The bond between a horse and owner can become very strong and provides huge rewards. Along with the rewards comes the responsibility of caring for a living creature that depends upon you for all its needs. Caring for your horse’s needs means providing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a preventative health care programme that should include worming, vaccination, dental care and farriery. Register your horse with your local vet even if it is perfectly healthy, you will know where to go in an emergency and your vet will be able to give you advice on routine health care.
The key to recognising illness in your horse is to know what your horse is like when it is well. Often an owner will be able to detect subtle changes in their horse’s behaviour or appetite that indicates illness, well before anyone else can. Your partner in caring for your horse should be your veterinary surgeon. Regular visits by your vet for routine health checks and preventative health care, such as vaccination, allow you and your horse to build a relationship with your vet. Early detection of clinical diseases will allow your vet to give more effective treatments. The chance of you catching a disease from an animal is small but there are some diseases that people can get from animals (zoonoses). A healthy horse is unlikely to pass on disease.