mobile vet

So you’ve bought your very first horse. Congratulations! Horses make terrific companions and having one can be a great source of excitement. But owning a horse also comes with a set of responsibilities. This is why, even before you start looking for a horse, you should brush up on your knowledge of horses, learn the basics of good horse care and learn to detect signs your horse needs a mobile vet.

Shade and shelter

Before you shop around for your first horse, make sure you have adequate space and shelter to house them around the year. At the very least, you should have some nice pasture land, shelter from natural hazards, proper fencing to keep the horse within your property and a stable. Just having a stable won’t do, since they can get very hot during the hot Australian summers.

Additionally, horses need enough space to walk and run around and can get depressed and act out if they don’t get enough exercise. They should also be able to sit and lie down without restriction and be able to graze freely.

Food and water

While your horse may graze on pasture land, they should also have access to an adequate amount of hay or chaff to keep them healthy. As a general rule, the amount of food a horse will need will depend upon its weight, with the standard ratio being 1–2 kg per 100kg of body weight each day. But if a horse is losing weight, is regularly being worked or if there’s not enough pasture land for the horse to graze freely, you may need to increase the amount of food you give it. Always talk to your vet to figure out a suitable feeding schedule and the right amounts,

In summers, a horse may drink up to 25 to 45 litres per day, which is why it must always have access to clean, fresh water.

Grooming

Depending upon the breed of the horse, its grooming requirements will change. Some horses need regular brushing and de-knotting of their hair to keep it mat-free whereas others may need less-frequent care. But there are a few things all horses need, like the ones below:

  • Teeth care: For the first 5 years of your horse’s life, its teeth need to be checked by a veterinarian every 3 to 6 months. Once their full set of permanent teeth appear, usually after five years of age, these visits can be scheduled once a year.
  • Feet and hooves: Horse hooves never stop growing and can become very uncomfortable and painful if not taken care of. Take your horse to a farrier every 6 to 8 weeks to keep the growth in check, clean out the hooves and get new horseshoes made if needed.
  • Coat and mane: Proper grooming can help you form a bond with your horse. Ideally, you should be brushing your horse’s mane every day, but especially before you go for a ride and after. Use a detangling spray to brush out any tangles from the horse’s mane, and use mane combs, curry brushes and grooming mitts to remove dirt from its coat and leave it shiny and silky.

Riding a horse

If you have little to no experience riding a horse, it is highly recommended that you take professional training or lessons from a qualified instructor before your first ride with your new horse. Improperly riding a horse could put both you and the horse at risk of injury and can be very uncomfortable.

Make sure you have the right equipment before you ride. The saddle and harnesses should be fitted properly and your feet should fit perfectly on the stirrups.

Companionship

Horses are herd animals and do not do very well alone. They need the company of other horses, but may also bond with other animals like cats, chickens or dogs but another horse is always preferable. They also enjoy grooming with other horses, running and playing around and being able to touch each other. No matter how much love you give them, human companionship cannot be a substitute for that of another horse.

If possible, consider getting at least two horses together, or make arrangements for your horse to be around other horses at least some part of the day. Horses that live alone easily become stressed and may start acting out and losing weight.

Veterinary Care

Because horses are fairly large animals and cannot be taken to the vet in the back of a car like a cat or a dog, consider getting a mobile vet to make regular visits to the stable to check up on your horse’s general health. Your horse will need to be vaccinated for diseases such as strangles, tetanus and viral respiratory disease, but will also need regular deworming medication. Some common parasites that affect horses in Australia are bots, lice, ticks and worms. Getting your horse regularly checked by a mobile vet will ensure it stays healthy and happy and blesses you with its company for a longer time.