We’re already into 2021, and if you haven’t made your New Year’s resolution yet, now is the time to pick one. Focusing on equine health this year is a great way to choose a resolution that will make a difference in your horse’s life. We’ve even come up with some horse health resolutions to help you out.
Top New Year’s Resolutions for Your Horse’s Health
These resolutions can promote happy, healthy horses (and happy owners, too).
Check Your Tack Fit
When was the last time you checked your tack fit? As your horse matures and gains or loses condition, his tack fit can change, too. Make a point of checking your tack multiple times each year, especially when you’re starting your horse into work after some time off.
If you’re not sure of how to evaluate your saddle fit, consider having a saddle fitter out. A good saddle fitter can help you to determine the saddle and pad combinations that are best for each horse in your barn at the time, but they can also give you some tips on how to monitor your tack fit throughout the year.
Test Your Hay
Hay is a major element of your horse’s diet, but it’s possible that your hay may not be as nutritious as you think it is. You may need to supplement nutrients that your hay is lacking, but you can only make the right adjustments in your horse’s diet if you know the nutritional content of your hay.
Sending a hay sample out for testing can give you this important information. It’s easy to do and relatively affordable, and it works particularly well when you feed the same hay throughout the whole season. Once you know the nutritional value of your hay, you can design a feeding program that meets all of your horse’s nutritional needs. Your vet or an equine nutritionist can help you to review the test results and design the right feeding program.
Work with a New Trainer
If you’re feeling stuck in your training, consider working with a new trainer this year. A different trainer may have new insights and suggestions that can help you to progress past some of the challenges that you’ve been facing. Sometimes, it just takes a different perspective to help you get the most out of your horse, and to get your horse feeling happier during schooling, too.
There are a few ways you can work with a new trainer. Participating in a clinic with a different trainer is a great way to get some feedback and suggestions. If you’re looking for something more regular, consider taking lessons at a second barn with a different trainer, or consider changing your trainer altogether.
Install Lighthoof Panels
Mud can bring serious health issues for horses, including lameness problems, abscesses, tendon and ligament strains, and more. Installing Lighthoof panels around your barn and in your paddocks can help you to fix your mud issues in the worst spots.
Lighthoof panels work by holding footing in place, so you and your horses don’t sink down into deep mud. These panels create a structure to your paddock base and help to prevent erosion of your footing, creating a surface that’s safe and easy to maintain. You can say goodbye to deep mud and the equine health issues that go along with it.
Increase Turnout Time
Spending time out of a stall is important to your horse’s health. Its benefits include helping to reduce the stiffness that comes with arthritis, helping to keep your horse’s digestive system moving to reduce the risk of colic, and even helping to naturally keep your horse’s body conditioned.
Look for ways that you can maximize your horse’s turnout time each day. This might mean adjusting your feed and turnout schedule so that your horses go out as early and stay out as late as possible. You might also consider putting run-in sheds in your pastures so your horses can stay out all day and night.
Install Automatic Waterers
Automatic waterers can help ensure that your horse always has access to fresh, clean water. This access to fresh water can encourage your horse to drink, reducing the risk of dehydration and associated health issues like impaction colic. Consider installing automatic waterers in stalls and/or paddocks to save you time on barn chores and to help keep your horses healthy and hydrated.
Focusing on Equine Health in 2021
Some of these resolutions will require a financial investment, but focusing on your horse’s health may help to reduce your chances of seeing an emergency vet bill. With a healthier horse, you can better enjoy your time together and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your horses look and feel great.