by Dr Jim Rawlinson BVMS MBA MRCVS
Longer and warmer days makes looking after the horses easier all round so I really enjoy this time of year. But it still has its challenges to keep everyone fit and healthy. The grass is growing at its maximum rate, so we must keep a close watch on waistlines as it is easy to get caught out and suddenly realise someone has put on a few pounds.
We monitor all horses of course, but we have to take extra care with Henry at this time of year. He’s restricted to an area of paddock cordoned off to limit the grass intake.
As always, we continue to strictly weigh out his haylage ration. This is despite him being fully competition fit as the summer carriage driving season starts.
Whatever precautions you take, laminitis is a serious condition and always a risk for all equines, but especially overweight ponies on spring grass. It’s essential to keep a close eye out for any stiffness or reluctance to walk, heat in the feet, general lethargy, or reluctance to get up. If you have any concerns, then a call to the vet for advice without delay.
Hector has retired from competitive dressage, but I keep him fully fit and schooled as he enjoys the work and it’s best to keep him moving and supple. I’ve always used a good quality Glucosamine supplement to help his joints. “V.I.P. So Sound” from Nettex Equine is an advanced formula complementary feed contains Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulphate and MSM ideal for older horses like Hector.
One thing I like about this season is the short period when the horses can be turned out with no rugs. There’s a window when Hector and Yulia no longer need warm and waterproof rugs and before the fly sheets need to go. It’s great to see them uncovered and I think it’s good for the coat and skin. We still need to help keep the flies off, but I find that Nettex Equine Fly Repellent Advanced does a great job in repelling biting insects and keeping them comfortable.