How to Care for Your Horse
By providing for a horse’s needs 365 days a year, in good weather and bad, your horses can live 35 years or more. We require horses to work hard for us when we ride them or use them to work on our farm. You can develop a very close connection with your horse if show them respect and care for them properly.
Your horse is a large land animal and requires a lot of water, in fact 30 – 50 litrs of water every day. Place a large clean tub or container where your horse can reach it and fill it with fresh water each day. Horses do not drink seawater.
Your horse can do well by eating grass for food. An average-size horse will eat about 10kg of food a day. Some of a horse’s water requirements come from grass but if the grass is old or dry it can cause your horse to be very think and have little energy. Horses must have good quality grass. Horses occasionally like to have treats like mangoes, pawpaws, coconut, sugar cubes, apple and carrot pieces.
Your horses will be much easier to handle and better able to work for you if it is healthy.
Cause: Prolonged wetting by rain, high humidity and high temperature. Looks like: Starts as small lumps on the skin/hair and progresses into matted tufts of hair as well large scabs. Prevention: Do not share blankets/brushes/saddles between horses Wash with fresh water Use dog shampoo/anti-fungal shampoo once every two weeks. Brush or towel down your horse every day
BACK SORES/SADDLE SORES
Cause: Poor fitting saddle or riding blanket Looks like: Sores are normally around the withers when the skin is thin and little fat or muscle cushions the area. Other hairless patches or groups of white hairs appear where the saddle and tack make contact with the horse. Prevention: Use a properly fitted saddle Or ride bareback or with just a soft blanket between you and the horse If horse has saddle sores: Use towels for elevation Saddle should not rest on wound. Keep flies away from wound
Cause: Your horse’sbit doesn’t fit its mouth or jaw. You are using rope or chain as a bit, which is a bog No-No Looks like: Wound on the side of the mouth Prevention: Use rope halter instead of rope bit or chain Take off bit when not riding horse or when it is resting.
Keeping your horse’s hooves clean will benefit not only its comfort level but improve its performance too. Think of the hoof as one large finger nail. Just as you can get thinks stuck under your nails that can cause pain, infection a etc, the same can be said for hooves. Before and after each ride: clean your horse’s hooves. Brush off any dirt/mud. Use a hoof pick and work your way around the frog (the soft triangle in the centre of the hoof)be gentle against the frog.
It is very important that horses are able to walk and move around freely in a safe area away from the road. Horses need exercise. An adult horse needs to be ridden at least 1 hour a day. Warm up, run and cool down. Do not tether horses on short ropes because they will not be able to use their muscles properly and they will lose their strength, become bored and depressed. If they are tethered, give them enough rope to move freely – minimum of 20 metres. You need to at least a fist size amount between rope and neck. Horses are social animals and if there is more than one horse in a fenced field, they will exercise more.
(This article was supplied by Animals Fiji) Nadi Clinic - Ph: (+679) 670-1012 | Mob: (+679) 9936-647 / 9982-026 Northern Outreach Clinics (Savusavu, Labasa, Taveuni) Mob: (+679) 998-6253/Lautoka Outreach Clinic Mob: (+679) 998-2026 Postal Address - PO Box 11035, Nadi Airport, Fiji Web - www.animalsfiji.org Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/animalsfiji