1. Check your horse's alertness. The ears should be moving back and
forth; this is the sign of an alert and aware horse. Ears back mean your horse is mad and
2. Check the coat. A horse's coat should be glossy and lying flat. If the hair
is dull they may be lacking essential vitamins and nutrients. If the coat is standing on end, they may be
frightened and anxious.
3. The skin should be loose and supple when you run your hand over their body;
it should shift easily along the underlying bones. If you can see the bones through the skin your horse is
becoming malnourished. If you cannot feel the bones through the skin then your horse is becoming
4. Your horse's eyes should be open and appear bright; check under the eyelids
and into the nostrils, they should appear pink and healthy. Dull and listless eyes are a sign of infection or
other issue. Pale eyelids and nostril tissue can be a sign of blood flow issues.
5. In weather that is not hot, your horse should NOT appear to be over heated
or sweating at rest. This is a sign that your horse is in distress.
6. Check that your horse appears to have its normal appetite and is chewing
normally. Know your horse's routine so that if something changes you notice as this could be a sign of upcoming
problems. Horses are animals of routine so if the routine changes be on the look out.
7. Check them against a body conditioning chart. Healthy horses should fall
between a 5 and a 7.
8. Check their legs. Legs should be smooth and cool. Bruises tend to cause
heat and swelling.
9. Observe them at rest. Are they favoring a leg? Check for sprains; resting a
hind leg is normal but take note and double check if a front leg is being rested.
10. Watch them walk. Their gait should be smooth and natural, not favoring any
one leg over the others.
11. Check urine color as it can be a sign of internal injuries. Urine should
always be a light yellow or colorless and fairly think. If it is bright yellow they may be dehydrated and your
horse should be urinating several times a day.
12. Manure should occur regularly throughout the day, be relatively firm and
not have an offensive odor. Color is dependent on what they are eating.
13. When rested and relaxing their breathing rate should be 8-12 breaths per
minute depending on fitness. You should contact your vet if this number is significantly higher or
14. Pulse should be between 36 and 42 beats per minute depending on fitness
level. Contact your vet if it is significantly higher or lower.
15. Rectal temperature should be between 100-101 degress
Breaking a Leg- What It Means For Your
Deadly Equine Diseases
Tips for Keeping Flies Under
Horse Inspection Checklist
Five Most Common Horse Diseases
How to Spot a Malnourished Horse
Top 10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses
Feeding and Rebuilding a Malnourished
Helping a Horse Living with Cushing's
How to Treat Abscesses on Your Horse
Colic and Your Horse
Confirming That Your Horse Has Rabies
Helping a Pregnant Mare
Handling a Rattlesnake Bite to Your Horse
Being Aware of Tetanus and Your Horse
Preventing Thrush in Your Horse