By Sue Palmer
OK, so I missed it (5th to 9th March), but it’s such an important subject that I decided to write on it anyway! I just found out from the Equestrian Trade News newsletter that last week was ‘Horse Health Week’, with the focus on preventative health care.
The info from the newsletter (sign up for free here: http://equestriantradenews.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a61a890d406a342696b756336&id=db61b01115 – feel free to put ‘Understanding Horse Performance’ or ‘Horse Massage for Horse Owners’ in the ‘Products you’d like to see in ETN’!) says:
Horse owners urged “to shout loud and proud about how they are doing the best for their horses.”
Horse Health Week returns today as part of MSD Animal Health’s Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy (KBHH) campaign.
The week-long event (5 – 9 March) focuses on encouraging horse owners and vets to advocate preventive healthcare measures.
Vicki Farr, MSD Animal Health’s equine veterinary adviser says: “Being proactive and working with your vet on steps to protect your horse against illness is the best way to keep them healthy and happy.
“Horse Health Week is a chance for horse owners to shout loud and proud about how they are ‘doing the best for my horse’.”
There’s a range of resources available on the KBHH website (www.healthyhorses.co.uk) and social media channels, including ‘yard card’ checklists, animations demonstrating the benefits of a proactive approach to healthcare, and horse health booklets.
A social media competition invites owners to upload photos of themselves ‘doing the best for my horse’.
“The photo is open to owners’ interpretation and can be anything from worming to vaccinating or simply checking their horse’s teeth,” added Ms Farr.
One of the key points of ‘Brain, Pain or Training’ (https://www.ethicalhorseproducts.co.uk/Books/BPT/) is preventative health care. We provide a free record sheet here (https://www.thehorsephysio.co.uk/BPT/page-4/, click on ‘BPT Bonus’) for you to note down your findings on the ten practical exercises in the chapter ‘Does your horse score 10/10 for comfort?’ on a regular basis. The message repeated again and again by the 27 guest contributors is ‘have a good team around you who know your horse, and whose opinions you trust and respect’. The Orscana available from Ethical Horse Products (https://www.ethicalhorseproducts.co.uk/Orscana/) is great for learning what’s ‘normal’ for your horse in terms not only of temperature, but also of how much time he spends lying down, standing relaxed, or agitated each night. Only by knowing what’s ‘normal’ can we spot what’s not ‘normal’, and the more objective rather than subjective information we can gather (i.e. accurate data rather than what we think is happening) using technology such as the Orscana, the earlier we can pick up potential problems and the quicker we can address them, which of course in turn leads to a greater chance of a full recovery.
What’s your top tip for ‘prevention rather than cure’ in relation to either yourself or your horse?
As a horse owner who wants to do the best for their horse, join others at Ethical Horsemanship Association today.