Horses, as you well know, are big active creatures and this means they can develop problems any time of the day or night. For this reason, checking your horse over at least once a day and before and after every ride is important.
It just takes a few minutes to make sure everything with your horse is in good order.
- First, do a visual check to make sure the horse isn't limping or walking stiffly. Note the horse's posture and general stance. Is the horse responsive and alert, or are there signs of depression or sluggishness that might suggest illness.
- Next, notice the eyes and nose for any signs of discharge or swollen, squinty-looking eyes.
- After the visual check, do a quick hands-on check to look for lumps or bumps, scabs, swellings or hot spots.
- Now, use your nose to sniff for any foul smells especially in the nose and mouth areas or in the hooves where odors might indicate thrush or other hoof problems.
- If you don't pick the hooves on a daily basis, do check each hoof for rocks or signs of injury.
If your once-over indicates any problems, take positive action to prevent the problems from becoming worse. If necessary, get out your first-aid kit, or if the problem needs the attention of a veterinarian, follow through with a phone call either for an appointment or for information that will help you deal with the problem.
Horses, just like people, have a mind/body connection. If the body is healthy, the mind works well; if not the mind suffers also--another good reason to thoroughly check your horse daily.