Tips for Fitting Horse Care into a Busy Schedule
Sometimes work or holidays can throw off our routines, and thus, those of our horses. Despite being creatures of habit, horses are adaptable within reason. The list below explains what’s reasonable and when should you exercise caution when altering your feeding and management routine.
- Feed at the same time
- Reasonable: Feeding an hour earlier or later should not be an issue with most horses.
- CAUTION: Being 3-4 hours late can be an issue especially if they are meal fed and do not have hay available between meals. Slow hay feeders can extend hay consumption during the day, thus minimizing the “empty-stomach” time.
- Daily turn-out
- Reasonable: Shortening the turn-out time is reasonable. During the initial turn-out, horses will usually explore the area and connect with nearby stablemates to satisfy their social thirst.
- Clean the stalls daily
- Reasonable: Mucking only the obvious solid and liquid waste is okay for one day only.
- CAUTION: …but the next day you may need a “total clean-out” which often requires more work than if you had not skipped a day. The message here is that there is no break from stall cleaning.
- Daily inspection: Look for any changes with food/water consumed, frequency and score of feces, frequency/consistency in urine deposits.
- There are no shortcuts with inspections. Even with a busy schedule it’s just not worth overlooking this management tip.
- Check water buckets, water troughs, and automatic water bowls daily
- Another no shortcut. Water is the most important daily nutrient and cannot be overlooked. The ideal water temperature is 50° – 65° F. Animals will drink less if the water temperature is too cold.
Horses are a job and not just a hobby on the side. While there are some shortcuts that can be taken when necessary, consistency is the key to proper equine management.