3 Keys to Horse Health Care You Need to Know

Horse Health Care

Caring for a horse and knowing the ins and outs of horse health is a big responsibility. It’s important you know the essentials to horse health care – this knowledge benefits both your horse and you.

In this blog we detail 3 key essentials to horse health care. As always, please consult your veterinarian with any questions. Do not make any changes to your horse’s nutrition or exercise regimen without first consulting your veterinarian and horse trainer.

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3 Keys to Horse Health Care You Need to Know

These 3 keys to horse health care are essentials that you cannot ignore or cut corners with. When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian.

Remember, your horse is relying on you to give them the right essentials to horse care. Your hose depends on you for the right food, adequate water, and care so they can have a healthy and happy life.

1. How to Balance Your Horse’s Diet Correctly

To correctly balance your horse’s diet, make sure your horse is getting an ideal balance of high-quality forage and daily grazing time.

Depending on your circumstances, this may not always be an option. In this case, you can substitute natural plants with 1.5 to 2 lbs of grass hay per 100 lbs of body weight. You can feed your horse any of the following hay types 2 to 4 times daily:

  • Timothy
  • Orchard
  • Fescue

Horse Weight Management

Another important aspect to supporting your horse’s diet is weight management. Be careful that your horse doesn’t put on too much weight, which some horse owners and riders refer to as “over-conditioned.”

If you suspect your horse is getting a bit heavy, compensate by offering hay with lower nutritional value. This will allow your horse to feed for extended periods without gaining excessive weight. And please talk to your veterinarian before making any changes to your horse’s diet. It’s important to rule out any health problems that could be leading to weight gain.

To round out the ideal diet, it’s best to provide a white or rock salt lick and a vitamin-mineral or protein supplement. Most people who graze their horses add about 1 to 2 lbs of vitamin-mineral supplements per day to their horse’s diet.

Your horse’s diet is integral to every aspect of your horse’s health. For example, if you notice that your horse’s coat is dull, it’s likely because they aren’t getting enough Omega 3s in their diet. Horses can’t produce Omega 3s, so they need to consume them to protect both their coat and skin.

Ideally, you want to use a supplement that uses both Omega 3 and Omega 6 coupled with fermented yeast. This helps to improve digestion, helps ensure your horse stay hydrated, and experience less inflammation.

Remember, like you, your horse is what they eat! Pay close attention to your horse’s diet. And look for cues that your horse may need more or less food or be lacking in key nutrients.

2. Horses Need 5 to 10 Gallons of Water Daily

To support their constant eating, horses drink quite a bit of water throughout the day. The average horse consumes between 5 to 10 gallons of water each day.

Your horse’s water supply is just as important as their food. Always ensure your horse’s trough or other water container is free of contaminants and is readily accessible at all times.

If you’re ever worried about whether your horse is getting enough water, give the pinch test a try. Gently pinch your horse’s skin between your fingers. If the skin returns back to normal right away, your horse is well hydrated. If the skin stays in a ridge for a while, your horse needs water.

Skin that keeps its shape for 10-15 seconds indicates severe dehydration—your horse requires immediate veterinary attention.

Do not take chances with your horse and hydration. Pay close attention to how much your horse is drinking and under which conditions. Ask your veterinarian about your hydration options to ensure your horse is properly hydrated.

3. How to Maintain Your Horse’s Hooves and Joints

To maintain your horse’s hooves and joints, you need to remember one rule of thumb – be attentive. Your horse is relying on you to keep their hooves trimmed and healthy and their joints mobile and limber.

Horse hooves can’t trim themselves! Your horse is depending on you or your professional farrier for their hoof care. Hooves grow more slowly in the wintertime, requiring a trim about every 6 to 12 weeks, depending on the individual horse. During the summer and warmer months, you should plan on trimmings every 6 to 8 weeks.

To maintain optimal hoof health, remember the essentials to a good horse diet. Focus on fresh, clean water, a balanced diet, and daily helpings of the following vitamins and minerals to help maintain and restore hoof health:

  • 20 mg biotin
  • 1 mg iodine
  • 2,500 mg methionine
  • 175-250 mg zinc

Your horse’s hooves impact how your horse stands and their balance and overall joint health. Horses put their joints through a lot of strain, even when they are gently walking or trotting. This wear and tear can cause discomfort and soreness and may lead to serious injury or long-term conditions.

Just like caring for hooves, it’s important to pay particular attention to your horse’s diet, weight, and exercise regimen. Avoiding hard surfaces and investing in horse joint supplements can also help contribute to better joint health.

A quality supplement will ensure that your horse’s joints stay healthy. Look for joint supplements that include these key ingredients:

  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Glucosamine
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Collagen Type II
  • MSM, an organic sulfur
  • Vitamins (C, B-3)
  • Minerals (Zinc, copper, and manganese)
  • Omega 3 and 6 

Always check with your veterinarian before adding supplements to your horse’s diet. Above all else, we want the very best for your horse. Ask questions and pay attention to the signals your horse is giving you.

Owning and riding a horse is a lifestyle – one which is super rewarding and enriching. Here’s to many happy and long riding days for you and your horse. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have. We’re here to help you and your horse stay healthy and happy.

by Nick Hartog

In 1994, Nick Hartog became an owner and President of Grand Meadows Equine Supplements bringing his talents and extensive background in domestic and international equine sales and manufacturing. He has a reputation for plain speaking of the truth. In 1997, when the US horse supplement market was something akin to the Wild West with a complete lack of standards, Nick personally tested 32 different horse joint supplements to see if they matched the label. Unsurprisingly, to him at least, only 2 products matched the label claim. Read more...