Don't FALL Behind on your Horse's Health
Fall snuck up on us this week which means it's time to start prepping for the change of weather and ensuring our horses are ready. With prevention in mind, it is wise to stay ahead of problems before they arise. Think about... Would you rather keep up with their health schedule now or deal with an illness in the middle of winter when conditions are more tough for both horses and caretakers?
Fall is a good time to make sure all your i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Consult with your veterinarian on an appropriate vaccination schedule based upon your horse's risks and geographic threats. If you are planning on hitting the show circuit this fall/winter, at minimum put the influenza/rhinopneumonitis on your list with an increase in horses your horse may interact with.
Another important factor to consider is your deworming schedule. As grasses get shorter towards the end of summer and into fall, parasite loads can increase. This means that deworming becomes even more important than other months to mitigate risk and to keep the parasites at bay.
In addition to their gut health, consider your horse's dental health. Some horses struggle to keep weight on in the cold winter months, so ensuring they can properly pick up and chew their food is vital to promote proper nutrition. While the weather is still nice, set up an annual dental appointment with your vet and you will be well prepared for the months ahead.
Lastly, set you horse up for success this fall which comes with an increased risk of colic. In the summer, horses are used to being outside, walking around, and enjoying fresh grass. As fall and winter progress, horses tend to spend more time indoors and instead eating dry hay. In addition to that, some horses can get picky about drinking cold water. Consider heated water buckets or supplementing your horse's grain with a couple tablespoons of loose salt to ensure optimum sodium levels - especially if you have a picky drinker.
With just a little preparation, we can set our horses up for success as the winter months approach. That way, we can enjoy more time riding them and loving on them - and less time worrying about them. Now that sounds like a good plan.