So, I keep saying it and willing it to be true but Spring is definitely nearly here and that IS a good thing but it brings its own issues if you own horses! So, with that in mind here are a few things to be aware of NOW.
- Worms - now is the time to do your first egg count of the year. I did mine a couple of weeks ago and they all showed 'no eggs in sample' so none of them need worming:) I will be testing for tapeworm in a couple more weeks using the saliva test and am planning on using this on Tommy too this year - first time. I do find this test a bit time consuming but if it means not having to give them a wormer then that is a good thing.
- Sweet itch - in the last few days the weather has been warmer and I have noticed a few midges about. This is bad news if your horse or pony suffers from this nasty condition. Fidget suffered badly in the last few years but I found a good rug was the best way to ease his discomfort.
- Laminitis - as the lovely, tasty spring grass comes through this should be at the front of everyone's minds. Restrict access to the tasty, sugar filled new grass or your horse's health will suffer. Laminitis can strike horses and ponies alike so don't assume your horse is safe.
- Grass sickness - this horrific disease is nearly always fatal. Know the signs so that you can prevent your horse or pony suffering.
- Breathing problems - I also have to start watching Basil more carefully now. His RAO doesn't usually flare up until the end of May but as we haven't decided which pollen (or pollens) affect him I have to keep an eye on him.
- Poisonous plants - keep an eye out for these popping up in your field from now on, they seem to spring up overnight and make sure you deal with them in the correct way. Ragwort must be dug up and burnt.
- Fitness - many people start riding after the winter about now. I generally ride throughout the year, but if you don't, make sure you allow enough time to get your horse or pony fit before expecting them to go out for a 2 hour hack, complete a dressage test or go jumping.
- Joys of spring - watch out for your horse being full of the joys of spring. Many horses get an extra spring in their step at this time of year and can get a bit silly and more challenging to ride. Maybe have a lesson or two to help your confidence with this.
- Feeding - as the grass comes through and your horse's exercise pattern changes make sure you re-assess his feeding. Although he may be doing more work as the days get longer and drier he will also be getting more calories through improved grass. So, think before increasing his food. Make any changes gradually!
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Until next time!