Spring is coming and it’s time to start prepping your horse to reenter the field for warmer days. Before you greet the new season, there’s some tasks you should check off your to-do list to ensure both you and your horse are ready to go.
Keep Your Horse Healthy
Make sure your horse is up to date on all shots, vaccinations, and medications. Check your horse’s vaccination records to see if they are due for any shots. If you do not have an up to date shot record, it might be a good idea to check with your veterinarian about booster shots for various vaccinations. Make sure your horse has an up-to-date Coggins test before travelling anywhere. It’s also a good idea to deworm your horse. Warmer weather means your horse will be eating new spring grass which may hold fly larvae or mites. Putting your horse on a dewormer will help them to stay healthy. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about your horse’s health and medications.
Grooming and Check Ups
Spring means it’s time for your horse to shed their winter coat. Increase grooming for your horse helps to keep them clean and healthy. It also allows for you to look for any skin problems that may be hiding under their long winter coat. After a season spent not riding, spring is a good time to check your horse’s hooves to make sure they’re healthy. Have a farrier come out to check on your horse’s hooves as you readjust to the warmer season. Have your horses’ teeth checked before going out and riding. Dental problems can cause pain in your horse’s mouth, which can lead to dangerous rides if left untreated.
While spring means warmer weather, it also means more bugs. You want to make sure to take measures to prevent pests from harming your horse. Insect repellent sprays can help protect your horse from biting insects. Traditional insecticides and natural alternatives can help to treat places flies may seek out such as the barn, stalls, manure pit, and pastures. Automatic fly spray dispensing systems, along with fly sheets and masks can add an extra layer of protection for your horse. Mosquitos are another pest to watch out for come springtime. Reducing mosquito breeding grounds – areas with standing or stagnant water – will help to reduce their population. Insecticide treatments can also help to repel mosquitos.
With spring comes spring cleaning. Now is the perfect time to take stock of your stables, tack trunk, pasture area and fences. Check your inventory and restock any products you need. Check that your equipment hasn’t undergone damage during the winter. Be sure to fix or replace any broken equipment. Now is a good time to do a deep clean of your stalls. You should regularly clean your stalls during an active season with your horse. A deep cleaning of your stalls, water troughs, and wash racks will keep your horse in a clean environment and make it less likely for unwanted pests and bacteria to harm your horse. Make sure to air out the stable as you clean it to get rid of any ammonia buildup that can harm your horse. Walk along your fence line to ensure nothing is weak or broken and make the necessary repairs. Check the pasture for any ruts or holes that could injury your horse when running. Cleaning the pasture will ensure your horse has a good area to run around and play.
Exercise and Nutrition
While you and your horse are probably eager to get back into your regular schedule, it’s important to ease your horse back into working regularly. If your horse hasn’t gotten much exercise during the winter months, then it’s important to slowly reintroduce them to exercising. Too much exercise too fast can lead to injuries. Start your horse on a slow schedule to gradually get them back up to their normal working schedule. It’s also crucial to monitor your horse’s nutrition. Horses tend to over-eat grass in the early spring. More exercise will also affect how much your horse needs to eat. Keep an eye on your horse and their nutrition. Make sure they maintain a balanced diet that will help them to get back in shape and stay healthy.
It might seem like a lot to get done, but before you know it your horse will be out running and playing. Enrichment toys and games can help to keep your horse active and entertained.
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