Vets and Farrier
So, you've decided to adopt your next horse. Congratulations! What's next? After you find an agency and horse you'd like to adopt, the adopting agency will likely ask if you have a veterinarian and farrier (hoof care professional) in place. Don't worry if you don't, though. They'll help you find one if needed. We know this may be an unfamiliar process, but it's not a difficult one. The first step is understanding the type of needs you'll have for your new horse so you can begin forming relationships with local equine professionals. Here are three equine professionals you should get to know:
Like a human fingernail, horse's hooves continually grow, which can impact their entire physiology. Proper hoof care is an essential part of keeping your adopted horse sound, happy and healthy, so it's important to select a reputable farrier. Farriers, sometimes called blacksmiths, trim excess length, shape the hooves and apply shoes if necessary. In general, your horse will need farrier work every 6 to 8 weeks, but timing will depend on your horse's needs. In the colder, drier months, your horse's hooves will grow slower; in a wet climate, you may see rapid hoof growth. Some horses also require shoes or special shoeing. All of these details should be covered in discussions with the adopting organization.
Medical care is critical to your horse's health and wellbeing. Find a practitioner dedicated to the highest standard of equine medical care using the American Association of Equine Practitioners database. At a minimum, schedule an annual wellness exam and vaccinations. Some horses need to be vaccinated only once a year before vector season, which is the time of the year when flies, mosquitos and other bugs are likely to carry diseases between horses. Horses who travel, show, or live in an area at high risk of a vector born disease may need to be vaccinated twice a year. Your veterinarian will advise which vaccines are necessary. At your horse's annual wellness exam, your veterinarian will also perform a dental evaluation. Because horses's teeth grow and change throughout their lifetime, they can develop sharp edges and unevenness that your vet will smooth out by floating - filing the sharp edges down. Annual dentistry work is required for overall health, chewing and properly digesting food, and bit fit. In addition to providing regular health care for your horse, you'll want a strong relationship with a nearby vet in case of injuries or emergencies.
Consider getting to know a local riding instructor. Whether you've been riding horses for decades or are brand new, it's a good idea to get guidance and perspective on your riding and horsemanship. Additionally, you'll have expert support should you encounter a roadblock in your riding or want to further develop your skills. Look for instructors who are members of the Certified Horsemanship Association, a professional association with a focus on safety and education. Above all, your adoption agency will be an excellent support system. They're committed to your success with your new equine and will answer whatever questions you may have, or help locate reliable professionals. It's an exciting time to be bringing your new horse home! With the proper team of professionals in place, you can relax and enjoy your new addition knowing that you have his care covered.