Horse Health Care for Optimum Training Results, by Jackie Brittain

Honey, 7-2010Observation is our best tool for establishing a horse health regimen.  I find that basic care practices along with keen observation of the horse can make a huge difference in the condition of your horse and save on veterinary bills and heartache.

I like to establish a basic care program which includes the following:

1.   Grooming:  Hoof care:  daily or at least biweekly cleaning of the hoof checking for thrush, foreign objects or abnormalities such as cracks or wounds.

Skin and coat:  grooming for a healthy, clean coat maintains shine and bloom.  It also means touching and you can learn of sensitive areas which could indicate an injury with swelling.

2.   Veterinary:  Schedule Vaccinations for fall and spring according to your Veterinarians guidance.

 Deworming:  recommend fecal exams and treat according to results to determine frequency of deworming.

3.   Dental:  I prefer hand teeth floating every six months.  Your horse will greatly benefit in overall health and issues with the bridle.  Sharp teeth can cause terrible ulcers on the sides of the mouth.

4.   Digestion:  Many feeds are available on the market. They are tailored for the age and type of work your horse performs.  I think protein is a good indicator to watch along with sugar demeanor.   Also check the fat source and make sure it is easily digestible and reflects the amount of energy your horse requires for training.

Supplements:  Digestive problems such as stomach ulcers are found to be very common.  Many horses that exhibit troubling vices may be the result of ulcers.  Also, changes in fecal consistency are signs of a gut under stress.  Check with your veterinarian about concerns with this possible condition which can be managed with supplements and treatment.  It can really make a difference in your horses training and attitude

5.   Kirin's first trimFarrier:  A capable farrier is vital to the soundness of your horse.  Improper hoof angle and toe length are two items that contribute to injury.  Each horse is unique in its conformation and you must have a farrier that shoes or trims according to the individual.  I like to keep my horses on a five week schedule mainly to rebalance the angle and keep the toe in check.  Frogs and soles should receive minimal work in order to maintain the natural function.

If you can implement these five basic care points into a regular routine for your horse, you will see amazing results in health which transmits directly into performance.

Kandie, 4-2013Routine is vital to your horse whether it be care or training.  It is very important to feed your horse at scheduled times to prevent colic or digestive issues.       A training routine contributes to fitness and performance.

Practice will produce a partnership to achieve the goals we have in mind and result in the great pleasure of owning a horse.

Jackie Brittain, Merriewold Morgans Trainer