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The Most Common Health Issues in Horses

The Most Common Health Issues in Horses

In the world of horse riding activities, people often forget that just like other animals, horses too may get sick or face health issues. It doesn’t matter to which breed your horse belongs; they all require treatment from time to time. Accordingly, you must know about them in order to give proper treatment for a speedy recovery.

The structure of a horse is such that it requires proper care so that there’s no bigger issue in the future. While determining the variations and breeds of horses, it must be kept in mind that they all belong to the same category. So, the issues can be common in most horse breeds.

Horse’s Health and Their Routine Life

First of all, know that horses are one of the strongest and most commonly used animals by humans. There is a regular use of horseback riding activities that helps us through our routine work. Though the build of a horse is quite strong, when we put too much pressure on them regularly, it’s obvious that they become ill.

So, to maintain their strength, horses usually store some food in their stomachs at all times. It is what maintains their health and keeps their equine digestive system active. However, there can be many possible reasons why a horse may suffer from serious health issues. Moreover, it’s better to understand the stressors that may cause them and act for their prevention.

Read Also: Health & Safety: Horseback Riding Activity

Most Common Health Issues in Horses

Though various factors may affect a horse’s health, if their digestion system is imbalanced, the issues can be severe. It is seen that many times horse riders and owners are not able to identify what’s the issue with their horses. The reason can be that they suffer from digestive issues, and their signs do not surface.

List of common health issues in horses

  • Equine Ulcers: As we know, horses keep some food stored in their stomach to gain energy for a longer time. However, sometimes the same reason can result in acid reflux in the horse’s stomach. Furthermore, it will increase acid burns, result in gastric ulcers, and decrease appetite.
  • Laminitis: It is a painful condition in horses that mainly cause inflammation in their hooves. The condition is quite common in all the popular breeds of horses, including dwarfs, ponies, and donkeys. Though the actual reason for the condition isn’t known, it may occur due to hormonal factors.
  • Colic: Now, colic is the most serious health issue in a horse that causes pain in the abdomen. It further impacts the bowels of the horse’s digestive system and results in halting the process. More so, the symptoms of colic in horses may vary, and it can be a serious issue for them.
  • Sweet Itch: As the name suggests, it is a skin inflammation condition that’s quite common in horses. Mostly, it happens to occur in the summer season and is basically an allergic reaction. In the United States, almost 8% of horses suffer from this condition. If left unnoticed, the condition may spread to the whole horse’s body.
  • Equine Influenza: Not only humans but horses and other animals, too, can suffer from the common cold and flu. It will make the horses uneasy and dull for the next few days. What you can do is immediately consult a vet and ask them to provide you with the proper treatment.

In general, there can be many other health issues in horses that may occur from time to time. So, the best thing you can do is keep a regular check on your horse’s health and behavior. If there are any signs of health issues, you must report them immediately to an animal health expert.

Check also: Are Saddles Not Good for Horses?

Horse Feed: Digestion Process and Requirements

As stated above, the digestive system of a horse is such that the animal needs to keep some food in its stomach. Likewise, it will give them the energy to work and stay active for long hours. Now, it depends upon the horse’s activity as to how much they will require in a day. Certainly, you can only feed your horse depending on how much they are doing.

Let’s say you have a horse, and now you are preparing it as a racehorse or jumper for events. For such activities, you must increase their daily diet to make them perform well. Similarly, horses that undergo extreme physical activity must be given high-calorie feeds like grain, oats, and probiotic supplements for proper health. You must calculate their regular feed so that there’s no imbalance in their diet plan.


Just like us, a horse is also a living being that will suffer from issues from time to time. To make them feel better, you can check up on them and take them for a proper check-up at routine intervals. Moreover, note that if your horse’s health is up to par, it will make them perform well in any course of riding.

Common health problems like colic, lameness, dental issues, and respiratory conditions can be effectively managed through regular check-ups, appropriate nutrition, and suitable exercise. Maintaining a clean stable, following a proper feeding regimen, and providing ample opportunities for exercise are integral aspects of equine care.

While this article has highlighted some of the prevalent health problems in horses, it is crucial to underscore the indispensable role of professional veterinary guidance. Regular veterinary visits and consultations should be considered a non-negotiable part of horse care. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for addressing health issues effectively.

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Written by

The author of the article is Alicia Nelson. She is a professional writer who is keenly interested in learning more about horses and their riding essentials. Apart from being a writer, Alicia is interested in equine life and is also a learned person in English riding disciplines. It’s also her profession to gather more and more knowledge about equine life and let others know about it in a correct manner.

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