Like most crazed horse owners, you probably spend a lot of your time wondering what your 4-legged friend is thinking or how they're feeling - Like some of us you might even resort to asking!
Owning and looking after horses is a hectic lifestyle, one that many people may not understand. With the constant list of 'to-do's it's easy to lose track and in turn lose touch with yourself and your animals. Below we've listed some things to look out for, and some proven methods of helping your horses well-being!
1. The Human Touch
Horses are social animals, who thrive on stimulation both positively and negatively! Your body language, tone and general demeanor all have great potential to influence the current mood of your horse.
Remember to provide your horse with contact and reassurance, while your words may not translate directly to your animal, your tone of voice and body language can say much more and can aid in settling your horse during times of nervousness or agitation.
However it's equally important to realise when your horse may need some space to move, as further restriction can sometimes serve to worsen agitated behaviour and can also encourage your animal to enter flight mode.
During times of anxiety (from being separated from his stable mates, or generally as a result of nerves) your horse may show a reluctance to stand still and exhibit fidgeting behaviour.
At times like this it's important to give your animal a reasonable amount of freedom and allow them to move, forcing your horse to remain still at times like this will only heighten these feelings and encourage your horse to move more. Wait for your horse to settle and regain his attention, your understanding will help build trust!
3. Adequate Diet
Like humans, horses spend a lot of time thinking about food, and get great enjoyment from it when grazing! Despite their impressive size, horses much prefer to eat smaller more regular portions, as opposed to large quantities all at once. Keeping these grazing cravings under control is key to keeping your horse satisfied and happy with his food!
To avoid problems with digestion (and thus a grumpy horse!) it's advisable to encourage small meals and to introduce grain into your horses diet at least 3 times a day. Partner this with plenty of roughage like fresh hay, to help mimic your horses natural grazing and your animal will be happy and healthy with much improved digestion!
From time to time your horses diet may need to change! There are various reasons for it but the main thing to remember is that your horse is a creature of habit, and changes need to be made gradually. To manage this, try and ensure any changes to diet occur slightly over a period of days, rather than all at once!
4. Lots of Water!
While the exact numbers are sometimes debated, it is generally agreed that a horses body water content is over 80%, very similar to that of humans! Given this, a supply of fresh water is vitally important for your horses health and well being - Especially if you've covered step 3 and ensured plenty of roughage and grains!
Good quality water in take offers incredible benefits to all living beings, the health and benefits in your general feelings are well documented and your horse is no exception!
5. Lots of Friends!
We covered earlier how sociable and inquisitive horses can be, which brings us to our last point - Your horse needs friends! Natural herd animals, horses desire to be in groups. They thrive among each other and feed off energy within their social groups, which means any sign of a horse excluding himself from a group is probably something to look into, as this shouldn't be the case!
As a caring horse owner, your attention and friendship will mean everything to your horse, however genuine animal to animal interaction with other horses makes an unbelievable addition to this affection, and the benefits will be immediately recognisable!
And there we have it! You now have a happy, active and friendly horse! Frequently we receive messages from customers and followers on social media, all trying to get one or more of these aspects perfected.
Usually the one kind of upset present in the horses life are digestive issues. Gut health and efficient digestion can be difficult to achieve, even when you follow diet guidelines to the letter!
To help with these issues there are some fantastic supplements from NAF, specially designed to aid digestion and relieve gut distress. If your horse is suffering from anything similar, have a look and see how we can help: