Spring care for your horse or pony

As the days get longer and the weather warms, you’re keen to get back in the saddle. But, before you do, here’s some basic spring care to take care of...

You might be itching to get back in the saddle now the weather has improved. Here are some important spring checks for your horse before you do.

Spring has eventually come to New Zealand, which means the start of perfect horse-riding weather. And, for those on the show circuit, it’s time to prep your horse for competition. It’s also a good time to do a quick once-over to ensure your horse is in tip top condition, so you can enjoy a full summer of riding.

Make sure they’re up to date with their vaccinations

Horses, just like us and other pets, can get illnesses that can be prevented with a simple vaccination. This could include tetanus, strangles, equine herpes virus, rotavirus and salmonella, depending on the horse's age, what they’re used for, and how much interaction they’ll have with other horses.

Spring is also a good time to make sure they’re still on schedule with their worming regime and give them a general check over to make sure they’re in a good condition to start the season off well.

Keep an eye on their grass intake

Spring grass can cause problems for your horse due to the extra sugars and fructans that it contains. To make sure your horse or pony doesn’t end up suffering from laminitis, colic, diarrhoea, or weight gain, it’s important to keep an eye on their grass intake.

If you can’t keep them stabled over this time and away from free access to spring grass, it may be worth partitioning off your paddocks, so they have limited access to that lush, green grass.

Check them from tooth to toe

As you’re likely to be riding them more now that the weather’s more favourable, it’s a good time to get their teeth and hooves checked. It’s important to make sure your horse's teeth are in good condition so they’re not in discomfort and are able to eat well to keep up with increased exercise.

And, of course, you want their hooves to be in great condition too, so they don’t become lame just as you want to go out for a long trek or competition.

Bring them up to condition

If your horse has been turned out for the winter, it’s important you bring them back into condition slowly. Otherwise, you could risk an injury. You want to bring their strength and endurance back up gradually, so they are able to perform for the full season.

With days lengthening and weather warming, now is the time to get everything prepped for the summer ahead, so you can enjoy many months of happy riding with your horse.