5 More Tips For Keeping Horses Happy

Bonding with your horse will allow you to learn and respond to his feelings and reactions in different situations. In time you will learn your horse’s body language. A happy horse will generally appear calm and be responsive to you. He will keep a low head, relaxed jaw and have soft eyes. A happy horse will seek affection from you and show respect by not invading your personal space. A horse is not showing he is bored by yawning – rather this is a sign of relaxation and calm. If your horse is holding its head high with a tense jaw and has darting eyes and a reluctance to stand still, then there is something wrong – he is not comfortable. You must let the horse settle down in his own time, otherwise he may feel trapped and possibly go into “flight” mode, making him even more stressed.

When grooming your horse you also get the opportunity to check him over for minor ailments or other problems. Pay close attention to your horse’s eyes, teeth, shoes and hooves and inspect his droppings regularly. Any change in the normal should be reported to your vet at the earliest opportunity – any delay could cause you extra worry, expense and a potential claim on your horse insurance. Regular worming treatments and routine vaccinations are important and you should make sure that you book appointments for these with your vet. There are many different types of worms and parasites and you should rotate medications to get the best benefits and to stop them building up immunity. Your horse could develop immune system, heart or colic problems as a result of unsuitable medication. Horses should always be vaccinated for encephalitis, influenza and rhinoneumonitis. Tetanus and rabies are also advisable, but not essential. If you are a regular with the horse trailers at horse shows etc, your horse may need to show a negative Coggins test, which is for a serious equine virus called equine infectious anaemia (EIA) for which there is no cure or treatment.

Regular visits from the farrier is an important part of keeping a horse happy and comfortable. When your horse’s feet are allowed to get long and unbalanced, it is inevitably uncomfortable and will in time affect the horse’s mood and performance. Your horse will need his hooves trimmed by a farrier at least every eight weeks; sometimes more often is necessary.

Your horse will need a blanket or coat during the wet and cold winter months and during the summer, a fly protective horse sheet or mask is advisable. You may wish to use a horse cooler rug after exercise to help your horse calm and cool down. While it may seem logical to give your horse a drink after exercise, this could in fact put his body into shock. Also, after exercising, ensure that your horse has regained its normal body temperature and breathing before feeding. You shouldn’t exercise your horse straight after eating – leave it for at least an hour.

Horses need to have a purpose, whether it is riding, showing, therapy, carriages or dray. They revel on feeling worthwhile. It is important for a horse’s sense of purpose and focus that he receives regular praise – especially when young – for performing simple tasks such as simply standing still or in the right place. Introducing new experiences to your horse will help his confidence and satisfy his inherent curiosity.

A horse is a beautiful and magnificent creature that deserves a good home for life with excellent care. Providing the best type of healthcare possible is a responsibility which you, as the horse’s owner, agree to take on when purchasing a horse. Keeping a horse can be a very expensive business, and without good horse insurance provided by a specialist equine insurer, it is possible to quickly run into financial problems if your horse should become sick or sustain an injury. Providing the very best for your horse will reap you the rewards of love, loyalty and devotion from your equine companion.

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