Horsey Health Tips
If you own a horse whether for racing or personal pleasure, you will obviously get the best from him or her in every way if they are in tip top condition or excellent health. Nobody does well if they are not healthy and the same is true of animals.
This means that you must constantly monitor all aspects of your horses health and assess the best practices and lifestyle choices that will ensure that your horse not only enjoys good health, but stays healthy and happy.
However, in some cases, this may never be enough. Unfortunately, despite all your best efforts, your horse may still suffer from health issues. This guide is designed to cover a few basic horsey health tips.
Horses and Stress
Horses are sensitive animals and can get very nervous with new environments, people, loud noises or experiences that they are not used to.
Horses can get stressed very easily, this is mainly because historically they were herd animals and prey. Because of this, horses like to be able to see a long way into the distance and also to run away VERY fast if the need arises. Any behavior that prevents these two actions, such as being confined, or wearing blinkers can cause the horse stress until he or she becomes used to it.
If a horse does become stressed they can suffer from
- behavioral problems
- Compromised immune system
- Weight loss or gain
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Picky eating habits
- Increase in submissive behaviours such as yawning, licking, chewing and head lowering
- Digestive disorders ~ eg. diarrhoea
- Inflammatory Conditions ~ skin conditions or poor healing
Reducing Stress in Horses
When introducing a horse to new tricks and experiences, then the whole process should be done at a reasonable pace which allows the horse to learn in his own time and not become too stressed.
Try and keep to a strict daily routine ~ horses, like many other larger pets, like to have a set routine so that they get to know what’s going to happen and when.
Ensure a nutritious and well balanced diet all the time. Humans need a well balanced diet, and so do horses. Take particular care in winter. Know how to count calories and lose pounds successfully by using this weight loss procedure.
Make sure that all equipment such as the saddle, bit, horse shoes etc. all fit well and are not causing the horse any pain, discomfort or upset.
If your horse suddenly starts demonstrating behavioural changes do not just ignore it. Take notice and try to discover what is stressing him or her and react to that accordingly.
Get to know your horse. If your horse is very sociable arrange for him or her to have some company or ride with others if he is a bit of a loner give him some space.
Regular Health checks.
Regular health checks are vital to ensure that your horse maintains good health.
If you own your horse you should do a general check daily.
Examine your horses
- Ears, eyes and nose. As you get to know your horse you will instantly be able to tell if anything appears different or wrong.
- Vital Signs ~ get to know the baseline of your animals pulse rate, respiration rate and temperature. This way if your animal does become ill a Vet will be more easily able to assess how unwell they are.
- Skin and coat
- Eating and elimination. Check how much your horse is eating and drinking and also keep an eye on their urine and dung. You’re mainly checking for any changes.
- Check the horses back and legs for signs of muscle tension or pain
- Teeth ~ quickly check the teeth and observe for any signs of pain. An adult horse should see a dentist yearly and a younger horse, more often.
- Feet and Limbs: Inspect the feet daily and observe for any limping
A horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care.
Put your hand on your horse and your heart in your hand.