How to be an informed owner!
I was recently at the equine hospital - a place for round the clock care, specialists, and state of the art technology. There were a few people in reception, and one woman in particular stood out. (Pardon my eavesdropping….) She was talking with the Vets as she was checking in her horse, and could answer zero questions about his diet, medical history, exercise routine, medications, supplements, farrier routine. She has left all of his care to someone else (which is GREAT for hard working people trying to balance jobs/family/horse/carpool/parents/you name it). She has also left all of the information to someone else - who was overseas at the time of intake at the hospital. This is not so good for the Doctors who now have incomplete information about the horse. :(
Which started me wondering - what sorts of things should you know about your horse? And why does it even matter? Everyone out there that owns or cares for a horse needs to know the following about that horse - just in case:
- What your horse eats. This includes hay, pasture, supplements, and fortified feeds. Knowing how much and when is critical, too.
- His vaccination and fecal egg count/deworming history.
- Any allergies - suspected or confirmed. This can range from a suspected allergy to a type of hay, to vaccine reactions, to seasonal allergies like sweet itch.
- His farrier schedule. If your Veterinarian is there to treat something in his hoof, the last farrier appointment is good to know.
- Medications your horse receives and how often. Daily, or monthly, or as needed? This includes any off label use medications.
- Your horse’s normal TPR - temp, pulse, respirations. If he’s feeling under the weather, it’s a good idea to be able to distinguish under the weather values from normal values.
How do you manage all of this info?
- Software! Some barns have high tech options like barnmanager.com that you can log into and see what’s up with your horse.
- Binders of info! A lesser tech way is to have all horse info in one central barn location. This is great for times that you are at the barn and you need to call the Vet for someone else’s horse - the critical info is at your fingers. Be sure to photo, copy, or write down your horse’s info, too.
- Detailed stall cards are great too! A simple photo of a stall card (both sides) should give you critical information about the details of your horse’s care.
And those are the only ways I can think of because I label everything, make charts, log data, and am generally overly involved in my horse’s care. But that works for me! How do you keep track of all pertinent and relevant horse info?