Spring is finally here! Whether for leisure or competitive riding, spring is a great time to get going again with extended daylight hours and plenty more sunshine. There are a few things you can do as a horse owner to ensure you are prepared for the season and all that comes with it.
Excellent general health and wellbeing is key to a horse performing the best he can. A good feeding regime and care is essential but don’t forget how important it is to let your horse live like a horse. Regular paddock turn out is very beneficial to your horse’s general health and wellbeing. Consistent stabling can encourage stressful habits like weaving and can even increase their chances of developing a cough. Give them plenty of opportunities to go out and enjoy the sunshine in their paddock.
Also, is it recommended coming into spring to have your veterinarian examine your horse for a general wellness exam and update their vaccinations. As we come into spring, the risk of internal parasite infection increases. As the weather gets warmer, egg production of parasites increase so spring is the best time to have a faecal egg count before and after you worm. This lets you know how your horse is affected and how well your horses worming regime is working.
In regards to nutrition, spring grass can sometimes send horses on a sugar high. Take extra care in the spring when turning out laminitic/founder prone horses onto juicy green grass and monitor their conditions closely. Putting them into a large yard with less grass feed but access to hay is sometimes a better turn-out option with these horses. Thoroughly check your hay from the winter as some bales may be mouldy and should not be fed. If the hay is dusty or flaky and makes you cough the chances are it will do the same to your horse so either don’t feed it or soak it down well.
Hoof care is important all year round and if your horses feet have been regularly checked over the winter their feet will be better prepared for spring. Abscesses, thrush and tender frogs are all common problems in winter and spring due to the soft ground. It is difficult to keep their feet as dry and disease/bacteria free in wet conditions but daily cleaning and topical applications can be helpful.
As you approach an active riding season it is important you take specific care of individual horses. Keep in contact with your veterinarian and discuss with them your goals for the upcoming season and plan for your best chance at success. Keep a routine schedule for vaccinations, worming, dentistry, nutrition and monitor their weight and soundness closely in work. Spring is the time to get active again after what feels like an eternity of cold miserable weather so start off the season the best you can!