Owning a horse is a huge responsibility for owners of any age. These magnificent creatures need care and attention to ensure your pet is happy and healthy. Caring for a horse is much like caring for a dog or a cat, although on a much larger scale. Many horse owners find the most difficult aspect of caring for their horse is finding a reputable boarding facility.
The cost of boarding a horse can be taxing to any budget, thus making this aspect of horse care essential to work out before you buy your horse. Also, you should be sure to research the breed, as each type of horse will have different needs. Contact your veterinarian to create a dietary plan specifically for your horse. If you own more than one horse, the dietary plan for each of your horses may not be the same. Depending on the age, breed, and size of your horse, this plan may differ. Additionally, horses are notoriously picky and what feed suits one horse may not suit the other.
The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely applies to owning a horse. By providing your horse with routine preventative care, you will save you, your beloved pet, and your wallet a great deal of pain. Perhaps the most important aspect of your horse’s preventative care should be its vaccinations and deworming. All horses need to be vaccinated for tetanus and rabies. Some owners, depending on their location, choose to vaccinate their horses against Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, influenza, and Potomac Horse Fever. These vaccinations need to be updated on an annual basis and you should keep comprehensive vaccination records for each horse you own. As for deworming, it should be known all horses will naturally carry a small infestation of worms. There is no way to completely rid your horse of worms; although you should carefully monitory this infestation carefully to ensure the parasites does not do any damage to your horse’s organs. Contact your veterinarian to determine the deworming schedule, which should take place between three and six times each year.
Colic is a serious problem with horses that can become deadly. Causes of colic can vary from severe worm infection to dietary changes to ingestion of sand. You should always keep a careful eye out for signs of colic, including rolling and kicking at the belly. If your horse displays any signs of colic, immediately contact your veterinarian.
The final area for your horse’s preventative maintenance is hoof and tooth care. Since horse’s teeth continue to grow throughout his life, the teeth will have to be ground properly. Most horses do not have a problem correctly wearing down their teeth, but some horses are not able to do so. For this reason, you should check your horse’s teeth on a yearly basis after the age of four by a veterinarian. If your horse has a problem correctly grinding his teeth, the veterinarian will be able to address the problem. Similarly, your horse’s hooves must be properly maintained in order to prevent debilitating hoof problems. Each time you take your horse out, carefully inspect his hooves upon return to ensure they are free of stones or mud and your horse is not experiencing any soreness or pain. A farrier should be contacted regarding maintaining the health of your horse’s hooves, and should be called in every six to eight weeks to be reshod. Additionally, your horse’s hooves should be trimmed on a regular basis to prevent painful overgrowth.