6 June 2019
As a horse owner, your main priority is keeping your horse happy and healthy. This can often be hard, especially in winter when exercise isn’t as regular and your horse tends to burn more fat/energy by trying to keep warm.
By following a few simple steps, you will be able to keep your horse healthy all year round.
A good diet for your horse is critical to their overall happiness and health. By providing them access to a vast pasture and feeding them a mixture of hay and alfalfa on a daily basis, you are allowing them to build up their muscle strength and immune system. There are also a number of manufactured feeds that can add to improving your horses immune system and allow them to meet their dietary requirements. Getting advice from your vet is always beneficial as they will give you a rough estimate of what to feed your horses and if you need to be adding any additional nutrients to allow them to stay strong and healthy. You can also ask your local feed store about dietary requirements for your horse as they will be able to assist you with any supplements that your horse requires.
Horses need a lot of exercise – some will require vigorous exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week. Even though they walk and stand all day as they graze in paddocks, they will require some form of riding or at the very least trotting around a yard. This exercise allows them to strengthen their muscles and keep their joints and ligaments active and healthy.
Keeping hydrated is key to a healthy horse – even during the winter months. Allowing your horse access to fresh, clean water at all times is a must. Most horses will drink 20-30 litres a day, with many drinking even more in the hotter months. Studies have proven that horses will drink more water when it is warmer rather than cold, therefore meaning in winter you will have to get a tank warmer or keep their water inside out of the elements. You should continuously check on their water source to make sure it is frozen over in winter, producing algae, or if the water turns green as this could also have an effect on the horse’s health. If horses don’t get enough water, dehydration can set in which can cause serious harm to your horse immediately and sometimes over time.
Grooming your horses is a major element to keeping your horse healthy. It helps their skin by removing dirt from their hair, mane and tail which can cause rubbing; removes shedding hair; prevents skin conditions; and allows you to do a thorough check for anything out of the ordinary such as injuries, lumps or parasites.
Keeping up with vet care is your main way of keeping your horse healthy. This doesn’t necessarily involve continuous visits to the vet; it is more for every day necessities such as worming medication, taking care of any wounds, and vaccinations. It is also very important to always have an equine emergency first aid kit on hand in case of any urgent accidents or even just general horse care.
If you follow these simple steps above and are constantly aware of how your horse behaves, feels and looks then they should grow up to be happy and healthy.
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