How to Take Care of Horses and Keep Them Healthy

People look after horses for various reasons, such as companionship or to use the horse in riding and other activities. Regardless of why you own a horse, they need proper care and attention to be healthy and balanced. If you intend or already have a horse, here are essential things to consider when caring for them.

1. Horses Require a Balanced Diet

Horses are grazers and need access to grass or hay numerous times daily. This signifies that horses must always have easy access to feed. Their diet should be primarily made up of roughage, such as hay and grass. You can also give them haylage or a substitute to mimic their natural grazing habits.

However, these should be good quality, clean, smell fresh, and be untainted by dust, molds, and other contaminants. Moreover, you may supplement their hay-based diet with concentrated feeds like grain mixes or pellets that contain nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and healthy protein.

The quantity of concentrate feed must be adjusted based on the horse’s activity level, age, and overall size. Feeding requirements also vary depending on the climate and the time of the year. In addition, feeding them forage at a floor level, provided that the underlying ground is clean.

2. Grooming Horses Is Important

Combing your horse’s coating helps remove dirt, burrs, and other particles that can accumulate on their hair and stimulate blood circulation in their skin. This also prevents mats from forming, which can rub and irritate your horse’s skin.

Regularly cutting their hooves is also important to prevent them from breaking, splitting, or wearing down. Also, wash your horse with mild shampoo and cool water every few weeks. This will keep the coat tidy and free of dirt, pests, and debris.

3. Regular Exercise Is Essential For Horses

Exercising your horse on a regular basis is essential for maintaining their general health and fitness level. It prevents them from getting bored, tense, or obese, which can lead to behavioral problems like cribbing or weaving. An appropriate exercise plan must be tailored to your horse’s demands and fitness level.

Their exercise should include walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping at various speeds. On top of that, it is vital to incorporate some variety in their exercise program by introducing activities, such as obstacle courses or cross-country jumping. Doing so helps maintain their joints flexible and muscles strong.

4. Horses Need Adequate Shelter

Since horses are kept outside, provide a suitable shelter for them in inclement weather or extreme temperatures. A small barn or shelter should protect them from sun, wind, rain, and snow. The structure should be huge enough to provide shade in hot weather and insulation in the winter months. It should also have good ventilation and a dry flooring material such as dirt or sand that can absorb moisture.

5. Vaccinations and Deworming Are Important

Like cats and dogs, horses need to be vaccinated against certain diseases, such as tetanus, encephalomyelitis, and rabies. Vaccinations must be conducted following your vet’s advice or the city government guidelines. Deworming is also crucial because it helps protect horses from parasites that can cause health problems. Meanwhile, if you own a small animal like a ferret, hamster, or rabbit that needs medical attention, you should consult an exotic mammal veterinarian for guidance.

6. Horses Need Regular Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary examinations are essential for maintaining your horse’s wellness. Veterinary care must include regular physical examinations, vaccinations, dental exams, and preventative care such as hoof trimming or deworming.

Additionally, if you notice any unusual behavior in your horse or a suspected health problem, contact a vet immediately to have it checked out and treated. Similar to small animals like dogs and cats, they may also need surgery or medication.

Finally, horses should also be monitored for signs of stress and anxiety, such as excessive pawing or daydreaming. If you notice any changes in their behavior, contact your veterinarian at once. In addition to caring for horses, a cat and dog veterinarian that focuses on providing veterinary care can assist your pet in staying healthy and clear of any diseases.

7. An Equine Veterinarian Is Needed

When choosing an equine veterinarian, search for one who is qualified and experienced. Find a veterinarian that can offer top-quality care, listen to your worries, and clearly address your questions. It’s also best to look into the clinic or hospital where the veterinarian works. Ensure they have proper facilities and equipment, such as an in-house diagnostic lab, ultrasound machine, and X-ray device. 

They should also be updated with current industry standards. Furthermore, always ask for recommendations from other horse owners before deciding on a particular veterinarian. On the other hand, if you own livestock animals such as cattle or cows and want to guarantee the best care possible, a farm animal veterinarian is the person to consult to ensure they will receive the most effective treatment.

In Conclusion

Caring for a horse requires knowledge, passion, and patience. It is very important to provide your horse with regular exercise, nutrition, grooming, veterinary care, and shelter. Additionally, choose a qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable veterinarian to provide quality care. They will be your partner in helping your horse stay in good condition and happy.