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          Well-being of the horse in Spring: five tips to calmly apprehend the return of spring by preserving the well-being of your horse.

          Thursday, April 15, 2021

          Spring is back and with it, the beautiful weather and the mildness. This change of season allows us to make a fresh start after the difficult winter months. To start the beautiful season in the best possible conditions, here are our tips and tricks to ensure the well-being of your horse.

          Spring, by definition the first season of the year, is synonymous with rebirth: the meadows turn green and the plants bloom. So get your handkerchiefs, it's pollen time and horses are also sensitive to it, especially when they suffer from pathologies such as emphysema for example.

          • Equine emphysema, we tell you everything.

          Unfortunately, this change of climate also means insects. We must not neglect the harmful effects of these ticks, flies and other horseflies on the overall condition of our horses.

          • We'll give you our tips on how to do this right after. 

          Because what we also like at this time of year is to be able to watch our horses graze their hooves in the grass again. If some of them will be delighted because they are already tired of dry food, some precautions should be taken to avoid a too brutal transition which could disturb the well-being and health of your horse.

          • Find them below.

          Finally, we'll linger in the sun for a big spring grooming and give you our best advice for the care of your horse's mane.

          • Scroll down if you want to read them now.

          But right now, as the season changes, it's the perfect time for a full medical check-up. We tell you all about the equine dentist! Is he as feared by horses as by riders?

          1. Spring check-up: what is an equine dentist?

          The equine dental technicians are not veterinarians. They are therefore not allowed to perform anaesthesia for example. But this does not prevent them from being able to legally treat our horses, they just can't give them medicated substances.

          Well-being of the horse: complete check-up of its health

          Common dental diseases in horses

          The sharp edged tooth

          Horses' permanent teeth grow throughout their lives. In the natural environment, tooth growth is compensated for by chewing, which causes wear to the teeth and therefore regulates their size.

          However, today the diet and lifestyle of our companions have changed and the wear of teeth is no longer the same.

          The enamel of the teeth is less worn by the abrasiveness of the grass or the hardness of the branches for example, and it is how a sharp edged teeth appears. Often very sharp, they are responsible for injuries to the tongue or cheeks more or less important but all equally annoying.

          The equine dentist can intervene by polishing this sharp area of the tooth. He can use a rotating diamond bur or a simple rasp to round out the tooth and correct its shape.

          The horse's dentitionSpring: time for a medical visit

          Wolf tooth and pig tooth

          Not all horses grow wolf teeth. They are found just in front of the first premolar of the upper jaw. Pig teeth are found on the lower jaw.

          These small teeth would not be a problem for horses if they were not right at the bit's seat. The bit will then tend to rub and knock against the wolf or pig teeth causing severe pain in the mouth.

          Often, in response to this discomfort, the horse compensates and ends up with osteopathic problems such as lameness. For this reason, dental and osteopathic visits often go hand in hand.

          To relieve the horse during traning, it will be essential to extract the troublesome tooth. This procedure is quite frequent and dental technicians are very good at it. Two weeks of rest to allow the gum to heal properly and training can resume without pain.

          When to suspect a dental problem in a horse?

          Dental problems in horses can be difficult to identify, as it is difficult to inspect the horse's mouth without equipment. There are a number of signals that can alert you to the need for a dental appointment.

          Well-being and health of the horse: when to suspect a dental problem in the horse.

          How often should I call my dentist ?

          A horse's lifestyle will determine its need for dental visits. For example, a horse that lives in a pasture will only need to visit once a year, while a horse that lives in a stall will prefer to see the dentist twice a year.

          If medical visits allow us to prevent the development of some ailments, some chronic pathologies can be accentuated by the changes of season and especially with the return of spring, for example emphysema.

          2. What is equine emphysema?

          Equine emphysema results in difficult airflow through the lungs and a reduction in airway volume. The exhalation action is most affected by emphysema. Horses are forced to make an extra effort to exhale air from their lungs.

          This inflammation is caused by the presence of allergens such as pollen, mould or dust.

          We often hear about seasonal emphysema because emphysema is a chronic disease. This means that these symptoms will not always be present but will appear at special times of the year or during special events for example.

          Horse welfare in Spring: working an emphysematous horse.
          Edward Levy

          How can I tell if my horse has emphysema?

          The symptoms of emphysema are numerous: coughing at the beginning of training and sometimes even at rest.

          The cough may be accompanied by mucus discharge, but not always. The main indicator of the disease is difficulty breathing. Be careful, a cough is not always due to emphysema.

          In the case of emphysema, breathing becomes noisy, accompanied by whistling or crackling sounds (your veterinarian will be able to identify them).

          These sounds are very characteristic of emphysema and can be easily identified. However, the most reliable diagnosis remains the bronchoalveolar lavage. This test will be performed by your veterinarian and will help him determine the extent of the disease.

          Our advice for relieving an emphysematous horse

          Emphysema is not an end in itself, there are symptomatic treatments and good habits to take to relieve your companion almost completely.

          Quality food

          Hay is one of the main sources of dust and mould in the horse's environment. You should always make sure that you give your horse excellent quality hay. In order to get rid of the dust, you can also soak your hay to rinse off the dust particles.

          A healthy environment

          Ideally, a sensitive horse will live in a meadow. First of all because he will mainly eat on fresh grass which will not irritate his lungs, and also because outside, the air is more breathable and cleaner than in a closed place.

          Adios the straw boxes. If your horse does not live in a meadow, you will need a box of shavings, which are much less a source of dust and other harmful micro-particles than straw.

          Your horse's environement should always be kept very clean. It is important to pick up the droppings as often as possible, to avoid the irritating gases that emanate from them.

          Horse welfare in spring: a healthy environment for emphysematous horses

          A adapted training course

          To protect a sensitive horse, you should avoid riding arenas. As in all covered areas, dust particles are not easily evacuated.

          Choosing to train your horse in an open space is the best thing to do, but the sandy ground is still harmful for the good breathing of horses. Especially in summer, it will be important to water the arena well.

          Drug treatment

          Natural solutions exist. Dried plants added to the ration as young nettles for example, can calm a light cough.

          You can also select a panel of essential oils. But be careful, not all essential oils are suitable for horses with respiratory difficulties and the dosage must be strictly respected. Ask a health professional for advice before using them. When well controlled, essential oils can be very effective.

          While the change of season is not always good news for sensitive horses, spring also brings with it small parasites that, in addition to being annoying, can carry diseases.

          Even if insects are major actors in the preservation of the ecosystem, we still prefer to keep them away from our horses and stables.


          3. What are the risks associated with the proliferation of insects in our stables?

          The proliferation of insects in the stables or in the living area of our horses can cause both physical and psychological discomfort for the equines.

          Indeed, the constant solicitation of flies near the mucous membranes, their buzzing generates considerable discomfort throughout the day. Insect bites and the itching that accompanies them are as unpleasant for them as for us.

          All of these points can easily make a horse anxious, both during training and at rest. This can lead to feelings of insecurity, reduced appetite leading to weight loss, high levels of stress and excessive psychological fatigue which can weaken the most fragile horses.

          Horse welfare in Spring: relieving your horse of insects

          In addition to affecting their psychological well-being, these little beasts transmit diseases or can aggravate the condition of certain wounds.

          A large number of bites on the horse's body can lead to allergic reactions or skin diseases. We should make sure to relieve the itching as much as possible and to prevent the horse from scratching, which can lead to injury, infection and skin problems.

          Attracted by heat and smells, flies often tend to approach wounds to feed itself or lay eggs, depositing all kinds of microbes or bacteria on the wound, threatening it with infection.

          In addition to being painful, the bites can transmit diseases of varying severity through the bloodstream such as Lyme disease, EIA, conjunctivitis, leptospirosis and sometimes intestinal parasites.

          How to fight insects naturally?

          Although we can do something to protect horses from these pests, they have a natural defence weapon: their manes. Very effective in chasing away insects and sometimes even killing them, the horse's mane and tail must be long enough to reach mosquitoes and other horseflies all over the horse's body. It will be necessary to leaving aside the style at this season.


          For example, you can add a tablespoon of garlic cuttings to the food ration (avoid too fine a powder). Be careful, despite the many virtues of garlic, you should not abuse the good things, a tablespoon per day mixed with the ration for 10 days is enough. In the shops you can even find special springtime lickable food supplements!

          Springtime horse welfare: keeping insects away naturally

          The environment

          The organization of the stable is very important, it will be necessary to avoid the paddocks near a pond, stagnant water, or the manure for example, which are zones adored by the flying parasites.

          External care

          There is a wide range of repellent products on the market that are specially designed for horses. But you can also use home-made recipes based on essential oils which, if used properly, are very effective. Ask a professional for advice before use.  

          Also, let's favour insect repellents over insecticides. The preservation of the ecosystem remains paramount. If we can keep these little beasts away from our horses, why kill them?

          With the return of the warm weather comes the return of good, green grass. As well as making us forget the last few months spent in the mud, grass will represent an important change in your horse's diet. This seemingly trivial food can cause some serious illnesses in horses if the transition is not made correctly.

          4. The consequence of a rich diet: laminitis

          Laminitis is not exclusively reserved for ponies that are too food lover. Even a well-trained and healthy horse can develop acute laminitis.

          Health and well-being of the horse: the stubbed foot diagram.

          Laminitis corresponds concretely to the loosening of the3rd phalanx of your horse's foot. This extremely painful and dangerous loosening of the foot is often caused by a sudden change of diet, from a dry diet low in sugars to a richer diet such as spring grass.

          How to recognize a laminitis ?

          The only reliable diagnosis of laminitis is to take x-rays of your horse's foot. But before you alert your vet, you'll notice that :

          • Your horse's hoof is hot, a sign of foot inflammation
          • Suddenly lame, refuses to move or lies down
          • Standing upright, he takes a very characteristic position: bent over from the front, the weight of the body transferred to the hindquarters
          • The pain and inflammation will tend to increase the heart rate and therefore the blood flow. You will then be able to feel your horse's pulse on the underside of the fetlock.

          In order to obtain reliable data on your horse's heart rate, take use the CEEFIT and CEEFIT Pulse & ECG set !

          Well-being of the horse : CEEFIT

          Can I relieve my horse when he shows signs of laminitis?

          While waiting for the arrival of your veterinarian, all you can do is to limit your horse's movements, let him rest in the stall, with a thick bedding so that he walks on the softest possible ground.

          After your veterinary visit, make an appointment with your farrier, he will give you the best tools to relieve your horse's feet.

          If your horse has suffered from acute laminitis, it will be necessary to rethink its diet and ensure that it is regulated, especially the sugar intake.

          The transition to grass can also cause digestive problems such as diarrhoea or aerophagia in the horse. But these small temporary discomforts can be accompanied by more serious pathologies such as the colic.

          What are the causes and symptoms of colic in horses?

          When your horse is suffering from colic, he will behave in a very significant way. Learning to spot these behaviours will allow you to contact your vet quickly, before the colic gets worse.

          Here are some signs that your horse is suffering from colic:

          Colic is most often the result of a blockage in the horse's digestive system. A change in diet or eating too much food in a short period of time often leads to this condition. If your horse suffers from colic, he may lack appetite. This can also be a red flag for you.

          How to treat equine colic?

          Colic in horses can be very serious and in some cases, only surgery will allow your horse to recover. This is why it is essential to contact your vet as soon as your horse shows symptoms of colic.

          While waiting for your vet, the best thing to do is to walk your horse. Moving around will help his digestive system to get going again and maybe evacuate the blockage naturally.

          In order to relieve your companion, the veterinarian may prescribe a medicated treatment that will have a lubricating and/or laxative effect to eliminate the blockage.

          If the stop of the digestive activity of your horse is often linked to a blockage of food, it can also be caused by a displacement of organ hindering the transit of the horse. In these cases, the veterinarian will judge the seriousness of the colic and a surgical intervention might be necessary.

          Being attentive to your horse's behaviour and knowing his habits allow you to detect a problem quickly. For that, it is necessary to spend time with him apart from the trainings to learn to better determine his character and especially, to create a strong relationship .

          What better way to do this than to pamper our little ones during grooming? The return of the warm weather is the perfect time to start a spring grooming session.

          Today we have chosen to focus on the care of your horse's mane and we improvise ourselves as professional hairdressers.

          4. The big spring grooming

          The great mane care debate: scissors or comb?

          And yes, in the art of levelling our horse's mane, there are two opposing teams.

          On the one hand, the scissor enthusiasts, who appreciate the perfection of the technique and the elegance of the result, and on the other hand, the comb enthusiasts who prefer a natural and durable result.

          Even if the scissor cut can be very practical and can give a very clean result, when you face a very dense and thick mane, it happens that the cut does not have the expected result. But it is still a miracle remedy when grooming a horse that cannot stand still.

          Using a comb, let's be honest, often takes a lot of time... and it is so much better! Picture yourself in the sun, dressed for summer, and let's go for a hair and tanning session. You'll both come out looking radiant!

          The advantage of the comb, first of all, is that even if you are shaky, you don't risk ruining long minutes of concentration with one wrong move. In addition to giving a natural result, it allows you to thin the mane, which will keep your horse less warm when temperatures rise.

          We advise you to leave a good length of mane to your horse, especially in this season because it is also there to protect him! It allows him to chase away insects and to regulate his body temperature.

          Tail hair care

          Once the mane has been evened out, don't forget to cut the horse's tail.

          Here, there is no debate, we just cut the tips with scissors. Concerning lenght, we often cut at mid-cannon. Now, depending on the morphology of your horse, and the thickness of its tail, we can cut just at the level of the fetlock. Once again, these long, thick hairs are not there by chance. Weapon often fatal for insects, we will favour a good length so that it can chase a horsefly for example wherever on the back or under the belly of the horse.

          You can now refine the whole by focussing on details such as dewlaps, dock and do not forget the forelock. Also, the hairs which exceed the ears. Attention, for those our small trick is to close the ear of the horse and to cut just those which exceed! These hairs are also very important to protect the ear from parasites.

          We hope you enjoyed this article. To find out more about our technology (which, by the way, can help you get a global view of your horse's health), click here. And don't forget to check out our social networks!