11 Ways to Prepare for Spring and Keep Your Horse Healthy

March 11, 2022

Baby, it may be cold outside…but it won’t be for long. Before you know it, winter will be a fading memory and riding season will be in full swing. But how do you make sure your horses are healthy and ready to take on the challenges of a busy spring and summer? These horse care tips can help you get the season started right.

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Springtime Horse Care Tips

We asked championship riders and professional trainers what horse chores owners should do to get ready for spring and compiled their answers for you. If you want to ride like a pro, try preparing like one! Here are 11 horse care tips to improve health, maintain tack and equipment, and organize your calendar as you head into spring training and competition. 

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1. Schedule a Checkup

First things first, don't skip the vet. Book appointments early to make sure your horse is set to be seen for an annual wellness exam, vaccines, and dental care. A pre-season exam can give you a broad view of your horse's health and is a good time to discuss medical history and future plans for training and activities.

We tapped Dr. Jessica Huntington's knowledge about what maintenance needs to be done on a horse annually. Here's what you can expect your vet to discuss and do at a spring checkup:

  • Annual exam (includes physical, oral/dental, lameness and neurological)
  • Discuss if annual blood work is necessary 
  • Update recommended vaccines and Coggins test
  • Discuss diet (forage, grains, and supplements) 
  • Discuss current weight management (does your horse need to increase, decrease or maintain its current weight)
  • Discuss current level of exercise and competition 
  • Discuss any general concerns you may have 

2. Stay on Top of Hoof Care

Winter and spring brings their own hoof concerns. Whether you keep your horses shoed or have them go barefoot in the winter, maintaining healthy hooves will make the spring transition much smoother when hoof growth picks up. If it's been six to eight weeks since your horse last saw the farrier, pick up the phone and schedule an appointment before riding begins in earnest.

Also watch for and treat these hoof conditions that can occur with wet spring weather:

Product Tip:  Did you know horses with nutritional deficiencies grow weaker, less flexible hooves? We're guessing you did! But you may not know that giving your horse a quality trace mineral supplement like Daily Red encourages healthier, stronger hooves so horses can manage anything from a quick lope around the arena to a demanding trail ride.

3.  Stock  up on Fly Protection for Horses

While spring abounds with happy things to look forward to, flies and mosquitoes aren't one of them. They carry disease, bacteria, and cause significant stress for horses—and you. Don’t wait for pests to be a problem around your barn. Gather fly gear and check its fit and condition now so it’s ready to use when your horse needs it. Also stock up on your preferred fly repellants and eliminators early. If you want more weapons to battle bugs, check out these additional fly-fighting strategies

Product Tip:  Searching for a natural option to reduce insects on your horse? Consider Redmond Rock Crushed with Garlic mineral salt. Garlic's pest-repelling power fights flies from the inside out and Crushed delivers 60+ minerals for better health.

4.  Create Your Events Calendar

If you’re riding competitively, make a list of all the shows and events you want to attend during the year and put them on your calendar. Think of it as a visual whiteboard to inspire and guide your success. It will help you map out training and logistics while keeping your goals literally in sight.

5.  Clean Horse Tack and Brushes

Spring is the time to tidy up the tack shed. And we’re not talking about a quick once-over, but a good, deep cleaning. Get your gear gleaming in a way you don’t have time for during the busy season. Also, don’t overlook things like brushes, which can harbor bacteria.

Here's a quick review on how to clean horse brushes so they're brisk and ready to care for the spring coat:

  1. Scrape a curry comb over bristles to remove dust and hair.
  2. Dunk brushes in soapy water with a splash of mouthwash added to disinfect and freshen.
  3. Agitate brushes then rinse thoroughly.
  4. Set out to dry in a warm, sunny place.

Product Tip:  Looking for the best tack products to clean and condition your seat and gear? Leather Therapy and Lexol are two we use and like!

how to clean horse tack and brushes6.  Wash Warm-Weather Blankets

You know how hard it is to get horse blankets washed when they’re in daily use. So grab a good book and take a trip to the laundromat for a mass cleaning. Take care to check tags first, though; you don't want to ruin a favorite blanket with the wrong washing method. Also, handy mesh bags are available to contain horsewear during cleaning. The bag protects your washer (or the laundromat's) from blanket buckles and keeps hair and gunk out of the machine.  

7.  Keep Riding Your Horse

An elite athlete doesn’t stop training during the off-season, and neither should your horse. Riding all winter prevents injury and keeps them physically fit for competition. Even if your horse is on vacation during cold months, they need exercise. Turn-outs may not be enough, so get them out and active. Here are 7 tips to help you ride safely during the winter and enjoy your time together. 

8.  Give Your Horse Minerals and Electrolytes

Dehydration is a year-round concern, but the worry jumps when you ramp up training and the thermometer climbs. On average, horses need 5 gallons of water per day for simple body maintenance. That's a baseline. If your horse is working hard in hot weather, water requirements can easily double or triple. Provide your horse a free-choice salt rock or mineral block, a daily loose mineral salt, and keep an electrolyte product on hand for extreme days of heat or hard exercise. The minerals will trigger thirst, help your horse drink more and stay consistently hydrated through summer.

Product Tip:  All-natural Redmond products like Redmond Rock on a Rope, Redmond Rock Crushed, and Redmond Electrolyte have 60+ trace minerals and equine electrolytes to improve health and get your horse's nose in the water bucket more often.

9.  Work on Body Condition Score

Now is the time to make tweaks that will improve your horse's body condition score (BCS) before competition. Does he need fattening up? Slimming? Work with a vet or equine trainer to formulate a plan to take you through the rest of the year.

Here are three factors Dr. Huntington recommends evaluating to tune up your horse's BCS as the spring season begins:

  • Are your equine athlete’s full nutritional requirements being met? With increased exercise, calories may need to increase as well. 
  • Is your athlete working too hard... or not enough? Ensure you're exercising your horse at the proper level to give him or her the best chance to stay injury-free. 
  • Is your horse truly fit and ready to travel? Discuss with your vet what supplements may help your equine athlete have the safest travel experience possible. 

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10.  Set Up a Chiropractic Visit

Having an equine chiropractor evaluate your horse before you bring them back to work will ensure their body is aligned correctly. Correct alignment prevents soreness and allows horses to carry themselves properly and use their bodies well. During the exam, the chiropractor will palpate your horse’s joints and check range of motion in the spine and legs, then make any adjustments. Many veterinarians are already certified in animal chiropractic, and yours may be as well. Give 'em a call to find out.

11.  Do  Truck & Trailer Maintenance

Clean and perform necessary maintenance on your ride so you’re ready to roll when it’s time. Spring is also a great time to perform annual horse trailer inspections. The weather’s nice and you’ll be using them more often in the coming months. Use this ten-point spring maintenance checklist to help you inspect important parts of your trailer.

Spring Into Action

Got a unique springtime task of your own? Add it to the list and get started! Horse needs vary, and you know best what your equine requires to head into the spring and summer season healthy.

At Redmond, we're here to help. We have natural horse supplements to improve your horse's health and help you keep doing the things you love year-round. Click below to explore our products and discover which may benefit your horse. 

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