One way to get ready for spring is by preparing your grooming and first aid kit. Replace old flysprays, shampoo, wound ointment, and tack soap, which may have been ruined if the weather was too cold. You will need all that stuff when spring comes in full swing, and you don't want to rush to get anything when flies are already bothering your horse or when he gets a wound. While you're at it, repair, clean, pack away your horse's blankets for next winter.
Vaccinations should also be done soon, as well wellness exams. It is important for you to get those done, especially since some diseases are spread by the various types of insects that come out in the spring. Your vet may also set your horse on a deworming schedule to eliminate parasites that come when the weather is warm.
|This green pasture may look nice, but you have to watch out for the hazards that can come with it.|
The coming spring also brings pastures of verdant grass. Though it may tempting to let your horse graze on the lush green grass, it is important to monitor his eating. Overeating spring grass, which is usually high in sugar, can cause problems such as laminitis, also known as grass founder. A horse with laminitis will often appear fat with cracked hooves. Preventing it is as simple as accustoming your horse to eating fresh grass, starting with a short peroid of about 15 minutes and gradually increasing it. (see Laminitis 1, 2 for more information)
The warm weather may make you want to begin riding again as soon as possible, but before continuing work in full swing, you should condition your horse, particularly if you haven't ridden him much this winter. Start with light flatwork and hacking, especially if your horse hasn't been regularly exercised for over three weeks. As your horse regains fitness over weeks of training, slowly increase the difficulty of the workout, adding jumping and cantering when he is ready. The less time your horse had off, the faster you can return to the riding program you had before winter.
Keep in mind the different ailments that occur in the spring, such as rain rot and other skin ailments, and learn how to prevent and treat them to keep your horse as healthy and safe as possible this season. Being prepared will help you make the most of spring.