How to Best Keep Horses Healthy and Happy

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As most horse owners know, unlike the independent cat or easy-going dog, looking after a horse can often feel like a full-time job. The daily chores of mucking out, ensuring exercise and keeping them fed is the less glamorous side of equine ownership. Not only does owning a horse require all this maintenance, but on top of it all, it is important to keep checking on the health of the horse. As the old Southern saying goes, a healthy horse is a happy horse! Below is an outline of some of the best ways to ensure your horse stays healthy.

  1. Check Your Horses’ Teeth 

For the majority of domesticated horses, their feed is great nutritionally but has the disadvantage of not wearing down their teeth to the extent a wild diet would.

This is why it is highly recommended that owners have their horses’ teeth checked every six to 12 months.

Dropping food, a foul odour from the mouth or nose, or avoidance of contact when being ridden, are all signs of dental problems. If a horse is exhibiting any of these it is recommended they are checked by a registered vet.

  1. Groom them as Regularly as Possible 

Not only does grooming provide a great opportunity to observe any developing issues, but it also has its own health benefits.

Grooming a horse once a week gives the owner an opportunity to check in and see if there have been any changes. In this grooming session, it is recommended you: brush the horse all over, being aware of their reactions or any discomfort, then feel the horse for any swelling of sensitivity.

Regular grooming also helps to remove dead skin and hair, as well as protecting against skin infections.

  1. Keep Them Happy by Avoiding Boredom and Loneliness 

Just like all other pack animals, horses crave social interaction. Whenever possible, it is best to move a horse out of its stable to graze with other animals. These other animals could be horses, however, if a horse companion is not possible, a donkey or a goat is great too.

If you are unable to let a horse into a paddock to during the day time, provide some toys for the stable to ensure it won’t get bored. These entertain the horse and encourage movement.

  1. Regular Exercise 

For the majority of horse owners, this one will seem like a given. After all, riding is the biggest joy of owning a horse. However, there are some things that can be put in place to ensure that your horse is having the healthiest exercise possible, such as introducing a warm up and cool down. Downunder Horsemanship offers some great advice on this (and many other horse-related topics). They say: ‘warming up and cooling down a horse before and after exercise is always a smart idea. Horses are no different than human beings – we both need to prepare our bodies for exercise. A good warm-up helps to minimize muscle stiffness in your horse and aids in preventing injury to his tendons or muscles.’

  1. Ensure They Have Enough Water 

Horse dehydration can hugely speed up a horse on the journey towards an ill horse. It is important to ensure that a horse has access to clean water throughout the day. The RSPCA describes how on average a horse needs to drink between 30-50 gallons a day, dependent upon its size, activity level and weather temperatures.

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About Kristin

Master reviewer of all types of products. Love XL Fountain Sodas!! Cheer Mom extraordinaire. Socialite to all things small town and founder of ItsFreeAtlast.com. Come socialize and connect with me.

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