Sue’s standpoint – guide to owning your first horse

By Sue Palmer

I recently visited a lady who had fulfilled her childhood dream and bought her own horse.  It is not an uncommon situation for a first-horse owner to keep their horse at home, with no clear advice on what needs to be done for the health and well-being of that horse, so I thought I’d start a list, and I’m hoping you can help by adding more in the comments.  I’ve listed things under ‘Must have’ and ‘Nice to have’, and I welcome your thoughts!  I’ve grown up with horses, so owning a horse to me is second nature.  However, I remember bringing my baby boy home from the hospital, and knowing full well that I didn’t know where to start, I was well and truly in ‘conscious incompetence’!  I’m guessing that it’s similar for the first-time owner bringing their precious new horse home, and so I’m looking for kind hearted advice given with the best of intentions 🙂  You can find the websites of recognised organisations in each of the relevant fields here: https://www.thehorsephysio.co.uk/BPT/Links/

 

Must have

Take an experienced friend or an instructor with you to view the horse

Appropriate stabling and turnout

Have your horse registered with a local vet

Worming program, such as with Intelligent Worming

Saddle fit check (even if it’s been done recently)

Dental check (or plan in place)

Appropriate farriery (follow your farrier’s advice, rather than your next door neighbours)

Company of some kind for your horse

Third party insurance, such as that offered by membership of the British Horse Society

Appropriate and safe protective clothing for yourself

 

Nice to have

Have the horse vetted before purchase

Regular lessons, both on the ground and ridden

Access to hacking as well as an arena

Maintenance physical therapy

Attend British Horse Society horse owners courses to develop your knowledge

Learn about horse behaviour with an organisation such as the Intelligent Horsemanship Association

Read, listen, watch as much as you can about horse health and behaviour

 

What other pieces of advice would you like to pass on? Add them to the comments below!

Routine / maintenance equine physiotherapy – your thoughts?

By Sue Palmer

A paper has recently been published in Equine Veterinary Education, by ACPAT Chartered Physiotherapist Gillian Tabor. Routine equine physio (and for that matter, routine physio for people!) is something I’m passionate about, as anyone who has heard me on my ‘soap box’ will know! I’m so, so pleased to see this subject being brought to the forefront in the scientific field, and I really hope this encourages the lay person to consider whether or not this would be something their horse (or themselves!) would benefit from. And please don’t let me hear the “I spend all my money looking after my horse and there’s none left for looking after myself”, I hear it every day – you’ve only got one body, and there’s only you who’s going to look after it! Well done Gillian, and thank you!

The abstract doesn’t appear to be available online, but Gillian has given us permission to share it (see below). For the full article, you must have a login to Equine Veterinary Education, or you can purchase it through this link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/eve.12940

Abstract:
“Equine physiotherapists work within the team of professionals supporting horses at both the national and international level of competition. In the non-elite equine population, physiotherapists are also commonly involved in the management of musculoskeletal injuries in partnership with the veterinary surgeon, as well as advising owners on regular assessment and treatment schedules for their horses. Routine or maintenance physiotherapy has yet to be defined fully for the management of horses but translation from human rehabilitation would suggest the aims are to prevent objectively measureable deterioration in a patient’s quality of life and or to optimise the patients’ functional capacity. For a horse in full work, demands on the musculoskeletal system may predispose the horse to minor tissue injury that left unchecked, could affect quality of life, welfare and performance capacity. Therefore routine physiotherapy might be indicated to manage these issues. To support the increasing demands of equine clients to manage their horse’s health and welfare, as well as supporting rehabilitation cases, a close working relationship between the veterinary surgeon and physiotherapist can be recommended.”

To find your local ACPAT Chartered Physiotherapist visit www.acpat.co.uk.
To find your local Registered Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioner visit www.rampregister.org