Happy horses depend on a caring and responsible owner and a great owner vet relationship
I live in Ireland with my husband and two children (a third on the way!), next door to my husband’s parents who own and run a dairy farm. Set in the rolling hills of County Galway this is the perfect terrain for happy horses.
Luso (14 years old) and his stable partner Rocky (19 years old) are both thoroughbred ex-racehorses and live on my parents-in-law’s farm. Having them live so close makes my life much easier, by saving stable fees and making 6:30 am wakeup calls less harsh as I only have to trudge next door!
When the alarm goes off at 6:30 am I get up and leave via the back door accompanied by my two dogs scampering around my legs – ‘Floss’ the very excitable boxer and ‘Push’ a slightly more laid back terrier cross. The dogs always enjoy our morning routine, they love to run ahead of me over the field picking up scent trails from the farm’s nocturnal visitors. Luso is always ready and waiting for us. I go into the store to prepare their food and then I fill their hay nets.
Nutrition has become a vital part of their care, especially for Luso who has suffered previously with a nasty bout of colic. I was already aware of the predisposal of thoroughbreds to colic so I was already prepared for Luso’s susceptibility, this meant that I was able to work quickly with my vet to minimise Luso’s discomfort and we now have a programme of preventative treatment. This involves diet monitoring and moderate exercise. I use bran mash combined with horse and pony mix to ensure Luso gets adequate fibre and both horses have Biotin (for hoof health) combined with seaweed for a good dose of general vitamins. For Rocky, I use a slightly different approach as he requires conditioning (he loses weight easily). As with any animals, their health needs vary so, using my training and background in equine and racing I work with our vet to ensure the right care management plans are implemented.