“On the first day of Christmas, give your horse your attention. Whether it is a good brushing or just a scratch in the ‘oh so favorite’ spot, your beloved friend will appreciate your time.
On the second day of Christmas, give your horse a safe barn and pasture. Check electrical wiring in the barn. Look for loose boards, nails and screw eyes that can be a source of injury. Check fencing for loose boards, posts and wires. Make sure all feed storage containers are clean and secure. Clever horses and ponies can open and unlatch doors and containers. Check your fire extinguisher. While you’re at it, check the trailer and the hitch on your vehicle.
On the third day of Christmas, schedule a visit with your veterinarian for a health checkup and suggestions for maintaining the well-being of your horse. While you’re at it, visit your physician for your own health checkup to be sure the entire family is healthy.
On the fourth day of Christmas, make your horse a warm mash. Some folks like to use wheat bran; however, rolled oats or beet pulp can also make a good base. Carrots, molasses, apples and applesauce make flavorful additions.
On the fifth day of Christmas, talk with your veterinarian about your parasite control program. Your veterinarian may recommend a fecal exam to determine the parasite load in your horse.
On the sixth day of Christmas, visit an equine therapy organization. We already know that horses are good for people. Find out what you can do to support your local organizations.
On the seventh day of Christmas, create an emergency response plan for your horses. Because of their size and specific transportation needs, horses require extra consideration for disasters. Consider your options for identification such as a tattoo, microchip, brand or bridle tags. Visit the AAEP website for Emergency Disaster and Preparedness Guidelines.*
On the eighth day of Christmas, visit the University of Guelph website for a bio security assessment of your facility. This tool provides information on equine health, infectious disease and infectious disease control.
On the ninth day of Christmas, buy your horse a ball. Many horses will amuse themselves in the stall or pasture with a ball. Some horses prefer the ones with a handle.
On the 10th day of Christmas, get your horse a slow feeder for grain or hay. The slow feeder makes mealtime more stimulating. Slow feeding keeps the horse amused for longer periods of time and encourages healthy digestion. Many ideas are available on the Internet for homemade slow feeders.
On the 11th day of Christmas, wash that saddle pad or blanket. You may even need to replace the saddle pad or blanket. Remember the blanket or pad helps to protect the horse’s back, which is critical for their comfort.
On the 12th day of Christmas, go through your veterinary medicine cabinet and toss expired and contaminated medications. Using expired or contaminated medications can do more harm than good. If you like to keep a dose of pain relief on hand, check with your veterinarian for the best product for your needs.”
Veterinary Viewpoints is provided by the faculty of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital. Certified by the American Animal Hospital Association, the hospital is open to the public providing routine and specialized care for all species and 24-hour emergency care, 365 days a year.
CVEWC wishes to inform our readership that the AAEP mentioned in Dr. Geidt’s post, does not oppose horse slaughter. We suggest two good alternative Canadian sites for disaster preparedness are the Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team and Pet Safe Coalition of Canada Society.