A Quick Horse Health Checklist for the Changing Seasons

by Alexa Gohn

With each new season, there are a few changes you'll need to make to your horse care routine. You'll need to assess and adjust aspects of your horse's health as well as their barn environment to meet the new challenges and needs of each season. 

Having a horse health checklist can help you prepare and make it easier to keep your horse happy and healthy year-round. 

Health Checklist for Summer to Fall

As the temperatures begin dropping and the days start getting shorter, there are a few things you'll want to do as you head into fall:

  • Monitor fall grass: With the cooler weather at night, there tends to be an increase in the sugar levels in the grass during the fall. During this time, you may need to adjust your turnout for horses that are easy keepers or prone to founder. 
  • Schedule fall vaccinations: While not all horses need a six-month visit, they may need fall vaccinations depending on where you live or your horse's lifestyle and age. 
  • Call the dentist for teeth checkups or floats: If your horse is young or a senior, they likely need a six-month checkup. Your equine dentist can evaluate their teeth and float them if necessary to remove any sharp edges. 
  • Adjust your deworming schedule: Since parasite larvae levels in pastures tend to go up in the fall, it's a good idea to do a fecal test and see if you need to adjust your deworming schedule. 
  • Start winterizing your barn: Now is the time to prepare your barn for winter by pulling out blankets, insulating pipes, setting up heated buckets and water troughs, and stocking up on hay. 

Health Checklist for Fall to Winter

With the cold, muddy weather, you might be spending less time riding, but there are a few important things you want to do to prepare your horse and barn for the winter: 

  • Check your horse's body condition: Many horses, especially seniors, tend to lose weight during the winter. Make sure to monitor your horse's body condition and remove their blanket regularly to make sure they are maintaining a healthy weight. 
  • Evaluate your feeding program: Horses need more forage during the winter months to keep warm. Along with hay or round bales, see if you need to increase your horse's feed as well. You might want to consider supplements like a probiotic to help with any digestive issues caused by the change in their feeding program. Also, make sure your horse has plenty of warm water available at all times to reduce the risk of colic.
  • Consider going barefoot: If your horse is shod, winter is a good time to give their hooves a break by going barefoot.

Health Checklist for Winter to Spring

With the days getting warmer and the grass growing in, there are a few changes you'll want to make to your seasonal horse health checklist: 

  • Monitor spring grass: Just like fall grass, spring grass tends to be much higher in sugar. Monitor your horse's grass access if they are an easy keeper or prone to founder. Spring is also a good time to rotate your pastures and remove manure.
  • Do a fecal egg count test: As you enter spring, it's wise to do a fecal egg test to see if your horse has a high parasite load and needs to be dewormed, 
  • Schedule your annual vet appointment: Now is the time to schedule your horse's annual vaccinations and Coggins. If you'll be showing, be sure to discuss any other required vaccines with your vet. 
  • Call the dentist for teeth checkups and floats: Remember to schedule your horse's annual dental floating!
  • Create a training plan: If your horse had most of the winter off, it's important to ease them back into work by creating a conditioning program. 

Find the Tack and Supplies to Keep Your Horse Happy and Healthy at Horse Tack Co.

Now that you've got your horse health checklist, find the stable supplies, tack and training aids you need to love the ride all season long at Horse Tack Co. Browse our broad product range and enjoy up-to-date inventory, competitive pricing and fast shipping on all orders.  

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