on your horse, you may need to re-evaluate his feed. Changes
in ration amounts and type of feed should be modified slowly
over a 10- to14-day period to allow the digestive tract to
adapt. Adding extra grass hay doesn’t usually require an adaptation period, but adding in alfalfa hay, grain, complete feed,
and oil supplements do.
Caution in introducing a horse to spring pasture can save a
lot of colic headaches. Start with 15 to 20 minutes a day, and gradually increase
the grazing time. Adding 15 to 20 more minutes every five days is a good starting point.
Upon reaching an hour of turnout, time can be increased by 30 to 60 minute
increments, depending on the quality of the pasture and the sensitivity of an
individual horse’s gut.
sample collected after the previous
deworming gives information that
enables your veterinarian to provide
guidance about a deworming strategy
that takes into account your horse’s
specific geographic location, climate
and fecal egg count results.
There are two efforts: one is the
egg reduction count, which is done
two weeks after a deworming treatment in a horse that was found to be
loaded with parasite eggs. This identi-fies if there is drug resistance.
The other is to see how a horse
is doing 12 to 16 weeks following
the previous deworming, which also
determines if he is a low, medium,
or high shedder, or is a non-shedder.
(See pg. 38 for more deworming
/ Dental Check-Up /
Keeping up with dental care is important to your horse’s health. Proper
dental care lets your horse chew his
feed thoroughly for better digestive
health and nutrient use. It also keeps
your horse comfortable while being
ridden with a bit.
At the very least, a dental exam
should be done once or twice a year
to keep your horse’s mouth in the
/ Feed Adjustments /
Along with good dental care, good
nutrition is important to enable your
horse to perform at his physical best.
Check your hay for mold as you
approach the end of last year’s supply.
Hay that is overly dry or dusty can
cause respiratory irritation. Open a
bale and separate a flake; if it makes
you cough, then your horse is likely
to be similarly affected.
If mold isn’t present and the hay is
simply dry, wet or soak it before feeding. To minimize the amount of dust
and debris your horse inhales, offer
the hay on the ground or below chest
level rather than high up in a hay net
or top-loaded feeder.
As you put more athletic demands