Care of a Falabella
The food is essential
Apart from a few hours of sleep, a Falabella basically only eats. This is why the meadow has to be kept “scarce” and clean, with no artificial or organic fertilisers.
In summer they don’t require much additional food. During periods of extreme moisture, you should feed them additional hay from time to time. In winter, the meadow’s grass will not suffice, and you will have to additionally feed them hay, chunks and a grain mix. The amount depends on the age, weight and probability of pregnancy.
Pregnant mares should get additional fodder during the last three months of their pregnancy. Foals and yearlings, too, should get additional fodder for better development of muscles and bones. All horses have to have a steady supply of clean drinkable water.
Guidelines for winter-feeding:
Each 100kg bodyweight equals 1kg of hay and 0.5kg of mash daily, in two feedings.
If a horse is in training, the amount can be raised by 0.2-0.5kg mash per training hour.
Even if the horse can not find any more food on the meadow due to the season, it will still look for it. Like this, it can swallow too much sand, which can lead to colic. That is why the horses should be kept in the stable in winter nights, and they should be fed there, too.
In the stable and on the meadow
Under normal circumstances, a healthy Falabella is not sensitive to cold, but the combination of rain and cold is bad. At least there should be shelter, but the best course of action is to leave the animals in the stable during cold and wet seasons. There you can feed them in a controlled environment and there’s no feeding-envy.
The stable for a Falabella doesn’t have to be as spacious as for a bigger riding horse, but it should be at least 2×2.5m big. For the covering of the floor, we use hay and vlas. The hygiene in the stable is very important: The feces and wet spots have to be cleaned daily.
Additionally, you should mind:
– Avoid pointy objects that could hurt the horse
– Hay nets are dangerous, because the horses can get caught up in them with their legs and hooves
– Offer the hay at a dry place; offer the fodder at the feeding trough
– Always have enough drinking water, ideally from an automatic container instead of a bucket, which the horses like to topple over
– Good ventilation, but no draft
The fences of the meadow don’t have to exceed a height of 80-100cm. The material is what counts. With an electric wire, a 5cm wide band is ideal. The wire has to be stretched firmly at all times. A fence made of poles and wood is possible as well. A chainlink fence is unsuitable, because the horses could get cought in them with their hooves.
On the meadow there are some plants that are poisonous for the Falabella, such as conifers, taxus or juniper berries.
The hooves have to be well cared for and controlled. Stones or pointy objects have to be pried out, as they can cause painful bruises on the bed.
Wet earth, feces or sand can, if left on the hoof for too long, soften the bed and cause inflammations.
Similarly to finger- or footnails of humans, the hoofs of horses grow at different speeds. Every three months, the farrier should shoe the horses.
He has to be very careful, as Falabella have very sensitive joints and bones.
The hind hoofs may not be raised above the ankle joint.
Like any horse, Falabellas have summer and winter coats. Good care and the right food have great influence on the fur, that should be regularly brushed as well.
In summer, with a thinner and finer fur, this is a rather simple task.
In the winter, it’s a little more complicated. But for good circulation, you should brush the fur at least once per week.
A healthy horse has, even in winter, a shining and colourful coat, the hairs forming a regular pattern on the body.
Falabellas love water, and not only do they love to be brushed in summer, they love to be washed as well. After washing, the sand disappears from the skin, giving the hair a better chance to grow. Tail and mane may be washed more often and with baby-shampoo. After washing, the horse should be left to dry in a warm and draftless place.
Ideally, the Falabella should keep its natural fur, but sometimes shearing is necessary. For yearlings, the shearing should be done in spring to lose the foal-coat, which is a good alternative for daily brushing.
For a inspection, a Falabella has to be shorn.
In the case of a skin disease, treatment is easier when the horse is shorn. In winter and spring, the horse has to wear a blanket if it’s shorn; at temperatures below 12°C, the animal should be in the stable.
The vaccination program has to be observed carefully. After birth, the horse gets the so-called “foal-vaccination”; to prevent tetanus during the first 10 days.
After 3-6 months the foal gets a basic vaccine against influenza and tetanus, which has to be repeated after 6 weeks. After that it needs a yearly general vaccination; all vaccinations have to be documented.
Worms are a constant danger for any horse. For Falabella in particular, standing on a small meadow and being relocated seldomly, are in danger. If you aren’t careful, the worms living in the appendix and in the colon can cause loss of stamina, disease, colic and even death. This is why a deworming program has to be followed with a controlled dosage of deworming agents.
The proper deworming begins prior to the birth from the pregnant mare (about 7-14 days prior to birth). The foal must be dewormed 8 days after birth, and then every 4 weeks during udder-feeding period.
Depending on the circumstances a Falabella should be dewormed at least once every half year. Consult your veterinarian for the right dosage, frequency and agent.