Horse Care Tips

Read these 79 Horse Care Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Horse tips and hundreds of other topics.

Horse Care Tips has been rated 3.2 out of 5 based on 2652 ratings and 3 user reviews.
What is the function/benefit of the Endocrine system in the horse?

The Endocrine System Function

The Endocrine or Hormonal System influences the growth, ageing, metabolism (chemical activity within the body), natural immunity and the activity of involuntary muscles such as the heart/lungs/kidneys. The Endocrine System plays a vital part in the reproductive systems in both Stallions and Mares.

The horse has absolutely no control over the release of hormones into his system.

What are the functions of the horse´s skin?

The Skin Functions

The skin is tough and elastic. The Skin is a sensory organ. The Skin will vary in thickness in different areas of the body according to rhe need for protection. Skin should always feel supple and should move freely over the structure in which it covers.

The outer layer of skin (epidermis) is constantly dying and changing, and being replaced by new cells. The dead cells is the reason being why we groom horses regularly.

Functions of the skin are:
a) To protect the tissues/organs beneath from weather, infection, minor injury, damage from abrasion.
b)to inform the brain of outside conditions. The Skin has many nerve endings enabling the horse to feel pain, touch, pressure, heat, cold.
c)stabilizes body heat by warming and cooling itself.

Wounds Needing Stitches

Wounds Requiring Stitches

A wound that requires stitches will appear to wide open to heal naturally in a very short period of time. It presents itself too open, and therefore open for further infection, and too open that further injury can appear evident. Flush with Iodine soap or disinfectant, then call the Vet. Any wound that is a scrap or "dragged" abrasion can not be stitched. But it is necessary to still contact the Veterinarian!

What is the appendicular skeletal system of the horse?

The Appendicular Skeletal System

The Appendicular Skeletal system consists of the shoulders, forelegs, pelvic girdle, hind legs.

Will My Horse Benefit From MSM, & Other Products On The Market?

Stiff, Sore or Clicking Joints

Does your horse indicate that he is stiff, sore, or have clicking joints either first thing in the morning, after being stalled for awhile, or in the cooler weather?

These signs could be indicitive of a degerating joint disease.

Many non prescription supplements are available, FIRST call your Veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis.

Your horse may be young enough to start on Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan shots, given IM. The shot is called Adequan IM and more information is available at

FIRST call and make an appointment with your Veterinarian and make life sweet for that sweet partner of yours!

What Is Thrush, Canker, and White Line Disease?

Foot Thrush/Cankers

Verify with your Farrier that your horse may have Thrush or Foot Cankers, both affecting the sole of the Horse's foot, and both very contagious, both very, very damaging to the horse's foot.

Both create a powdery covering once the debris has been cleared away; both smell, and both are treated very differently. White line disease is often in occurance at the same time.

Thrush & White Line Disease can both be controlled by 2X daily application of Kopper Kare or Koppertox applied directly to the sole of the foot and the frog area; and then stall confining the horse for a few hours after treatment. Cankers must be treated by a Veterinarian.

Prevalent in Moist, rainy climates.

how to network #2

How To Find A Great Boarding Barn

2) Read the local want ads/classifieds and call and inquire.

What items should grooming areas in Barns include?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

3) Do they have a secure and open cross tie area? Can grooming supplies, tote caddies, saddle, bridle and other grooming necessities such as power bars, easily be accessed to the Grooming/Cross Tie area. For convenience, as well as safety this items should be readily accessible to the Grooming/Cross Tie area.

How Can I Know If My Horse May Not Be Feeling The Best?

Detect An Illness Before It Happens

Dennis Brooks, DVM said you should notice the eyelashes on the upper lid of the eye as an indicator of pain in your horse. As the horse experiences pain, the eyelashes begin to droop. As the pain is relieved, the eyelashes resume a more normal position parallel to the ground. Brooks also noted that excess tears are a secondary response to a problem and can
be caused by many things. He reminded that early examination of an eye problem is recommended to prevent possible permanent scarring and impaired vision in the horse. These tips were just a small part of Brooks' presentation at the AAEP Resort Symposium.

What Can Be Done For Joint Degeneration?

Chrondroitin Sulfate as Joint Therapy In Horses

DJD or degnerative joint disease can be treated with Chrondroitin Sulfate, which is an organic form of glycosaminoglycans. It will increase joint fluid viscosity and also an anti-inflammatory. Nutramax's Cosequin is tested as the patent lead for product success.

why does a barn have a locked feed room?

Finding A Great Boarding Barn

14) Do they have a locking feed room with sealed containers for the grain? This will cut down the rodent population, and for any horse that does get loose you won't incur a Veterinary bill by your horse stealing sweet moments in the feed room and gorging itself.

What is the prognosis of EIA?

Prognosis of EIA

Once infected, a horse is chronic and becomes a carrier. The will suffer recurring attacks of intermittent fever, progressive weight loss and anemia. Stress can trigger a relapse. Insects are also carriers. Mosquitoes are not considered to be carriers. Stallions can pass onto mares; mares can pass onto foals.

How is EIA treated?

Treatment of EIA

Horses that are tested positive must be either euthanized OR permanently quaranteened FOR LIFE, and branded or tatooed.

How is roaring diagnosed?

Roaring - Diagnosis

Roaring is determined by looking down the throat at the larynx with an endoscope while the horse is at rest; and then after exercising, usually on a treadmill.

What Is Moon Blindness?

Moon Blindness/Recurrent Uveitis

This is a slow degeneration of the iris. Results from initial impairment of vision, causing eventually complete Blindness.

This is a gradual process. Most horses cope quite well with the disease, as the blindness is very gradual in development. Therefore, providing the horse the time to adjust to the restriction of vision while being ridden in arenas or trails.

What Are The Signs Of Navicular Disease?

Treatment of Navicular Disease

The treatment for Navicular Disease includes Bar Shoes that have heel supports & rocker toes. Trimmed down for short squared toes!

High or Low Pin Firing or Nerve Blocking can be done by a Veterinarian ONLY!

how important is manure removal?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

9) Is there ease in manure removal and do they have adequate manure management and removal? Most all Communities and Cities have strick regulations now on manure storage and removal....does this barn comply?

What are the definitions of cataracts?

Cataracts - Definition

Cataracts are opacity within the lens or on the lens capsule. It causes blurred vision or blindness. Can be either focal (a single spot....found in foals) or diffued (covering the entire lens).

do barns need separate insurance?

Finding A Great Facility

11) Do they have full insurance coverage? for liability and horses? Ask to see their insurance coverage, for you, your horse, your tack and your guests, for natural disasters, "acts of God" and fire, theft and flooding. This will help to indicate how responsible that they will be.

How is EPM treated?

EPM Treatment

EPM is treated by medications such as pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, anti-microbial medications; and any that block folic acid metabolism. Treatments average $1500. for a four month period. Treatment may be required from three to eleven months or more. There is a 60% success rate, and about 10% relapse.

What are the signs of EPM?

EPM Clinical Signs

The clinical signs of Equine Protozoal Myelitis are weakened limbs (mainly in the rear quarters).

How Do I Attend To A Bleeding Wound?

Spurting Blood Wounds

This always indicates that an artery or a vein has been cut. First apply pressure with a clean terry towel or gauze pads. Call Vet. Leave this type of wound for the Vet to clean.

Can I Do Something For Preventative Maintenance For My Horse?

Preventative Medicine

Regular worming (at least every three months, sooner if T.O with a herd or several other horses) with differing products. Regular flu/rhino/fever shots (again, at least every three months).

Both of these equine necessities are like changing auto oil, just regular maintenance will save you big dollars at some time later!

What are the five sensory systems of the horse?

The Five Sensory Systems Defined

The Five Sensory Systems are:
Hearing, Smelling, Tasting and Feeling and Seeing.

What is EIA?

Equine Infectious Anemia Definition

EIA is a viral disease resulting from infection by a retovirus that is similar to human HIV. Due to its original locations along moist climates it became known as Swamp Fever.

networking to find a great barn #3

How To Find A Great Boarding Barn

3) Ask anyone that does work exchange for boarding.

How Do I Attend To A Muscle Injury?

Muscle Wounds

Muscle wounds will need to be packed immediately with ice, to prevent swelling until the Vet arrives.

is automatic waterers better than bucket water?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

5) Do the stalls have automatic waterers or is fresh running water available in a close proximatey (you don't want a long way to have to haul waterbuckets!). Do the horses each have their own water and grain buckets? You will not want to haul water for a very long distance, and the horses will probably not receive sufficient water if that is necessary. Auto Waterers are difficult to monitor the amount of water that your horse is consuming....the first sign that there is something wrong. You do not want your horse to share buckets with other horses to help to prevent the spread of germs.

What is the horse´s central nervous system?

The Nervous System Function

From the Brain, through the spinal cord is known as the Central Nervous System. Branches of nerve fibres running from this cord to all parts of the body end in sensory nerve cells which record sensations (monitor nerve cells regulating movement, both to and from the nerve ending to the brain).

does tack go missing from Boarding Barns?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

12) Is the tack room locked, secure and with alarm code(?); or do they have individual tack lockers? Personally, I have seen too many expensive pieces of tack go missing from a barn by the "friends" of other boarders with "cheap tack". I personally prefer individual locking tack lockers at a Boarding Barn; and if not available, I keep a portable tack trunk locked and in my truck. If you do have any items of expense go missing, be sure to notify the police and then your insurance co. and have your insurance co. notify the barn management insurance co. (aren't you glad you viewed their policy before you moved in!).

is it necessary to have a grooming area in a barn?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

4) Do they have a Grooming Washstall; with or without hot/cold running water? It is important that the barn have an area for grooming that is secure and is able to be fully stocked in the chance that you will ever need a Veterinarian; he will need a secure, clean, dry area to work in that has power-close access to hot/cold water-and a place in which he can lay out his equipment if necessary.

How are cataracts treated?

Cataracts - Treatment

Cataracts can be surgically removed. The surgery has a success rate of 75% in foals under 6 months of age.

Is Laminitis or Founder Life Threatening or Serious?

Appearance of Laminitis/Founder

The Horse will stand in a manner appearing to relieve front end of body weight.

How do I know that my horse is roaring?

Roaring - Recognition

Roaring is evident during exercise. The body requires a greater supply of oxygen to the lungs. With damage to the left nerve, this is prevented. Thereby reducing the intake to only the right side, and causing the "roaring" noise to occur. Because of the increased demand on the right side to provide sufficient intake of air, air "holds" in the larynx until the horse expires.

How Do I Attend To A Barbed Wire Wound?

Barbed Wire Wounds

Flush the wounds with a syringe of Iodine soap or a disinfectant. Check for last tetanus shot date. Apply an antibiotic cream. Check temperature, pulse, and respiration to see if going into shock. If in any doubt, Call The Vet!

What Is Laminitis or Founder?

Acute Laminitis/Founder


The sensitive lamina will die shortly after inflammation. The hard or horny lamina will then separate from the Coffin Bone. This separation will cause or allow the Coffin Bone to rotate or sink into the horse's hoof sole.

The rotation of the Coffin Bone is the definition of Founder.

Depending upon the degree & amount of rotation of the Coffin Bone, can cause the Coffin Bone to penetrate the horse's sole & may determine that the horse will have to be humanely destroyed as the only means of treatment.

What are the clinical signs of EIA?

Clinical Signs of EIA

The clinical signs of EIA occur with in 1 to 3 weeks after exposure. High fever, depression, small hemorrages on mucous membranes, swelling of the limbs, abdomen, and sheath. Infection results in death within 4 weeks time.

Does the American Assoc. closely resemble the European Assoc.?

The Holsteiner

The Holsteiner Registry in North America maintains the European studbook model, i.e., that of insuring breeding quality through mare and stallion inspections and strict conformance to its stated breeding policies. The Association is committed to adhering as closely as possible to the selective breeding standards practiced since the 13th century by the Holsteiner horse breeders of Schleswig-Holstein, given obvious geographic and administrative differences.

How does roaring affect my horse? Can he be ridden?

Roaring - Concerns About Exercise

Roaring doesn't usually restrict the average horse's performance, and does not cause the horse any pain. Racehorses, and perhaps Eventing horses may be the only disciplines in which a horse can not compete adequately due to the restriction of air intake, and possible presenting of problems by competition.

is property attendance 24/7 important with public barns?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

13) Do they have someone on the property 24/7?
This is imperitive in the chance of horse theft, or fire or a horse getting loose. Oftentimes the insurance is nil and void at a Public Boarding Barn if there is NOT someone in attendance 24/ you want to take that chance with your horse or tack?

what flooring is best for a barn?

Finding A Great Boarding Barn

7) Is the floors in the aisleway and the stalls safe and secure? Horses panic when the flooring is slippery or questionable. How ever attractive is polished concrete, cobblestones or board flooring, all of these are slippery and can cause a horse to panic and get hurt or worse, hurt the handler!

What is the Axial Skeletal System of the Horse?

The Parts of The Axial Skeletal System

The Skull, which protects the brain.
The Backbones/vertibrae, which carry and protect the spinal cord.
The rib cage, which protect the heart, lungs and other internal organs that are within the body.

What Is Laminitis or Founder?

Diagnosis of Laminitis/Founder

Veterinarians usually determine by X-Ray, however in severe cases, you can see the Coffin Bone penetrating the sole of the horse's foot.

networking to find a great boarding barn #5

Finding A Great Boarding Barn

5) Ask where horses are available on leases.

how important are traffic flows, and safety exits?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

8) Is there emergency and safety traffic flow, and escapes? In the event of an emergency, you must have a swift escape route for people and horses. For day to day Barn traffic flow, you must have areas of traffic that are uncongested and free flowing around stalls, Grooming Areas and Entries and Exits.

How Is Laminitis/Founder Diagnosed?

Treatment of Laminitis/Founder

The horse must be stabilized to slow down the process of the rotation of the Coffin Bone. The Degree of Rotation, infection or intensity of pain will dictate whether or not the horse will require euthanasia.

will horses run off if they escape a barn?

Finding A Great Facility

10) Is property, stall and paddocks safe, secure and securely fenced and enclosed in the chance of a horse getting loose? Is parking out of the way of the "horse traffic" areas? If someone forgets to shut a stall or paddock door properly, how far away will your horse get if there happens to be no one around at that particular moment?

How do I recognize Cushings Disease or ECD?

Cushings Disease - Recognition

Often horses with Cushings have very long shaggy coats resulting from not ever shedding out. Eye orbs appear puffy and protrusive from fatty deposits accummulating. Increased appetite without weight gain. Excessive thirst. Wounds are very slow to heal. Have frequent viral & bacterial infections. Oral ulcerations and gum disease.

how to network #1

Finding A Great Boarding Barn

In seeking a great Boarding Facility, both you and your horse need to be comfortable, at ease, enjoy the people and the use of the facilities! Then you should network for your search:

1) Network with people at local Tack Shops, Feed or Pet Stores, Shows, Clinics, Lessons, Trail Rides, Boarding/Training/Co-op/Breeding Barns, Veterinarians, Farriers, Pet Grooming Shops, Trailer Sales and Repairs, Clubs, 4H, FFA, Pony Clubs, Registries, Local Magazines!

How is EPM formed?

EPM in Formation

EPM or Equne Protozoal Myelitis is a parasite that lives in the muscles of birds. Oppossum's eat the dead birds, and the feces from the Oppossums' then contaminates the grasses, hays and waterways where horses feed/drink. Once in the Equine system, the protozoa migrate to the horse's central nervous system, the spinal cord.

What is roaring?

Roaring - Medical Definition

Roaring is left recurrent laryngeal neuropathy, which is damage to the nerve that opens/closes the larynx on the left side of the windpipe.

Is Laminitis or Founder Life Threatening or Serious?

Acute Laminitis/Founder

Acute Laminitis/Founder is caused by stress' to the horse & his/her system. Possibilities can be excessive grain/protein consumption, excessively cold water intake, change in ownership-housing-conditions-feed or routine, fatique, excessive concussion to the legs/feet, infection, poison, drugs or drug abuse, allergies.

is a closed up barn a good bet?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

6) Is fresh air and good ventilation available? When horses are stalled they need to be kept out of drafts, but to receive good ventilation and the circulation of air. Many lung and breathing problems stem from insufficient ventilation and fresh air!

How do I relieve a stalled horse from boredom?

Finding A Great Boarding Barn

1) How long do the top half of the stalls doors/windows stay open in the aisleways; or do they at all? This will relieve most horses from boredom and nasty stall vices!

What Can Be Done For Joint Degeneration?

Joint Degeneration

The degeneration of cartilage that is predominant in quarter horses; depends on the age of the horse, the amount/degree of degeneration/damage, the genetic predisposition of that particular animal.

Usually if it is caught before 7 yrs., AND the degeneration is minimal, treatment can help to prevent further damage. The best treatment combination is to start on Shots given by the Veterinarian for the first 6 months, then followed up with msm compound orally for life.

How is Cushings Disease treated?

Cushings Disease - Treatment

Cushings Disease can be controlled with prescribed drugs from your Veterinarian.

What is the Axial Skeletal system of the horse? What is it´s function

The Axial Skeletal System Definition

Axial Skeletal System consists of the bones which give the body shape & protection.

How frequent are cataracts?

Cataracts & Foals

Cataracts are the number 1 birth defect reported in Foals.

How is EIA diagnosed?

Diagnosis of EIA

Coggins Blood Tests are the accepted determination of EIA. This test is required to cross many state lines; often required in Vetting or prepurchase exam.

What Is Navicular Disease?

Location of the Navicular Bone

Located in the hoof, behind the coffin bone (which is in the coronet band area of the leg). Horses can be predisposed to Navicular Disease by heredity (of small fett and upright pasterns).

What can be done for roaring?

Roaring - Treatment

Corrective Surgery can be performed to permanently open the left arytenoid cartilage. The surgery may not stop the noice, but will open the left passageway.

What Is Navicular Disease?

Navicular Disease

Is an inflammation or deterioration of the navicular bone from concussion or trauma. It starts from over exertion while in a state of being out of condition.

What is EPM?

Equine Protozoal Myelitis Definition

Equine Protozoal Myelitis or EPM is caused by a protozoal parasite called sarcocystis neurona.

What Is Thrush, Canker, and White Line Disease?

Untreatment of Sand/Toe Cracks

Infections, abcess' and white line disease can occur. Each of which require a slightly different treatment to cure, different from the treatment of the sand crack.

what miscellaneous considerations should be in a barn?

Finding A Great Boarding Barn

15) Miscellaneous points: -Blanket Hangers-Wall Mounted Water Taps-Workshop or Laundry Room-Sink for Washing/Cleaning Tack-Heated Blanket Room-Heated Viewing Lounge-Laundry Area or Regular PU/Delivery-Washrooms-Veterinary Supply Refridgerator and Locker-Cross Ties with Rubber Ties with Quick Release Snaps-private and individual paddock per stall-indoor arena-outdoor arena-track-pasture-jumps-persons of your interests that ride at the same time, and at the same events-trailering-extra fees or fees for services. How important these items will depend on your use.

What is the function of the muscles, tendons, ligaments of the horse?

Muscles, Tendons, Ligaments

Muscles are composed of thousands of fibres which flex and extend to provide movement. Muscles are arranged in overlapping layers or bands; and are controlled by the nerves. Almost all muscles work in pairs or groups in their function. When muscles work together in opposition in order to perform (flex/extend) they are referred to as antagonistic pairs of performance.

Tendons are the cords which extend from the muscles & attach the muscle to the bone. Tendons are made up of collagen, a birous tissue. Tendons have a poor blood supply; so if damaged, heal very slowly and with great difficulty. Tendons are designed to stretch up to 4% of their actual length, and are usually the area that receives damage from strain or overexertion.

The ligaments are what join bone to the bone. Ligaments are rigid bands of fibrous tissue. Ligaments support/regulate movement of the joints. Ligaments have very little elasticity.

How is EPM diagnosed?

EPM Diagnosis

EPM diagnosis is perfomed by a spinal tap.

What Is Laminitis or Founder?

What Is Laminitis/Founder?

Inflammation of the lamina of the hoof. Similar to a blood blister under a fingernail for humans.

What Are The Signs Of Navicular Disease?

Diagnosis of Navicular Disease

Veterinarian must use hoof testers, X-Rays, and may possibly recommend nerve blocking to diagnose the disease.

networking to find a great barn #4

Finding A Great Boarding Barn

4) Inquire about Co-Op Rental or Lease Barns.

What is the definition of Cushings Disease or ECD?

Cushing's Disease Definition

Cushings Disease or ECD is an abnormal functioning of the pituitary gland, causing an imbalance of the hormones.

Do Horses Need Tetanus Shots? How Often?

Tetanus Innoculations

Horses should be innoculated for Tetanus every year.

Is Laminitis or Founder Life Threatening or Serious?

Treatment of Laminitis/Founder

Heart bar shoes; and a working relationship with tight communication between Farrier/Veterinarian.

what works the best for horses being contented when stalled longtimes?

Finding A Great Boarding Facility

2) Are the stalls open for viewing from one to another by stall grills or are they solid. Horses like the feeling of "community" or as being a part of a herd and being able to see clearly one another.

What is the function of the appendicular skeletal system of the horse?

The Appendicular Skeletal System Definition

The Appendicular Skeletal system supports the body of the horse.

What Is Navicular Disease?

Signs of Navicular Disease

Pointing of the Toe with the heel off of the ground. Hoof will eventually become contracted at the heel. Afflicted foot take shorter strides. Usually detected due to increased signs after a period or rest or lay up.

What is the Endocrine System?

The Endocrine System Defined

The Endocrine System is the hormonal system of the horse. Hormones influence the horse through the blood and lymph systems through ductless glands, more commonly known as the "endocrine glands".

What is the skins definitions?

The Skin Definitions

The Skin is divided into two layers; the epidermis or the outer layer; and the dermis or the inner layer.

What is the function of the horse´s central nervous system?

The Nervous System Defined

The Nervous System is complex and controls all the actions of the horse, and the functions of his body. The Nervous system is like that of the telephone network, with the brain as the central exchange switch.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Horse Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Byron White