How to Prevent Colic July 24 2018

How to prevent Colic  Colic is another scary thing that our horses can get. It is a very worrying thing to watch your horse suffering from. Here are a few things that can protect your horse from developing it.

  • A constant supply of fresh water – this might seem like a simple thing but ensuring the water in your stable if its bucketed is imperative. Its not worth cutting any corners. Making sure water in the field is replenished and not allowed to become stagnant is important.
  • Small and frequent feeds of concentrates if necessary. Only use hard feed as a supplement to the grazing and high fibre food available to the horse. Having a horse on hard feed and no other forage isn’t advised. If you horse is on box rest make sure they are offered variety. You can buy dried grass that offers your horse the variety that they need.
  • Plan a diet consisting of high fibre content, using hay or other high fibre equivalent needs. A ratio of at least 60 per cent hay or equivalent. This gives the gut the balance that it needs to function as it should.
  • Ensure the feed is of good quality and is not mouldy (make sure that you check bales of haylage in the winter. Ensure that you don’t feed any of the hot haylage to your horses. Put it to one side until it cools), and has no hidden hazards such as baling twine/plastic.
  • Set a regular exercise programme, ensuring that the horse is fit for the work needed. Do not suddenly overexert your horse. A little and often is key for our equine friends. A hack out in an active walk and working trot will help maintain fitness levels and build stamina.
  • Have a post-exercise cooling off period. This is such a lovely thing to give your horse after working hard for you. A gentle hack around the block and some nice stretches are a great way to end a training session.
  • Make any changes to exercise or feed slowly. This allows the horses stomach to adjust to new feed and for the horse to build fitness levels as required.
  • Allow as much turn out in a paddock as possible. It’s really imperative for your horses’ wellbeing and health.
  • Have regular dental checks as poorly chewed food increases the risk of a blockage in the intestine.
  • Do not overgraze pasture. People worry about having horses on lush long grass but short grass and over grazed grass can contain high sugar levels and won’t give your horse the nutrients needed.
  • Ration lush spring grass, treating it as a change of diet to the horse
  • Wherever possible, avoid your horse grazing heavily sanded pasture
  • Ensure the worm control programme is kept up to date as recommended by your vet
  • Have a regular daily routine and make changes gradually

Helpful hints

Early detection of colic will improve the chances of a successful outcome so know your horse’s signs of good health. Be aware of temperature, pulse rate and respiratory rate. Be especially vigilant with any horse that has a history of colic.