Horse Health and Safety Checklist

Greg ShallardTips

It might seem boring, but writing down and referring to a simple checklist can save you the heart ache and anguish of anything happening to your horse. Heaven forbid. By checking this list regularly, you can also help to prevent any injury or health concerns with your beautiful friend. Below, is a set of crucial statistics and health and safety recommendations, that are sure to keep your horse safe at all times. Please note, these are just suggestions from Affinity, and these measures should only be administered after individual consultation with a veterinarian.

At the stables
Maintain effective boundary and internal fencing.

Ensure good drainage and manage manure.

Control insects and rodents.

Clean and disinfect stables, equipment and transport vehicles between uses.

Monitor temperature of stabled horses (above 38.5 degrees Celsius suggests disease).

Isolate new arrivals and returning horses for seven days.

Attend to isolated horses last, use separate equipment and disinfect after use.

Wash hands between handling separately stabled horses.

Vaccinate for common diseases and check the vaccination status of new arrivals.

Use a fresh needle and syringe for every horse when vaccinating or giving medicine.

Group horses by use and age into small groups.

Keep records of horse movements.

Keep records of visitors to the stables.

Train stable handlers in disinfection methods and disease prevention, identification and control procedures.

Before and after events

Check horse health before and during events.

Do not take sick animals to an event.

Disinfect vehicles, equipment and boots before leaving and returning to your property.

Destroy used bedding.

Isolate horses returning from events for seven days.

Brush off loose mud and manure.

Wash item with laundry detergent or soap first then use disinfectant.

Dip grooming and veterinary tools in disinfectant.

Wipe tack with a disinfectant-dampened cloth.

Scrub or brush boots and spray with disinfectant.

Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

At an event

Clean housing/stables before you allow your horse to enter.

Avoid horse-to-horse contact and other people touching your horse.

Bring your own equipment.

Do not share feed or water.

Wash your hands between horses.

Monitor horse health.

Ask service providers to disinfect equipment and themselves before attending to your horse.

Report disease signs or unusual behaviour in your horse to the event organiser.

Observe event biosecurity and record keeping.

Healthy horses at rest have:

heart rate of 24–45 beats per minute

breathing rate of 8-16 breaths per minute

temperature of 36.5–38.5°C

clear eyes, a normal stance, no nasal discharge

capillary refill time of 1-2 seconds

hydration (pinch test) time of 1-2 seconds.