After spending months taking care of your horse in the dark and cold of winter, it’s exciting to be able to look forward to spring. Warm weather and more hours of daylight make riding and general horse care alike much easier and more enjoyable. In order to take advantage of the coming change in seasons, the following are a few items you can check off your list to make sure your horse is healthy and ready to go.
Schedule a Vet Visit
Now’s the time to call your vet and create an appointment for your horse’s spring shots and general wellness check. If you’re planning on going trail riding this spring, remember that some trails require your horse to test negative for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) and for you to have the results, also known as Coggins papers, on hand. You should also talk to your vet if you had any concerns over the winter. If anything comes up during the physical examination, your vet will work with you to develop a care plan.
Schedule Visits with Other Professionals
Winter can be very hard on your horse’s hooves. In addition to having the vet visit, you should also schedule an appointment with your farrier. They can ensure that your horse’s hooves and shoes are in good condition and ready for spring riding.
It’s also a good idea to have an equine dentist visit your stable. Issues with a horse’s teeth can lead to problems with the weight and frame, as well as behavior problems under saddle.
Create a Conditioning Program
If you haven’t ridden much over the winter, chances are both you and your horse are out of shape. Although it can be tempting to jump back in full force, it’s best for you to ease back into things slowly. Work with your trainer to create a program that will help you and your horse become mentally and physically ready, making sure you take any recommendations from your vet into consideration. Exercises should help improve muscular strength and flexibility. A good rule of thumb is to increase the intensity of your horse’s workouts or the length of time of these workouts. However, you should not increase both at the same time.
Chances are, your horse could use a spring tune-up after a long winter. These steps will help both of you get back on track.