5 Essential Health Tips for Your Horse – Learn Now
It takes a lot of time and effort to ensure that your horse stays healthy and strong. Below, five horse-health experts highlight some of their most important tips on protecting the health of your horse.
1. Groom Your Horse Regularly
Maybe the first thing you wouldn’t think of when considering the health of your horse is grooming.
Today, life is busier than ever. Between working, socializing, and spending time with your family, there isn’t much time left for riding. For many people, grooming sessions are hurried, taking care of just the basics so that they don’t take too much time.
Ideally, however, you should set aside time each week for an in-depth grooming session. Block out an hour in your schedule each week to give your horse the thorough grooming that he deserves.
Begin by brushing your horse’s entire body. Pay attention to how he reacts when you touch each section. Watch for any signs of pain or discomfort such as tail swishing, flinching, or pulling back the ears.
After you are done brushing, run your hands over your horse’s body to check for any swelling, lumps, warmth, or sensitive areas. Make sure the left side of the body matches the right.
Conducting an in-depth grooming session like this each week will help you spot any abnormalities right away.
2. Keep Your Horse’s Weight in a Healthy Range
Horses that are overweight are more likely to develop health problems. Unfortunately, in the UK, approximately one out of every four horses and four out of every five ponies are overweight.
The good news is that weight problems can easily be remedied. The tips below will help:
It is important to keep an eye on your horse’s calorie consumption while at the same time ensuring that he gets enough food. Track his food intake carefully to be sure he is eating the right amount.
Keep tabs on his fat score by checking his body every couple of weeks.
Six days per week, elevate your horse’s heart rate to 80 bpm for 30 minutes per day through activities like lunging, riding, or leading.
Instead of keeping your horse in a stable, turn him out with a muzzle so he can move around.
Use supplements to ensure that he is getting all of the necessary minerals and vitamins.
Any fluctuations in weight should be carefully monitored. Bodyweight changes can be a symptom of health problems. Track his weight carefully so that you can spot any unexpected changes right away.
3. Monitor Your Horse’s Teeth
Compared to wild horses, domesticated horses don’t experience nearly as much wear on their teeth. This has to do with the diet that they eat.
Most experts recommend having your horse’s teeth examined once or twice a year.
Dental issues can result in a number of symptoms ranging from unpleasant odors coming from the mouth to pressure intolerance in the mouth or face area. Quidding, which is a condition where the horse drops balls of food, can also result from dental problems.
Elderly horses, in particular, should have their teeth checked regularly. Aging can cause dental problems that make it challenging for your horse to chew his food. As a result, he may not be able to eat enough to keep his body in a healthy condition.
4. Turn Your Horse Out As Often As Possible
The best thing that you can do for your horse is to turn them out to graze as frequently as you can.
Turning a horse out gives them a chance to exercise, which makes it easier for them to maintain a healthy weight. Wild horses spend hours each day grazing since the ground is so rough that it doesn’t provide many calories. Domesticated horses, however, usually graze in areas where the grass has been fertilized. With so much grass available, they can easily gain weight, which is why they need to be monitored closely.
Horses that eat a lot of fiber also generate a lot of saliva. This helps counteract the acid in the stomach. The action of their teeth grinding together when they eat results in better oral health. Because of these factors, horses that are turned out frequently are at a much lower risk of developing dental issues or gastric ulcers.
Obviously, in some circumstances, horses should not be turned out. For instance, if they are injured or are getting over surgery, they should be kept in a safe area. Whenever possible, however, they should be turned out to move about freely.
5. Take Good Care Of Your Horse’s Feet
The area where your horse spends most of his time can dramatically impact the health of his feet. Properly managing your stable can make a big difference in your horse’s foot health.
If your stables tend to get quite dirty, switching to another type of bedding may be beneficial. Good drainage is essential. If your current setup is inadequate, try adding absorbent layers underneath the bedding. This will help keep moisture from splashing onto your horse’s feet or legs. It also makes the stall easier to muck out.
Periodically wash your horse’s feet to get rid of any mud that has stuck to them. Mud can harbor bacteria, which is why it is important to regularly scrub it away.
After the mud has been washed away, apply a hoof product like Silver feet to the hoof walls, soles, and frogs. This effectively waterproofs the feet, helping to keep mud or droppings from sticking to their surface.
To keep hoof horn from cracking, it needs to be moisturized with oil. Before applying the oil to your horse, try using it on your own skin. It should absorb well and moisturize rather than acting as a barrier.
Monitor Your Horse’s Happiness and Well-being
Regular movement is beneficial for your horse’s joints. Turning him out as often as possible not only provides physical benefits but can also help him feel happier from a mental standpoint.
Monitor the mood of your horse when riding or handling him. Any pain, discomfort, or unhappiness could result in behavioral changes.
For more information about keeping your horse fit and healthy, read our Top Tips for Winter Horse Care.