Horse owners have so much to think about, caring and preparing their horses.

There are so many pitfalls that can be made, especially by the first-time horse owner.

Horse owners love horses – that is a given.

But sometimes, seemingly minor issues are overlooked, leading to much bigger ones.

Owners may underestimate the time or money needed to properly care for a horse.

Or they may become overwhelmed by the sheer weight of jobs to be completed and boxes checked to ensure their horse is properly cared for.

Here is a checklist of things you should never do when owning a horse.

Never neglect regular veterinary care

Engaging the services of a qualified equine veterinarian for periodic check-ups is of utmost importance.

Regular professional care is the only way to ensure your horse is maintained in peak condition and any potential health problems are addressed swiftly and effectively.

As part of your horse’s general health maintenance, your vet will also monitor their basic care including vaccinations, dental health and deworming.

Never ignore or overlook signs of illness or injury

A horse’s threshold for pain is often much higher than their owner’s.

Hence it is often easy to miss signs of illness or injury.

Understand your horse’s normal behavioural patterns and be on the lookout for any changes which may indicate something is amiss.

Contact your vet immediately if you suspect an issue.

Never overfeed or underfeed

The quality and nutrition of your horse’s feed is of great importance – as is the quantity.

An underfed horse may suffer malnutrition and be unable to perform at the level expected.

Feeding your horse too much can lead to obesity as well as a litany of joint problems associated with carrying too much weight, equine metabolic syndrome and laminitis.

A qualified equine nutritionist can curate the ideal feeding regime that will keep your horse in peak condition for their training program and performance goals.

Never overtrain your horse

Horses don’t respond well to punishing training routines.

Besides the risk of physical injury, it can also lead to mental health and behavioural problems including irritability and an unwillingness to return to training.

These can be difficult to address, once a horse has lost trust in their trainer or owner.

Always use positive reinforcement and reward as part of an encouraging and nurturing training program.

This helps strengthen the bond between you and your horse.

Never neglect their hooves

Neglecting hoof care is a leading cause of lameness in horses and can also cause other serious problems.

Always schedule regular visits from a farrier to ensure proper fitting of shoes for specific types of training and conditions.

Your farrier will also examine your horse’s hooves for cracks or infections.

Never allow your horse to become too hot or cold

Horses are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations.

Always be aware of the prevailing conditions and ensure your horse has adequate heat, ventilation, shelter and water so they remain comfortable in both summer and winter.

Touching a horse’s shoulders and chest under their rug or behind their ears generally gives a good guide as to whether they are too hot or cold.

Never skip safety precautions

Don’t ever ride your horse without a helmet and other appropriate attire.

Observing safety protocols at all times is imperative to prevent potential serious injury and even death.

Head injuries and bone fractures are the most common injuries suffered by people who fall from horses.

In Australia, there are an estimated 20 deaths every year attributed to horse riding. This compares with just 1.7 per year from shark attack.

Never administer human medication unless advised

A horse’s metabolism operates entirely differently to humans.

Many human medications are toxic to horses.

Do not give them to your horse unless you have been advised it is safe to do so by a qualified veterinarian.

Contact us today

Owning and caring for a horse is one of life’s most exciting adventures.

But it can also become quite intimidating, especially for the rookie horse owner.

Working closely with a qualified equine veterinarian is the first and most important step horse owners should make.

They will help keep your horse in peak condition, detect any minor health issues before they become more serious and suggest the services of other equine professionals to enlist such as a nutritionist and farrier.

At Newmarket Equine, we provide a dedicated service to the thoroughbred racing industry with the practice having a long and proud history based around the excellence of our staff.

Our vets are experienced in all matters including medical, reproduction and quarantine procedures.

We always use state-of-the-art equipment including digital radiology, digital ultrasound, shock wave therapy, video endoscopy and IRAP processing. 

Contact us today to book an appointment.

The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your horse’s individual needs. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your horse’s needs, and seek professional advice from a qualified vet.

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