If horse keepers want to keep their horses healthy, they should be able to identify the signs and symptoms that indicate ill health and injury. Early detection can save both owner and animal from undue stress. If your horse is to maintain good health, then you need help from equine professionals such as veterinarian, trainer, and farrier. Here at UK horse health, you will find some basic guidelines that can help you to have a healthy horse.
Every horse needs these four basic needs for its survival.
- Like humans, horses need water to keep them hydrated. A horse’s water intake is between 5-15 gallons each day. This means every horse needs to have access to fresh, clean water always. It is vital that you check the source of the water you provide for your horse. This check should be done many times each day throughout the year, no matter the season.
- A horse that sweats heavily or is a poor drinker will need more than the usual access to clean, fresh water. These horses will benefit from adding electrolyte supplement to their drinking water. The supplement helps in replacing the salt and additional minerals lost through sweating, and motivates the horse to drink.
- The body of the horse is designed that it can eat right throughout the day. If given the opportunity, a horse has the potential to graze on forage between 17- 20 hours each day. The scarcity of land and quality pasture in some areas makes it impossible for some domesticated horses to have adequate forage to supply their dietary needs. What then is the solution to this problem?
- Forage must be the basis of your horse’s diet. Every day your horse needs to eat 1-2 percent of its body weight in forage (e.g. a horse that weighs 1000 lbs. needs a daily intake of 10 to 20 lbs. of hay). If your horse has limited access to fresh pasture, or is on dietary restrictions, which require you limiting its consumption of grass, then you will need to provide quality hay to ensure your horse is getting enough forage in its diet.
- If you add a multi-vitamin supplement to your horse’s diet, you will be ensuring that your horse maintains a healthy body and energy level that is not dependent on forage alone. There are pastures that are not complete and balance, and when the grass is cut, dried, and stored as hay it loses its vitamins content over time. Adding a multi-vitamin supplement is the best way to ensure your horse gets the adequate supply of vitamins and minerals it needs.
- You can also add fortified grain to your horse’s diet if there is need to supply extra calories that helps to maintain a healthy weight, healthy body condition and improved performance.
Horses belong to herd, meaning that their well-being is essential in interacting with other horses in a group. Although it can be challenging at times to balance personality types, allowing your horse to socialize with other horses within a herd will help to maintain its overall and well-being.
- Horses have the ability to regulate their body temperatures, which helps them to cope well with cold and heat. Your horse’s safety is important. You can keep your horse safe by providing adequate shelter from the elements. A shelter will provide protection against the heat of harsh summer sun, cold winter winds, snow and freezing rain.
- Although it is important to provide your horse with shelter, it does not mean a stall. Keeping your horse in a dry, clean stall may seem like a good idea to you, but remember, a horse is an outdoor specie that needs to roam. If your horse spends too much time locked up in a stall, you can create unnecessary discomfort for him. Colic and prolonged standing resulting in long- term joint health issues in horses have been linked to too much stall time. Allow adequate turnout time for your horse if you want to it be healthy and happy.
While it is important to know the basic needs of your horse, other factors will help your horse not only to survive but also to thrive. Here are some other factors to consider.
Your horse will need regular check-ups if it is to maintain its health; for this, your horse will need a veterinarian and farrier. The normal check-up is once per year with the vet or twice if your horse is a senior. The vet will assist you in creating a schedule for vaccination, dental and deworming, tailored specifically for your horse. The farrier assists with hoof health, working with your farrier and maintaining the schedule is essential to the optimal health of your horse. Your veterinarian and farrier will guide you in the right direction regarding your horse’s health; work with them to achieve this. Read more here on general health: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/routine-healthcare-horses
At times, your horse may need supplements to help maintain its health. Supplements support healthy hoofs, resilient joints, proper digestion and a shiny coat. Not all horses are the same. Some may need supplement while others may not. It is your responsibility as an owner to ensure the optimal health and well- being of your horse.
As an owner, you may find great satisfaction in working with your horse. However, you can hire a professional to assist you. A reliable trainer has the skills needed to help you improve on your working-time with your horse, ensuring a more productive, safer, less stressful and fun time for both you and your horse.