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7 Point Plan for Spring Horse Care
 By Winniefield Park   •   14th May 2016   •   1,255 views   •   0 comments
7 Point Plan for Spring Horse Care

If you inhale too close to my horse right now, you're going to get a lot of hair up your nose. Thatís because I havenít been too fussy about hurrying out her thick winter coat. The weather has been very un-spring-like and sheís needed it. But as it does here, spring is springing with sudden warm temperatures and sunshine. So, itís time for spring maintenance - my horse and everything else horse related.

Vaccination
Spring is generally vaccination time. Youíll want your horse to have the core vaccines and any that your veterinarian recommends depending on what you need to protect your horse from at home, or while travelling.

Feed
Itís a good time to check what feed you have and calculate the amount of hay youíll need until the next crop comes in. Do you have enough, or will you have to find some? You may want to adjust the amount of concentrates your horse is getting know, especially if your horse is getting back into shape after a lax winter.

Grooming
Weíve discussed how to help your horse shed out before. But it may also be time to give that tail a good detangling, trim its bridle path and call the farrier. Have your farrier remove snow pads if your horse is shod, and put on the shoes youíll need for whatever sport youíll be participating in. Hard ground and ice may also have chipped your barefoot horseís hooves, so itís time to get them back into shape. Change out your grooming tools and sprays. It may be time to take home the shedding blade, and put the fly spray in your tack box.

Tack and Other Gear
Take that winter blanket for cleaning and repair now, or plan to spend some time with soap, hose, needle and thread. Clean up the saddle pad youíve been using all winter and wipe the arena grime off your saddle and bridle. Hurray! You probably donít need your winter gloves, coats and helmet covers either. Take them home, throw them in laundry, pack them away and forget about them until next fall.

Pasture Care
Pastures can take a beating with so many temperature changes. It may be wise to keep horses off of wet pastures so they donít damage tender grass and roots with their hooves. Other areas can end up compacted if they stand in one spot a lot. Check your fences along roadways for debris and all fencing for loose wire, rails, exposed nail heads and damaged posts. Frost can heave posts, leaving rails and gates sagging. And, note where water sits so you can correct drainage problems when things dry out. Get your grass growing by frost seeding before the ground thaws, and talk to your local agricultural extension about soil amendments to make your grass grow green and nutritious.

Barn Care
Now is the time to take your notebook or cell phone out for a walk in the barn. Take note of any leaks, drafts or anything else that needs repair before next winter sets in. Now is the time for maintenance, before you get too busy with haying, showing and other summer fun. Clean up the loft so old hay isnít left on the floor, and sweep down cobwebs that can be a fire hazard. If youíve been deep bedding, itís time for a complete clean out - before the flies move in.

Spring Complaints
April showers bring mud. Wet conditions provide the perfect environment for thrush, grease heel and rain rot. Give your horse a place to dry out. Donít leave warm blankets on as the temperature rises above freezing, as your horse may sweat, making its skin damp. Remove damp blankets and let them dry out after heavy rain. Keep your horseís hooves trimmed and clean, and make sure they too have time to dry out. Treat thrush promptly so it doesnít become serious. Try zinc pastes and keeping the area clean and dry help prevents grease heel from spreading and become so severe it lames your horse.

Is there a horse chore that is unique to spring time you love or hate? What spring cleaning do you do?
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