5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Pamper Your Horse Right Now

Do you have a free morning to spend with your equine partner? Here are five ways to make him feel his best, on a budget!

Quiet mornings in the barn with your horses are the best time to catch up on your horse care regimen and make your horse’s health and well-being a top priority. Here are five cost-effective ways to pamper your equine partner, straight from the Horse&Rider archives. 

1. Apply Cold Therapy: 

Your horse’s legs bear the brunt of their body’s wear and tear. Routine icing or cold-hosing of your horse’s legs after strenuous exercise can help minimize the slight inflammation that naturally occurs following hard work. This helps to keep new problem areas from developing. Regular cold therapy is particularly useful if your horse is a weekend warrior; icing can help prevent the inflammation that occurs from intermittent use. 

2. Poultice Up: 

It may be old-fashioned and low-tech, but nothing spells relief to a hurting horse like a poultice in a pinch. Some poultices are designed to reduce heat and swelling in joints or tendons, while others are intended to relieve stiffness in those same areas, and still others to draw out an infection or an abscess developing in the hoof. Some are either heat-producing or microwave-hot, while others are chilled in the freezer for best effect. At the heart of every poultice is one gooey, gloppy, slimy substance or another. Depending on its purpose, it could be anything from kaolin clay, a blend of Epsom salts and bran, Kaopectate and flour—even mixtures of baking soda and witch hazel, povidone iodine and sugar, etc. Here’s how: 

  • The mixture itself is applied to the affected area by hand.
  • The area is then wrapped with plastic (usually either a sandwich bag or plastic wrap).
  • and then the whole concoction is bandaged and left for a while to work its magic, after which it must be washed (sometimes even scrubbed) off.
Allison Armstrong Rehnborg

3. Double-Check Saddle Fit: 

Even the most expensive saddle money can buy might be pinching your horse somewhere. A free weekend day is a great time to re-evaluate how everything is fitting, especially if your horse has gained or lost weight or grown. Check for wither swelling, armpit itch, dead spots on the back, bald spots, pumps, painful palpation, and resistance when riding.

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Basic stretches can increase your horse’s under-saddle flexibility and help reduce inflammation after a long week of work. Use carrots to ask your horse to reach his neck across his front legs, back to his elbow, and between his front legs. Make sure you do your research and check out tips to ensure you’re doing this safely.

5. Break Out That Grooming Kit!

Take time to groom your horse from head to tail. He’ll appreciate the extra time you’re spending with him, and you get the opportunity to check him over for new injuries, wounds, or concerns. Comb out his mane and tail (gently) and take your time giving him a thorough grooming. You’ll probably find that this is as relaxing to you as it is to him!

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