Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer Colds, S......................nots!

It wouldn't be "normal" around here if there weren't things being thrown into the mix as we're trying to get ready for our open house. So it was no surprise to me when several of my Arabian horses began coughing.

This began about a week ago. Since I had already had a problem with two of my Arabian horses over at the other barn coughing from dust. That barn over there is very dusty and since the horses are on self care their hay sits out getting dusty as well. I wasn't sure how much of the dust was from the hay before it got there or what was picked up from the dust in that barn but soaking their hay fixed the problem.

The horses here have been fed the same hay all along. I didn't begin having any problems with coughing or snotty noses until I had horses living outside during Lindsay's recuperation. There again we had the "dust" thing going on. There are some very dusty parts to my paddocks and when the horses run around the dust flies.

Since dust can build up in a horse's throat, it only made sense that some horses here might show symptoms over time. So I decided to treat these coughing, snot nosed horses by soaking their hay. If that didn't work then I'd figure we had some sort of summer cold happening. Then I would really panic! That's all I needed was a summer cold going through the barn two weeks before my annual open house.

However, soaking hay for 9 horses wasn't going to work. I didn't even have enough containers to soak that much hay. Not to mention trying to figure out portions of wet hay would be real tricky if each horse didn't have it's own soaking container. What a mess that would be. Instead I set up dunking stations with big tubs outside the barns where I could quickly rinse the hay before feeding.

Feeding soaked or rinsed hay is a wet mess. It's impossible to stay dry shoving hay into a tub of water and then dragging it back out to feed. I've been setting the wet hay onto the ground so some of that water can run off before giving it to the horse.

I dunk the hay for the horses in one barn at a time and that gives some of the excess water a chance to escape. But believe me it's still one wet proposition feeding that many horses wet hay. It's impossible to accomplish without getting myself soaked in the process. despite my best efforts to stay dry, I managed to get wet up to my armpits, I swear. Then, of course, my jeans, shoes and socks are soaked as well.

So why am I talking about wet hay today when I 've been dealing with it for over a week? Well, It was ok when the temperatures were in the 70s for a little cool down. But on these cold (which feel like fall) mornings we've had here this week, I'm freezing my *ss off by the time I get done with feeding. I'm sitting here at the computer shivering waiting for my oatmeal to cook in the microwave.

But the good news is that rinsing these horses hay is working. I rarely hear a cough anymore (although Hope coughed at me this morning as I feed her!) and the snotty noses are beginning to dry up. I'm hoping by the open house on Sunday that everything will be under control.


  1. OH I hope the snots and coughs go away for you! What about hittin' the hay with the hose to wet it. That's what I've done in the past. Works well.

  2. Sounds like fun. Maybe if you had enough hay nets, you could fill the nets, dunk and hang them up. This way you might not get soaked and it might be less messy. Just a thought. Good Luck.

  3. I hope it works! I'm praying things go really smoothly up to and during and after the open house!

  4. Why is it only when the big events happen that thest things are thrown at us? All that soaking does NOT sound fun...hope they continue to improve.

  5. Wow. A splendid-looking horse. Your horse photos are always exceptional.

  6. One of the horses that i have here has COPD and is allergic to hay. So, his hay needs to get dunked. I have a big rubber maid utility cart that I put the hay in and fill up with water. Then, it's easy to tilt the cart to drain most of the water off, then I can push the cart to where I want to toss the hay. The hay stays pretty much in flakes and I don't usually get too wet. I hate it most in winter--nothing like sticking your hands into wet hay when it's 10 degrees out. Brrrr! :-(

    Good luck with everything.