Maria Wachter of Blackman Ranch has put together this helpful guide to Facebook for all horse owners.
From Maria: If you are a horse owner and Facebook member, this manual is a compilation of all you need to know about owning horses: basically a Facebook horse owner’s guide for dummies. Please take everything with a grain of salt, and maybe followed by a shot of tequila.
The Facebook Guide to Horses
1. Your horse’s health. If you have a question about your horse’s health, even something basic like “what is the best type of salt block for my horse?” expect the worst-case-scenario answers. Most people love to jump in and give their opinion. Most of the answers will be based around the idea that your horse is on its last leg and probably should be quarantined so not to spread this new plague that has arisen from the fact that your horse doesn’t have enough iodine in his diet.
2. The helmet debate. If you post any pictures of anyone under the age of 18 on a horse or mule, without a helmet on, be prepared for the dam to break and the floods come rushing in. Run for higher ground. Change your name and your address. Maybe even consider a sex change so no one knows who you are anymore. Even if that picture is of your grandkid on a rocking horse in Walmart, you will get the same response. Best bet, keep a spare helmet in your car for those random pics of you and your family.
3. The barefoot dilemma. Ok, I’m going to sum this up really easily: barefoot is the ONLY way to go. Yes, I said it. Even though horses have been shod for hundreds of years, barefoot is the only way to go. If your horse can’t go barefoot because their feet are too tender or it’s too rocky, you can buy them hoof boots. Yes, you can shoe your horse for $10 yourself or go barefoot and pay $300 for a full set of boots. Please consider going back to school to get your doctorate to fund your hoof boot costs, or move to a part of the country where the ground is soft and there are no rocks. If you do decide to go the old, conventional way and put metal shoes on your horse, make sure all your pics posted of him are of the pasterns on up. No reason to have PETA knocking on your door at 2 am.
4. The blanket dilemma. To blanket or not to blanket? That is the question. You will read numerous posts where some special university did a study and a horse has about 1 million layers of coat that it can fluctuate at any time to keep him warm or cool him off. This amazing, self-fluctuating coat has the IQ of Einstein and the speed of a ninja. Before the horse even knows it, the coat is fluffing up and self-cooling all at the same time. If you blanket him, you will be essentially removing a “seventh sense.” Blankets stem directly from the devil; everyone knows it. You should let your horse stand wet and shivering in a field because it is what his magical coat needs. But, if you need a good night’s sleep, you will put that satanic blanket on so you don’t have to worry about him freezing to death.
5. Slow feeding hay nets. Yes, a slow feeding hay net or other contraption to slow the horse’s eating habits is healthier. Your horse will be living a life similar to his wild ancestors. Your horse will probably lose weight, or get down to a healthy weight and reduce his or her risk of founder. What your fellow Facebook friends will fail to leave out is how much of a pain it is to fill these hay nets. Yes, its like getting a tub of Jello (sharp, itchy, Jello) into a pair of fishnets. Try it, you will see. Or you can spend more money on easy-filling nets and contraptions. You will be surprised how expensive they are and how quickly a horse can tear one up out of frustration. Another reason to get a doctorate (or win the lottery): to fund your hay net collection and to pay someone to do the feeding for you.
6. English or Western?? English or western, east coast vs west coast, the Sharks vs the Jets. If you can’t decide, just ask yourself, “how good do I look in a pair of breeches?”
7. Horse Rescues. There are a lot of rescues on Facebook. Most of the horses/mules go for around $1000. You will be saving them, remember! You must buy them before the kill buyer does! Please, share, share, share and donate! They only have until midnight before they get slaughtered. They will be normally sold as kid-proof, baby-sitter types. Most of them ended up in the feedlot because the Amish farmer beat them into the ground and couldn’t use them anymore, or some poor rancher lost his pasture. Some of them end up as really great riding mounts, and you will definitely have saved a life. Score! Some of them, you will find out, will try and kill you. Happy shopping!
8. Trailers What is the best trailer to get? A straight load, slant load or stock trailer? You will find out which one your horse prefers. Best to take the horse with you when you go trailer shopping, instead of asking people’s opinions. Yes, a straight load trailer is usually the most affordable, but horses have expensive taste. A lot of them are too good to get into just any trailer.
9. Rice bran. Rice bran is the thing to feed a hard keeper. Most horses love it, it’s relatively cheap and it’s safe to feed. Wait! No it isn’t! A study has just been published that it contains arsenic. What are you trying to do, kill your horse?!?! You murderer!
10. Popcorn. If the cost of keeping your horse healthy and happy has kept you in the poor house, but you need some good entertainment, go grab a tub of popcorn, log onto Facebook and join most any horse group. There’s more entertainment and drama on most groups than you would find in watching a whole series of Game of Thrones.
Well-played, Maria! Thanks for sharing. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Blackman Ranch on Facebook here. Located about 45 minutes northwest of Las Vegas, the good folks at Blackman Ranch describe themselves as “just a couple of hillbillies that sell trail horses and mules” but they really do have some good-looking and sweet-sounding equines for sale, if you’re in the market. Even if you aren’t in the market you should go have a look — we ran a feature on their, uh, “unorthodox” sales pitch a few months ago. Go Riding!