Being a horse owner entails a huge financial and emotional responsibility. It comes as no surprise that your equine friend requires a lot of time, effort, money, and care. From the tack equipment to the vet bills, raising it can easily cost you a fortune.
However, if you own a horse, then you must know that it’s one of the most rewarding things in life. There’s no better feeling in the world than noticing its trust and love for you grow day by day. In this article, we’ll be walking you through the things you need to do to keep your horse healthy and strong for a long time to come.
Find the Time For Grooming
Between work, family, and other obligations, it can be difficult to make time to visit the stables and ride our horses. Unfortunately, when we finally do, there’s only time for a really short grooming session to ensure that the horse is in decent shape to ride. However, grooming is not just necessary to keep your horse clean, but it also helps you figure out if it’s experiencing any pain or health issues.
You need to fit at least an hour of thorough grooming per week into your schedule. Make sure to brush your horse’s entire body and use a soft brush for its face. Pay attention to its reactions throughout the grooming session. If your horse swishes its tail, moves its ears backwards, or flinches, it may be uncomfortable or in pain. After you’re done using the brushes, feel your horse using your hand. Make sure to notice any sensitivity, heat, or swelling by comparing its left and right sides. It will be easier to point out any issues if you remain consistent.
Use Balancers and Vitamins
Many horse owners overlook the importance of using balancers and minerals. Balancers are high-concentration sources of minerals, vitamins, and often protein. They are low-intake and are created to help keep a horse’s diet balanced by providing the needed nutrients to ensure its optimal well-being and performance.
You can find balancers at any horse feed supplier, along with other mineral and vitamin feed options. Feeding your horse a healthy and balanced diet will noticeably improve the condition of its coat, boost its immune system, and enhance the quality of its hooves.
You need to consider adding a balancer to your horse’s diet if it stays at a pasture that has no added concentrated food, if it’s only being fed oats, alfalfa chaff, sugar beet, or other straight concentrates, or if it’s eating less concentrate feed than the recommended amount. Many horses eat balanced diets but are still eating below the recommended amount, which would not provide them with the needed minerals and vitamins.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
You may be surprised to learn that, as of 2017, 25% of horses and 80% of ponies in the UK were overweight. Horses that are overweight may suffer from added stress on their lungs and hearts and are at a higher risk of developing founder, laminitis, orthopaedic issues, and other health problems. Fortunately, you can keep your horse at a healthy weight by feeding it a balanced diet and controlling calories, as well as lunging, riding, or leading it for at least 30 minutes a day for 6 days a week. It helps to check your horse’s fat score once every two weeks.
Protect Its Hooves
Stable management is vital to ensure your horse’s hoof health. Messy horses can make it hard to keep the stable environment clean and safe. You can explore different bedding options to find one that your horse feels comfortable living in. You should also make sure that your stables have adequate drainage.
However, if this isn’t possible, you can layer an absorbent material beneath the bedding. This will help prevent the wet bedding from sticking to its legs, feet, and rugs. This will also make mucking out a lot easier. Make sure to regularly scrub the mud off your horse’s feet to prevent it from harbouring bacteria. Once they’re completely dry, you should also paint a good hoof product on your horse’s hoof, soles, and frogs.
This way, mud, and droppings won’t stick to them. Keep in mind that if not properly cared for, your horse’s hoof horn can easily crack since it’s modified skin. You should test a hoof oil on your own hands or skin before using it on your horse. Rub it in and wait for 10 minutes to see how it feels. Avoid using too many products, as they can easily serve as barriers rather than protectants or moisturizers.
Caring for your horse is a full-time job. When it comes to maintaining your horse’s health, there are many things that you need to do and several things that you must account for when it comes to maintaining your horse’s health. However, it’s all worth seeing your equine friend happy, healthy, and thriving.
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