We are all keen to get riding and showing now that the weather is improving, and Dr. Scott Angstadt of Keystone Equine Vet Services in Reigelsville, PA has given us some great suggestions on how to keep our horses happy and healthy for the coming season.
If you are going to be traveling to shows, trail rides, clinics, or lessons this spring and summer, it’s important for your horse to be vaccinated and get tested for Equine Infectious Anemia, also known as a Coggins Test. Your vet can develop a vaccination plan suited foryour horse and geographical area, and provide you with health certificates needed for trailering your horse out of state.
Be sure that your horse is up-to-date on dentistry and hoof care as well. Proper care of your horse’s teeth ensures that he can get the most out of his food, and ensures that he’ll be comfortable when ridden with a bit. Hooves also need to be trimmed every 6-8 weeks, and Dr. Angstat recommends using a hoof conditioner to guard against the cracking that can occur with the wet/dry cycles of spring.
Another good idea is to include a soundness exam in your horse’s spring checkup. Horses that are going to be ridden or competed need to be pain-free in order to do their job well, and a soundness exam can help pinpoint areas where your horse might be sore.
Parasite management is also an important springtime task! Most veterinarians recommend performing fecal egg counts to determine each individual horse’s parasite load, and then deworming accordingly. Removing manure from pastures goes a long way in preventing parasites as well.
Remember – a healthy horse is a willing, successful partner!