Guest Author - Kim Wende
This is a basic daily, weekly, monthly and yearly horse care checklist to keep your horse healthy and happy. To be a responsible owner it is important to keep up with a horse's care. There is much more to taking care of a horse, but this basic list will get you started.
Provide fresh clean water - this is very important as the average adult horse drinks between 10 and 12 gallons each day. Horse can survive longer without food, but they won't live long without water. If the water is too hot or too cold horses may not drink well so monitoring what they drink is important. The lack of water can cause a horse to get impacted and lead too colic.
Provide the horse with good quality hay – as a general rule a horse needs one and a half to two percent of their body weight every day. Hay helps keep the horses digestive system working properly and in the winter time it helps keep them warm. Don't give them hay that is dusty or moldy as this can cause respiratory issues along with other problems.
Provide a shelter – horses need a way to get out of the elements. During the summer if horses don't have a way to get out of the heat they can suffer from overheating and those with a lot of white suffer from sunburn. During the winter a shelter will protect them from the cold rain, snow and high winds.
Grooming – this helps keep the horses skin healthy and removes sweat and dirt. It also gives you the opportunity to bond with your horse and inspect them for any bumps. If you can't do this daily make sure you do it weekly.
Clean out the hooves - this is a good habit to get into as you don't want something lodged in the horses hoof. Horses that are kept in stalls need this done to prevent thrush.
Clean the stall – cleaning the stall will help keep the flies down and keeps the horse from getting the manure packed into their hooves.
Visually check for cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds from head to hoof and also check the eyes and nose.
Clean paddocks of manure if horses are kept on a small lot or acreage.
Check the pasture for foreign objects - you never know what might be blown into the pasture especially after a storm. When horses move around in the pasture it causes hidden objects in the ground to surface.
Check fences for loose or broken wire and for protruding objects.
Clean out water buckets and water troughs - this is something that may need to be done a couple of times a week. Some horses like to dunk their hay into the water so you may have to change it more often. Cleaning the bucket or trough also helps prevent the growth of algae or bacteria.
Hoof Trimming – it is important to keep the horses hooves trimmed because if they become uneven they horse will be out of balance. Some horses are on a regular monthly schedule while some are done every six to eight weeks. If horses are in a large area where they get a lot of movement they may only need to have their hooves rasped to keep the sharp edges in check.
Have the horses teeth checked by a qualified veterinarian or equine dentist. Some horses may need their teeth check every six months. Having their teeth checked is important because if the horse develops sharp edges it can cause sores in their mouth which causes a lot of pain.