Pre-Riding Season Checklist
- Check their hooves and legs. Hard, uneven winter ground can cause little sprains and bruises to the bottoms of their hooves. Alternatively, brisk Spring days that make them want to kick up their hooves combined with slick, muddy footing can do the same.
- Make sure your horse's teeth are in good shape. Look for rough edges, broken or cracked teeth, and also that your bit doesn't come into contact with their teeth in any way. Have an equine dentist evaluate annually for good measure, especially if you aren't sure what to look for.
- How is your horse moving? If there seems to be a hitch in their step, their backs look out of alignment, or they are favoring one leg over the other it's time to call in a professional. Equestrian veterinarians, chiropractors, and message therapists can often help isolate where the issue is and help put your horse on the path to healing. Again, having an equine veterinarian provide a full evalution at least once a year is a sound practice.
- Is your horse sensitive to pressure anywhere? Run your fingers along the spine, about four inches down from either side of the spine, at each scapula, and back towards the loins. If your horse is sensitive in any of these areas, there may be bruising caused by incidental contact with another horse or object in the field or barn, or it may be caused by pressure from the saddle.
- Want to check for saddle fit but don't know how? Read the article HERE
- Check your bit to make sure there is no contact with the teeth, bars or roof of the mouth. It should be adjusted high enough where they don't feel they have to reach for it--making them move strung out--but not being so high they tend to feel gagged and over-flex. To learn more about different types of bits and how they work, watch our bitting video HERE