An Illustrated Guide To
Just above the horse's "wrist" you might notice a hard protuberance. It is shown here between the thumb and forefinger of the topmost hand. This is NOT a problem.
As you go up the legs you will want to (at least subconsciously) be ready to notice any abnormal heat. The heat could help you spot an infection, a hidden bruise, or swelling. Just above the knee and on the inside of each foreleg leg is a pad, kind of like the elbow pad on some jackets. If you call these pads "CHESTNUTS" then vets and cowboys will know what you are talking about, and think you do too. For purely cosmetic purposes you can peel away any loose layers found on the chestnuts.
Any time you are near your horse you should be checking for ticks. Not only do they make life unpleasant for your friend, ticks also carry lyme disease. Ticks love warm and moist areas. Any place you have ever found a tick lodged on yourself is a likely spot to search for ticks on your friend. In the previous picture, just above the hand where the legs meet the chest and belly is a favorite place for ticks to hang around. As the skin is rather loose here you'll want to move the folds of skin around in your search for ticks.
One thing to be careful of is pulling a tick off that has its head embedded in your friend's flesh. If that tick's body comes off and leaves the head behind it could cause a bad infection. If you think a tick is firmly attached the best thing to do is make life uncomfortable for him enough that he decides to remove his head and come up to look around for another place to live. Tick spray isn't always handy and in a pinch you can cover it completely with shampoo, or even a spot of fingernail polish. Applying heat is another factor that will help a tick decide it is time to leave. If the tick is found in sensitive areas you'll want to be sure that you apply heat to the tick, and not to the horse.
You will also be looking for wounds, and anything else out of the ordinary as you go around your horse. Things you might not even notice if you are just looking at him through a fence will show up during a good grooming session. Check out the horse's tail and mane for wads that might contain cockleburs, things like that. There shouldn't be any since your horse just came from the stall, but check anyway.
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Next, brush him off where the saddle and the bridle will connect when you go riding. You will want to use a brush with stiff bristles, but keep your touch light and follow the way the hair lies. You'll notice that the hair does not all go from front to back, or from top to bottom. Quite often the hair quits slanting in one direction and goes in the directly opposite direction. Sometimes there will be a thread of hair going up -- or down -- in between those two different directions.If this is fly or mosquito season you'll want to take steps to keep those critters from irritating him by spraying him with a mixture of Avon's Skin So Soft and fly spray concentrate -- with water added. You should actually take some with you if the ride will be more than an hour long. This compound works really well on repelling those large horse flies that are so brutal on your friend.
While you are applying this mixture, don't forget to dampen the tail thoroughly. Then, your horse will be reapplying the mixture during the trip, right where it is needed most.
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