Maintaining Horse Health Records: Keep Notes on Everything!

Records can reveal health patterns, provide clues for health concerns, and keep wellness programs on track.
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Maintaining Horse Health Records: Keep Notes on Everything!
Recordkeeping can be simple or high-tech, as long as the data is recorded and kept in some sort of logical, easily retrievable fashion. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
“Today ate 15 pounds of hay and six pounds of grain (very good). Chewed fence three times (better). Refused only two jumps (wrong color for my attitude). Rolled in mud 10 minutes after bath (very bad according to my person, but felt very good). Dragged my person from the barn to the pasture (bad for her, fun for me). Thought of that Irish-bred warmblood stallion Daydream’s Mark Darcy 127 times (bad and good).” — From the diary of Fantasy’s Bridget Jones, slightly overweight Thoroughbred mare.

If horses kept diaries, journal entries might be like this. But since humans are the ones keeping track of our horses’ goings-on, our entries will likely be less romantic and more focused on documenting health and fitness data. It’s not the stuff of best-sellers, but an important document that could reveal health patterns, provide clues for future health concerns, and keep a wellness program on track.

Yes, I Remember It Well…

Memories are not always accurate, especially over a span of years or when several horses are involved. Notes Roberta M. Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM, of the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center, “Relying on memory is a poor way to manage the health and welfare of your horse. Most vaccines have initial doses which have to be spaced apart, and if you have more than one horse to vaccinate, deworm, shoe, feed, etc., keeping records is absolutely essential.”

An accurate health record is useful for a variety of other reasons, as well. You should note positive responses and negative reactions to drugs, keep details of daily health and well-being that could provide clues for a diagnosis in times of illness, make notes on training that could help you develop an optimum training regimen, etc

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Written by:

Marcia King is an award-winning freelance writer based in Ohio who specializes in equine, canine, and feline veterinary topics. She’s schooled in hunt seat, dressage, and Western pleasure.

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