for the winter, it’s vital they have a plentiful supply of hay or haylage. If you do rug up, it’s also important to check they are not too hot during the day if the sun is out, as sweating will make them very uncomfortable, and leave them open to chill during the cold of the night.
If you don’t rug, it’s essential to have a shelter where your equines can go to get out of the worst of the bad weather. Horses don’t cope well with wind and rain together and donkeys coats are surprisingly not waterproof.
Mud fever and rainscald (in unrugged equines) will be likely to occur now. If you have an animal prone to either, this is time of year to be vigilant, checking regularly for the early signs of lesions, and take preventive measures. Rugging will prevent rainscald, and application of a barrier cream on the areas of the lower limbs likely to be affected with mud fever will help to stop this nasty skin problem taking a hold. There are various opinions on preventing mud fever, and if possible most vets now recommend not washing the mud off but to allow to dry naturally then brushing off. However, once there is a problem with mud fever, and assuming the infection is very mild, this will work if the hair is not too long, and can dry relatively quickly to allow a treatment cream to be used. Unfortunately this is not always practical, as the mud can take a long time to dry in the cold weather, and allow the bacteria to get a hold under the covering of damp,muddy hair, a likely scenario if the animal lives out. It is often more sensible to wash the wet mud off, using a product such as Hibiscrub ensuring all mud and crusty scabs have been removed, bring the horse into a mud free area, dry the legs completely and then apply an antibacterial cream to the affected areas. For more severe infections, the equine will probably need the hair clipped around the sores to allow easy application of an antibacterial cream, and the legs kept completely dry until the sores are close to healing, even if this involves stabling for a period of time. Then the barrier cream can be applied to dry clean legs as a preventative measure.
If your animals are stabled, don’t forget to put hay out for them first thing in the morning. There is an increased chance of colic in a horse that goes out and starts rapidly eating either very wet or frosty grass.
Corran Ard and Leon
Here at ERF, we have some great news to report as Corrie and Leon have found a new home together! Leon has been with us for over a year as we battled to get a nasty wound under control and Corran Ard is a UK racehorse found in a low end dealers yard having somehow never arrived at his promised long term retirement home in the UK after a successful racing career. Happily, they are now living in the lap of luxury with guardians who are totally smitten with them both, and rightly so. We went to see how they were settling in and both were so relaxed and happy, it was heartwarming to see. It was lovely to be able to rehome them as a pair, as they had bonded as fieldmates when with us, so there was far less stress for them moving to a new environment without being separated.
Microchip Scanner Appeal
Thanks to everyone that contributed to our recent microchip scanner appeal. We have now purchased one, and it will help immeasurably when monitoring horses at the sales and in welfare situations. We can immediately identify in which country a horse was chipped (although that is not necessarily the country of origin, equines are chipped in France to allow them to be transported on through Europe) allowing us to track the trafficking of horses more accurately.
At long last our new website is up and running. We are delighted with the result, especially as our blog is now an integral part, making it easier to access information and articles.
We would really appreciate you all taking a look at it and offering us feedback on here
Christmas gifts for equine enthusiasts!
That time is drawing close when you will be wondering what to buy your horse or donkey-mad friend or relative this year! Why not put your money to good use and help equines here in France? By making a donation of just 5? per month to ERF, you will be ensuring that we can carry on helping equines across France. In return, we will send the gift recipient a personalised pack showing just how their gift will be used and updates throughout the year. For more details, please
contact us at admin@ equinerescuefrance.org