Seasonal Care

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Today, we get to hang out in one of the most thrilling, complex and well-built skeletal structures in the body, the thoracic cage. While thrilling might be a stretch unless you’re an anatomy geek like me, suffice it to say that this region and its resilient, flexible function has potential implications in respiration, saddle fit, behaviour, body control, bending, collection, energy levels, the ability to be symmetrical and free in movement, and more. And I’m not just talking about your horse.

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The relationship between our horses and their joints can feel scary, conjuring up words like “arthritis” and “lameness.” Our focus on joint function and integrity, including how this plays a role in a healthy hoof mechanism and legs, is designed to create a knowledgeable foundation to support your horse for years to come.

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Grooming is an enjoyable way to bond with your horse, and most horses love to be fussed over, but cleaning a male horse’s sheath is an unpleasant chore that owners and riders tend to avoid. From potentially being kicked, to lack of knowledge or squeamishness, those with geldings and stallions often shirk the task altogether. However, veterinarians agree that cleaning and inspecting a horse’s sheath is a necessary and regular part of maintaining their health.

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Today we venture back in horses and down in humans, into territory that many believe to be the foundation of the skeletal system and the body itself: the pelvis. It is an area of much more complexity than many realize, an area that impacts, quite literally, every other part of the body. It contains and protects some rather important things, namely the urogenital system, and provides stability to many others. And in horses and riders, pelvic happiness is critical for success in the saddle.

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A hot humid day. One rider. One horse. Both are exercising at a moderate level. Who is more likely to overheat? It might surprise you to learn that your horse gets hotter much faster than you and is more susceptible to the negative effects of heat stress. Prof. Michael Lindinger, an animal and exercise physiologist at the University of Guelph, explains: “It only takes 17 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in hot, humid weather to raise a horse’s temperature to dangerous levels. That’s three to ten times faster than in humans. Horses feel the heat much worse than we do.”

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“Hydration is everything. The correct balance of water and body salts controls everything from the brain to the gut. As dehydration develops we risk our horse’s health and welfare by stressing their hearts, kidneys, and gut function. From the polished show horse to the race horse to the beloved pasture horse, we must ensure access to clean drinking water and CORRECT replacement of electrolytes lost through sweating.”

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For a horse owner, there are few sights more welcome than the first signs of spring. As the snow melts away and the pastures begin to turn green, horse owners are glad to see the end of short days, frozen water buckets, and woolly coats. Springtime means longer, warmer days to spend working in the arena or hitting the trails. The season is also an ideal time to catch up on your horse’s healthcare needs.

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