Spring means a lot of things: longer days, warmer temperatures, more riding time… but it also means yearly wellness exams and spring shots. It can be a lot to keep track of. Here is how one rider keeps track of her yearly wellness requirements.
Written by SmartPaker Annina McMillan
Keeping up to date and on top of those important-but-not-as-frequent horse owner to-dos can be challenging! I personally cannot depend on my memory to be on top of scheduling things that only needed to be done once or twice a year, but thankfully, there are plenty of ways to keep track of these less frequent asks, and I’ve outlined a few of my favorite things I check in on and how I tackle them individually. If you have favorite ways to schedule or keep track, I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Every January, I typically like to go a big year overview for me and my horse. This usually is a quick review – just 15 or 20 minutes. I make a quick list of the following when planning my horse’s yearly wellness requirements:
- Any show plans, vacation plans, etc to keep in mind
- General Wellness Exams
- Dental Exams and Floating
- Deworming and Fecal Tests
- Supplement adjustments – electrolytes, insect, and any others that may be applicable to your horse
Vaccines and General Wellness Exams
Scheduling general wellness examines, vaccines, dentals, and other veterinary care can vary greatly horse to horse, so this is one I work closely with my vet with. For my horse I get spring and fall vaccines done, and typically tack on an overall wellness exam each time as well just to keep up to date with everything. My vet is wonderful and offers reminder emails and calls, so if your vet offers this, it is a great way to keep on track!
In addition, some barns combine vaccines together for multiple horses, so it’s also a good idea to keep your barn manager in the loop or other boarders to potentially organize vaccine or wellness exams together.
After discussing with your veterinarian regarding that the best schedule is for your horse, I love to outline these in my physical calendar to look ahead as well as putting reminders in my phone. This is also a great time to submit any time off for work or any order scheduled adjustments needed. Placing them in multiple places may seem a bit like overkill, but it helps keep me on track regardless of where I view the information. Plus, it decreases my changes of forgetting a vet appointment and missing it completely!
Often it is hard to schedule/plan that far in advance, which we can all completely understand! Not everyone can schedule a September 18th Fall wellness exam is not possible in January. Instead of planning specific dates many months in advance, I create a reminder in a physical calendar and my phone approximately 6 weeks in advance when those items should be scheduled. For example, since per my vet, we do spring vaccines the sometime approximately at the end of April or start of May. I’ll note on March 15th in my calendar and in my phone, to call the vet to set that appointment up. That gives time to set those appointments up without having to lock in dates in January.
Routine dental checks are essential, and every horse has their own special routine. Some horses need floating once a year while others need it twice a year. Your vet will provide the best recommendation specific for your horse. Typically, I get this completed mid-summer since my horse is a touch sensitive and my delicate flower, so stacking it together with vaccines is not the best idea for my horse in particular. Many horses get their teeth done at the same as spring or fall vaccines and it works out great for them. For those horses that need twice a year floating – getting them done spring and fall is a great option as well. I often schedule this at the same time I schedule the yearly vaccines and wellness examines in one go.
Deworming is also one that is customizable, as grazing season varies depending on where you’re located geographically, the horse’s health status, and fecal test results. Fecal tests can be done potentially though your vet, or you can order this from us as well! Your vet will provide the best advice on when the best time is to complete a fecal test for your horse. These can be placed on autoshipment, so it can be set for a yearly delivery (every 365 days) so no need to re-order!
There are quite a few dewormers, which can also be placed on autoshipment so no need to remember to order. The AAEP’s Parasite Control Subcommittee of the Infectious Disease Committee recommends at least two deworming administrations per year, and your vet will be able to provide the best dewormer to use and if your horse needs additional deworming administrations per year. If autoshipment does not work for you or your horse’s needs, I also have a calendar reminder to order dewomers at the time my vet recommends.
Want to learn more about best deworming practices? Check out The Modern Guide to Deworming!
Supplements – Salt/Electrolytes and Insect Support
The great thing about SmartPaks is they are completely customizable for each horses’ needs! There are two supplement categories I adjust twice a year. This can vary depending on where in the country you are and what support your horse needs. I love to use insect support for my horse to deter those biting insects, but this not needed all year around. This is why I love the Equinox 365 Program – it automatically provides my horse SmartBug-Off Ultra in the warmer months and gives my horse great skin and coat support plus vitamin e with SmartOmega 3 and E ultra in the winter. This way, I don’t have to remember adding or removing, this is already taken care of!
In addition to this switch, I make sure my horse gets electrolytes in the warmer months and salt in the colder months. I like to continue this year around to encourage drinking, especially in the colder months. The electrolytes are important during the warmer months to replace the minerals lost in sweat. In addition, always check with your vet regarding supplement adjustments, as they may or may not be a good fit for your horse:
What are your tips and tricks to keep up to date on these less frequent tasks?
Go SmartPak and go riding!