Maintaining Horse Health Records: Keep Notes on Everything!
“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.”