Seasonal Care

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With today’s medical advances, research, and improved management, horses are living longer and longer lives. In the past, most horses were considered old when they reached their late teens. These days, it’s not uncommon for horses to live into their late 20s or even into their 30s, allowing us to spend plenty of quality time with our elder equine friends. Proper management is key to ensuring that the older horse is happy and comfortable throughout his golden years.

Blanketing Horses in Cold Weather

Whether you live in the balmier south or frigid northern slopes, you may wonder when, or if, you should provide your horse with equine clothing. Many horses do need a little help, especially when you try to keep their winter hair coat to a minimum.

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Donkeys are not well suited to cold, wet environments and need extra protection in the winter, new research has found. The findings have been incorporated into the UK's updated Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Code of Practice for the welfare of horses, ponies, donkeys and their hybrids.

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Winter can make the most mundane tasks challenging. This reality is clearly illustrated when it comes to watering animals. For as long as man has worked alongside horses and livestock, there have been different watering methods and their seasonal variations.

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You’ve just returned from an invigorating winter’s ride, your horse enjoyed prancing through the powdery snow, and with the sun shining you didn’t notice the nip in the air. But now your sweaty horse is steaming and with the sun slipping behind the horizon, winter’s chill is fast returning….After a winter workout, a 10 to 15 minute walk will not only guard against muscle soreness, it is essential to allow the horse’s skin to dry. But one method does not fit all. Your winter cool-out regime will be different depending on a number of factors including whether your horse is clipped, blanketed or “au naturel”; whether he lives inside or outside; and the intensity of your workout.

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Grooming is an enjoyable way to bond with your horse, and most horses love to be fussed over, but cleaning a male horse’s sheath is an unpleasant chore that owners and riders tend to avoid. From potentially being kicked, to lack of knowledge or squeamishness, those with geldings and stallions often shirk the task altogether. However, veterinarians agree that cleaning and inspecting a horse’s sheath is a necessary and regular part of maintaining their health.

The Equine Heart, what should my horse's heart rate be, what is a normal rhythm horse heart, equine electrocardiogram, heart rate variability horse

Skipped Beats, Sudden Death… and Why We Shouldn’t Worry Too Much. When you first start examining patients as a veterinary student, you’re very keen to (gently) poke and prod every animal you come across. Realizing you can assess cardiovascular function by palpating peripheral pulses is very empowering!

Mud fever, equine pastern dermatitis, horse greasy heel, equine skin disease, fungi infection horse

Mud fever, also known as scratches, pastern dermatitis, and greasy heel, is a common equine skin disease affecting the lower limbs, particularly the back of the pasterns and the bulbs of the heels. The ailment is most prevalent during autumn, winter, and early spring when horses are more likely to spend prolonged periods of time standing in wet, muddy conditions where the bacteria and fungi that cause mud fever thrive.

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Does your horse have a drinking problem? Good hydration is not just about how much a horse drinks, it’s also about how the water is used internally. A properly hydrated horse with balanced electrolytes will be healthier and perform better. A dehydrated horse is at increased risk of impaction colic and reduced athletic potential.

Horse Blankets, are Horse Blankets necessary, horse body temperature, buying a horse blanket, horse blanket do's and dont's, do horses need blankets

Whether or not to blanket a horse is an often-debated question and there are many logical and justifiable reasons to go either way. In normal weather conditions, many horses do not need a blanket, especially if they have access to food and shelter and have grown a healthy, thick winter coat. But for horses with special needs such as older or geriatric horses, pregnant mares, horses with compromised health conditions, or horses that have been clipped, blankets are certainly appropriate. Consideration should also be given to the horse’s breed, hair coat quality, feeding routine, and its acclimatization to the existing conditions.

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