It is April in Colorado which means that chilly days of snow are nearly finished, and warmer weather is just around the corner! We are so very close to barn filled days spent playing with our horses in the refreshing spring air! Before we can be completely carefree however, there are some things for us horse parents to consider as we launch into the new season.
1. Spring Vaccinations
As horse owners, we are tasked with making sure our horses are happy, healthy, and safe year-round. This includes protecting them from the unseen threats. We recommend the following:
Spring ( April/May ) – 5-Way and West Nile vaccines
Fall ( October ) – Rabies Vaccine
Boarding facilities may have other vaccine requirements, so be sure to check and make sure your horse is getting the correct ones. New horse owners should have their veterinarian administer these shots to ensure the vaccine’s proper handling, correct placement, and to ask about reactions to look out for should one occur.
2. Fresh Grass
The best part about spring is the return of plant life as the world comes back into bloom. For horse owners, this means the return of grass to our pastures! Now, for most equestrians in Colorado, we do not typically have the pleasure of experiencing the lush green lawns to graze our equines on – but even a little bit of fresh green grass comes with some responsibility on our end.
When transitioning from a mostly hay diet to pasture, it is best to slowly introduce your horse to grass. You can do this by leaving them out starting at a few minutes a day and then slowly increase the time they are allowed to graze. Before you know it, they should be able to stay out all day if needed! This slow introduction is important to prevent colic, laminitis, and foundering.
Though it should be noted that some horses may have health requirements that prevent them to intake any amount of fresh grass. As with any big dietary change, be sure to consult your veterinarian beforehand to be sure your horse is not at risk.
The last spring topic to touch on is one that we all know and love: sheading season! Each year, horses build up a winter coat as protection against the elements, and every year they need to discard those hairs as the warmer temperatures return. And the biggest way that we can help our horses through this process is with a little bit of elbow grease and a curry comb! Keeping up a regular grooming schedule with your horse will help get rid of all those itchy hairs and they will thank you immensely! And lucky for you, there are hundreds of products on the market made just for de-shedding your four-legged friends.