Thinking of starting a Horse Business? Things to Consider

So you want to start a horse business? That is great news! There are tons of successful businesses in the equine industry. First thing is first. You need to decide on a specialty and figure out how you will get started financially. Will you go at it alone, or with a partner? What kind of liability do you need? Below are the types of companies that you can have, along with the advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and disadvantages of the 6 types of business:

Sole Proprietorship
Advantages: Easiest, losses may be deducted from personal income, least expensive
Disadvantages: Owner has unlimited liability, no protection from a company, raising capital can be difficult. 

General partnership:
Advantages: Shared expenses, each partner has equal say in management decisions, losses may still be deducted from personal income.
Disadvantages: Each partner has unlimited liability for the partnership, must file separate tax return, must contribute, borrow or raise capital.

Limited Partnership
Advantages: Shared expenses, limited partners have limited liability, losses may be deducted from personal income.
Disadvantages: Passive loss limitations, limited partners have no management control, must file a separate tax return, partners must contribute or borrow to raise capital.

Regular Corporation
Advantages: Lower income tax rates, ability to raise capital through shares, shareholders have limited personal liability.
Disadvantages Losses may not be deducted from personal income, the corporation must file a separate tax return.

S Corporation
Advantages: Losses can be deducted from personal income, can raise capital through issuance of shares, only a limited personal liability.
Disadvantages: Most complicated form, corporation must file a separate tax return.

Advantages: Risks and expenses are shared.
Disadvantages: Complex taxes.

8 guidelines needed to have a successful horse business.
-Have a business plan, the time taken to create a good plan will pay off.
-Make sure to have enough financial reserve or backing.
-Learn as much as you can about your proposed business. If you are going to give lesson, have a certification and be a good instructor. If you want to breed, learn about genetics, defects and understand areas of concern.
- Asses the industry climate. Don't put a rodeo across the street from a successful rodeo. Know why your company will be better than competitors.
- Build a reputation. Having a good image is important to continue business.
- Get as much help as you can from other professionals. Talk to others in the business and learn from them
- Develop marketing abilities. Be aware of opportunities to promote your business and take advantage of them.
- Keep your business plan up to date.  It should be a fluid document that reflects your business goals, and a roadmap to get your business to where you want it. 

Explain why a business plan is essential for the success of an equine business and the possible uses once it has been put together: A business plan is essentially a roadmap of your business. Not only can it guide the business owner and help set goals, and foster new ideas, it serves as a document which the bank will utilize if a loan is needed. It should include market analysis and can give a competitive edge in the market.

Why is image and reputation so important in a horse business: Image and reputation is extremely important in tho business because word of mouth is considered a main way in which most horse owners make decisions on who to work with. The image is not only the manner in which the grounds are kept, but on how each employee conducts him or herself. This determines whether or not clients return. A good example that I often see, when it comes to image, is that of a farrier. Clients share stories, the work ethic, personality and ability to pay attention to detail is very important to the farriers image. These types of things dictate whether or not they will be called back for the next trimming.

Preparing Your Horse for Their First Endurance Ride

If you are planning your first endurance ride, training your horse for a long ride is key in ensuring a safe and successful ride. Your horse needs to be conditioned for that kind of distance. One thing I did not know prior to going on my first ride, is that you cannot walk the entire thing and finish in time. You should attempt to maintain a trotting pace the majority of the time. You should also be sure that you have the proper equipment for the ride. I personally like Biothane bridles, a Dixi Midnight pad, and a Skitto pad with my Bob Marshall Saddle. I use Renegade hoof boots to protect my mares feet. Training for a ride like that can not be taken lightly. I personally like to do 10 mile rides at a trot/lope pace. I don't get to ride as often as I would like, so I have to make the most of my time in saddle.

A good training plan might start with 3-5 days a week.

Here are some sample goals for training, obviously walk through obstacles and on hard ground, but this is a general starting point if you have a relatively in shape horse, but the horse has not been conditioned for long distance rides:

- 5 miles walk 2 miles trot,
- 3 miles walk 5 miles trot
- 5 miles trot, 2 miles walk
- 7 miles trot 7 miles trot,
- 2 miles walk and so on.

 With some consistency, you can have a good horse ready to go with a month or two of training. Be sure to keep your horse out of harms way and protect it as much as you can, the last thing you want is an injury after all of that work.

Also, be sure that you consider the tack that you are using when putting your horse through the equivalent of a marathon. For more info on endurance tack, check out my other post where I have asked trainers, and several other endurance riders about what they use.

Common Diseases, Symptoms and Treatments

1  It is important for horse owners to be able to identify when their horses need medical treatment.
Every horse should be vaccinated for Equine Influenza, Tetanus, Encephamyelitis
Other horses who are exposed, should be vaccinated for strangles, rabies, rhinopneumonitis, anthrax

Cause: A bacteria that can be picked up ingesting it or from biting insects.
Symptoms: Fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain, which will later lead to swelling around the neck, mammary glands and sheath.
Treatment: The horse will need massive doses of antibiotics

Cause: Viral disease contracted from contaminated needles and biting insects, especially flies.
Symptoms: Flu like symptoms, fever, depression, weakness, poor appetite, weight loss and anemia. Edema may appear under the skin in the chest, abdomen, legs and scrotum.
Treatment: Horses are isolated and typically put down.

Cause: Mosquito bites. The virus can live in wild birds, rodents and other animals, but they only infect horses and people.
Symptoms: high temperature for 1 or 2 days, nervousness and restlessness. Later, symptoms include depression, lack of coordination, drowsiness, droopy ears, and aimless walking. Paralysis and death follow within 2-4 days.
Treatment: General care including providing fluids, protection, warmth and shade, and quiet. The disease can be prevented through vaccinations.

Cause: Ticks that carry the protozoan microorganism.
Symptoms: anemia, jaundice, fever, depression, thirst, tears in the eyes and swelling of the eyelids.
Treatment: 15% will die, drug treatment, combined with the normal immune response of the horse will bring about recovery.

-Equine Influenza
Cause: Extremely contagious virus, coughing horses can spread mucous on feed and water troughs, they might also ingest the virus, most commonly contracted after an event with several other horses.
Symptoms: Fever, runny nose, cough, depression and poor appetite.
Treatment: Isolate the horse, and treat them with care, warmth, quiet, and rest.

- Rabies
Cause: Virus affecting the nervous system, contracted from a rabid animal bite such as a raccoon, skink or bat.
Symptoms: Fresh wound on the face, muzzle or legs that is from a rabid animal. Symptoms include, droopling, spastic lip movements, behavioral changes, poor appetite, and aggression.
Treatment: Quarantine and monitor the horse for 30-50 days. If infected, early treatment from a vet can help, but it is fatal in late stages. Vaccinations can prevent rabies infection.

- Rhinopneumonitis
Cause: Rhino is a virus transmitted from horse to horse.
Symptoms: Flu like symptoms including nasal discharge and coughing, increased body temperature, and abortions in pregnant mares. .
Treatment: Vaccinating agains the disease can help, however, some suggest that the vaccination itself is dangerous. A vetrenarian must see the horse to treat it.

- Pneumonia
Cause: Inflammation of lung tissue.
Symptoms: Fever, nasal discharge, poor appetite, chest pains, lung congestion, and breathing difficulties.
Treatment: A veterinarian must treat the horse. This can be fatal for foals.

- Ringworm:
Cause: Introduction of  Ringworm fungus into the horses system by either another horse, contaminated feed, stalls, or grooming equipment.
Symptoms: The horse will have small round reddish lesions, small scales might cover the lesions.
Treatment: Depending on type, there are multiple treatments. A veterinarian will be able to determine the appropriate remedy.

Cause: Puncture wound
Symptoms: Symptoms occur 7-10 days after infection, stiffness in horse’s legs, stumbling, cocked ears, protrusion of the third eyelid, a few days later, the horse is unable to walk. The horse will elevate its tail and have difficult moving it’s head. It will be unable to open its mouth and eat eventually and will fall and not get up.
Treatment:A vet can treat the horse, but recovery is unlikely. Vaccinations can prevent it.

- Strangles:
Cause: Contracted from other horses, common in ages 1-3, it can also be contracted through water troughs, feed buckets and pastures.
Symptoms: Fever, nasal discharge, cough, swollen lymph nodes and difficulty swallowing.
Treatment: Isolate the horse, disinfect water trough, and give penicillin under the guidance of a veterinarian.  

- Colic:
Cause: Feeding too much grain, rapid diet change, worms, sand impaction and several other causes.
Symptoms: Horse lying down, rolling, biting at its sides, increased heart rate and temperature, profusely sweating, restlessness, and lack of desire to eat or drink.
Treatment: Depending on the level of severity, anti-inflammatory medication, painkillers, or walking the horse can help. If it is more severe, a vet will need to do surgery.

- Azutoria:
Cause: Metabolic problems caused by receiving too much feed after being worked hard then continuing to receive the same amount of feed with no hard work.
Symptoms: Symptoms disappear after they begin exercise again. Symptoms include stiffness, tremors, and pain. They will be unable to move and may fall. Their urine might be dark reddish-brown, or black.
Treatment: Cease exercise immediately and call a veterinarian. Decrease amount of grains in the horses diet.

- Warts:
Cause: Unknown causes, but common in younger horses
Symptoms: Wards on lips, muzzle, inside of thighs, or on the prepuce.
Treatment: They will disappear on their own. I have a mare who has a wart on her muzzle, and read that people tear them off with pliers. I left it and after a fewo months, it went away.

- Melanomas
Cause: Cancerous growths on light horses, similar to skin cancer
Symptoms: growths on the tail, anus head, or any other body part- primarily on white and gray hoses over 7 years old.
Treatment: Surgical removal

Genetic Diseases in Horses

Many people wonder what to look for when buying a horse. Often, new buyers look for a nice temperament and solid training on the ground and in the saddle. They may overlook illnesses, and genetic disease. 
Genetic defects usually only show up from line-breeding or inbreeding. The two that have shown up from line-breeding were hidden from the public for years to protect big breeders. HYPP and HERDA.
HYPP-Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis Disease is a disease of the muscles, not the nerves, but the symptoms look like a nerve problem. It is a defect in the cells that cause them to allow too much sodium to enter the cell.  This creates too much “voltage” in the cell which causes twitching or muscle weakness. Some horses have been found dead in their stalls from tremor attacks. It mostly affects horses with “Impressive” in their bloodlines. Impressive’s DNA shows that he goes back to Three Bars several times. as he is line bred. Since then, the AQHA will not let you register an Impressive bred horse unless it is a double negative.  If you end up with a horse that has HYPP, feed only grass hay and oats and keep the potassium levels. They do better on pasture with free access to salt. 
Another genetic disease HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia, or Hyperelastosis cutis), is one of the biggest cover ups in the cutting horse world. This is a genetic disease that causes a defect in the skin on the horses back. It appears that the muscle doesn’t attach the skin to the horse, so when you put a saddle on the horse the skin is horribly destroyed. Some top blood lines in the cutting industry may be carriers. It was stated that carriers come from the Poco Bueno line. However, It is a recessive gene, meaning that you have to cross a sire and a dam that are both carriers, and then one out of four foals will have the disease. Poco Tivio mares were the most successfully bred with Doc Bar. Smart Little Lena is a very popular cutting sire and the most expensive. If these horses are carriers there will be a huge shock to the cutting community. Remember again, that it is a recessive gene.
GBED (Glycogen Branching enzyme deficiency) is a disease of foals with Quarterhorse bloodlines that results in death within a few months of birth. This is newly recognized, as the deaths were previously chalked up to other causes. Signs can include abortion, still birth, low body temperature and weakness at birth, sudden death from seizures or heart stopping, and inability to get up from the weakness.

Emergencies and your horse part 1: COLIC

Emergencies, the one thing that every horse owner fears. You come home from work and your horse is down in the field with colic. Or perhaps you approach your horse who has blood everywhere and you see that he ran through a t-post. Maybe you are at a ride and your horse experiences severe dehydration and thumps.

There are so many things that can go wrong, we need to be aware of what to look for and know how to react to be able to save our companions and pets. 

The leading emergency: Colic. If you are reading this, it is probably because you think your horse is colicky. I know how scary this is. First, look at the symptoms and determine how serious it is. 
Is he laying down, and trying to roll, biting at his sides, lethargic with head hanging low and not willing to move?
(think of how a person gets with a stomach ache, doubled over holding sides, laying still, lethargic, don't want to move)
If this is the case, determine severity:

Did he roll a lot or a little?
Can he get up and walk/stand? If not, GET A VET NOW! They will put a tube in him with oil to help their digestive system start processing, and straighten it out if they can. 

If he can get up, get him up. You don't need to walk him- just make sure he stays standing.
Get him Banamine immediately- THERE IS NO WAY AROUND THIS. If you don't have any on hand, call all vets, call emergency numbers, call everybody you know with horses.
If you can't get Banamine, go to the drug store and get some mineral oil that will cause their digestive system to flow. Now remember - depending on the type/severity of colic, this may help, it may not. Either way, it will not hurt the horse. All of my colic experiences have been based on stress and sudden food change (they get into a bag or something) or a combination there of. I have caught it pretty early (a few hours later), those kits that are sold at the feedstore worked for an hour or two, but symptoms returned soon after. 

Ok, now for the details (once you have talked to the vet and you know what is going on). There are multiple types of colic. If you know what caused it, then it is much easier to diagnose it. Sand colic and sudden feed changes/stress are the most common. If it is in fact a sand impaction, then you need a vet to come take a look. If it is just feed related and they didn't roll severely, causing twisting of the gut, then banamine will be enough to make them feel better. for anything more severe, contact a veterinarian and have them come out- or take the horse in. I am not a vet and don't want to provide false advice. This is from personal experience and knowing when I need a vet, and when I can handle the situation. Whatever you do, don't leave your horse. Once you administer the Banamine, give them about 20 minutes, and their head should lift, their eyes should become more alert. After about 45 minutes, they should be back to normal. If not, YOU NEED A VET.

Vaccines and Infectious Disease Continued

There are different types of vaccines:

Inactivated or killed vaccines contain some of the target organism that has been killed.

Modified live vaccines use an actual live organism that has been modified during manufacturing so that it can replicate in the animals body without getting it sick.

Recombinant vaccines are the newest products that splices gene sized fragments of DNA from the virus or bacteria, and delivers the fragments to the horse where it stimulates immunity to the disease without the risk of reactions associated with the other types of vaccines.

Then there are the core (highly recommended vaccines) and the non-core (recommended based on environment and location) vaccines. Core include Eastern, Western and West Nile encephalomyelitis and tetanus.

Non-Core include Rhino, Strangles, Equine Influenza, and Rabies. If you plan to breed, you should include Rhino and Equine viral arteritis.

Vaccines are given in the muscle, typically in the neck or rump. Be sure that when you insert the needle, to pull back on the syringe to verify that no blood comes out, meaning that you are in a vein, not the muscle.

Commonly, people use combination vaccines. There are three-way, four-way, five-way, or five-in-one vaccines. These have gotten a lot of scrutiny, but they have been deemed reliable and safe. The only concern is that giving your horse that much at a time, can cause a reaction. I ordered my vaccines from Dr. Fosters and Smith, because it was much cheaper than buying locally. If you do that, make sure they are still cold when they arrive, otherwise they are bad. If they are not cold, they will pay for the return shipping and send you new ones. If they aren't cold, they are useless, don't even try it. It is a waste of your time and your horses energy.

Once I received my second COLD order, I had my vet come out and show me how to administer the vaccienes. I gave my mare a five way vaccine and the next day she was very lethargic. Her head was hanging low and she was really depressed. I kept an eye on the injection site in her neck to make sure there was no swelling, and monitored her. After about two days, she was perked up and good as new. The other two mares were just fine and had no reaction. So keep an eye on your horse, after vaccinating. Please post any questions, comments and feedback on vaccines.

Vaccines and Infectious Disease

We all love our horses and the last thing we want to see is a sick horse, especially when it is ill with something that could have been prevented with a simple vaccination. Understanding what can infect your horse will help you make a better decision on the vaccines you should give.

Most infectious diseases are transmitted from one animal to another by infected urine, feces or other bodily secretions, or inhaling pathogen-laden droplets in the air. Others are transmitted by insects and ticks. Some of the more common infectious diseases, their symptoms and treatment are below:

Salmonellosis is normally contracted by food and causes infectious diarrhea in adult horses. Onset is sudden and is accompanied by a high fever, colic, and foul-smelling watery green to brown diarrhea. This causes rapid dehydration and they should be seen by a vet asap for rehydration and antibiotics. Banamine and DMSO can be given through IV to mitigate effects.

Strangles is an upper respiratory and throat infection caused by Streptococcus equi. It is named after the noise made by the horse. It is most common in horses 1-5 years of age. Symptoms start with nasal discharge, a dry painful cough and a fever. An untreated horse will develop swollen lymph nodes high in the neck behind the lower jaw, and at the back of the throat. Occasionally, as these drain, it can cause an abscess which will infect the sinuses. Horses with this condition should be seen by a vet.

Tetanus starts with a wound that gets infected. It is normally hard to locate the wound. Symptoms include colic and vague stiffness, after more time passes, the horse will have spasms in the jaw, neck, hind legs, and muscles around the wound. They will also appear to have a film over the inner third of the eyes. Caring for wounds as soon as you notice them can help prevent tetanus.

Rabies can be caused by a bite from and infected skunk, fox, bat, opossums or raccoon. You should vaccinate against rabies if you have these animals in your area.

Equine Viral Encephalomyelitis (Sleeping Sickness) is the most common mosquito-transmitted infectious disease that attacks the central nervous system of horses. There are several types, Eastern, Western, Venezuelan, West Nile virus, and Japanese encephalitis. Eastern is the most deadly, and is common in the Eastern US, near the Gulf Coast, and the Great lakes. It is also prominent in Central and South America and some parts of Canada. These viruses are transmitted by mosquitos which have fed on infected birds or rodents. When a horse contracts it, people aren't too far behind. Symptoms include high fever, brain inflammation, compulsive walking and circling, loss of coordination, and apparent blindness. The horse may walk into walls and fences.

Equine Influenza is similar to the human flu and they will have the same symptoms, fever, cough, respiratory system issues, and possible pneumonia. You should vaccinate against the flu.

Rhinopneumonitis is equine herpesvirus. Symptoms include nasal discharge. Also make sure you vaccinate against this.

Equine Infectious Anemia (Swamp Fever, Coggins) is a virus transmitted in blood saliva, urine, and bodily secretions. Bloodsucking flies and other biting insects are the usual transmitters of the virus. Horses must be removed from the herd. There is no effective treatment for this. Typically horses must be put down if they are carriers, so as not to affect other horses. Every horse must be tested for Coggins before being transported.

To continue and read about Vaccines click here

Cold-blooded, Hot-blooded, and Warm-blooded

Cold-blooded, Hot-blooded, and Warm-blooded, none of these terms have anything to do with the horses blood at all. Rather, they are terms used to describe breed types. Hot-blooded breeds include Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Barbs, Turks, Syrians, or a mixture of those breeds. The heavy drafts and cross-bred horses are often considered cold-blooded, while Hanoverians, Trakeheners and Dutch warmbloods are warm-blooded, which can trace their roots back to drafts with refinement from hot-blooded breeds, most commonly Arabians and Thoroughbreds.

Lameness, Troubleshooting; Where does it hurt?

You go out, saddle up your horse, walk her into the arena, and start trotting, you notice her head is bobbing and realize she is limping. Now to figure out which leg/foot, and what caused it.

Lameness is such a broad topic, I am going to break it up into more than one post. This one will focus on locating the pain. This is a picture of my mare that had white line disease in her front right foot from a hot nail, then her low heel on the other foot helped her get a stone bruise, and it has just been non-stop injury with her front legs since I pulled her shoes off. You may wonder how the heck I figured that out.

First you want to get an idea if it is in the front or back. Then on the ground, ask her to trot. Pay close attention to when her head bobs down. If it is a hind leg, it will bob down when the hurt leg/foot hits the ground. If it is a front leg, it will bob down when the sound front leg hits the ground, therefore it will be the opposite leg. Now that you have hopefully identified the leg, there are a few things that you can look for. Run your hand down each leg to see if there is a spot that is hotter than the rest, heat  indicates the area of pain. If there is no heat, you might consider the possibility of an abscess in the hoof. An abscess can be caused by several different things, but one thing is certain, the abscess, will likely be seen once it travels up the hoof to the where the hoof meets the skin and it can erupt, like a boil. Another common ailment in the hoof is thrush which can be identified by an offensive odor when cleaning the horses hoof. This can be treated with any thrush remover from your feed store, some people use an apple cider vinegar mix. If it is not thrush, consider white line disease, which is an infection in the white line that eats away the hoof. It is a fungus, despite what many others say. This fungus, will eat away at the healthy tissue. This can be cured with iodine, 2-5 times a week, but be careful that iodine will dry out the hoof. There is also a mix called White Lightning, however, it comes in a small bottle and it is difficult to soak the hoof if you do not have the proper boot (Ziplock bags do not work).

To be continued...

Parasites and Your Horse

Parasites are an ongoing issue that we have to deal with as horse owners. Understanding the parasites that affect your horse can greatly help you decide how to best treat and maintain a healthy horse. 
All horses have parasites, some are helpful to the horse, while others are harmful. Parasites can reduce efficiency and performance in a horse, cause weakness, poor coat and appearance, and can cause your horse to rub his tail off or even die.  The most common symptom of an infestation is ribs showing with a distended belly. 
Horses suffer from both internal and external parasites, some live at least part of their life cycle inside of the horse. These parasites affect the digestive tract, lungs, bloodstream, and body cavity. Understanding the life cycle of the parasites can significantly increase your chances of winning the parasite battle. 
A few key things that you need to know: No horse is ever completely free of parasites, luckily, only a few can cause serious damage to your horse. Bots, pinworms, ascarids and large and small strongyles are the most abundant and most harmful of all parasites. When determining how bad the infection is, you must consider the type of parasite, number of parasites, length of time living in the host. We got a 1 year old filly last year as a rescue (that is her in the picture above). She has had a giant belly and stayed quite thin. With guidance, I put her on a very strict de-worming routine. I gave her a dose of ivermectin one week, then again the following week, while giving her daily Strongid 2 in her feed (which she loves). Her belly has been shrinking slowly, and I can tell that it is helping rid her body of the massive parasite infestation that she had when she showed up. 
Life Five Stage Life Cycle of Parasites: 
The eggs pass out in the feces on the pasture, the eggs hatch and become infective larvae on grass, which is then ingested by the horse. The immature parasites migrate through the horse’s tissues and the mature parasites live in the digestive tract and lay eggs. 
The four major internal parasites that affect horses: Strongyles, Pinworms, Ascarids, and Bots.
Other types of Strongyles are less dangerous because they sped less time in the arteries, thereby causing less damage. Also, small strongyles do not migrate from the small intestine, unlike the large strongyles. 
Deworming: Many people recommend various types of worming schedules. Although I still rotate between three wormers, I trust Ivermectin the most. My professors which are well known in the equine industry have only used Ivermectin for over 30 years and have never had a worm infestation in a horse. I have known people who have used the expensive power packs, and didn’t feel that the results were worth the cost.  However, please keep reading to understand the different types of parasites.
There are more than 150 types of internal parasites that can infect a horse. The most common internal and external parasites are listed below, along with methods to control the following parasites:
Strongyles: - Larvae of large strongyle migrate within artery walls from the digestive tract toward the heart causing blood clots, and blocking blood supply to organs and tissues, leaving a horse ill, or lame. Small strongyles remain in the intestinal tract and do not venture into arteries, which can cause severe damage and even death. Remove manure bi-weekly and deworm every 60 days
Ascarids: Ascarids can damage the heart, liver and lungs. The can also block small blood vessels of the small intestine, causing colic or intestinal rupture. Remove manure bi-weekly and deworm every 60 days
Pinworms: Remove manure bi-weekly and deworm every 60 days, be sure to use different sponges to clean the horses front and rear.
Bots: Use a deworming treatment two to four times a year, mid-summer, mid- winter, after the first hard frost and in the spring. 
Ticks: Remove the tick using an alcohol swab, and ask the veterinarian about an insecticide spray that can be used on the horse, and something to spray areas where the horses congregate. Tick removal is vital because they can cause weakness, weight loss, poor appetite, and anemia. Ticks carry diseases as well such as African horse fver, encephalomyelitis, and piroplasmosis. 
Lice: Lice can be killed by bathing the horse in an insecticide. It may be necessary to do multiple treatments. I have also seen lice powder for horses.
Mites (Mange): Mites are difficult to treat, but an effective insecticide applied weekly can do the trick. Smaller animals get “dipped” in the insecticide. Dusts will not kill mites. Mites are contagious.
Gnats: Gnats can be controlled with sprays, wipes, Swat, and other smears that repel insects. Also fly masks with ear nets are helpful. 
Mosquitoes: Mosquitos carry viruses that cause diseases and can transmit equine infectious anemia (sleeping sickness). To control mosquitoes, it is easier to maintain the areas where the horses live by removing stagnant water from the area. There are several mosquito repellants on the market as well. 
Flies: Fly spray, or a homemade mixture of apple cider vinegar. Fly sheets and masks can make a horse more comfortable in a highly infested area. We used various sprays, masks, and fly traps.

Vitamins and Minerals for your Horse

Vitamins and Minerals are essential in your horses diet. The better that you understand the horses needs, the better you can identify deficiencies, and avoid toxicities. There are two kinds of vitamins, fat soluble and water soluble. Basically, the fat soluble vitamins A,D, E, and K, are absorbed into the horses fat, while others like Vitamins B, C, Riboflavin,  are water soluble and cannot cause toxicities. Your horse needs the following vitamins, which can be found from the following sources. I have also included a description of what to look for if the horse has a vitamin deficiency.

Muscle and heart contractions, blood clotting, nerve function, 35% of bone structure
Metabolic bone diseases
Energy utilization, metabolism of phospholipids, nucleic acids and phosphoproteins
Bone disorders, with the severity based on age of horse
Muscle activity, especially cardiac
Lack of food ingestion, muscle weakness, lethargy, diarrhea, weight loss, and death
Sodium Chloride
Maintains proper PH, removes waste from cells, necessary for fat and carbohydrate digestion.
Puffy skin, decrease in water consumption, licking wood, metal, plastic, slowed eating, rough coat, decreased utilization of energy sources, protein utilization, and growth. Can also be acute salt deficiency, incoordinated muscular contractions, irregular chewing, unsteady gait, decrease of sodium chloride, increase potassium concentrations
Essential for bones and teeth, activates enzyme related activities
Nervousness, muscle tremors, damage to heart and muscle tissue, increase in dept and rate of respiratory movememtns, collapse, convulsive, paddling of the limbs, death
Component of many compounds required by the body
None reported
Component of Vitamin B12
None reported
Formation of hemoglobin, cartilage, bone, elastin, and pigmentation of hair, helps utilize iron
Hypocuremia, causing the cortex of the bone to become thin and brittle. Anemia, lack of pigment in hair, faded coat, uterine artery rupture, diarrhea.

Essential for tooth and bone formation, and toothcare
Not commonly found
Thyroid hormone thyroxine
A goiter will develop an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland.
Component of hemoglobin
Microcytic and hypochromic anemia
Helps use carbs and fats, synthesize chondroitin sulfate, needed for bone development, foms enzymes involved in growth, reproduction, and lactation
Very rare, can cause deafness and misshapen joints and limbs in foals.
Component of antioxidant enzyme, conserve vitamin E, constituent of cystine and methionine, amino acids that function as antioxidants and aid the immune system
In foals can cause impaired movement, weakness, hair loss, dark urine, respiratory distress, as well as difficulty nursing and swallowing.
Component of many enzymes and hormones, plays role in metabolism of proteins, fats and carbs, immune system function, healthy skin and hair
Hoof lesions, hair loss and dry skin. Also lack of appetite, and decreased growth rate.

Fat Soluble Vitamin
Feed Source
Nightblindness, prolonged shedding, weakness, sensitivity to light, tearing, impaired intestinal absorption, rough, dry coat, anorexia, diarrhea, decreased growth, salivary gland abscess, infections in reproductive tract, increased respiratory infections
High quality hay, supplemented via carotene from feedstuffs, or injected. Feed hay prior to six months after being cut for maximum carotene content
Not likely, but during experimental conditions, horses experienced stunted growth, bone weakness, failure of bone calcification, lameness and loss of appetite. The body does not absorb calcium which is needed for growth and bone strength.
D2 can be found in plants, while and D3 can be found in fish oils, irradiated milk, and in the skin after sun exposure. Best method is through sunlight and sun-cured hay.
Swelling of joints, fragmentation of muscle fiber, loss of muscular coordination (ataxia), muscle degeneration, or white muscle disease, linked to wobbler’s syndrome, which affects the spinal cord and column.
Green growing forages, good quality hay, cereal grails and wheat germ oil. In particular, forages that contain more leaves and less bulky fibrous stem. Alfalfa and clover are better sources than Bermuda and ryegrass.
Although not common, horses would demonstrate an increased clotting time and lower thrombonin levels and will hemorrhage more easily.
Green leafy plants, hidgut, during fermentation, supplements of Menaquinone or menadione (k3)
Water Soluble Vitamins
Thiamine (B1)
Although not common, symptoms include, localized muscular contractions visible under the skin, abnormal slowing of the heart (bradycardia), ataxia, muscular coordination, hypothermia of the extremities, missing heartbeats, appetite loss, and weight loss.
Typically enough thiamine can be found in pasture forage, and high quality green, leafy hay. It is also synthesized by microflora in the intestine. Cereal grains that have not been heated or cooked. Horses that participate in strenuous activity, like racing, those with poor appetites,  or that consume certain antithiamine should be given supplements.
Riboflavin (B2)
Rough hair coat, atrophy of skin and hair, skin inflammation, conjunctivitis, photophobia, lacrimation (tearing).
Leafy, green hay and good pasture forage. It is also synthesized by microflora in the intestines.
A niacin deficiency has not been documented in horses, as the intestine produces a sufficient amount.  However, nicacin is essential in cellular respiration and metabolism, and any deficiency would likely impact those area.
Niacin is synthesized by the bacteria in the hindgut. Tryptophan and vitamin B6 must be present for this synthesis to occur.
Pantothenic Acid (B3)
Deficiencies are extremely rare.
Microfloral synthesis of pantothenic acid in the intestines meets the horses requirements, however, calcium salt can be added to the horses diet.
Pyridoxine (B6)
Deficiencies nor toxicities have been documented in equines.
B6 can be found in a wide variety of high quality grains and forages. Additionally, it is also synthesized by microflora in the cecum and the colon.
Choline deficiencies have not been documented in the equine, however, in other species, it has caused accumulation of fat on the liver, poor body condition, lack of muscle coordination, a decrease in reproduction, and death of young at birth.
The intestines synthesize enough choline for the hourse, however, if a supplement is needed, it can be purchased in liquid and solid forms.
Biotin deficiency is very rare, because it is synthesized by intestinal microflora. However, mold in the feed will tie up biotin, possibly affecting hair and hooves.
Biotin is synthesized by the intestines, however, there are several biotin supplements that can be included in feed, although evidence does not support claims that it will strengthen hooves, as it may relate more to moisture than supplementation.
Folacine (Vitamin M)
Deficiencies can lead to anemia.
Microorganisms in the cecum and large intestine synthesize folacin.  Green leafy hay or pasture can also add folacin to the horses diet. Supplements are available and are recommended for stabled horses.
Cyanocobalamin, Cobalamin (B12)
Non-equines with B12 deficiencies have experienced poor growth, anemia, hindquarter incoordination, poor appetite, weight loss, rough coat, and nuerological problems.
B12 is synthesized by micrflora in the cecum and colon, and by cobalt, a mineral obtained from forages. Additional supplementation has been advocated by many horsemen of 4 to 10 micrograms per pound of the total diet. Horses in poor condition, anemic, or severely parasitized seem to respond positively to vitamin b12. It is also helpful for very active horses and those with poor quality forage.
Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid
Deficiencies have not been reported.
Vitamin C is synthesized by the liver and other body cells in adequate quantities.