Keep Your Horse Fit, Healthy & Happy
Horse Care Guide
Monday 22 February 2010
Horses are totally dependent on humans for care and our actions (or lack of) have a direct effect on the horse’s health. A healthy horse is a happy horse and there are certain things that should be done to make sure of this. This article outlines the correct methods of horse care to maintain your horse’s fitness and health.
Correct Horse Care
• Horses are herd animals and they are at their happiest when they have companionship. Obviously it is best to allow them access to another horse but this isn’t always financially or practically possible. In these cases any animal can become and companion. If you are the horse’s only companion, make sure you visit often and spend lots of time grooming and talking to him.
• Remember that a horse’s digestive system is quite delicate and you need to provide the correct type and amount of food to maintain the horse’s health. Decide on the correct amount of food depending on the horse’s fitness and the type of work he does (pleasure, jumping etc). Work out the correct level of grain to give the horse depending on his weight and activities.
• It is vital to the horse’s health that you feed the horse from a bucket or manger, never the ground. You should never feed damp, mouldy or dusty food to a horse and the keep it stored securely to avoid rodent and/or insect damage. An important part of horse care is a feeding schedule, so set one up and stick to it. Deviating from the schedule drastically can cause problems, make all changes in type of food and time of feeding gradually.
• Hay is daily requirement for a horse’s health. In the summer months, this can be substituted with fresh grass from the pasture. At the changeover from winter to spring, make sure the horse gets accustomed to fresh grass for a week or so before introducing him to fresh pasture. Too much rich, fresh grass too quickly will be detrimental to the horse’s fitness and health.
• Food supplements should be included in his diet, a salt block is very important to the horse’s health. Talk to a vet about the correct supplements for your horse.
• Horse’s like all animals, require lots of fresh water. Make sure the water bowl is cleaned out regularly to prevent the build up of grime or slime. Don’t just top up the water bucket to replace the water that has been drunk, completely change it each time.
• An essential part of horse care is grooming. Make sure you halter and walk him daily. Talk to him and let him know where you are at all times. Clean his feet daily and exercise him regularly.
• Check the horse’s droppings for a change in colour or consistency as this can be a useful, early way of diagnosing a change in the horse’s health. Similarly, check his teeth regularly and use a horse dentist. When giving the horse care, check the feet and make an appointment for him to see a farrier every six to eight weeks.
• Make sure the horse is wormed regularly as this can have severe effects on the horse’s health if left unchecked. Don’t allow immunity against medications to build up by changing them regularly. Set up a vaccination schedule with your vet.