Horses 101: Annual Vet Checks

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Well, this past week we completed our annual vet check, and we were grateful to have all of our winter staff members there to help!  While Jeannie works full time with the horses throughout the winter, we also had our part time wrangler Andrea, our maintenance guys: Jim, Rob, and Matt; our chef Lauren, our office manager Jody, and finally our ranch manager Cory up at Challenge Course Pasture helping to catch each and every horse for their annual worming, vaccination, and routine check.

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Jeannie and Andrea

When you have a herd of 80+ horses, vet checks are extremely important!   Vetting each individual horse is crucial, especially with a busy summer season approaching, as a healthy horse means a happy horse; and of course a content horse means happy guests and staff members! You may wonder, what are some key aspects that you look for when checking the health of 80 horses?

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Jody, Dr. Walker, Lauren, and Toni, Doc’s vet technician

Teeth! If you aren’t well acquainted with horse biology, then you might not know that just like humans, teeth are extremely important to the health of a horse, and their teeth need maintaining much like a human needs a dentist.  A horse’s front teeth cut their food, mainly grass or hay, while their molars do the grinding, this should sound familiar, except for the whole eating grass and hay bit.

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Rob and Magic

 This being the case, the teeth of a horse must be aligned well in order to properly digest their food.  Here at Red Horse we feed our herd roughly a 70/30 mix of grass/alfalfa, generally a mild feed that allows them to get the nutrients they need.  When a horse has trouble digesting their hay because of teeth alignment issues, this can lead to health problems such as colic, which can be potentially fatal to a horse. For this reason we keep a close eye on their health on a regular basis, and this also makes our extensive annual vet checks that much more important.

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Jim and Fancy

 If a horses teeth arent aligned and they are having health issues as a result, their teeth need to be ‘floated’, which basically means smoothing out their teeth with a file. While a horse will have its set of adult teeth by age 5,  the growth of their teeth is continuous, which generally causes the alignment issues. Any signs of abnormal eating behavior or discomfort are good indicators that they need some attention! Here at Red Horse we consistently check each individual horse for mouth issues and float their teeth as needed.  Preventing health problems keeps our horses happy!

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Dr. Walker, Matt, and Tonka