Whether you have horses out of necessity or out of a passion for these amazing animals, these are extremely intelligent animals that make amazing companions. Throughout the history of human civilization, they have served an important role in many areas. Today, even with the advent of machinery and all kinds of vehicles, they are still popular work animals. Over the thousands of years that we have been using horses, they are now very domesticated and comfortably living in urban habitats. However, caring for one requires a lot more than just feeding the animal and brushing its hair.
To accompany their high IQ is an equally complex emotional quotient (EQ). These animals are extremely observant, they feel strong emotions and develop connections with other animals and their human caregivers. This is why when it comes to taking care of your horse, you need to consider both their physical and their mental wellbeing.
If your horse is stressed, anxious, or mentally uncomfortable in their environment or their living condition, this will nearly always be reflected in their health. Despite good food and medical attention, the animal does not develop properly and may suffer from various medical problems.
Here are a few things you should consider if you want to give your horse the best life possible.
Being extremely observant animals, horses are very familiar with what is going on in their environment and are very receptive to even minor changes. Loneliness is a big cause of stress for animals and if you lack the time to keep them company then get another animal or another horse to be their companion. Horses, despite their size, can bond really well with much smaller and much lower maintenance animals. If you are overwhelmed at the thought of having to maintain two horses, a smaller animal can easily serve the role of a companion. If you are training your horse but the animal isn’t responding very well, it may be due to stress. Some of them are naturally very nervous creatures and having other animals around makes them feel a lot more comfortable.
Most owners will be relying on packaged horse feed and supplementing their diet with only small portions of natural food. If you have room for the horse to graze in that’s great, but the horse care team from ForagePlus.co.uk says that you still want to use some packed food and food supplements to ensure that your horse is getting a balanced diet. If the animal relies on packaged food entirely, you need to pay extra attention to their teeth. The way their teeth wear out varies a lot between a natural diet and a packaged horse feed diet. When eating a natural diet, they eat different kinds of plant matter that requires them to use different parts of their mouth which results in even wearing of the teeth. On the other hand, eating the same diet every day makes them constantly use the same teeth which can cause them to wear out significantly faster than the others.
When horses live out in the wild they eat a very diverse diet that gives them all the nutrition they need and also provides them with the protection they need from various diseases. Since you are keeping one with you, you should not forgo the annual veterinary checkup at any cost. Even if your horse seems to be well and fit, only an in-depth analysis by a professional can help you detect any problems that may be lying dormant. You want to treat these issues before they become serious problems that could put the life of your horse at risk.
There are a few vaccines such as Tetanus and West Nile virus that horse owners should definitely get done as soon as they can. However, it’s also important that you consult with your local vet and find out if you need to get any special vaccines that are specific to your area. There are different viruses that are common in different areas. It’s important that you get your horse vaccinated against these especially if the animal isn’t a local breed.
If your horse is having problems eating or you notice that they are having problems with their mouth, you might also want to check for their wolf teeth. These are sharp teeth located near the front of the mouth. While these are not present in all horses, in some that do have them, a growth irregularity can cause the tooth to chew on the gum. This makes it hard for the horse to chew or even close its mouth. So make sure you have a good vet who can help you out, especially with young horses till they are about 2 years old, you will need to pay extra attention to a lot of things.