Why do we groom horses? Well the main reasons are for the horse's health, his ongoing training and, very importantly, the bonding it creates between the horse and his handler.
What we call the hoof is really the tip of a toe! Made up of a sole (the underside) and a hard wall formed into a thick nail rolled around the tip of the toe. Just like our nails the hoof wall grows continuously and is constantly being worn down by use.
Why should we look after horses’s teeth? Many people would argue that horses have evolved over millions of years and that they are perfectly adapted to eat grass without any interference from us.
In theory it should be really easy to feed a horse. They eat grass so all you have to do is throw them out in a paddock and problem solved, right? Unfortunately it’s not that simple…
Whether you are buying a horse for competition, recreation or as a working horse you should ensure that the horse is suitable for the purpose you have in mind. The biggest trap that people fall into is that they allow their heart to take over from their head, and the end result may be a broken heart and an empty bank account.
As we move into autumn and the days shorten, you will notice that your horse will start to loose the short, soft, summer coat, which will be replaced by a coarser, longer, winter coat. if you intend to work and/or compete through these cold months, you may wish to consider clipping your horse.
Before you read on you should understand that the information that we have included under these headings, and future headings for that matter, is of a general nature and should not be used instead of calling a veterinarian.
If your horse does not look Bright, Alert and Responsive (BAR) then you will need to check his vital signs (Temperature, Pulse and Respiration – TPR).
If you are riding and you get really hot, then your horse gets even hotter. In fact a horse’s body will heat faster than a human’s and is less able to cope with the increase in body temperature.
Whenever you leave home with your horse to attend an event or activity, whether it is for the day or a week, you will need to take a First Aid Kit.
Gelding, castration or cutting all mean the same thing: they are a surgical procedure that removes the testicles of a male horse.
Laminitis and Founder are conditions that affect a horse’s hooves. They are usually very painful and if not caught early and treated may lead to either early retirement or having to put the horse down (euthanasia).
Unfortunately, most horse owners will get first-hand experience with hoof abscesses – fortunately, most horses will make a complete recovery if they are treated quickly.
This is a very common hoof problem that can go undetected for some time before it results in lameness. Unfortunately, by the time your horse is lame the thrush infection has probably moved from the outside to the inside of the hoof and has become a very serious problem.
This condition has many names, depending on where you live. It is extremely uncomfortable for the horse and if it is allowed to develop it can cause great pain and even lameness.
This condition, which can also be called dermatophilosis, is a bacterial infection of the skin along the top line of the horse. It is usually found in paddock horses when the weather is wet or humid.
This is a highly contagious disease which can quickly infect the other horses on your property or your boarding stables, as well as you and your other pets.
A sarcoid is a skin tumour which is the most frequently diagnosed tumour in horses. Surveys have indicated that they account for 20% of all equine noeplasms (tumours) and 36% of all skin tumours. They can occur at any age and anywhere on the body, however they are more usually seen on the head, shoulders and lower limbs.
Strangles is a highly contagious, bacterial infection of the upper airways and lymph nodes. This respiratory infection is caused by Streptococcus equi, and it can affect horses, ponies and donkeys of all ages.
Tetanus is a neurological disease affecting the muscles, through the central nervous system. The nervous system is affected by tetanus toxins (poison), produced by Clostridium tetani bacteria.
The equine eye is the largest of any land mammal. Its visual abilities are directly related to the animal's behavior and the fact that the horse is a flight animal. Horses that do not have full vision capacity can be a danger to themself and those around them.
The importance of immunising your horse against some diseases cannot be overstated. Understanding the diseases that can be prevented or at least minimised through vaccination, is as important as understanding horse nutrition, providing a safe living environment, developing a worming programme, having a qualified farrier regularly attend to your horses hoove’s or getting an equine dentist to check your horse’s teeth annually. These are all fundamental horse care issues.