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Equine

Many Pennsylvanians enjoy a variety of recreational activities involving horses, such as trail riding, participating in horse and pony clubs, and competing in shows and other events; however, they do not have the necessary facilities to house their animals.

Horse fence can be one of the most attractive features of a horse facility. But not all fence is suitable for horses. Fencing is a major capital investment that should be carefully planned before construction. Well-constructed and maintained fences enhance the aesthetics and value of a stable facility, which in turn complements marketing efforts. Poorly planned, haphazard, unsafe, or unmaintained fences will detract from a facility's value.

In barn fires, the old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" could not be more true. Planning is the greatest asset in fire prevention. Fire and fire damage to horse stables can be minimized or prevented through building techniques, fire detection options, and management practices.

There are many options for suitable floors in a horse facility and the fitness of a horse's legs and feet can be greatly affected by the type of stall flooring chosen.

Manure management practices within horse facilities deserve careful attention. Getting the manure out of a stall is only the beginning. A complete manure management system involves collection, storage (temporary or long term), and disposal or utilization.

Inadequate ventilation is the most common mistake made in modern horse facilities. The objective of ventilation is to get fresh air to the horse.

The stall is the basic functional unit of a horse stable or shelter. A simple backyard pleasure horse stall may at first appear different than a stall in a full-feature boarding operation, but they both provide a suitable environment for the horse and handler. Safety for handlers and horses should be a primary consideration in stall design. Comfort for the horse is very important, as is convenience for the handler in performing chores associated with good horse care.

To minimize feed costs, it is important to keep horses healthy and feed them a balanced ration that meets their nutritional needs.

A "perfect" riding surface should be cushioned to minimize concussion on horse legs, firm enough to provide traction, not too slick, not too dusty, not overly abrasive to horse hooves, inexpensive to obtain, and easy to maintain.

West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne virus, was detected for the first time in the United States in August 1999. In the first U.S. outbreak, 62 people were diagnosed with the disease. Seven of those people died. The virus can cause encephalitis, which is characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The infection also was diagnosed initially in several breeds of horses, a variety of zoo birds, and various native bird species, especially crows.