Today we received a call from a customer who was concerned about coyote around their horses. This prompted me to locate a great article that Jim Meyer, the inventor of Nite Guard Solar® once wrote for a major horse publication. Don't miss the GREAT testimonial at the end of this article as well!
Protecting Horses Against Coyote and Other Night Predator Attacks
Written by Jim Meyer, Inventor of Nite Guard Solar®
The damage and injury from night animals to horses, especially foals, can be a serious problem. The trauma inflicted on these animals we love so much is extremely hard to witness, and the cost can be immeasurable. Physiological and behavioral stress, as well as bodily injury often occurs. Coyote, coydogs, cougar and wolf are often the culprits and are becoming extremely bold as man moves into their territory. Once again, the conflict goes on between man and wild ‐ each species attempting to live out their lives while inadvertently invading one another’s territory.
The extra labor people put into bringing their stock to buildings or protected paddocks each night is considerable and it can be hard on the animals during the extreme heat of summer. The other option is to leave them out during the night hours; however the risk of predation prevents many owners from doing this. Studies have shown that even the odor of coyote, wolf or bear will increase the heart rate of horses, especially when predator movement is also involved. Little wonder.
It does seem however, that horses tend to sense the difference between one type of predator from another. For instance, coyotes coming into or near a paddock or pasture during the day seem to have little effect on horses; a cougar is a different story. Horses perhaps, see the coyote as just another dog, whereas the cougar or wolf, because of their size, present a threat. Night time visits change this perception.
Coyotes are more of a threat to foals as they are reluctant to attack a full grown horse except out of desperate hunger and then they do so in large packs. Coyotes tend to be smaller and do not always run in large packs, but rather as singles or in groups of two or three. This is not the case when it comes to larger animals such as wolves or coydogs (cross between a coyote and a dog). Coydogs, which fear humans less, are especially threatening as they do run in packs, will take down an adult horse, and are much more aggressive with their attacks. Even though full grown horses have been known to stomp or kick these predator animals to death, the coydogs remain ruthless. Cougar clearly are large enough and strong enough to do severe damage or kill any type of livestock and they usually instill a deep fear into horses. Wolves almost always run in packs and are efficient and patient killers. Any of these predators, of course, will chase horses causing them to bolt into or through fencing often sustaining injuries.
These night predators are all intent on finding another meal and often become more aggressive if they are having a tough time finding available food or have experienced a difficult winter with deep snow and cold. All of these factors put horses more at risk and the risks are very real to any horse owner who has experienced these attacks. One thing is certain, the investment in horses is huge for most people and protecting them against harm is a constant concern and should be part of the investment. With the right safety system in place you and your animals as well as the predators can live in harmony.
There are many predator deterrents on the market today that could help, however, most require the animals to come in close to either activate the device (motion activated) or for the animal to be close enough to sense the repellant smell. What is really most effective is for the deterrent to stop these predators at a distance. This is especially true when protecting horses.
Nite Guard Solar® is a relatively new product (12 year old company )that is designed to stop predators from a distance. Using solar energy for power, (sunlight or daylight), it turns on automatically at dark and gives off a powerful flash of red light that replicates the blink of a human or another predator’s eye. It has also has been confirmed by animal behavior experts that this flash of light represents an “eye” to night animals and that they are indeed being watched and feel threatened. Nite Guard Solar’s flash of light is not annoying to neighbors and is ignored by pets and livestock. The flash is emitted through a weatherproof, soundless unit that appears to the casual, or not so casual, observer to be a security system in place. A secondary benefit that most users greatly appreciate.
Horse owners across the country are discovering the benefits of this amazing product as testified by Dr. David Ranson:
“Occasionally in the plethora of new farm/stable products that come along there is one that truly is revolutionary and useful. In my geographical area, my farm has been haunted by coyotes which would endanger my mares and foals during their nighttime turnout schedules. Since I have placed Nite Guard in my pastures and paddocks, I have not seen nor heard these predators which could harm my valuable livestock. I can now rest well at night knowing that my pastures are safe. Many thanks from Equivest Racing for the product Nite Guard”.
-David Ranson, M.D. Racing Manager, Equivest Racing Charleston, WVA
About the author:
Jim Meyer is the owner and founder of Nite Guard, LLC, a 12 year old company that manufacturers the product Nite Guard Solar®. He has written many articles concerning animal predation and how to control it. His company is recognized as one of the top consulting firms on animal predation in the country.