Habits for keeping yourself healthy can apply to keeping your horse happy and healthy as well. And what your mother told you when you were a kid – brush your teeth, no candy, eat your vegetables, well… uh… it’s true!
Most people acknowledge as fact that if we eat nutritious food, supplement our diets with essential vitamins and minerals, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly that we can live a healthier and more active life into our golden years. But what about our horses? Surprisingly, it’s pretty much true for them too!
1. BRUSH YOUR TEETH!
We don’t question that brushing our teeth daily will pay off in the long run for our health. Your horse benefits from some dental checkups as well. Even slight irregularities in how his molars meet to chew food can affect his nutrition. So keep up on his checkups to see if he has a sharp edge that needs floating. Keep an eye on his teeth even more vigilantly as he ages to avoid loss of weight and condition.
2. NO SNACKS BEFORE DINNER!
Eating junk food has never made much sense. Feeding your horse poor quality hay or grain doesn’t make sense either. Efforts to obtain quality feed for your horse will result in his long term health and happiness. The horseman’s rule to “feed little and often” applies to humans too.
3. TURN OFF THE TELEVISION!
Sitting in front of the TV or computer, in essence – not moving – is not healthy for humans. The older, spry, active seniors in this country are those who have kept walking, jogging, golfing, riding horses, mucking stalls… you get the picture. It is also essential for your horse to get regular exercise and turnout. Every day. If you don’t ride, or even if you do ride – turn him out. The bones, tendons, ligaments, as well as the digestive and circulatory systems of the horse need to keep in motion.
4. NO SODAS!
Be sure both you and your horse have access to plenty of fresh, clean water to drink to stay hydrated. Horses that stop drinking can colic, especially in hot weather.
5. TAKE YOUR VITAMINS!
Most people find they need to supplement with some vitamins and minerals they may not be getting in their diet. Both horses and humans require sodium for maintaining good health. Salt is the main source of sodium that is essential for nerve and muscle function, regulation of fluids in the body, and more.
LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!
Yeah… your mother was right. Follow these common sense health habits so you and your horse can grow old and gray as you travel the trail together.