Your Horse Will Love These Brilliant Tips To Spring Clean The Stable

Top Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Stable

Despite the recent cold snap, spring and summer are well on the way, so it’s the best time to give your stable a good tidy and clean up. From making sure the food room is all organised and pest-free to refreshing your summer tack and packing away all the winter warmers, why not make sure everything is spick and span, and set up your horse for a beautiful season?

Read on to discover some tips and recommended spring-cleaning actions to take…

It’s been a cold and wet winter in the UK, so there are plenty of things to look out for and clean up now that everything is looking more lively. From the trampled, muddy grass to your winter clothes and their dirty stable, there can be pests, mess and even disease lying in wait, so here is a list of top things to clean this spring:

1. The stable

If your steed has been stabled over winter, the space is probably a bit worse for wear. So, to get it in ship shape, begin by clearing everything out. Remember:

  • The cobwebs
  • The dust
  • The bedding
  • The rubber mats
  • The hay nets
  • Water buckets
  • Feed buckets

Don’t forget to brush down the walls and windows, as well, then let it settle and give the whole space a final dust and brush out. 

Bacteria thrive in lower temperatures, and you never know what is lurking in muddy corners, so once all the surface mess is gone, it’s time to wash it all down. Pressure washers are excellent as they can remove all the dried-on bits, but some elbow grease and a brush will work just as well. Don’t forget all your light fittings and windows too (try white vinegar for a streak-free shine). Once the worst of it is gone, get in there with some hot soapy water to disinfect it all, then open the windows to let it completely dry.

As a final measure, spray some horse-friendly disinfectant all over the lower walls, and leave it to work its magic. 

Then, once all your rugs and mats are clean, hay nets replaced, and buckets scrubbed, you can bring everything back in and lay some nice clean bedding for your horse to enjoy.
2. Check your horse

Winter weather is ideal for common illnesses to thrive, including the dreaded mud fever. So, when you brush down your horse, give their hooves and skin a good check-over for irritations, lesions, scabs or cracked skin, discharge or any swollen or hot, inflamed areas. 
If you find some, quickly contact your vet to confirm a diagnosis and get a treatment plan. If the issue isn’t too severe, keeping them clean and dry will do wonders to help them heal. Your vet may also recommend using disinfectant to clean their wounds twice a day, applying bandages to keep their legs dry, and maybe even clipping the hair around the affected areas to improve airflow and access for treatment. Just keep your vet in the know and follow their instructions.
Another issue that may come up in winter and spring is Asthma. It’s very common in horses and can be triggered by dust or spores in the air, so why not change to low-dust bedding and feed, or consider using a hay steamer or adding some respiratory supplements to their diet?
3. The feed room

We all know how messy, dusty and unorganised a feed room can become, with scoops moved, lids misplaced, scraps in corners and more. Giving it a good clean and some top-tier organising is a great practice to get into. 
Start by checking expiry dates and removing old or empty products and packaging. Next, check your bags and nets for holes, and empty your buckets, containers, and scoops. Now, give the room a good check over for pests – look out for droppings, chewed boxes and more. Finally, give everything a good sweep out and scrub with some warm water and antibacterial soap – the floors, walls, and windows, too – and let them get 100% dry before refilling and restocking with scoops for each bucket, expiry dates noted, and everything labelled. 
4. Your tack and gear

Why not take your spring clean as a time to check over everything, including your tack? 
It’s recommended to give everything a good looking over regularly, especially your leather, in case of cracking, reduced elasticity or loose stitching. If it looks like it needs a refresh, steer clear of water if you can. Instead, use a dedicated tack cleaner and a deep conditioner to lengthen its life. The same goes for synthetic saddles, or you can follow the manufacturer's guidelines if you’re unsure what to use.
Some extra things to consider:

  • For bits and stirrup iron, give them a good wash and let them completely dry.
  • For saddlecloths, remove as much hair as you can and wash them in the machine.
  • For your riding clothes, these should be washed after every use, but check for rips, tears, cushioning and more.
  • For your lead ropes, check for wearing or fraying and soak them in cold or warm water for about an hour, then scrub them before letting them dry completely.
Spring is the time of increased riding and increased use of all your equestrian equipment – especially if you’re in competitions, so give them a bit of TLC and prepare yourself for the year ahead.

About The Author
Debbie Woodliffe is Head of Content & Outreach at Affinity

Understanding The Importance Of Your Pet's Emotional Wellbeing

Why do I need to care for the emotional wellbeing of my pet?

Animals are sentient beings although not every country has recognized legislatively that they have souls. They feel emotions just like humans do. They feel love, affection, pain and grief which are evident even in photos of animals in the wild.

As an animal communicator and animal medium, my many conversations with animals living and in spirit have highlighted the emotional experiences of animals, and how certain events affect them emotionally and psychologically. As a clairsentient, I ask animals to let me feel in my body the physical and emotional symptoms that they are feeling.

So often animals are experiencing grief for another animal or human family member who has passed over, which their human parents may be totally oblivious to. I spoke with a horse who lost her twin before she was born – she was still affected by that loss years later.

Animals may be dealing with the impacts of abandonment, low self-esteem or lack of nurturing if they were separated from their animal mothers at an early age or if their animal mother passed away. They may have been bullied by other animals. They may have been dumped and feel worthless.

The many rescue animals I have had conversations with have shared some of the trauma and abuse they experienced before finding their forever homes. Often they do not want to share the full details of what they have endured, and I respect that. They have come a distance on their journey and don’t want to revisit what they have started healing. They have shared that although the physical impacts may have healed, the emotional, mental and psychological trauma continues.

Do You Know The Signs Of Emotional Trauma Affecting Your Animal?

It is this hidden emotional trauma that many animal parents are unaware of. Often the past history of rescue, shelter or stray animals is unknown, so we just don’t know what awfulness our animals have suffered. If we do nothing to support them, the animals continue to carry the stress and memories which may progress and manifest as physical illness. They may also exhibit unusual behaviours as seemingly trivial events can trigger fear or flight / fight responses related to what has happened before.

So many animal parents report that their animals hide or cower if they hear loud voices or unexpected noises or if something moves unexpectedly. They can go into an automatic pattern of behaviour as self defense or preservation thinking that the past horrors are going to recur. I spoke with one rescue dog who explained that certain things triggered him, and it was like his brain was over-ridden with responses and he felt he couldn’t control what his body did.

Do You Know What Your Animal Is Feeling?

I spoke with a dog who had been passed on from foster home to foster home and was being very naughty. His human Mum loved him and just wanted him to settle in his new home. When I spoke with him, he told me that he had learnt that if he was naughty, he would get human attention which is what he was seeking. He had learnt not to develop bonds with the other animals where he stayed as there was no point – he would be moved to the next temporary home. When I explained that he was now in his forever home and his Mum wanted him to feel loved and secure with his new fur family, he said “I’m overwhelmed !” He had no idea that he could relax and build relationships and have consistency and certainty in his life. After the conversation his disruptive behaviour changed and he has settled in really well with his family and is enjoying his new life.

Sometimes actions we take affect our animals emotionally, even though this is unintentional. Animals see you as their world, and they value having one on one time with you and following routines. If something changes, it can affect them. If you bring home a baby, a new partner, have a visitor staying, babysit someone else’s animals, bring home a new animal or move house – all of these scenarios affect the energy in the home, affect routines, affect access to the humans and can be very challenging to adjust to. Sometimes if you bring home a new animal, your existing animals feel as though they must have done something wrong to upset you and you’ve had to find another animal to love.

Animals are also sensitive to our moods and to our vibrational frequency which drops when we get unwell. They can be affected by changes in our physical, mental and emotional health. Sometimes they take on some of our health symptoms so that we don’t have to bear the full brunt. They may get stressed or anxious about changes in our behaviour and routines. If we are sad or depressed and change how we interact with our animals, that affects them. I spoke with a dog whose demeanour had changed drastically from happy to morose and snappy. He explained that he wasn’t the one with the issues – his human Mum was dealing with grief from losing three close friends, and her interactions with him had changed and lessened. He was concerned for her wellbeing and worried. Once Mum got assistance, his behaviour changed as they resumed their usual interactions.

Fortunately there are healing modalities now available to support animals including releasing emotional trauma. I spoke with a horse who had received a couple of treatment sessions. He said he was so grateful and wasn’t aware of how the burden of carrying those emotions was affecting him. His behaviour changed markedly with having this emotional support.

Understanding what is happening for our animals on an emotional level and being able to help them and support their wellbeing can make a huge difference for them. Releasing the emotions can radically change an animal’s wellbeing, and enable them to live a calmer and more fulfilled life.

© Annie Bourke, Cosmic Heart Intuitive 2023

AnnieBourke Dec2022

About The Author

International best-selling author and animal communicator/ animal medium Annie Bourke has conversations with animals living and in spirit to convey messages and provide peace of mind for their human parents. Animals are her passion and her mission is to raise global awareness of the importance of animals. She loves deepening relationships between animals and humans. She provides distance healing support for animals and humans.

In her podcast “What animals tell me” Annie shares some of the amazing conversations she’s had with animals. Her books “The Bridge to Animal Consciousness” and “Evolving Hearts and Souls – The Guide to Spiritual Awakening” are available on Amazon. She presents free online masterclasses for animal parents twice a month so that they can understand their animals on a deeper level.

Annie is currently accepting enrolments for her Animal Communication Mentorship Program, assisting animal parents to learn how to communicate with their animals living and in spirit telepathically.

Annie can be contacted through her website or via email at

Love These Brilliant Holistic Tips For Your Dog's Dental Health

How healthy do you think your dog's teeth are?

Despite the importance of good dental health, it's something we can overlook in our dogs. According to the NHS, a person should brush their teeth twice a day. But there isn't the same definitive advice for dogs! Although the Royal Veterinary College advises that brushing is one of the best ways to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

Do you know what the signs of good canine dental health are?

There are several signs to look for, including:
  1. No bad breath! Smelly breath can be a sign of poor dental health.
  2. No drooling. Some dogs drool more than others. However, drooling can be a sign of dental health issues.
  3. Struggling to eat. Is your dog being "fussy" eating? If they seem to pick at their food, it may not be fussiness. Instead it maybe due to dental issues!

There are other signs. But if you notice any of the above, or have any inkling that your dog may have a dental issue. Then speak to your veterinary surgeon for professional advice.

Why Is Dental Health Important For Your Dog?

There are direct reasons for good dental health being essential for your dog. Including:
  1. Prevent tooth loss. Dogs can lose teeth due to poor dental health. This can mean a change of diet might be necessary
  2. Prevent dental pain due to gum disease and teeth irregularities. Remember dogs are amazing animals and can be very tolerant of discomfort. Even if it means they have to endure pain to eat! Never assume that your dog's teeth must be ok as he or she is eating. Dogs can get gum disease and have jagged or loose teeth amongst other issues, which means they are in pain.

Indirect reasons for good dental health for your dog are:
  1. Maintaining healthy digestion. If your dog is in pain due to dental pain he or she may not be eating efficiently. Not chewing food well, can make a difference.
  2. Organ health. According to VCA hospitals "When a pet develops dental disease, significant quantities of bacteria reside within the mouth and the oral tissues. These bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to other areas within the body, causing distant or systemic effects. There are three organs that are especially susceptible to the spread of oral bacteria: the heart, the liver, and the kidneys."
  3. Behavioural issues. If your dog has dental pain, he or she may find it difficult to not show discomfort. Although you may not realise it's due to the teeth of course! If your dog's behaviour changes. Or doesn't want to do activities that he or she used to. It could be due to dental health issues. Remember that if you've dental issues, your emotional and physical health are often affected. The same is true for your dog.

There are of course many other reasons. But these 3 reasons show why canine dental health is important.

Dog Dental Health Tip #1 - Brushing

As with many health conditions, including dental issues. Prevention is better than cure. So brushing your dog's teeth is definitely a good idea. This is my first top tip for your dog's dental health. But how should you go about this?

  1. Use a suitable toothbrush. A gentle soft bristled children's toothbrush is ideal. Or you can get specialist toothbrushes. But you can also use your finger with a bit of toothpaste.
  2. Use a good toothpaste. Many human toothpaste's are unsuitable, but you can get special dog toothpastes. At the time of writing, Dorwest Herbs have a Roast Dinner Toothpaste for dogs! You can get online here. Some holistic veterinary surgeons also recommend using a small amount of coconut oil too.
  3. Practice. Your dog may not like his or her teeth brushed straight away. So do a little at a time, and let them get used to it over time. Remember to reward your dog with praise and a tasty treat when they let you brush their teeth. And start young! If you have a puppy then get them used to having their mouth gently handled regularly.
  4. Try and brush at least once a week. If you can do daily great. But as often as possible is fine. Try and be regular, so for instance in the evening or first thing in the morning. Most animals like some routine, including our canine companions.

If your dog has tartar build up or signs of dental disease, then get your dog's teeth checked professionally by veterinary surgeon first. It maybe a dental exam and treatment (like descaling) is required first.

Dog Dental Health Tip #2 - Nutrition

What you feed your dog can make a huge difference to dental health. This is in both terms of the type of food. But also in what nutrients the food contains.

Canine nutrition can be a controversial subject. This is largely because it's a multi-million or multi-billion pound/dollar industry. Unfortunately this means:
  • Large companies with massive marketing budgets can promote products which aren't actually that ideal for your dog. But nevertheless are very convincing to you as the dog owner that they are beneficial.
  • Opinions even by professionals aren't always as "independent" you may think. This can sometimes be due to the lack of substantial research evidencing benefits (or not) of different foods and products.

Should you use dry food or moist food for your dog's dental health?

This isn't a straightforward answer. Many holistic vets do recommend a raw food diet which is usually moist, as being better for overall health. However, there are some dry foods which can be beneficial. Not all dog feed is the same, that is an important message to remember!

According to this Vet Times article (Marge Chandler, DVM) "Actually, moist foods may perform similarly to a typical dry food in their effect on plaque and calculus accumulation".

Should you use "dental sticks" for your dog?

Yes and no…! Yes they can be very beneficial, the chewing action can help with promoting dental health.

But not all of them are helpful! From personal experience I know this is the case. I fed my beautiful dog a well-known brand of dental stick every day for years. He loved them. I believed (at the time) the marketing that they help care for the teeth. But nope. He ended up with periodontal disease in his mid-teenage years, and had to have teeth removed. I was so upset. I'd thought i'd been doing the right thing feeding him these dental sticks! I know my experience isn't isolated.

So my top tip is to yes use a dental chew. But use ones that are natural. In the UK there are some available using natural ingredients from Lilly's Kitchen, Forthglade and many other manufacturers too.

What nutrients can help your dog's dental health?

  • Antioxidants - These are beneficial in helping your dog to maintain good health. And they too can help with good dental care. One of their roles is to help reduce inflammation. So can help with maintaining good gum health. There's many foods which contain good sources of antioxidants, including fruits and vegetables.
  • Seaweed - Veterinary research in 2018 looked at the effect of edible treats containing Ascophyllum nodosum. This is the latin name for a type of seaweed. This research found that "The consumption of edible treats containing A. nodosum efficiently decreased plaque and calculus accumulation in the investigated dogs".
  • Fennel - Fennel contains a variety of nutrients that can help promote good dental health.

Should you use a raw food diet for your dog's dental health?

A raw food diet is becoming more commonly used around the world. Although in reality many dogs until the 20th century were largely on raw food diets, as there weren't the mass production of dog foods that we have now!

Many holistic veterinary surgeons recommend a raw food diet. This is for general health reasons, including to promote good dental health.There can be some scepticism. However, as is the case with anything, it's the type of food you use and how you use it which makes a difference. Not all raw food diets are the same. Get more information on raw feeding including how to find a veterinary surgeon at the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society here.

If you're unsure if your dog has the right diet to help maintain the best possible health, then speak to your vet for advice. You can also find holistic veterinary surgeon's who use an integrated approach to veterinary care around the world. If you'd like help finding a holistic veterinary surgeon near you, please email info at

Dog Dental Tip #3 - Use Complementary Therapies

There's many complementary therapies that can be used to promote good dental health for your dog.

This includes veterinary homeopathy and herbal medicine.

You can find many veterinary surgeon's around the world who specialise in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Always get professional advice, so your dog can get the most benefit from these therapies.

Other integrated approaches such as veterinarians using a type of laser therapy to help treat dental conditions are also becoming common.

In conclusion..

Your dog's dental health is really important. It can be considered the foundation for overall good health. There's many ways you can care for your dog's dental health including using a holistic approach.

Veterinary Research Links for Canine Dental Health

Like help finding a veterinary surgeon or therapist for your animal?
Please email me at info at taranet . co. uk

Please remember that if your horse, dog or other animal is unwell. Or on any kind of medication or other supplement. Then always speak to your Veterinary Surgeon first before using any supplement or therapy. Even natural ones. To avoid any possible issues.

´╗┐And do you know someone who'd find this helpful? Please share, the more we can spread awareness of the benefits of natural therapies the better! :)

Find out more about other natural animal therapies here at Taranet. Or read other articles in this Natural Pet Health Blog. Take a look at the sitemap here to explore!

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About the Author
Suzanne Harris is an equestrian and canine entrepreneurial coach and consultant to veterinarians who want to help prevent animals being affected by domestic abuse.