Top 10 care tips on the ranch…
1. Feed your horses at least twice a day, preferably at the same times. We feed Timothy for the morning meal and Alfalfa for the evening meal. Make any hay changes gradually, even mixing current hay with the new delivery as the source of your supplier’s hay and therefore it’s makeup may have changed. If you change hay types altogether it should be provided with the existing hay supply in gradually increasing proportions over 10-14 days.
2. Supplementation should be discussed with your veterinarian. Some regions have Selenium poor hay and some horses have other health issues that should be supplemented. I believe a multi vitamin source is essential.
3. Feet require continuous care. They should be picked clean daily to prevent moisture buildup and fungus. Your horses should be trimmed/shod every 6-8 weeks depending on your terrain and your farriers schedule. When you aren’t riding at all your horses feet still require attention as they continue to grow and should be trimmed.
4. Worming needs to be done regularly. We feed Strongid C as a daily wormer and worm for tapeworms quarterly. Depending on your horses exposure and climate you may need a more frequent or less frequent schedule. Ask your veterinarian for his/her recommendations.
5. Teeth need regular care. Minimally an annual floating. Some horses require attention every 6 months as their teeth become sharp enough to cut their tongue or cheeks and make a bit very uncomfortable. Reluctance to take the bit, resistance to turning a single direction or sloppy eating habits are a clue to check your horses teeth.
6. Geldings and mares need their sheaths and udders cleaned. Mares can be washed down with a soft rag and some water, we use old socks to scrub the area and then just throw them out. Geldings need to have the buildup removed and can require a veterinarians attention. Your veterinarian can check the sheath when the horse has been tranquilized for his teeth.
7. Daily Inspection:
a) note food consumption
b) note poop consistency
c) clean feet
d) apply fly spray
e) give the horse an eye scan, eyes/ears/tail
8. Listen to your horse!!!!!!!!! Pay attention to behavioral changes, they can be clues to remind you that some of the above need to be addressed. Know your horses fitness level, add additional work gradually, cool him/her out after a ride, provide electrolytes after a ride on easy turf on a very warm day when your horse has sweated. Always start a shower/bath with front feet/legs and neck for several minutes before continuing to other body parts.
9. Call your veterinarian if:
a) your horse refuses a meal
b) your horse is bleeding
c) your horse has an unusual swelling
d) your horse is limping or uneven in his gaits
e) your horse just doesn’t seem “right” to you
10. Enjoy horse ownership. It’s one of the most rewarding friendships on the planet. No other animal allows us to feel the wind in our hair and the energy beneath us for so little reward…honor their commitment to us with quality care and a long life…