The South Florida S.P.C.A.’s mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and adopt horses and other large livestock, but also to educate and advocate for their health and well-being. Keeping a horse healthy or recognizing when one isn’t is essential, whether it’s yours or belonging to someone else. Below is a checklist from Equine Wellness Magazine to determine how a horse is feeling. Another useful tool is understanding the Henneke body condition scoring system — click here to view chart.
(Photo by D&M Photographers)
How is your horse feeling? Try this checklist!
Wellness is more than the absence of disease. It’s a vitality of body, mind, and spirit. To be in good health is also to have a resilience to illness and injury and a robust constitution which resists disease and rapidly restores health and function if illness or injury does happen to overwhelm the body’s resources.
As for specific physical or behavioral indicators of health, here are several:
1. Comfortable stance and normal posture;
2. Body condition score between 4 and 6, on a scale from 1 (emaciated) to 9 (obese);
3. Bright, clear eyes; alert ears;
4. Interest in what is going on around her (factoring in her personality, whether shy, bold, or somewhere in between);
5. No abnormal discharges from eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, anus, genitalia, or udder (if a mare);
6. Clean breath (unless fed garlic or some other aromatic substance);
7. Clean skin, hair coat that is smooth and shiny or at least soft, and an appropriate length for the climate and season;
8. No effort to breathe, and breathing that is soft and slow (unless recently exercised);
9. Ease of movement; and good appetite.
By: Dr. Christine King
As seen in: Animal Wellness Magazine, Vol. 2 Issue 1