So often, many of us simply take the good health of our pets for granted. As long as nothing’s majorly wrong, we don’t think a whole lot about what we can do to prevent our animal friends getting sick.
While this is certainly understandable — after all, who wants to think about disease when you could be out riding somewhere — it’s actually a short-sighted approach. There’s actually plenty of simple things you can do every day to improve your horse or pony’s health and reduce the chances of her being struck down by any health issues.
Let’s take a look at five simple tips to help keep your horse fit and healthy all year round.
Top 5 tips for a healthy horse
- Regular vet check-ups. When it comes to keeping your horse in the best shape possible, an equine vet is your best friend. A regular check-up with a trusted vet will ensure that you are doing everything possible to look after your magnificent pet. Your vet will be able to tell you if your horse is at her best, or if there are any potential health issues that should be investigated. That way you can tackle any minor problems before they have a chance to develop into something that could be a little more serious, while an annual check-up also offers the perfect opportunity to make sure your pet is up to date with his or her vaccinations.
- Eating right. Feeding your horse or pony isn’t as easy as some people think, but it’s important that you get the balance of nutrients just right. The right diet for your horse will satisfy all her energy, protein and fibre requirements, helping her perform her daily duties, always be full of energy and be ready to fight off any illness or injury that may slow her down. Our previous post on the right diet for your horse or pony runs through all the basics of a balanced diet for your pet, as well as how you can choose a good-quality feed to give.
- Exercise essentials. Horses weren’t designed to simply laze about all day long, so make sure your pet gets enough regular exercise to keep her in optimum condition. Just like people need regular exercise to prevent obesity and a whole range of other health problems, getting your horse out and about each day will do wonders for their wellbeing. Not only will it help them stay at a healthy weight, but it is also perfect for improving circulation, aiding your horse’s digestive system and simply helping their overall mood.
- Look after those hooves. Our horses spend nearly all of their time standing up, so it’s obviously vital that their hooves and legs are always in perfect condition. If not, her ability to run, jump, work, trot and interact with you and other horses will be severely compromised. Daily hoof care is an essential chore for every horse owner, so clean them regularly and inspect her shoes for any signs of damage. There are even dietary supplements available that have been specifically designed to improve hoof health, so ask your vet if there’s anything your horse or pony needs in her diet to better look after her hooves.
- Love and attention. OK, so this may not be the first thing that pops into your head when we mention preventative health care for horses, but it’s an area that should never be overlooked. Don’t just stick your horse or pony in a stall or paddock and forget about her; make sure to spend as much quality time with her as you can each and every day. Whether that means taking her out for a trail ride or just spending the time to have a chat and a cuddle, the interaction will be hugely beneficial for your horse. Be patient when training her and make sure not to push her too hard, as excess stress can lead to myriad potential health issues.
If you’re proactive when it comes to looking after your horse’s health, you can give him the best possible chance of staying fit and healthy — and maybe avoid some potentially costly vet bills in the process. So follow the five simple steps above and do everything you can to keep your horse feeling like a million bucks.