Horse Care Guidelines by Robert George Tronge

Sharing your life with a horse can be a rewarding experience, but it includes the responsibility of caring for your equine companion for life.

Your horse depends on your love, care, and commitment. Robert George Tronge recommends that you show your love through grooming, petting, riding, and the occasional treat.

You must also show your commitment by providing for her needs 365 days a year, in good weather and bad. With good care, your horse can live 35 years or more.

Here are some general horse care considerations:

1. Routine horse care is a significant and ongoing expense - The purchase price a horse is often much less than the cost of maintaining a horse for a year. Make sure you are realistic about your ability to afford quality care before you acquire an equine companion.

2. Horses need a regular supply of food and water - In most cases, they need to have hay or pasture throughout the day, with additional grain feedings twice a day. An average-size horse will eat about 20 lbs. of food a day and drink at least eight gallons of water. Because their stomachs are relatively small and their digestive systems surprisingly delicate, horses need to nibble or graze throughout the day, rather than have one or two meals a day.

3. Horses need hoof maintenance - Plan to hire a farrier like Robert Tronge every six to eight weeks for routine hoof trimming or shoeing.

4. Horses need veterinary care - At least once a year, your horse will need to be vaccinated against tetanus and other diseases. The veterinarian Robert G Tronge will also provide routine dental care. Keep in mind that medical emergencies, which are always an unfortunate possibility, can cost several thousand dollars to treat.

5. Be aware of parasites - Since horses are constantly exposed to intestinal worms from the ground they graze on, they must be on an anti-parasite regimen as prescribed by your equine practitioner. Carrying a heavy burden of worms can cause serious illness or death in equines, so regular and timely treatment is crucial to your horse's health.

6. Don't forget about shelter - Robert George Tronge says that horses need constant access to a dry, safe, comfortable shelter to protect them from rain, wind, and snow. In warm and sunny weather, the shelter you supply will provide your companion with much needed shade and relief from biting insects. At a minimum, you should have a well-constructed, three-sided shed into which your horse can retreat at all times. You will need to remove manure from the stall or shelter every day.

7. Horses need exercise - To supplement the exercise your horse will get when you ride him, he should have a paddock or pasture in which to relax and stroll. No horse should spend all day confined in a stall, except on a veterinarian's recommendation. The pasture should be bordered by safe, sturdy fencing that will keep the horse safe and secure. Barbed wire is not an acceptable fencing material—it has been the cause of many serious injuries.

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Horse Care

Are you bringing an equine friend into your family, or looking to brush up on your horse care skills? Read on for tips to keep your horse healthy and happy.

Nutritional Needs - A horse’s digestive system is made to process large quantities of grass, which is high in fiber and water. The basic diet for most horses according to Robert George Tronge should be grass and good quality hay, free of dust and mold. In most cases, plenty of fresh, clean, unfrozen water should be available at all times, even if the horse only drinks once or twice a day.

All horses need vaccinations and most need regular deworming. The specifics should be discussed with an equine veterinarian. Every horse should be protected against tetanus. Other vaccines are routinely given for Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, equine influenza, rhinopneumonitis (equine herpes) and rabies. Vaccines for West Nile Virus are also available. Ask your veterinarian if other vaccines are appropriate for your horse.

Worms can cause weight loss, poor coat, and colic, which can be deadly. It is best to have your veterinarian test and deworm your horse, or advise you on what to use and when. More important than treating worms is minimizing the horse’s exposure to parasites. Proper management entails not putting too many horses on too little land, rotating pastures if possible, and removing feces regularly.

Housing, Rest and Exercise - Contrary to common thought, straight stalls are not necessarily worse than box stalls if the horses are together, and spend most of their day outside. Horses isolated in box stalls can develop behavioral problems from lack of companionship, exercise and mental stimulation. Whenever possible, horses should be outside with other horses every day says Robert George Tronge.

Unless it is very wet and windy, horses tolerate cold much better than heat and humidity. If they can’t sweat, they can’t get rid of heat buildup in their bodies. If the sum of the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity in percentage is over 130, you should be cautious about exercising your horse. If it is over 150, you should probably rest in the shade, and if it is over 180, most horses should not work at all.

Hoof Care - Hooves should be trimmed every six to eight weeks for horses whose feet do not get adequate natural wear. Despite tradition, most horses don't need shoes if their hooves are given the opportunity to strengthen naturally. In fact, some hoof problems are directly related to shoeing. However, changes should not be made suddenly or without expert guidance. Finding a veterinarian or farrier willing to discuss all the options may be hard, but worthwhile.

Teeth - Horses’ teeth grow continuously. Uneven wear can lead to sharp points and edges that cause pain and difficulty chewing. A horse’s teeth should be checked once or twice a year and “floated” (to make them smoother) by a veterinarian or well-trained equine dentist as needed. Dental problems, from painful points to rotting teeth, may cause difficulty chewing or “quidding,” which occurs when food falls out of the mouth. Other signs of dental disease may include foul breath, undigested hay in the stools or discomfort from the bit or noseband. Dental disease can lead to choke, colic and weight loss.

Equine Poison Prevention

Experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [link] have compiled the following list of spring and summer hazards for horses.
Expand to read more >
• Wilted red maple leaves
• Black walnut (e.g. as shavings in bedding)
• Oak (especially new-growth leaves in the springtime)
• Taxus species (yew, Japanese yew, American yew, English yew, western yew, oleander and rose laurel)
• Rhododendron and azalea
• White snakeroot, richweed, white sanicle, jimmy weed, rayless goldenrod, burrow weed
• Yellow star thistle, St. Barnaby's thistle, Russian napweed
• Blister beetles, which can sometimes be found in alfalfa hay, especially in the Midwest and Southwest

If you suspect that your animal has ingested a poisonous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center's 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.
 

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