How to Make a Horse Happy and Healthy

Even a well looked after horse may develop a health problem at some stage. This might be a mental problem, caused by the boredom or frustration of living in a stable, or a physical problem such as having colic or developing laminitis. Fortunately, most health problems can be treated effectively if they're noticed early enough and treated early.


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    Know what to look for. Stable life is unnatural for horses, and some can find it very frustrating. This can lead to bad-mannered, grumpy behaviour, such as nipping, kicking or barging into people. This needs very firm handling. You should say " No!" and slap the horse on the neck. Never slap his neck or he will be nervous and "head-shy".
    • Stress and boredom can cause bad habits know as "vices". Common ones are weaving, when he swing his head to and fro, crib biting, when he constantly nibbles things and wind sucking, when he sucks air into his stomach.
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    Deal with the vices. Vices can be difficult to cure if they are not spotted early, so it's best to work on prevention rather than cure. The best way to do this is to turn a horse out as much as possible and feed him plenty of hay so he doesn't have time to be bored and frustrated.
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    If a horse begins to develop a vice, you can take practical steps to discourage it. If he starts crib biting, you can paint his door with a nasty tasting anti-chew fluid. If he starts weaving, you can fit a grille to his stable door, which makes it difficult to swing his head.
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    Learn how to deal with the various problems.
    • There are special collars that fasten round your horses neck for wind suckers, that stop him from swallowing air.
    • Common health problems- Colic, laminitis and mud fever are fairly common problems to watch out for.
      • Colic simply means stomach ache. A horse with colic is restless, and may sweat slightly. He may try to kick at his belly, paw the ground or try to roll.
      • Mud fever is when a horse's heels become inflamed and cracked. It is usually caused by standing in wet dirt and mud.
      • Laminitis is

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of a horse's feet, caused by eating too much rich grass. His feet feel hot and he tries to lean back to ease the pain.

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    Carry out a daily health check. You will need to check for signs of injury or illness everyday. Run a hand over his body, particularly down his legs. He will shake or flinch if it hurts. Look for cuts and feel for heat or swellings. If he is not feeling well, his ears will feel cold, he will hold his tail low and his coat will feel rough. If he is in pain, he will be restless, pawing the ground. The whites of his eyes may show and he may sweat. Check that his eyes are clear, without a runny discharge. Check that he can eat without dribbling. Check his hooves. Are they clanking on the path?
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    Always call a vet if you are unsure about how to diagnose it and cure it. This is important for Colic and Laminitis, which need special medication.


  • Treat the horse nice if you want him to treat you nice.
  • Crib-biting is a sign of boredom
  • You can encourage a horse to behave and develop good manners by spending time with him.


  • Be prepared for leaving your horse at the vets.
  • If you're unsure, call a vet.
  • Also, learn about other uncommon problems.

Article Info

Categories: Horse Care