Dec 05 , 2019
A few years back, I took a scheduled ride on a horse at the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC. Before the ride and during the ride, we got 411 on the daily care of these majestic animals. They visit the chiropractor more than I do! They eat a lot of hay, are well groomed, and are extremely well-cared for. Their health and happiness are top priority. So it made me wonder, what are the basics of caring for a horse?
Daily Horse Care:
- Provide your horse with fresh clean water.
- Provide your horse with adequate fodder and concentrates. If feeding hay, your horse will eat approximately two to three percent of its body weight every day.
- Provide adequate shelter and blanketing according to the weather. The design of your shelter is also very important. Whether it’s a run-in shed or a stable, horses need a place to get out of the wind and rain.
- Do a visual check for scrapes, cuts, bruises, and/or puncture wounds on your horse’s legs, head, and body. Treat any injuries promptly. You should have a horse first aid kit on hand.
- Do a visual check for signs of illness such as runny eyes or noses, or sounds of coughing or wheezing.
- Clean your horse’s hooves and check for bruising or cracks, or loose shoes.
- Muck out the stall if your horse is stabled. Ammonia from urine and manure is harmful to horses’ lungs and hooves and can cause problems like thrush.
Weekly Horse Care:
- Check the amount of concentrate, fodder, and bedding on hand. Try to have at least two weeks supply on hand, so if there is an emergency you don’t run short.
- If you care for your horse on a small acreage, clean manure from paddocks. This cuts down on flies, keeps the grounds clean for the same reason you’d clean a stall, and makes a nice environment for you and your horse.
- Check fences for broken rails, loose wire, protruding nails, loose gates, and more that could cause injury.
- Scrub out water trough and feed buckets. Built up concentrates on the inside of feed buckets can spoil, and troughs can get soiled with chaff, dirt, and algae.
Monthly Horse Care:
If you board your horse at a stable, make sure your board bill is paid on time.
Horse Care Every Six to Eight Weeks:
Have your farrier in to trim hooves or reset horseshoes. Leaving hooves to grow too long is hard on your horse’s legs, and unhealthy for their hooves.
Every Two to Three Months:
It’s important to have a deworming schedule to keep your horse healthy. That being said, there’s a lot of variance in deworming schedules. Some people feed a daily dose of medication, some have a six-week or nine-week schedule. After the first hard frost, or once the fly season is over, you may also want to deworm for botfly larvae.
Once a Year Horse Care:
- Have teeth checked and floated by an equine dentist or veterinarian. Some horses may need checking and floating every six months.
- Have immunizations administered by a veterinarian. The types and frequency of vaccinations you’ll five your horse will depend on the diseases prevalent in your area. Your vet is the best resource to help you decide on a schedule.