I think it is safe to say that just about all of us want our horses to be healthy. There are a lot of products out today, good products that we can use to help maintain our hoofed friends health. Everything from shampoos to vitamins, and even pest control (internal & external). Although nothing beats a good veterinarian, horse health care products can be cheaper, and are just as effective at solving minor issues. In this article I am going to discuss some of the various ways you can take care of your horses everyday needs without calling in the big guns.
Lets start with the basics, shampoos / washes. There are many, many types of horse washes out today. Everything from hypoallergenic, all natural / organic, sensitive skin, and so on. Pretty much any kind you can find for humans you can also find for horses. One popular brand named Mane ‘N Tail was originally created for horses, but is often used by people. It is said to make hair softer, healthier, and promote growth. Other good brands include:
- Farnam Vetrolin
- Pet MD Medicated
- Calm Coat Hypoallergenic
- Mane ‘N Tail
- WARHORSE Natural
As well as many, many more. This is just to scratch the surface.
Hoof care may be one of the most important parts of the external care of your horses. Horses rely heavily on their hooves maybe even more than we do on our feet, as improper care, or problems with hooves can mean the difference in life, or death. Also, having to seek treatment for problems with hooves can be very costly, so prevention is the best option for health, and finances.
There are a plethora of informational books out there on horse hoof care, and horse health care products in general for that matter. Caring for a horses feet may seem like a daunting task, but is generally fairly easy. You should start foals out young though to try, and ready them, and prevent having to handle a stubborn, unaccustomed adult horse. Several of these books are:
- The Essential Hoof Book: The Complete Modern Guide to Horse Feet by Susan Kauffmann
- Horse Trimming Made Simple by Dennis Cappel
- Hoof Care For Horses by Henry Heymering C.J.F. R.M.F.
- Millwater’s Farriery: The Illistrated Dictionary of Horseshoeing and Hoofcare by Dave Millwater
I recommend keeping a log book of this information, and every time you perform any care to your horses just in case you ever need this exact information.
Now we will talk about tools. There of course are all kinds of tools, and tool kits available for hoof care. I personally love the kits, and you can often find them cheaper than buying the items separate. The tools you will generally need are:
- A stand. Now this is optional. You can always rest the hoof on your knee, or something else, but these are made specifically for this task, and can come in very handy especially for comfort. Tough-1, HoofJack, and Hoof-it make some pretty good stands.
- Hoof oils, and conditioners: These come in many different forms, but are best used every other day during the summer to maintain hoof health, and prevent cracking. Some good brands of these are Farnam (deep penetrating), Absorbine Hooflex, SOUND, Fiebing’s, and Farriers’ Fix.
- Shoes: Check horse shoes every day
- Pick: A good hoof pick is an important thing. It is best to pick your horses hooves out every day to help clear rocks, and debris. A few brands I recommend are: Ultimate Hoofpick, Wahl, Tough-1, and Intrepid International.
- Rasp: A rasp is used to file down your horses hooves which are essentially giant toe nails, and a rasp is a giant toe nail file. Tough-1, Southwestern Equine, Heller, and ProRider are a few good brands.
- Hoof Nipper: Where the rasp is the nail file, the nipper are the nail clippers. They help to trim away excess nail from the hoof. JT International, Tough-1, and Southwestern Equine sell some great hoof nippers.
- Knife: There is also a small tool some call just a knife. It looks kind of like a knife, but is used to shave away some of the nail. Southwestern Equine, Tough-1, and JT International also sell great knives.
Now if you want to purchase these all in a kit then Tractor Supply, Southwestern Equine, ProRider, and JT International sell nice kits that usually come with a carry case, and all.
Combs & Brushes
Combs are a pretty self-explanatory item. I recommend brushing your horse after every ride, and any time you feel it is necessary in between. You can brush your horses to remove dirt between washes, scratch those hard to reach places to help your buddy out, or just to bond with your horse. I enjoy it, and find it relaxing.
Keeping your hoofed friend worm, and pest free can be fairly simple, but is a very important part of care. Worms are a problem for any animals, and can cause digestive issues, and trouble with appetite. A worm problem left untreated can even lead to your pet not getting enough nutrients, and essentially starving.
External pests are also a major problem for horses. They can lead to infections, and diseases carried in by the pests, or obtained after from wounds. It can also cause skin problems, open sores, and not to mention all the discomfort. These pests include: Flies, ticks, lice, horse-flies, mosquitoes, bot flies, and many others depending on your location. All of these mean bad news for your horse. Some of the best horse dewormers, and pest control medications on the market today are:
- Farnam has all kinds of pest control from wormer to external pest.
- Durvet Dewormer
- Pfizer Feed Fly Preventative
Just to name a small portion
Horse vitamins serve basically the same purpose that human vitamins do, and come in all different types, and needs. Everything from every day supplements, joint protection, and health, senior horse supplements, and any need you can imagine they have a vitamin for it. Some of my favorite brands are:
- Farnam: This brand really does it all.
- Animed MSM
- Horse Gaurd
Always research vitamins, and choose what’s right for your horse.
Who does not like a good sweet treat every once in a while, or when we do something good? I know I do. Your horse will love them too. Other than the basic apples, and fruits I like to feed to horses you can also find good, nutritional, healthy treats out on the horse market.
Not all horse treats out there are good for your horse though, so like anything do your research before choosing. I have done some of the research for you, and here are some of the best ones that do not cost an arm, and a leg as well.
- Purina Nicker Makers Horse Treats, all Purina Horse Treats: I have always loved Purina brand foods in general for all my pets. They are made with good ingredients, and decently priced.
- Sweet Farm Natural Horse Treats: An all natural treat
- Omega Nibblers Low Sugar & Starch: Pretty self-explanatory what these are all about.
- Manna Pro: Comes in all kinds of varieties for all your horses needs
Throw in a nice salt lick for extra benefits.
Choosing the right feed will make the difference between a happy horse, and a colicky horse. I recommend choosing a feed, and feeding only one new feed at a time to make sure if any reactions occur that you will know which feed caused the problems. Also, when switching from one food to another, unless there is a major problem with the previous food introduce the new food by adding small amount of the new food to the old food, and gradually increasing the percentage of new food until only the new food is left. This will help reduce the chances of rejection. Always pay very close attention to your horses diet, and dieting needs. Some of the foods I prefer are:
- Purina: Always a favorite of mine.
- Farnam: Comes in all diet needs, and made from good ingredients.
- Manna Pro: Also comes in all diet needs, and made from good ingredients.
- Total Feeds Total Equine: Very good feed, a tad bit more expensive.
I hope that this article helps you even just a little in your search for horse health care products. These products are an important part of horse ownership, and every horse deserves to have the best, of the best, of the best in every aspect of their lives, and so do you! Do not hesitate to comment below, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, or research requests. Thank y’all & take care!