Friday, June 23, 2017

Do riders generally hang onto the reins when they fall?

It's actually a bit of a bone of contention - and the answer is "It depends."

Holding onto the reins during a fall can potentially injure a horse's mouth and poll. It can also result in you getting tangled in the reins and dragged or pulling the horse on top of you.

On the other hand, letting go can result in a loose horse running onto a road or similar.

Most of us are trained to let go unless there's a good reason to keep hold.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

What is "jackstock"?

Jackstock is a term donkey breeders use for the best stock that they reserve for making more donkeys (rather than making mules which, particularly with larger breeds, is the most common use for donkeys in the west these days).


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What is a "Jerusalem donkey?"

Most donkeys (except for some breeds, such as the Mammoth Jack, which have had it bred out) have a cross on their backs.

It's a pretty legend that the cross was given to the donkey because he carried Christ to Jerusalem - hence the term "Jerusalem donkey."


The "arm" of the cross is clearly visible on the grey donkey in the foreground. Although the black one likely still has the marking, it is not visible against its much darker coat.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What is a "catty" horse?

A "catty" horse is an agile horse that turns quickly - it's normally a term used by cowhands to refer to horses that are able to go after a cow easily. It also implies that the horse is surefooted and less likely to fall.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Do old horses get hard of hearing?


Yup. Age-related hearing loss can start to show up at 15, sometimes younger in horses that are exposed to loud sounds a lot (some show horses and horses used in battle reenactment are at risk - think about this for your writing. Artillery horses are likely to end up deaf!).

They generally compensate pretty well for it, though, and horses are less reliant on high frequencies than some animals, so may not even notice the first stages of hearing loss.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Do horses get ear infections?


Not as much as dogs or cats. Middle ear infections are more common than external ear infections. Horses with an ear infection seldom experience ear drum rupture - unfortunately, this is because the infection tends to go down the long head and into the skull, sometimes causing joint fusion in the jaw (ow) and partial facial paralysis (extra ow).

Fortunately, this is pretty uncommon. Horse ears are generally pretty healthy.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Do horses get ear mites?


Ugh, do they. Horses can and do get ear mites, although they are rare. The most common culprit is Psoroptes cuniculi, a mite more commonly found in rabbits (and presumably transmitted by wild rabbits that wander into the pasture).

If a horse does get them, though, it can be a real pain. Because their ears hurt, they don't want to let you near their ears to kill the mites - they often have to be sedated. I know at least one horse who had a major infestation and still doesn't want to let anyone near her ears. And I heard of another that got so ear shy as a result they have to be bridled like a mule!