22 Mar 2022

Signs That Your Horse is Healthy and Happy

You probably know your horse better than anyone else. Although your horse can’t talk, you’re likely the first to notice subtle behavioral changes or oncoming illnesses. However, sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint health problems in horses when you don’t know what to look for. Check out these signs that your horse is healthy and happy.

  1. Normal Vital Signs

If your horse is acting odd, the first thing you should do is check his vital signs. An animal’s temperature, pulse, and respiration rate (TPR) can be terrific indicators of health. For a foal less than one month of age, a normal temperature ranges from 100.0 to 102.0 degrees Fahrenheit. A normal temperature in an adult horse is 99.5 to 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, check your horse’s pulse rate. In foals, a normal pulse rate is between 60 and 80 beats per minute. In a newborn foal, it’s 80 to 100 beats per minute. In an adult horse, it’s between 32 and 36 beats per minute.

Finally, check the animal’s respiration rate. In a newborn foal, 60 to 80 breaths per minute is normal. In an older foal, the average is 20 to 40 breaths per minute. Adult horses have an average respiration rate of 8 to 12 breaths per minute. It is normal for a horse’s vital signs to be slightly elevated if the animal is excited or if it is a particularly hot or humid day.

  1. Appetite and Water Consumption

Pay close attention to how much your horse is eating and drinking. Horses often spend much of their day grazing and generally have a good appetite. Disinterest in food could mean that there is a problem.

Your horse should also drink a minimum of five gallons of water per day. In the fall when the temperature drops, you can expect your horse to drink slightly less. You can check to see if your horse is dehydrated by pinching the skin between the shoulder and the base of the neck. If well hydrated, the skin should snap back to normal within one to two seconds.

  1. Weight and Body Condition

It’s important to not allow your horse to become obese or too thin. Due to seasonal changes, this can be challenging and requires owners to adjust their diet as they gain or lose weight.

Next, check your horse’s overall body condition. You should not be able to visually see your horse’s ribs but you should be able to feel them when running your hand along the side of the body. The horse’s legs should be free of lumps and bumps, and his coat should be shiny. A dull coat can be a sign of a nutritional gap.

  1. Teeth and Gums

The condition of your horse’s mouth can tell you a lot about his health. It’s important to have your horse’s teeth examined and “floated” (rasped) at least once per year to prevent the development of sharp points from uneven wear. If your horse is showing signs of difficulty chewing or eating, speak with a vet.

Your horse’s gums should be moist and a salmon pink color. Gums that appear deep red, pale, purple, yellow, or are streaked with broken blood vessels could indicate a health condition.

  1. Energetic Behavior

Certain behaviors can clue you in as to how your horse is doing emotionally. Happy horses are often alert, have bright eyes, and show interest in their surroundings. If your horse appears grumpy, listless, or disinterested, it could be because he’s in pain or is unhappy for another reason.

Monitoring your horse for signs of problems is key to keeping him healthy and happy. Some horses may require extra support in the form of a supplement. Elite Equine offers a 100% rosehip supplement that helps horses maintain good joint health, aids in event recovery in performance horses, and supports the horse’s own anti-inflammatory processes and immune system.