As horse owners our horses’ health is always a top priority, but this month it’s extra important – February is American Heart Month. While American Heart Month is intended to remind people about the importance of good health for your heart, it’s only fitting that we take a look at our horses’ heart health, too. Here are some great tips to make sure that your horse’s heart is strong and healthy.


Schedule Regular Vet Appointments

Your vet is your closest ally in keeping your horse healthy, so be sure to schedule regular vet appointments. Your horse will probably need spring vaccinations, and this provides a great time for him to have his annual physical examination. Your vet will listen to your horse’s heart and can let you know about any abnormalities that he finds. He can also advise you on the best deworming program for your horse – keeping your horse parasite-free is important in protecting his heart health.

Exercise Your Horse Regularly

Regular exercise is important to your horse’s health. Being overweight puts additional strain on your horse’s heart, so give him the opportunity to get plenty of exercise. Maximize his time outside to give him a chance to work off extra energy in his field. Create an exercise schedule to make sure that he gets the physical activity that he needs – combinations of hand walking, lunging, and riding will help to keep your horse fit.

If you are bringing back a horse who has had some time off, it’s important to progress slowly to avoid over-working your horse. A horse who has been given the winter off, or who has been rested due to an injury, will need time to develop the muscle strength that he had while in training shape. Start with short rides only at the walk, then gradually add in brief increments of trotting. You can slowly increase the amount of time that you trot your horse, and once he is getting back into shape you can introduce short periods at the canter.

Keep His Pasture Safe

Maximizing your horse’s time out in his pasture is a great way to help keep his heart healthy, but you need to make sure that the pasture is a safe place for him to be. Regularly inspect your pastures for weeds or plants that are toxic to horses. If you’re not sure what toxic species grow in your area, consult with your veterinarian or local agricultural department. While you’re out inspecting the pastures, take a moment to check the safety and condition of your horse fencing as well.

A healthy heart will keep your equine partner performing well and feeling good. Make his heart a priority this American Heart Month.

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