We spend a lot of time looking for things that are wrong with our animals, be they dogs, cats, or horses. What about the indicators that you’re doing a good job and your horse is happy and healthy? We’ve compiled a list of things that will indicate that your horse is in great health and you’re doing an awesome job. Let’s take a look at the list!
TPR is good - Temperature, Pulse and Respiration. You should know what is a normal range for each of these things. You should be able to check them on your own and determine how well your horse is at all times.
a) A normal temperature of a horse is 98.9-degrees Fahrenheit to 100.9-degrees Fahrenheit
• You must take his temperature rectally.
b) Pulse is good - A normal heartbeat is between 28 and 44 beats per minute.
• Listen to his heart just behind his elbow at the girth.
c) Respirations are good - Normal breathing rate is 10-24 per minute.
• You can count as you watch his flank raise up and fall down or you can listen to his trachea with your stethoscope.
Salmon Pink gums - His gums should be bright pink, salmon-colored. If his gums are too pale or too bright, or even another color, he needs to see a veterinarian pronto.
Capillary Refill - This is when you push on their gums and the spot goes pale white. It should take two seconds or less for the salmon pink color to return. This indicates that he has good blood flow in his body.
Stools - Are his droppings well-formed without being too hard or too soft? This is an indicator of many things. Always check their stool for consistency. There should be no mucous, no chunks of undigested food, and free of any odd colors besides the normal brown paste color.
Eyes - Besides being the window to his soul, his eyes should be bright and clear without discharge.
Legs - Feel his legs each and every day. Learn what is normal for him. If he has an injury, you will feel it. You’ll be able to feel old injuries too. Learn what is normal for him so that you’ll know at the first sign anything is off.
Hooves - The health of his hooves is enormously important. Are they dry, split, spreading? Does he hold a foot up off the ground? Have a close look. Is the frog thick as it should be? Do his hooves need to be picked? Check the hoof health daily and watch carefully for any signs that he is having issues with his diet or his health. It often shows in the hooves first.
Hydration - Is your horse well-hydrated? He’s a big animal and requires a lot of water each day. Your horse may easily drink several gallons of water per day. Make sure he has adequate access each day and check him for hydration. Pinch his skin at the top of his shoulders. It should be elastic and go right back to flat. If the skin stays dented, he’s dehydrated.
Gut Check - How does his gut sound? You should hear gurgling sounds, roars, and sounds of action happening. If there is no sound at all and your horse is acting colicky, you’ve got a problem. You’ll need to tube him or call a vet who can. Colicky horses can go down and it is a very threatening situation. Address it immediately.
Looking Good - What is his overall condition? Is the horse shiny with a glistening coat? Does he move well? Behaviorally is he sound? You’ll want to get familiar with what is normal for horses and know what is the baseline for your horse. You should have a good grasp on how he looks when he’s healthy. This will help you know at a glance that you need to do further checking.
It takes a small amount of your time to learn how to properly care for your horse but it’s worth knowing at a glance when he needs your assistance. Horses are noble creatures, worthy of our love and care.