Are you taking care of your horse? You probably think you are. Or maybe, you employ someone to do it for you. That’s a completely legitimate way to do it, if you need the help. But the question is, does your horse get the care they need. We all get busy and distracted sometimes, and it’s good to occasionally reconsider how to take care of your horse.
Certainly, one blog post cannot contain all the information you need for this.
There are a lot of resources out there on grooming– awesome blogs, books, professionals- you can always find ways to increase your skills. There is no shortage of information. Here we have just a short, specific assessment to keep yourself accountable on a few matters. Your horse will thank you.
Familiarize yourself with your horse’s physical idiosyncrasies. Know if they have an old splint, or windpuffs, or capped hocks. Of course, you should know their general demeanor. If something changes- physically or mentally- you should be aware.
You, the rider/ owner, are the person who should know them best. You are the one ultimately responsible for being aware of the baseline for your horse. This also includes temperature. Take their temperature with enough regularity that you know what “normal” is for them. Normal is considered 99 degrees to 101 degrees, which is a huge range. However, your horse most likely has a specific temperature that is normal for him; you should know what that is.
Just spending time looking at/ observing your horse can prove so valuable. Watch them- in their stall, grazing, in turnout- and know them completely.
It’s a strange phenomenon but people skip the curry all the time, but it’s one of the most important things you can do. While it’s true that some horses have more sensitive skin, there is a wide range of curry combs available. Choose a soft one if they are sensitive, and a harder one if they aren’t.
The curry is one of the main things that leads to a soft, shiny coat. There is really no substitute for the curry when it comes to producing a great looking, dappled coat. Not only that, but it even helps build their back muscles up. Do it every day, and you will notice a difference in their topline.
Pick their hooves
Keeping your horse’s hooves in good condition should be a no brainer, but often people do the minimum here. But it makes an enormous difference in their soundness. They should be picked before they come out of their stall, after turnout, and immediately after riding.
Also make sure that you are checking their hooves for thrush, scratches, or any other issues, and treat them accordingly.
Keep their Equipment Clean
All too often, we blow off cleaning the tack on a daily basis. But its only important for the sake of the tack and your investment in it, but for the horse. Dirty or damaged tack can rub the horse, create skin fungus, or just make them uncomfortable. Just as dirty clothes can be uncomfortable for you, dirty tack is no fun for your horse.
Teach them manners
Finally, teach the horse to have good ground manners. You are doing him no favors in letting him be spoiled or ill-behaved. He will have a better life if he is safe and easy to care for. By instilling good manners and habits, you make him easier to groom, bathe, feed, and generally spend time with. Which, of course, is much better for him.
For more information on horses, shows, or sportsmanship, reach out to Alicia Wilkinson!
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