Helpful guidelines to care for your horse

Grooming ensures your horse's good health and im­proves its appearance. There are certain things an owner can do to make sure grooming, food and shelter are doing the best for the animal.

Helpful guidelines to care for your horse

Basic tips for quality horse care

  • A good brushing before every workout prevents painful, hard-to-cure skin injuries.
  • Another brushing is needed afterwards to remove sweat and dust.
  • Have sound fencing
  • Compatible animals if paddocks are shared
  • sensible feeding practices.
  • Taking the time for a daily check for any obvious ailments.

Common ailments to watch out for

The most common problems associated with horses are lameness, digestive ailments, wounds and breathing complaints. Most can be avoided with a little care. Here are some preventative measures to fend off illnesses.

  • Hoof care: Cleaning out the soles of the feet should be done before every ride. Regular attention from a farrier will help avoid ­trouble.
  • Lameness from injury is handled in much the same way as that in humans: rest, firm support bandages and poultices.
  • Regular worming and a good diet should prevent most digestive ailments.
  • Horses, like humans, can catch colds and if they do should be kept warm and not worked. A warm meal, made from boiled grain with added bran, is often appreciated by a sick horse.
  • Eye problems are not common but they can have serious repercussions and are best left to an expert. To be on the safe side, call the vet immediately, as seemingly minor eye ailments can worsen rapidly.
  • Keep a first-aid kit of bandages, lotions and any medicines your vet suggests will be useful.

Food and water

  • A horse in light work will remain in good condition if it is allowed to graze on pasture and is fed twice a day with a proprietary horse mix.
  • Add a third of a bale of hay to its feed each day when the pasture grass is poor.
  • A plentiful supply of water should always be at hand.

Shelter

  • Try to provide shelter from cold winter winds and the hot summer sun.
  • In winter, a canvas rug should keep a horse comfortable. Here's how to find the right-size rug:
  1.  Measure the distance from the centre­ of the horse's chest to the point of the buttock.
  2. When putting it on, make sure that the leg straps are done up so that the horse will not be hit by them, then gently­ throw the rug over.
  3. Do up the front of the rug while holding­ onto the horse. (The buckle should be cleaned regularly to ensure that it opens and closes easily.)
  4. Adjust the rug by pulling it backwards, then fasten the hind leg straps, making­ sure that they fit, and cross them over each other.

Looking after a horse means sticking to a regular routine of grooming, feeding and checking for health problems­. The pay-off is the development of a special relationship between you and your mount, and a good many years of riding pleasure.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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