Archive for August 2011

Remember, you should never tack up a horse unless you are ready to ride. Brush off any stable or sweat marks, as well as dried mud, especially where the saddle and girth will be. Put the saddle on first; some horses tend to expand their chest when the saddle is first put on, but will relax later, leaving the girth loose. By the time you have put on the bridle, the horse will have relaxed and you can then tighten the girth before you mount. Don’t leave a horse standing with its saddle on when you have finished riding. If it wants to roll, it will do so even with the saddle in place; this will not only damage the saddle, but can also hurt the horse’s back. Practice the following steps when putting the saddle on.

1) Approach the horse slowly, talking to it all the time. Smooth down the hair on the back, then lay the saddle pads over the withers and saddle area. Put the pad further forward than the final position of the saddle to allow you to move it and the saddle back together later, in the direction of the lie of the coat.

2) Check that the stirrups are run up, and that the girth is fastened on one side and folded over the saddle. Place the saddle on the pad, lowering it vertically so that you do not move the pad. Do not pull the saddle or pad forward because this will rub the horse’s hair the wrong way.

3) Hold the saddle pad well up in the arch and gullet of the saddle, then move the saddle and saddle pad backward together until the saddle sits in its correct position behind the withers. Attach the saddle pad to the saddle by threading the middle girth strap through the loop provided on the pad.

1/4" pad wool liner 30" x 30" straight, available at

4) Walk around the front of the horse to the other side, going under the neck if necessary. Hang the girth down, and then check that everything is lying flat. Bring the girth down gently; do not throw it over from the other side.

5) Walk back around the horse and fasten the girth. Attach one buckle to the front strap. This strap is attached to the saddle separately so that if it breaks, the other one will hold the girth, and vice versa. Pull the girth tight without wrinkling the skin. You must use the same two straps on both sides of the saddle.

6) Pull the buckle guards down over the buckles of the girth. This stops the buckles from moving around or digging into your legs while you are riding, and prevents them from rubbing and damaging the saddle.

7) After you have checked and tightened the girth, pull each foreleg forward to make sure that no skin is wrinkled under the girth. If the horse reacts as you tighten the girth, it may be a bad habit but could also be because of a back problem or a painful saddle. The girth should lie in front of an imaginary vertical line drawn through the center of the saddle.

When you’re done riding, undo the girth on one side and cross it over the saddle to remove it. Take hold of both the saddle and the saddle pad and lift them off together, moving them slightly backward as you go.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

Are you wondering how does radiant heat work when it is in the floor? Radiant floor heat isn’t very complex.

What happens is a floor heating system is installed under the finished floor. Energy is delivered to the system which in turn heats the floor. The floor “radiates heat” throughout the room and the entire home. There are multiple different ways to create radiant under floor heating.

How Hydronic Radiant Heat Works

For larger surface areas, hydronic heat is usually used. One way to use hydronic heat is to install it in a subfloor. The picture to your right is called “Warmboard.” This is an aluminum covered subfloor. Aluminum is used for hydronic heat because it is a great conductor.

The tube is the most important part though. This tube is called PEX. It is a specially constructed material designed to carry warm water from a boiler, through a tubing circuit and then back to the boiler.

As the warm water circulates under the finished floor, the aluminum heats up. This aluminum radiates heat into the finished flooring. The finished flooring could be any surface you choose including wood, tile, laminate, or even carpet. The floor will radiate warmth throughout the room. The floor will be warm to the touch. (Imagine a nice warm tile floor when you get up in the middle of the night. It’s amazing!)

In other cases where the subfloor has already been installed, you can still strap the PEX tubing underneath. The tubing circuit is installed between the joist. Aluminum flashing plates are attached to the subfloor, and these plates have a trough for the PEX tubing to rest in.

This system isn’t as efficient as the Warmboard, but you have to install Warmboard as you build the home. You would have to tear out the entire subfloor and all the finish flooring if you wanted Warmboard on an existing home. The picture to the right is from a home that was retrofitted with hydronic radiant floor heat.

How does radiant heat work when it is used in concrete? The heated water still flows through PEX tubing in this system. The big difference here is that this PEX tubing is embedded in the concrete. You lay down the tubing circuits first. Then you pour concrete over the PEX tubing. The concrete hardens and then you have a floor that you can cover up with any finish surface you desire. Some people opt to leave the floor as concrete, especially for business or factory applications.

How Electric Radiant Heat Works

How does radiant heat work with an electric system? The concept is the same, but you have to lay down electric wires or an electric mat underneath the finished flooring. The picture on the right shows Thermofloor being installed under Tile. When the electric radiant heating system is in place, energy radiates through the wires. These wires heat up the floor, and then the floor radiates heat throughout the room.

An advantage that electric has over hydronic is it can be used in small applications. You can install a small mat in a bathroom and program the unit to heat up at specific times during the day. This makes electric heat cost efficient.

There is some lag time for any radiant under floor heating system. If the floor is cold, and you want the room to heat up, first the floor temperature must be heated up higher than the air temperature. Once the floor reaches a higher temperature than the air, the floor radiates heat into the air and into anything that comes in contact with it. If you are standing on a radiant heated floor, it actually radiates heat directly into your feet. Have you ever noticed how cats will sometimes sit directly on a heating register to be in direct contact with the heating source. With radiant floor heat, the entire floor radiates warmth. It creates an indescribable comfort.

The increased comfort level, and the improved efficiency of radiant floor heat make it a great choice for any home. The feeling is hard to describe. You have to experience it first to truly understand how does radiant heat work.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

Poor hog feeder adjustment slashes feed efficiency by 5%, while properly adjusted feeders save about $2/pig from 50 to 270 lb., according to a recent study at Kansas State University. Keep feeders adjusted properly, regardless of trough space, to maintain good feed efficiency.

The 91-day study evaluated the effects of feeder trough space (1.75 vs. 3.5 in./pig) and minimum feeder-gap opening of 0.5 in. (narrow) vs. 1.0 in. (wide) on finishing pig performance. A total of 288 pigs went on test at 82 lb. in one of four treatments at the K-State Swine Teaching and Research Center, Manhattan, KS.

The hog feeders were adjusted to the minimum gap setting, but the agitation plate could be moved upward to a maximum gap setting of 0.75 in. or 1.25 in. Narrow feeder gap was 0.5 in. minimum to 0.75 in. maximum. Wide feeder gap was 1.0 in. minimum to 1.25 in. maximum.

Feeder trough space was adjusted by placing eight or 16 pigs/pen. For the 3.5 in. of feeder space/pig, pens were stocked with eight pigs/pen. To achieve the 1.75 in. of feeder space/pig, two pens were combined with only one feeder for the 16 pigs. Gating was adjusted so that both of the groups of eight or 16 pigs/pen got 8 sq. ft. of space/pig.

Pigs were given ad-lb access to feed and water and fed a four-phase, corn-soybean meal-based diet containing 20% distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), as depicted in Table 1.

Pig performance on feed was calculated by weighing pigs and measuring feed disappearance on Day 0, 14, 28, 42, 56, 70, 84 and 91. Pictures of feeder pan coverage were taken once during each feeding phase, and a panel of four judges scored the feeder pan pictures by the percentage of pan coverage.

Evaluations of feeder pan coverage indicated narrow-adjusted pig feeders averaged approximately 48% coverage (Figure 1), while wide-adjusted feeders averaged approximately 85% coverage (Figure 2).

From Day 0 to 56, no feeder adjustment/trough space interactions were observed. However, those pigs exposed to the wide feeder gap setting had increased average daily feed intake (ADFI), which resulted in a tendency for poorer feed conversion, suggesting that the increase in feed intake with the wider feeder gap setting, actually produced an increase in feed wastage (Table 2).

From Day 56 to 91, there was a tendency for pigs with 3.5 in. feeder space to have greater average daily gain, compared to pigs with the 1.75 in. feeder space. Also, pigs tested on the wide feeder gap setting had increased ADFI and poorer feed efficiency, similar to the response observed during Day 0 to 56 (Table 2).

Overall, these results suggest that, regardless of feeder trough space, pigs fed with the wide feeder adjustment wasted more feed and grew less efficiently.

Further evidence is needed to determine optimal feeder trough space for finishing pigs.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

by Cynthia Cooper |

With many parts of the world affected by weather extremes, feed for horses is getting more expensive and less readily available, so it makes sense to stretch what you can get as far as possible.

So how do we do that without compromising our horse’s health and well being?

It’s a question I’ve been thinking on a lot lately as my horses have challeged me to balance the quantity they need for healthy gut function (and not eating weeds), with keeping them down to healthy weight, most being mature riding horses verging on the fat side!

One of the big discoveries I made is that hay fed loose on the ground can be gobbled up quickly leaving the herd hungry for more even after eating their entire ration which is based on their combined body weight.

It’s easy to work out – I have seven horses in one herd – there are four that weigh close to 400kg and 3 that weigh around 500kg so thats a total of 3100kg. As they have no pasture to speak of, I’m feeding them 2.5% of their body weight in food a day – that’s 10kg per 400kg horse and 12.5kg per 500kg horse – a combined total of 77.5kg.

As they get a small feed of chaff and minerals which weighs less than a kilo each, I’m left with providing 77kg of hay so I weighed my bales and they average 17kg each resulting in 4.5 bales per day for the herd. Phew – I knew I did maths at school for a reason!

So to combat the guzzling nature of horses that have no pasture, I made hay feeders that have a mesh screen they have to pull the hay through and it stops them tossing it all over the place to get to the seeds. These are old apple bins and fit a bale on each side.

I had to put a screen on one so that the ‘hog feeder‘ (2nd in command) allowed someone to share with him!

Sioux Supreme Hog Feeder - 40 Bushel Complete, available at

The biggest issue with this is that they just stand around in one place for a large part of the day – at least they have to walk down the hill to get to water. Some days they go out to graze a strip of track I’m eating out so the amount of hay is halved then, and they get to walk a further back to the water.

So I started looking for ideas on how to make some way of containing hay that made them work to get it, and could be easily put up in several places around the 10 acres they occupy.

My breeding herd have also presented a challenge in that some of them can cope with grass and need it, while others couldn’t. My old broodmare who is generally a good doer, had developed greasy heel from being allowed too much rich grass in spring because I mistakenly assumed she would need extra to make all that milk for her foal.

I’ve discovered through trial and error in the process of clearing up the greasy heal, that the tall stemmy grass with seeds (usually cocksfoot and ryegrass) will cause her leg to flare up right away. I could actually see more swelling and weeping of toxins at the end of the day when she was allowed out on the seedy grass. My solution was to set up a track around the paddock to stimulate more movement, and slash the seeded grass on the track, leaving it for a couple of weeks to dry out – it was even rained on so that washed more sugars out. Freshly slashed grass can have more toxins that affect horses as the grass tries to recover, so its a good idea to leave it at least a week or two before allowing horses back on.

Now, as the track gets eaten down, I can let the youngsters in the middle for a few hours a day to eat a bit extra, and the mare can stay out on feed she can tolerate, supplemented with a bit of hay and her regular minerals and chaff. The beauty of this is that the mare can move around with the herd so no-one feels left out or in need of running through a fence. It’s also a great way to wean a foal as they are only stopped from drinking and not from being near their mum.

The more I look for information on using tracks, commonly called Paddock Paradise, the more I see it as the ultimate way to keep horses and stretch the grass consumption over a longer period of time too. During the drought, the track can be the sacrifice area and the majority of the pasture can survive with reduced or minimal grazing.

In spring, the track is the safest place for equines prone to laminitis, tender hooves, and behavioural problems associated with rye grass consumption – or even with weed consumption such as flatweed (false dandelion) that causes stringhalt. In this case you would need to scrape the track back to bare dirt and feed hay.

To counteract the problem of manure and not having the ability to pick it all up (most of our pastures are on steep land so impossible to use a ‘poo sucker’ as I call them), I’m setting up a track in every paddock so the horses can be rotated around them, allowing some to rest.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.

What surface should you choose for radiant heat flooring? There really are no limits to what you can do. There is a misconception with a lot of people that you can only have concrete floors with radiant under floor heating. This is not the case. Also, you don’t have to have radiant floor heat embedded only in a concrete or gypsum floor. There are multiple ways now to add radiant warmth into a subfloor.

Crete-Heat Insulated Floor Panel System, available at

A radiant heat system also doesn’t have to heat your entire home. It is becoming more and more common in bathroom or smaller remodeling jobs to install electric radiant heat systems. The electric system will be hooked up to a separate thermostat. Of course, you can still use hydronic radiant heat, which is heated water running through PEX tubing, but that would be ideal for larger projects or new construction.

The five flooring options that can be used effectively with radiant floor heat are concrete, tile, wood, laminate, and even carpet.

Radiant Heat Flooring for Concrete

Concrete is still the most popular option when using radiant heat. The reasoning behind this is simple. Most homes have to have a concrete basement floor, or an on-grade concrete floor. Since concrete is already being used, you simply embed cross-linked polyethylene, which is more commonly called PEX tubing. The tubes run through the concrete slab and circulate warm water. This turns the entire concrete floor into a radiator, hence the name radiant floor heat.

Most people think of concrete as a cold, hard, unforgiving substance. With a hydronic radiant floor heating system embedded into the concrete, this slab of rock turns into a warm and comfortable surface. In the past, copper was embedded into concrete, and the copper would often erode and leak. This is no longer a worry with PEX tubing. It is much more durable and flexible. Even as the concrete expands or contracts, the PEX handles the pressure with ease. It is built to last up to 200 years.

Some people leave the concrete as is and have that as their floor choice. You don’t have to do this though. You can cover up the concrete. The most common choice is tile, followed by carpet or laminate. Wood isn’t really an option to attach to a radiant concrete floor. For a great site about all things concrete, visit Meet Mr. Concrete.

Radiant Heat Flooring for Tile

Often, tile flooring is simply added right on top of a concrete floor that has radiant heat. This is an excellent way to have an amazing looking warm floor. The best part is though, this isn’t the only way you can incorporate tile with radiant heat.

A hydronic system usually runs through concrete which in turn heats the tiles above it. There is another system that works very well too. Electric radiant under floor heating systems are becoming more and more popular. When people have a subfloor, the electric mat or electric wires that radiate heat are placed between the backer board and the tiles. The backer board is placed first. Then you put some thinset down. The electric mat or wires are added and another layer of thinset covers the mat. Finally, the tiles are put into place.

Radiant Heat Flooring for Wood

Wood used to be out of the question for radiant heat. It is very hard to install a wood floor on top of a concrete base. This isn’t the case now, especially when you are working installing radiant heat into a subfloor.

The most common option when using wood as your finish floor is to use a hydronic radiant heating system and strap the PEX tubing onto the bottom of the subfloor. A lot of people worry that the wood won’t handle the increased level of heat that a radiant floor system offers. This isn’t the case. Wood floors have been used long before the introduction of air conditioning. They can handle warmer temperatures.

If you have the option of installing the radiant under floor heating system before the finish flooring, activate the radiant heat first. Put the wood on the floor but don’t nail it down. Then the wood will get used to the humidity and heat before it is installed.

Another way is to use a system like Warmboard where the aluminum plates are actually on top of the subfloor. This is an even better way to use hydronic radiant heat because the tubing and the aluminum conducts the heat much closer to the top of the finished flooring. This system is best to install during new construction.

Radiant Heat Flooring for Carpet

Probably the least common is using carpet. Carpet acts as a natural insulator. It doesn’t transfer heat really well. Because of this, the heat from below doesn’t rise as easily.

It is possible, so long as you make a few wise decisions. The first thing is to make sure you are using the correct mat that lies below the carpet. The denser and thinner the mat, the better the heat will radiate. Also, the carpet itself shouldn’t be very thick. Choose a thin carpet. Thick and shaggy carpeting won’t allow the heat to pass through as easily.

Radiant Heat Flooring for Laminate

Laminate flooring is a versatile option when it comes to radiant floor heat. It can be installed above concrete, or a subfloor. Laminate can also be used for a hydronic radiant system or as a part of an electric radiant floor.

Laminate floors float, which means they don’t have to be attached to the floor below. They simply lay down on top. You can use thinset to adhere them or different types of glue, but this isn’t always necessary. Moisture isn’t a big concern either for laminate, so that is why they can go right over the top of a concrete floor with embedded hydronic radiant floor heat. When you use an electric system, the top layer of thinset that is placed over the electric wires or mat is simply smoothed out. When the thinset is hard, then the floating laminate floor can be snapped into place.

With radiant heat you can choose almost any floor type. To look at different finished floor options, visit Flooring Specialty.

The Best Way to Incorporate Radiant Heat Flooring

  • For small remodeling jobs, especially in a bathroom, I recommend using tile and an electric radiant system.
  • For on grade heating (this means there is no basement), embed hydronic radiant tubing into the concrete. You already have to spend the money on the concrete floor, so this is one of the most cost effective ways to use hydronic radiant heat. You can put tile, laminate, or carpet over the concrete as well.
  • On subfloors when you want wood, the best option is Warmboard. However, this is also the most expensive option and can only be used for new construction. You can save a little money if you attach a hydronic system under the subfloor. Also, you can retrofit a current home with a hydronic system that is attached under the subfloor.


To get more information on cattle scales, cattle guards, or saddle pads, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on grain weight conversion, hog feeders, and hay feeders, please visit Barn World.

To get more information on bulk feed bins, livestock scales, and radiant under-floor heating, please visit Barn World.