Several common situations in the routine of horses can create challenges to health maintenance. Climatie changes, transport, pregnancy, in addition to infectious or traumatic diseases, for example, challenge homeostasis, that is, balance of the animal’s organism. Thus, it is essential to always evaluate the physical conditions of the animals to adapt the care and ensure the health and well-being of the horses.
In order to help you identify possible problems, we have gathered here some good practices to improve their management. Check out!
To do a basic equine welfare mapping, four main dimensions of horse breeding should be looked at:
Next, understand better what are the ideal conditions in each one of these dimensions and see how they relate each other.
Naturally, horses consume small amounts of food several times a day – they spend 10 to 16 hours grazing, with intervals of 2 to 3 hours. This habit contributes to a better absorption of nutrients, since by spending almost all day grazing, eating in small amounts for long periods, thebreakdown of food particles is greater and, consequently, the digestion and use of nutrients is facilitated.
In addition, a proper eating routine is important to prevent gastrointestinal problems, such as ulcers. Several species can present ulcers, but in horses they are even more common due to the fact that their stomach is always secreting hydrochloric acid (not only when there is food) and the mucus protection does not cover the entire stomach, mainly injuring a dorsal region to a portion known as the “pleated margin”, which divides the glandular stomach (which has protection) from the aglandular (unprotected, region most affected by ulcers). Thus, when animals are eating forage, the stomach is filled most of the time and there is more saliva to buffer the stomach Ph, so the damage that the acid causes on the mucosa is much smaller.
Therefore, it is always recommended that roughage be the basis of the animal’s diet, as in addition to protecting the stomach, it also contributes to tooth wear, acting in different portions in the health of the digestive tract. On the other hand, the supply of very high amounts of concentrate can decrease stomach pH, chewing time and daily tooth wear, in addition to predisposing to laminitis and other diseases.
Stablish a management routine is also essential to the horses well-being. That routine must include all the necessary requirements for a horse, such as: food, discuted previously; health (that involves bed cleaning, heces remotion, troughs cleaning, deworming, vaccination, periodicly evaluations with veterinarian, etc.) and necessary incentives with people, espetially the responsibles for the management and training.
In addition to the point already highlighted about health, taking care of your horse’s hygiene is essential. This care includes brushing regular cleaning of the hooves, in addition to other more specific care according to the animal category (example: cleaning the foreskin of stallions, perianal cleaning of foals in cases of diarrhea, etc.).
Finally, the facilities must take into account the space needed for the horse to carry out all its activities, such as sleeping, eating and wallowing – the act of rolling from one side to the other, an action that is associated with skin care and relaxation.
In addition, in the facilities, it is ideal that the animals can maintain at least eye contact with each other.
Interested in learning more about best practices for horse breeding? Also read the article on the benefits of vitamins for horses and keep learning about the well-being of your animals!