Springtime Checklist for Horse Owners
With the show season around the corner, the weather lifting (hopefully), and the sun poking out, the Spring has started to work its way into action. This means that there are a number of things that horse owners must start to consider to make sure their horses are fit, happy and healthy.
Luckily, the days are also getting longer too, with the light beginning to extend out into the evenings, which means that there is more time to get all you have to done without so much rushing around!
Make Sure Their Shots Have Been Done
In the springtime you should be sure to double check if all of your horses’ shots are up to date. This will require you to check your horses’ immunisation records. Your veterinarian will be able then also to offer recommendations as to what might need to be administered. This might depending on the age of the horse, its location, your travelling plans for the season and other factors.
Skin and Parasites
Consult your veterinarian for remedies to any skin conditions or infected cuts or scrapes which you might detected during a thorough clean and rinse of your horse. The damp weather and wet blankets may have encouraged rain rot, so look out for that and also any parasites. Your veterinarian should also be able to advise you on specific courses of action for worms, though using popular deworming products and checking your worming strategy is always sensible anyway.
Check the Hooves
It is important that your horses start the spring with their feet in the best shape they can be. Book in an appointment with a farrier for the required trimming and shodding. You can here discuss with the expert what should be the best option for your horse, as regards studs or padding, as to what type of terrain your horse will be likely to encounter in the coming months.
Check the Teeth
Have an equine dentist check the state of the teeth of your horses. Hopefully, their teeth will be fine and will not need to have anything done to them. But, it is important to check in any case before the spring season begins. This is because any unresolved problems will make the ride a lot less comfortable for you and your horse, as the bit may cause mouth pain. It may also affect their ability to graze properly.
Prepare Their Paddock / Field
In time for the spring season to begin, you should make sure that your horses’ paddock is in fine condition. With plenty of time in advance, you should decide whether your field needs reseeding. Then, if needed, you can consult with an equine nutritionist who will know which grasses will provide the best nutrients for your horse. Make sure it does not have any inside such as ragwort, sycamore, bracken, yew and deadly nightshade. You should also harrow your paddock to aerate the soil, remove dead vegetation, and to mix in natural fertiliser.
Walk the Pasture and Check Equipment
Walk around the full extent of your paddock or field to check for any hazards or improvements. This may be holes in the ground, rubbish, or low-limbed trees, all of which could create a danger for your horses. In addition, make sure your water troughs are clean and do not have sharp edges. Check your fencing and gates are in good order after any winter storms. On top of this, take the opportunity to make sure all equipment – halters, saddles, bridles etc. – is in correct working order and does not need to be replaced. You should also wash and reproof your winter horse rugs.