RESOLVE TO DO BETTER
New Year’s resolutions focused on horsekeeping are a great alternative to traditional promises you make (then break) about going to the gym more often. If you’ll be making horse-related resolutions this year, however, think beyond tack cleaning or competition goals. Here are three horse-related resolutions that are definitely worth making and keeping.
1. Get a jump on your horse’s spring vaccinations. Your horse is best protected from insect-borne illnesses if he has time to build up antibodies after inoculation. Ideally, the final injection will be administered three or four weeks before insects emerge in the spring. In many areas of the country, this means vaccine protocols begun in late April are too late---think late February or early March instead.
2. Develop an emergency care plan for your horse. If you couldn’t be reached when an emergency arose, who would make important decisions regarding your horse’s care? Pinning up a note with a friend’s number in the tack room when you’re away on vacation is a good start, but you can do better. Compile a list of people who have agreed to help you out in a crisis and post it in a prominent place at the barn. Make sure at least one or two of your emergency contacts have access to a trailer that could be used for transportation to an equine clinic. Also, email your list to your veterinarian to be kept onfile in his office. Then, when you plan to be away, touch base with the people on the list to ensure they will be available if need be.
3. Move to a fecal-egg count deworming system. You’ve undoubtedly heard by now that deworming based on the calendar alone contributes to parasite resistance. It also can lead to wasted money if you administer anthelmintics to horses who do not actually need treatment. Shifting to a system that takes into account each horse’s parasite load and calls for deworming only when necessary is better for your horses and the equine community as a whole. Changing your deworming program may seem daunting at first, but it’s not difficult. Talk to your veterinarian about how to get started.