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Bio-Security, What Is It And Why Does It Matter For Your Horses?

Updated on April 22, 2014

What Is Bio-security?

Bio-security: Procedures intended to protect humans or animals against disease or harmful biological agents.

So basically Bio-security is just knowing how to take the correct precautions when traveling with your horse to prevent disease. I feel like bio-security is not something enough people know about. I spent the first 5 years of my horse career of lessons and showing never hearing anything about bio-security. Now it's a no brainer for me and I do my best to practice what I have learned every time I take my horse away from his home barn. Bio-security is one of those things that is a pain in the butt to do sometimes and can even seem pointless when you are at a show and in a hurry to get things done but you never know when it could save your horse's life.

Why Is Bio-Security Important For Trainers To Teach Students?

It is a very important part of keeping an overall healthy barn for every owner to practice bio-security measures EVERY TIME they take their horse away from the barn. Some diseases can lay dormant but still be infectious for weeks, months, or in some case years. In the case of a disease laying dormant more than likely you are not going to have a clue that the horse is infecting other horses until someone starts showing signs.

If trainers would teach their students bio-security and would push everyone to practice what they learned at shows and trail rides it would decrease their chances of being infected by a local outbreak of a disease. Most years it's rare for there to be a serious outbreak, But when there is it's usually pretty widespread because not enough people know enough about bio-security.

Before Reading This Article How Much Did You Know About Bio-Security?

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How Do I Practice Bio-Security?

Here are some of the basic bio-security measures you can take. Overall when it comes to keeping your horse healthy you just have to use your head. Think about germs we all have some knowledge about the ways sickness can travel from animal to animal. Remember the list below will only work if everyone in your barn sticks to these rules.

  1. Avoid horse to horse contact, especially nose to nose contact with any horse that is not from your barn.
  2. Never share tack with anyone outside of your barn.
  3. Never share food or water buckets with anyone outside your barn. (unless they have been thoroughly disinfected before and after use)
  4. When filling a bucket with water at a show or trail ride turn water on and let it run for a second or two before putting the bucket under it. Don't let the bucket touch spigot.
  5. Never use a hose to fill a water bucket (unless it has only been used for horses inside your barn)
  6. Don't let your horse drink from any water source except a bucket you have filled.
  7. If the horse is staying in a stall weather it is just for the day or over night you should disinfect the walls of the stall.

Disinfecting

Disinfecting is a HUGE part of bio-security! It should be a very high priority especially if you travel a lot with your horse to keep a very clean and organized trailer. Weather you travel with one or two personal horses or you are a trainer in charge of an entire show team here are some tips for disinfecting and keeping healthy horses.

When it comes to buckets for feed and water buy as many buckets as you need for your horses that travel and keep them in the trailer. Everytime you come home from traveling clean and disinfect all of your buckets and then put them back in your trailer for next time. Try not to bring your travel buckets into the barn just in case.

When it comes to disinfecting buckets, stall walls, whatever it may be you can simply get a spray bottle (do it on the cheep you can find them at the dollar store) and fill it with bleach water. A good ratio is about 2 teaspoons of bleach per cup of water or 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water.

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