How to Know What Is Normal for a Horse

Are you concerned about your horse's health? This will tell you how to check things such as breathing (normal breathing) and heart rate, so that you can make sure your horse is fine.


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    Check the heart rate. This can be checked by placing the hand under the left elbow. Count the beats for 10 seconds then multiply the beats by 6. That will tell you the heart rate per minute. A normal heart rate is 35-40 beats per minute.
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    Check the temperature. A normal temperature is approximately 100.5 F (38 C). If it gets over 102 F (39 C), it can indicate that the horse has an infection.
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    Watch carefully if your horse is laying down. This can be normal, but make sure it is not rolling around in abnormal ways, nipping his/her side or biting his/her side. A horse lying down for a long time may be ill, but ponies lie longer than horses.
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    Remember that it is not uncommon for a horse to get colic. If a horse eats freshly mowed grass, it can get colic. If you suspect this, make sure this is treated right away.
    • A runny nose can be due to allergies or just sweat.
    • A healthy horse should take between 8-12 breaths per minute and its pulse should be between 36 and 42 beats per minute.


  • Remember to observe your horse daily. If he/she is energetic all the time, and then suddenly is not, chances are your horse is sick.
  • Always check to see if tack is fitted properly. If your tack is ill fitting, it can often cause discomfort and injuries.
  • A way to know when your horse is rolling always remember the old cowboys saying that if after they roll they stand up and shake all the dust off.. most likely if they roll and don't shake off dust and they lower their heads or turn around and look or bite at their stomachs they ARE colicky and your vet should be contacted and you should keep the horse on its feet and walking around.
  • Feel your horses legs to see if they are warm. If they are, there may be swelling, or something else hurting your horse going on.
  • Obviously any part of the horse that does not look like it should be that way means that there is a problem.
    • Example - Runny nose, Large cuts, odd joint angles, abnormal mental behavior, weak and shivering.
  • If a horse hurts its leg and it is swelling, you can then soak it in Epsom salts. Then wrap it and contact a vet.


  • A sore horse is most likely not too keen on you touching her. Be aware for any sign of resistance.
  • Watch out for flinching in the back. That means a horse has a sore back. If you keep touching it, the horse may kick you.
  • If you are noticing anything bad, you must immediately contact a vet.

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Categories: Horse Health