Franklin Vets Blog

Keeping your sport horse in tip-top shape

November 20, 2019

The weather is getting warmer and we’re excited that everyone is getting more riding time in. Here are a few tips to keep your sport horse in tip-top shape throughout the season. sport horse dressage

Nutrition

Check what supplements you are feeding your horse. Make sure you aren’t doubling up on anything as feeding too much of certain minerals may be bad for your horse. A blood test can be performed for certain minerals such as selenium, as too low or too high amounts of selenium can cause your horse to be muscle sore, grumpy, or have skin issues.

Joint supplements

We often get the question of whether a joint supplement can help. Even if your horse is young and has not had any previous problems, a joint supplement can still be beneficial to him or her as it helps keep their joints healthy. Your vet can also perform a soundness exam, which includes flexions to pinpoint if any particular joint is at risk of bothering your horse and help you with a personalized plan that can help prevent future lameness problems.

Saddle fit

Your horse’s topline can change shape drastically from the start of the season to the end of the season, especially if they have only been in light work over the winter or have had the winter off. Make sure to get your saddle fit checked by a qualified saddle fitter once your horse is in performance condition.

Dentistry

It is important to get your horse’s teeth checked at least once a year by a qualified professional. A complete oral exam with mirrors is necessary to spot minor details that might be causing your horse pain. Dropping feed or chewing funny are not the only signs that your horse might be due for some dental work. Other signs that your horse might have a dental problem include reluctance to collect or go forward under saddle, or headshaking. equine dentistry with vet

Vaccines

It is important to make sure your horse is up to date on vaccines if you are going out showing, or if your horse is in close contact with others (e.g. Pony club, forestry rides, hunts, etc).

Deworming

The current deworming recommendation is to perform a faecal egg count on your horse prior to deworming instead of worming your horse on a regular schedule. This helps identify and prevent worm resistance to drench product and can help with forming an individualized worming plan for your horses. Horses don’t always look “wormy” when they are “due” and often horses with high worm burden don’t show outward signs of it.

Fitness

Take time to warm your horse up at the walk and trot before doing any fast work or jumping to prevent damage to your horse’s tendon and ligaments. If your horse has been in work for a while and seems to be having trouble with fitness, consider scheduling a check-up with your vet as certain heart and lung conditions can affect your horse’s fitness and staying power without showing any outward signs.

Dr Melissa Sim DVM