Horse Management

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The horse is a noble animal and a faithful companion of man. For this reason, when we are in charge of a horse, whether for pleasure or work, we must provide it with all the care that allows it to live comfortably and maintain a state of health in perfect condition, that is, provide welfare to the horse.

 

Preventive Medicine

A preventive medicine program must take into account all the aspects that may pose risks to the horse’s health or well-being. Any illness or discomfort will be reflected in changes in the horse’s performance or behavior. A good preventive medicine program includes periodic deworming, vaccinations, adequate nutrition.

Deworming

Horses should be dewormed every 3 months or so. It is recommended to rotate the products to avoid resistance problems in the parasites. The horse that is affected by a strong parasitic load will not be able to take advantage of the nutrients present in the food. In such a way that it will not have a good physical appearance : the hair will be dull, rough, without shine.

Vaccinations

It is important to vaccinate horses against tetanus and influenza

In the case of tetanus, it is a disease that can be transmitted to humans and cause death. The bacteria responsible for this disease is a normal inhabitant of the digestive tract of the horse and is present in horse manure. It is very easy for any wound suffered by the horse to become contaminated.

In the case of influenza, although it is not a disease that can cause the death of the horse, it is limiting since the horse will not be able to carry out its normal activities due to fever, mucus in the nose. In these conditions the horse can’t work. Other important vaccines are that of rhinopneumonitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, sampling for AIE at least every year.

Tooth File

The teeth must be checked at least every 6 months to avoid the formation of odontophytes (enamel points), that is, that the lateral edges of the teeth grow due to the way the horse chews, when these odontophytes form the inside of the cheeks, the cheeks are injured. In this way the horse does not chew the food properly which can cause colic problems in addition to the food waste that occurs, therefore it is very important that at least 2 times a year review the teeth of the horses.

Hooves

The care of the hooves is also very important, they must be trimmed every 35 to 45 days. It is desirable that they be protected with horseshoes. In addition to protecting, the horse’s hoof helps him to have traction. It is not necessary to put a set of horseshoes new each time the hoof is trimmed, in case they are in good condition they can be put back. It is also very important that the palm part is cleaned every day to remove the dirt, mud, manure, etc., which accumulates, and then add hooves grease to keep it in the best possible condition.

Vitamins

It is important to provide a balanced commercial feed because this type of feed contains the necessary amounts of all the nutrients that the horse requires according to its age, condition, work, etc., Although in the case of horses that perform work that involves a great deal of physical wear it is convenient to administer vitamins once a week or every 10 days, either orally or by injection. The most recommended are those containing iron, B complex, vitamin C. Every 6 months a dose of vitamins ADE should be applied preferably before and after the rainy season.

Stables

A well-lit stable should be provided to protect the horse from inclement weather (temperature, rain, etc.), preferably with access to an exercise pen. The stable must be at least 3.5 x 3.5 m. It is important that the doors have a width (1.25 m) and height (2.25 m) suitable to facilitate the movement of animals, without risk or injury. In addition there must be a space suitable in the corridors to allow the safe movement of the horses and their keepers. There should be no protruding objects that could harm the animals or that represent a risk or danger for both. The walls should be high enough to prevent interactions with horses housed at the sides. The roof should have a minimum height of 3m to allow the horse to assume a normal posture and avoid head injuries. Floors should be of a firm, durable, and non-slippery surface.

In the event that an exercise pen is not available, it is advisable to exercise the horse daily so that it remains in optimal conditions of health and muscle tone.

If the horse is in pasture or paddock, there should be shades to protect it, as well as a source of clean, fresh drinking water available at all times, especially in hot climates.

It should be avoided that the stable is in total darkness. It must have a light source that allows observing the horse and all its stable.

Sufficient bedding should be provided in the form of wood clippings, straw or some other appropriate material. According to the region, there must be adequate drainage to avoid excess humidity with the consequent problems in the hooves and skin that can affect the horse. To avoid unnecessary dirt, the manure and the wet litter should be removed daily, in this way we will keep the horses clean and dry, and the environment free of odors. The manure must be away from the stables to avoid problems with parasite infestations, bad odors, harmful fauna, etc. Daily brushing is recommended.

Ideally horses should be housed in individual stables with access to an exercise pen. In the event that there are mares and foals in the place, it is convenient that at the time of weaning each animal has its own stable, and in the corrals the animals must be kept separated by sex and age.

 

It is very important that we provide horses with all possible well-being :

  • Housing them in adequate facilities
  • Providing  the necessary care so that they can maintain a good state of health and their performance at work is optimal
  • Avoid mistreatment, which should not only be physical : not only the fact of hitting them is mistreatment
  • Providing a suitable place to rest
  • Giving adequate food for their condition, work and in their schedules
  • A source of clean, fresh drinking water must be available at all times. Horses should not suffer extreme conditions.
  • Avoid that injuries such as sores become very extensive : make the horse uncomfortable & give a bad appearance, indicating neglect and abuse towards the horse.
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