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A Calm Horse is a Better Patient

by Southern States
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Alexander Graham Bell said, "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." When it comes to making sure your horse is calm for the vet, preparation pays dividends. Before your next vet visit consider trying the following:

  • Expose your horse to common vet practices - Many times when a horse acts negatively towards the vet, it's not because he is trying to be a bad patient, it's because he's never experienced poking or prodding before. Take the time to get your horse used to getting his temperature taken, clippers, picking up feet, opening his mouth and standing still for long periods of time - like he may need to for an exam.

  • Groom your horse daily - Not only will daily grooming give your horse a shiny coat, it will allow you to run your hands all over your horse's body and get him used to human touch. You never know what body part a horse will injure, so it's imperative that they are comfortable being touched from head to tail.

  • Swap with a friend - Horses get very comfortable with "their" people. If possible, swap grooming duties with a friend to expose your horse to a "stranger" handling him.

  • Be ready for the vet - Don't wait to the last minute to go running about your farm bringing horses into their stalls as the vet is pulling into the driveway. If possible, give your horse ample time to get settled back into his stall before the vet arrives. Rushing to get him situated will likely result in him being amped-up for the vet.

  • Avoid distractions - Find a place away from the regular barn activity for your horse to get treated. Providing a quiet space, out of the way, will allow the horse to remain calm and not get agitated by other horses while he is getting worked on.

  • Treats after treatment - Allow your vet to give your horse a treat after working with him. If your vet has time, have them visit their more anxious patients and give them a treat when they aren't on the veterinarian's list of patients for the day. This will teach your horse that the vet doesn't always equal a scary time.

Want to learn more? Check out our full article and share your questions below.

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