Your horse's health is your responsibility. No if's, no but's, it is completely and entirely down to you to ensure that your horse is well. There are many factors that you have to be aware of when you care for any animal. Generally speaking, animal behaviour and development should always conform to a certain course and your horse is no different. As a horse owner you have to be confident that you are checking for the right things and taking action to rectify problems that may go wrong before they become an issue.
You must make sure that you are doing whatever is necessary to ensure that your horse is growing healthily, and being brought on in a way that gives him everything he needs to develop into the best horse he can be. You have to pay close attention to your horse as he develops There are many things that can go wrong and he can't tell you. You need to know him well enough to spot them. If you haven't owned a horse before, you should get some suitable books and read up on them, then spend some time at your local stables talking to the people who care for the horses, rather than just going for a ride, talk to other horse owners and to your vet. Find out what you need to look for, make yourself familiar with the common problems. If you don't know what to watch for, you might not be able to recognise the symptoms.
Your horse's weight is always a good indicator of how healthy he is. There are many different breeds of horse, and they differ in size within the breed, but when you own a horse, you should find out from your vet some idea of the ideal weight, If you suspect your horse may have a problem, check his weight. Even if you don't have any concerns it does no harm to weigh him regularly and make a note of any fluctuations. You will spot dramatic changes quite easily but a steady decline might only show up with a regular 'weigh in'. If your horse loses a lot of weight in a week or so, it is a fair indicator that something is wrong, and you must contact your Vet immediately.
With most animals, and horses are no exception, sicknesses can develop in no time, and they can become too ill to save almost before you have noticed that anything is amiss. Even a small weight change over a short period can indicate a problem before it is full blown, especially if his eating habits change. If your horse is being weighed on a regular basis, you will be able to tell if there's a problem relatively quickly. If you can weigh your horse on a regular basis, you are going to have a very much better chance of spotting anything that goes wrong which, in an extreme case, could save your horse's life. Most good stables have a scale, if you stable your horse at home speak to the owners of the local stables and arrange to use theirs. Failing that you can always use a public weighbridge, it's not ideal but it's better than nothing.
This is a very simple precaution but it will contribute to the well being of your horse with little effort on your part, and you should have many happy years of riding out together.
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