Every horse owner can agree there is nothing better for the soul than going out to the barn and spending time with these magnificent animals. What they don’t mention is the time, energy and work they put into caring for their equine counterparts to keep them happy and healthy. Horses are complicated animals with many unique features that require special care and attention day in and day out. To someone that is new to the barn, owning a horse can sound intimidating with so many details to remember. Whether you are new to horses or just looking for a refresher in equine care, here is a compiled list of items to think about when attending to your horse:
If you are considering buying a horse, it is important to consider where your horse will live and what options you have available. Due to their sheer size and roaming nature, horses do better when turned out in a large pasture. If your horse is going to be kept in a confined area, a 10-foot square pen is about the smallest recommended size for the average horse and will require daily stretches for your horse’s legs outside the pen. A shelter or tree is also a necessary component of a pen to provide shade in the summer and protection from the wind and rain on winter days. While some people can keep their horses at home, there are also many great boarding facilities that house and care for animals as well. It is crucial for you to weigh the pros and cons of each available option and choose the one that is best for you and your horse.
Horses have a unique digestive tract that was designed for them to graze on forage all day long. Since many owners don’t have access to fresh pasture, feeding practices can be an important part of keeping horses healthy. High quality forage should be the major component of a horse’s diet. On average, a horse should eat approximately 1 to 2% of their body weight which is between 10 and 20 pounds of hay per day for an average adult horse. The hay should be fed at least two times per day, preferably on a schedule at the same times every day. To stay hydrated and support digestion, horses require an abundant supply of clean, fresh water to drink which should be available free choice. Generally speaking, horses will consume five to ten gallons of water every day. To ensure horses are getting all the necessary nutrients for daily health, it is also recommended to feed a comprehensive wellness formula like Platinum Performance® Equine.View all Wellness Formulas
Preventative care is a major component of keeping horses healthy. It is important to work with your veterinarian to keep your horse on an annual wellness program that consists of at least one physical wellness exam, one dental exam, a vaccination program comprised of AAEP’s core vaccinations and a deworming program that includes a fecal egg count and at least one deworming per year, depending on what your veterinarian recommends. Ensuring these check-ups are done on a yearly basis can help identify any concerns before they become a major problem or emergency.
It is important to have a plan in place should an emergency happen. Make sure you know which vets are on call in your area and how you will get your horse to the vet should your horse need immediate attention. Learn more about how to prepare for an emergency.
Whether your horse is barefoot or requires shoes, it is important to be on a regular trimming schedule with your farrier. Horses should be trimmed and shod, if needed, every 6 to 8 weeks depending on their growth pattern and exercise level. Your farrier may also require your assistance to help hold or calm your horse while being shod as this practice can stress some horses out.
Depending on what you plan to do with your horse, you will need the proper tools and equipment to catch, groom, ride and clean your animal. Here is a short list of some of the most important items to have on hand:
Most owners would agree that the best part of having a horse is mounting up and riding off, however if you have not been horseback before or your horse is not yet trained, then this could take some time. Luckily, there are experts out there that can help train your horse or give you lessons on how to ride.
Just like if a person was going to compete in a marathon, a horse needs to prepare for any type of competition or activity that you would like to do. Without proper conditioning for an event, a horse can risk injury or sickness from overwork. A good conditioning program lasts about an hour every day and includes a combination of exercises including walking, trotting, loping or cantering, stopping, turning and hill work.
Learn more about horse health from experienced horse owners, veterinarians, nutritionists, trainers, breeders and top competitors.
Equine Wellness Exams: The Pay Off of Prevention, Annual equine wellness exams find issues before they become major health concerns.
Assessing Allergies: It’s Complicated, Allergy testing can narrow the search while the process of elimination offers a diagnosis.
Nutrition for Horses' Skin & Coat Health, Give Your Horse a Variety of Nutrients for a High-Gloss Coat.
Feeding Frenzy: A Forage-First Approach, It's Time to Change Traditional Feeding; Forage as the Foundation, or Entirety, of the Diet is the Healthiest Choice
Inflammation Implications, Chronic inflammation can contribute to various disease states; however, diet can help.
Vitamins and Their Vital Role in Equine Health, Incredibly relevant to your horse’s health, potency of vitamins decreases with storage time of forage and feeds.
Nature Knows Best, The Modern Diet vs. the Natural Diet and the Right Balance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Avoiding Gas Colic: Management Strategies to Deal with Gas Issues, Excessive amounts of gas or if it's unable to pass, distention, bloating and pain occur.
Colic in Horses: Top 10 Management Tips, Learn More About the Top Tips to Prevent Colic From Occurring
Equine Probiotics, Probiotics have been known for centuries to help maintain intestinal microbial balance and support digestive well-being
Managing Colitis: Early Intervention is Key, Understanding and prevention has improved, and more horses are coming home to recover.
Probiotics & Functional Nutrition, Research is Pointing at Digestive Well-Being Having Far-Reaching Implications in Significant Areas of Health
From the Ground Up: Supporting Healthy Hooves with Nutrition, Top dietary factors for strong, healthy equine feet, ingredients to help and top farriers weigh in on common issues
Battleground: Laminitis — A Devastating Disease State, How skilled veterinarians and farriers are propelling the prevention and treatment of laminitis forward for the horse
Horse Hoof Health: From the Ground Up, Exploring the inner-workings and critical functions of the equine hoof with tips and insights from expert farriers.
Supporting The Equine Joint: What, Why, Who, When and How, Efforts to keep joints healthy, sound and functioning are at the forefront of the care and management of every horse
Understanding The Equine Joint, A deep dive into the where, what, why, when and how of the equine joint and how its intricacies can impact soundness and performance longevity.
Feeding the Young Horse: Platinum Helps Growing Horses, Providing daily support ensures the diet is balanced and dense with nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and more
Nourishing the Senior Horse as Digestive Processes Change, Dietary adjustments that maximize digestive efficiency and support fiber digestion will help a senior horse
Operation Legacy: Breeding Season Support, Management and dietary considerations throughout all stages of reproduction.
How To Support Your Horses Through Summer, Keep your horse cool while riding, encourage hydration and must-haves for summer.
Preparing for Winter: Feeding & Management, Considerations to help carry your horses through the cold winter months while maintaining optimal health for the best post-winter outcome.
Top 10 Summer Health Tips, Rising temperatures also mean an increase in risk for heat-related stress and health issues.
Summer: A Love-Heat Relationship, Join Platinum’s technical services veterinarian, Dr. Matt Durham, as he discusses heat-related health issues and the importance of healthy drinking, hydration and sweating.
Dealing with Cribbing: An Age-Old Nuisance, Is it bad behavior or something below the surface causing horses to gnaw on their fencing?
Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1): Going Viral, Learning from 2022, experts are refining how veterinarians and riders can respond to future Equine Herpesvirus outbreaks.
EIPH: Managing Bleeders, An inside look at Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage with top researchers Drs. Warwick Bayly and David C. Poole.
Hats Off to The Stallion, Join us for a conversation with veterinarian and board-certified theriogenologist, Dr. Charlie Scoggin, talking all things related to the management of breeding stallions, including genetics, transitioning stallions from performance to breeding and the importance of a whole-horse approach.
Sarcoids: What To Know & How To Tackle Them, From the root cause of equine sarcoids to a wide range of treatment options, challenges and recurrence rates, Matt Durham, DVM, DACVSMR, guides us in what to consider and how best to manage these ultimately frustrating tumors.