Horse Care is an Ongoing Process
Increase your enjoyment of your horse by providing proper horse care
Good horse care results in a healthy horse which generally means a happy rider. That is because you should not ride a seriously lame or sick horse and if you go out to the barn and you are not able to ride your horse then you have wasted your time and likely may have to spend more of your hard earned money to get your horses health back.
Horses go lame for all sorts of reasons – they may have been kicked by another horse, stepped in a hole, cut themselves or done some other silly unexpected thing to hurt themselves. Like people, horses also get sick. They may get a cold, cough, eye infections or some other disease or infection that is going through the barn. If required, a call to the veterinarian will give you piece of mind to ensure that your horses health is on the mend but this call while reassuring will cost a fair bit. Vet bills are just part of the cost of riding a horse.
To ensure good equine health you should have a horse care program defined by your coach, trainer and/or vet. Stretching exercises, nutritional supplements, regular meals, fresh water, proper warm-ups and cool downs are all part of the routine when it comes to horse care and ownership. Part of good health is good mental health and if your horse has some issues that need to be dealt with you may want to click here to see how this horse trainer deals with vairous horse problems.
If you are considering buying a horse, you may want to ask the previous owner about the type of horse care they provide for their horse to see if it lines up with your ideas. A quick look at the horse's hoof will give you an idea of how the horse has been treated. To get an idea on what a healthy hoof looks take a look at these healthy hoof pictures.
If your horse has any medical conditions you can find out how to best treat these from your vet or coach. Perhaps there is a supplement which your horse needs on a weekly basis or after each ride. Below are a few areas which you may want to consider when planning a horse care program.
Call in the vet:
There are a number of times that you will feel that it is time to call in a veterinarian. Having a good vet at your disposal is a good way to ensure good ongoing horse health. While you obviously need a vet for major illnesses like colic or a large open wound some other times you may consider calling a vet are perhaps not as urgent. For instance, if the last time you rode your horse everything was fine but the next day his front foot is off by a bit you may choose to just lunge the horse to see if the lameness can be worked through or you may decide to rest the horse for the day.
You will also need the services of a veterinarian for ongoing horse care treatment such as getting the horses teeth trimmed or getting yearly injections for deworming, West Nile, Strangles, Tetanus, Influenza as well as many other various requirements for different areas.
Another common problem we have seen is the horse going lame after a visit by the farrier. In most of these cases, the farrier took just a bit too much toe off the hoof and the horse finds it a bit sore when walking on solid ground. This is similar to a person walking barefoot on stones. The tenderness generally passes after a few days. However, if the problem persists over a couple of days or appears different than in the past perhaps it is time to call in the vet.
On the spot medical treatment:
A number of times per year you will come out to see your horse and find that there is a small wound to tend too. When this occurs you should wash the cut with a good cleanser and apply a light topical ointment to aid in the healing. These products contain antibacterial agents or other ingredients to help your horses wound cure. Products like iodine, aloe vera cream, tea tree oil and similar products should be part of your first aid pack. You can generally pick up a supply of these ointments from a horse supply store and do not need a prescription for these products. You may also want to talk to your veterinarian about the types of products you need to keep on hand to ensure for good horse care.
Depending on the barn you board your horse at, your horse will likely be fed two to four times per day. In the most basic programs, they will be left out in a pasture with a large round bale of hay. Note, not all hay is the same and to learn more you may want to check out this site on horse hay. If you are pleasure riding your horse or if they are just lawn ornaments then this may be okay. However, if you have a performance horse and are jumping them in shows or working and training them on a daily basis further supplements will be required. These supplements provide your horse with extra energy, joint lubricants, improves blood flow, anti-oxidants, reduces stiffness and other healthy objectives. These supplements contain vitamins, glucosamine and similar products.
Other feeds contain more protein, vitamins and minerals to supplement what your horses is eating on a regular basis. As all hay is not created equal and does not contain the same level of protein, vitamins and minerals horse owners generally supplement their daily feed. Some stables will supplement with 10 to 14% complete feed, beet pulp, flax, oats, barley, bran and other similar products.
When you are jumping your horse on a regular basis treating your horse’s legs with a product similar to Absorbine liniment which is put on the horses legs after jumping and helps reduce swelling. Electrolytes are also needed to be added to your horses water source to ensure that the level of minerals which are lost during vigorous exercise is replenished.
As you can see horse care is simple but there are a lot of areas which need attention. But always remember that a happy horse is one way to have a happy ride.
For some, owning their own acerage is a dream come true. For instanace, the website Living with Horses is jam packed with great tips and advice for the novice rider, as well as step by step guide to starting your own boarding stable, with ready contract templates, guides, questionnaires, and of course, advice from a stable owner.