Six super simple ways to keep your horse healthier

 

Six ridiculously easy ways to keep your horse healthier

As a horse owner or rider, your number one priority is your horse’s health and well-being. Many horse people use a variety of pricey methods in efforts to keep their horses in prime condition. These range from joint injections to supplements to laser therapy to chiropractic appointments. Although these things can all be beneficial to your horse’s health, there are a variety of straightforward and cost-free ways you can ensure your horse stays healthy.

1) Pick your horse’s hooves before and after every single ride. Picking your horse’s hooves regularly is essential to keeping your horse’s hooves healthy. Stones and other potentially dangerous things can get stuck in your horse’s hooves, which can cause a stone bruise or worse. A stone bruise can cause your horse significant discomfort and can even lead to an abscess forming in a hoof. Regular hoof picking is a good way to also prevent your horse from getting thrush, which can be a nuisance to treat. Plus picking your horse’s hooves will ensure you don’t miss something minor such as a loose shoe that could lead to a bigger problem.

2) During fly season, put a quality fly mask on your horse make sure you keep it clean. Keeping flies out of your horse’s eyes with a fly mask is an effective way to prevent your horse from getting an eye infection. Fly masks also protect your horse from harmful UV rays. Make sure a fly mask fits correctly and you keep it clean so it doesn’t cause any rubs.

3) Know what your horse’s regular temperature is and check it regularly. A normal temperature for a horse ranges from 99-101°F; 37.2-38.3°C. A fever is classified as mild at 102 degrees and excessive at 106 degrees. As a horse owner, you should know what YOUR horse’s normal temperature is so if your horse starts behaving abnormally such as not drinking or eating as much, you can take its temperature and note any changes.

 


 

4) Always keep a salt lick available to your horse or add salt to its feed. Horses need salt in their diets; they lose salt through sweating and if it isn’t replaced, fatigue and other problems can arise. Salt is the only mineral that horses actually appear to have an appetite for, and when it’s available, most horses will consume the amount they need without overindulging. If you cannot provide your horse with a salt lick for whatever reason or it doesn’t appear to use it, you should add two level tablespoons (10 grams) to your horse’s feed. Salt is cheap, and its health benefits to your horse are proven.

5) Use a calendar to keep track of your horse’s worming, vaccine and shoeing schedules. It is your job to remember when your horse is due to be dewormed, vaccinated and shod. Life can get crazy busy, and it is easy for these dates to slip your mind. Keep yourself from forgetting by investing in a calendar and writing down all these important dates. Then remember to USE that calendar by hanging it somewhere you regularly see such as inside your tackroom locker door or tack trunk or even on your fridge.

6) Make sure you know your horse’s legs better than the back of your hand. Every good horse person knows every teenie tiny detail on their horses’ legs. Knowing what is normal and abnormal is invaluable knowledge. Tendon and ligament injuries often don’t cause any signs of lameness but there will be slight heat and swelling in the leg. You need to have a hawk eye to hone in on this minor change because continuing to work a horse with even a minor tendon problem can lead to catastrophic consequences. Paying intense attention to your horse’s legs costs zero dollars and an insignificant amount of time compared to its benefits.

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