High-Touch Horse Care Produces Happy Horses

“We handle the horses many times throughout the day, as if we are the owner,” explains Sarah Judson, owner of SLO Sage and Spur Ranch. High-touch horse care defines the expert horse keeping she provides to all in her charge. Such horse care transformed Percy, a handsome, bay, warmblood. Let’s follow him through his day.


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Percy arrived at SLO Sage and Spur Ranch two years ago as a gangly, 17.1 HH 5-year-old. Since he was so huge, he intimidated people.

This resulted in a lack of handling, which at his height and stature was challenging. Sarah took him on as a charity case. Now, two years later he’s her own personal happy Hunter horse. Percy trusts people and knows his place.


A Day in the Life of a Horse Stabled at SLO Sage and Spur Ranch

First High-Touch Horse Care: Daily Turn Out

As the morning sun breaks through the tree canopy, Percy’s eyes and ears are watching, listening for the morning crew. He takes in the stirring barn activity while waiting his turn for the morning walk to the turn out pens. Once in his turnout pen, he enjoys his morning feeding. His herd mates are happily chomping their breakfasts in adjoining, tree-shaded pens. “We purpose our stabled horses to spend as much of their day out as possible,” says Sarah.

Sarah has the horses grouped in herds to spend time together with their most compatible barn mates. She listens for the discussions between the horses and adjusts the herd as necessary. Each horse is in its own turnout pen, but can visit over the no-climb fence rail at any time.

Lunch Time Touch

“The horses are out for four-six hours a day,” describes Sarah. “Lunch is fed out in the turn-out pens if they stay longer.”  Sarah offers one or even two lunch time feedings, recognizing many horses do better with more frequent, smaller feedings throughout the day.

Round pen Exercise Touch

Percy needs to be kept fit and busy. So, on days when Sarah can’t ride, she works Percy in the round pen. Some horses need more movement in the day to keep fit or to recover. Working a horse in the round pen either lunging or directed movement off the lunge is another horse care touch point offered to horses living at SLO Sage and Spur Ranch.

Grooming Touch

Grooming is a part of every horse’s life. Both retired horses and ones used for riding activities appreciate grooming and interacting with humans as part of their horse care. Percy enjoys his daily grooming time and knows Sarah is there to interact with him and make him feel good. Some owners can’t get out to groom or go out of town. SLO Sage and Spur get the grooming job done for every horse that needs it.

Worried about flies bothering your horse during turnout? Fly spray, fly sheets, fly masks – all the fly maintenance tools for the best horse care – are covered by the SLO Sage and Spur staff.

Protective Boots Touch

Horses needing a bit more protection of the legs or hooves will get boots, wraps, bell boots – whatever is needed – applied before their turnout. This extra measure ensures less issues arising from turnout time.


Blanketing Touch

Daily blanket removal and replacement for each horse needing this service can be provided by Sarah or one of the staff. Percy’s well-being is enhanced with time wearing a therapeutic blanket. Often a wellness horse care plan includes time with a therapeutic blanket or treatment. This is administered by the staff at SLO Sage and Spur Ranch on an as-needed basis.

Evening Feeding Touch

All stabled horses are brought in to their comfy stalls for the evening. Percy resettles into his comfy stall, freshly fluffed for him. Now his eyes and ears are on the feed room. All horses receive their custom feed ration in the early evening and are tucked away for the night. But that’s not the last touch point.

Night Check Touch

Sarah or one of her staff, makes one more night check before calling it a day themselves. Sarah and family also live right on-site and are up at the sound of anything amiss even in the dark of night or the earlies hours of the morning.

High-Touch custom horse care Transformed Percy at SLO Sage and Spur Ranch

After getting rejected by five training barns, Percy, under Sarah’s expert horse care, has become one of the family. He enjoys human interaction as well as his job as a hunter. Percy transformed from a gigantic, gangly, poorly-managed youngster to a happy horse with a job he knows and enjoys as a horse living life at SLO Sage and Spur Ranch.

Follow Percy through his day at SLO Sage and Spur Ranch

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