Caring for a horse is a big responsibility but offers one of the most uniquely rewarding experiences you could ever hope for. Horses are intelligent and empathetic creatures with a ton of personality, so it’s best to treat them with some respect. One way you can do this is through grooming. This practice is both fun for the horse and a basic part of general hygiene. If you fear you might be falling behind in this regard, here are three warning signs you aren’t grooming your horse enough.
Change in Behavior
Horses can tell you a lot with a little. Everyone working with horses should be at least somewhat familiar with their body language and signs of discomfort, as this behavior is a surefire way to tell when something is wrong. Grinding teeth, pinned ears, tail swishing, tense muscles, and more all point to an uncomfortable or upset horse. While the reasons can vary, one of the more common issues is a lack of grooming.
Another obvious tell that your horse is having a problem would be the condition of their skin. Improper grooming can lead to many different skin issues in horses, either directly or indirectly. One of the more common conditions in horses is known as rain rot, a bacterial infection that grows best when moisture is trapped against a horse’s skin and exacerbated by improper grooming. While horses are normally not at risk of this infection, horses that remain wet for long periods, have open wounds, dirty coats, or have been attacked by biting insects present a unique opportunity for the disease to take hold. Rain rot can be a major problem in horses and shouldn’t be ignored given the great amount of pain and discomfort it causes the animal. The easiest means of doing this is to keep your horse out of the conditions that cause the disease (high moisture environments and rain), brush out their coat regularly, and keep any raw spots that form during the healing process clean to avoid further infection.
Horses don’t exactly smell like roses, but there’s a major difference between a horse’s normal smell and a stench. This stench often goes hand in hand with various skin problems caused by poor grooming. If you’re not brushing or washing your horse regularly, you put them at risk of becoming filthy and attracting insects, these being a major cause of disease like outlined before. This also applies to the hooves, as hoof rot is a major problem if you’re not caring for and maintaining your horse’s hooves as well as their coat.
A horse can be a great companion if treated right and cared for properly. Keep your companion in tip-top shape by paying attention to these warning signs you aren’t grooming them enough. Your horse will be much happier and healthier if you stay on top of these things.
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