You’ve heard the expression “healthy as a horse,” but you know it takes conscious care to keep your favorite equine in tip-top shape. Help your horse live longer and healthier in three important ways:
Schedule Yearly Vet Visits
It may be tempting to skip annual vet checkups if your horse is healthy. Equine veterinarians are expensive because of their specialty and because they have to travel to you. However, a yearly visit can help you catch illnesses early and maintain your horse’s good health, reducing medical costs in the long run.
Your vet will be able to set the best vaccination and deworming schedule to keep your horse parasite and disease free. They’ll perform a dental exam to check for abnormal growths, plaque buildup, gingivitis and periodontitis; all conditions that can be painful for your horse and lead to advanced medical problems if not caught early. Your veterinarian may also suggest having your horse’s teeth floated.
Keep Your Horse Lean
Keep your horse at a healthy weight. Some horses burn through their energy and seem to stay underweight even when they’re eating well, while others quickly pack on pounds. During annual vet exams, ask your vet if your horse is in decent body condition and how to maintain it.
You can monitor your horse’s body condition by taking monthly photos and running your hands over their body to check for less-than-obvious weight changes. You should be able to feel your horse’s ribs, but not see them.
An overweight horse needs additional exercise and may need more roughage and fewer grains in their diet. Fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples are high in natural sugars, and may cause your horse to gain weight quickly.
Reduce Stress for a Happy Horse
Just like all creatures, a horse’s physical health can be negatively influenced by their mental health. Some horses develop ulcers or perform repetitive, destructive behaviors when they cannot cope with stress. Others will have trouble with training or doing work.
Horses are highly social creatures that naturally live in herds. While some are prone to conflict when they live with other horses, others get lonely when they live alone. If you can only keep one horse, you may want to board them so they live with friends. Or, they may be content with a non-equine buddy like a goat, donkey, or even a dog or a cat.
Every horse has an individual personality and comfort zone. If you’re trying to train your horse to do something with which they’re not comfortable – for example, they might hate to jump hurdles – you might not be able to change their mind. To keep your horse’s stress minimal, you will have to find exercises they love, work with a trainer or re-home them so you can get a horse that suits your needs.
Get Professional Horse Care While You’re Away
The bonded and insured pet sitters at Ready Pet Go care for animals of all kinds. We love the horses of Maryland and they love us right back. Call us at 240-221-5335 or send us a message to set up a Meet & Greet so we can be there for your horse next time you’re out of town.