Another year has come and gone and we are ready to welcome 2022 with open arms! A new year is the perfect opportunity to make some changes, switch up your routine, and come up with resolutions about what you want this next year to look like for you. In addition to getting yourself adjusted to the new year, this is also the perfect opportunity to make this upcoming year great for your horse. Your senior horse is also a year older, so now is the perfect time to do some health maintenance and send them into 2022 feeling their best. Keep reading for our senior equine checklist for the new year!
Go through medication and supplements
Chances are your senior horse doesn’t move as well as they used to and now uses medications or dietary supplements to keep them healthy and strong. You may have all of these things on a shelf in your barn or your home that you haven’t cleaned out in quite a while. Well, now is the time! Go through all of your horse’s medications, old and new, and get rid of any that may be expired or no longer useful. Do the same with supplements! You don’t want to be giving your horse expired products that may not work anymore, plus you can make more room in your barn by getting rid of products hidden in the back of the shelf. Take some time to research new supplements based on your horse’s current needs and start implementing them into your horse’s diet to keep them strong. Of course, never put your horse on anything new until you have the okay from your horse’s doctor. Bring any temperature-sensitive products inside that may be affected by the colder weather and keep them in a temperature-controlled space to sustain their freshness! If you’re looking for some new products for your senior horse this coming year, look no further than Equine Medical. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Reilly to start the year off right!
Stock up on food and water
Did you know that your horse should receive 1-2% of its body weight in hay per day? That’s a lot of hay essential for your horse’s diet. Stocking up will keep you from having to go out in the cold and get more as the winter season progresses. It will also keep your horse full and happy! Consistently check the stored hay to make sure there is no mold, weeds, dust, or discoloration. During the colder months, you also need to keep an eye on your horse’s water intake. Horses prefer to drink warm water, so it doesn’t hurt their teeth. Be sure you have some kind of heating system to keep water at a temperature that your horse will enjoy. Your horse also gets less exercise in the winter months because it is tougher to spend long periods of time outside. Warmer water and a salt lick will encourage them to get proper hydration.
Fix any issues with your barn
A new year is a great opportunity to spruce up your barn and tackle those projects you have been meaning to do. Clean out any old rugs or other furniture in the barn and bring in some fresh ones for the new year. Sweep out any dust or dirt build-up in your horse’s barn and as well as the hallways. Get any holes in the siding patched up to keep the cold weather out. Make sure the space is properly ventilated so your horse can continue to get some fresh air. The barn is your horse’s safe haven not just in the winter, but throughout the whole year! Putting in the extra work and making it comfortable for them will be sure to make them happy.
Make a vaccination/parasite schedule
A new year means it could be time for a new routine! If your horse is not on a regular vaccination or parasite control schedule, now is the time to start. A regular vaccination schedule will give you a routine that you can continue with monthly for the entire year. The winter months are notorious for setting older horses up for disease. Respiratory issues, as well as other diseases like colic and arthritis, are common among senior horses. These issues can also be elevated if not given proper care. Setting up a vaccine schedule will keep your horse healthy and happy all year long. In addition to vaccinations, parasite control programs also need a regular routine that can begin with the new year. Older horses tend to harbor more parasites that come along with other diseases that weaken their immune system. It is important to set your horse up with a regular and strategic parasite schedule to avoid parasite resistance to medication. It’s a good time to take out your calendar and get to work now!
Set up some resolutions for you and your horse
New Year’s resolutions are something that many people do to take advantage of the fresh start that comes with a new year. While you are making resolutions for yourself, you can make some for your horse as well! Maybe you want to get them started on a new training program or master a new trick in the new year. Maybe you want to set a resolution to spend some more time with your horse, which is something that can benefit both of you and your relationship. Maybe there is a nearby trail you have always wanted to do, so add it to your resolutions for 2022. Make your goals with your horse realistic and fun in the new year!
Above all, put some time aside each month throughout the year to do health maintenance on your horse. Check them for any new diseases, weakness, pain, or skin irritation and get them treated as soon as possible. If you’re looking to get your horse checked out before the new year, contact Dr. Reilly now for a consultation.