How to Keep Your Horse Happy and Healthy
Your beloved horse is your pride and joy, so of course you would want to keep them at their happiest and healthiest. Unfortunately, horses can be nervous creatures who are prone to a series of ailments affecting their hooves, teeth and more. Whether you ride horses as a hobby or prep and preen them for horse shows, keeping your equine friend healthy and happy is likely one of your top priorities. In order to minimise the likelihood of illness, maximise their lifespan and keep them in the best mood possible, follow our expert tips below.
Keep stress to a minimum
Horses are observant creatures, with some bordering on being anxious. A stressed horse will likely suffer from ulcers, diarrhoea, depression and a poor immune system, as well as display bad behaviour. Try to keep your horse’s stress at a minimum by exercising patience when training them (seeking professional help if necessary), introducing them to new experiences slowly, and allowing them to graze, explore a spacious pasture and socialise with other horses. If your horse displays signs of nervousness or antisocial behaviour, they are likely experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety.
Let them exercise daily
Horses are built to use their legs, so make sure you let them out of the stable every day to roam around. Aside from getting some exercise, this will also promote your horse’s circulation, digestion and behaviour. Exercise is even more important when you consider the fact that many horses these days are actually overweight due to being spoiled by their owners!
When they do need to be in their stable, provide mental stimulation in the form of a toy such as a ball on a string that they can entertain themselves with.
Of course you love your horse, but do you show it enough affection and attention? When you regularly interact with your horse, you increase its openness towards humans which will reduce its anxiety when next faced with people. This will also make things far easier on their next vet examination, as they won’t be so nervous about the human contact.
Get annual vet exams and vaccinations
Just like humans, horses also need to have annual checkups. Because your horse cannot communicate any issues it may be experiencing, you need to be especially diligent about having them examined by a professional every year.
Similarly, horses need to be vaccinated annually in order to stay in peak health. Equine encephalomyelitis, influenza, tetanus and West Nile virus are all serious afflictions that horses can be susceptible to. Make sure to speak to your veterinarian about any specific vaccinations you may need for your horse depending on its condition and where you live.
Opt for high quality food
With the sheer amount of food horses go through, it can be tempting to go for the cheapest hay available. However, you should always opt for high-end grain and quality hay for your horse, as there’s a direct correlation between diet and long-term health.
If you need to supply additional minerals, try mineral blocks, loose minerals or complete grain concentrates.
Bear in mind that your horse should be consuming more hay than grain, as it is all too easy to gain weight on a grain-rich diet.
File their teeth
Horses are known for their amazing chompers, but what many people don’t consider is the maintenance required to keep them in peak condition. In nature, horses wear down their teeth due to the constant grazing that they do, but when domesticated, they will need regular filing to keep the wear even. When doing so, keep an eye out for signs of infection or any pesky abscesses.
Maintain their hooves
We all love a good pedicure, and horses are no exception. Your horse is on her feet all day, so it’s well worth hiring a reliable farrier and sticking to a hoof-care schedule to keep her as comfortable as possible. Most horses will need hoof trimming every 4-8 weeks for optimal health. In between hoof trimming, pick the hooves regularly and keep an eye out for cracking or thrush symptoms.
Like many animals, horses also need regular deworming to keep nasty parasites away. There are a plethora of easy-to-use and affordable deworming products available on the market today that will make the process effortless.
Adopting the above suggestions into your everyday routine will help you take better care of your horse, keeping them physically healthy and mentally happy for life.
As trusted equestrian supply experts, Gilberts can assist you with finding the health and lifestyle products you need for your beloved horse. Shop online today to provide the best to your equine friend.