So 2019 is upon us, even though it feels like only yesterday we were welcoming in 2018! As the clock ticked midnight on the 1st January, the day changed from Monday to Tuesday. Most day changes come and go with little or no consideration but this day is considered special, a day when people all around the world come together to celebrate and welcome in a New Year. For most of us this marks a time for celebration, a time for reflection and contemplation as we endeavour to set resolutions in an attempt to improve ourselves financially, health wise or to reinvent ourselves and start a new venture etc. For me, 2019 is a time to focus on growing the business and help improve as many horses’ lives as possible.
Whilst we all start the New Year thinking of ourselves, I’m not sure that many of us can say we use this time to review our horses’ lifestyles. Now though is as good a time as any to try new therapies and approaches to improve our horses’ health and wellbeing. With so many therapies at owners’ disposal nowadays, there is so much that can be done to improve our horses’ lives. Finding the right therapy is not always easy but, when you do, it can make a huge change to your horse’s life both in terms of general performance but also in the maintenance of long term health.
I find that too much of the horse industry focuses on cures. Inevitably there will always be something that happens when intervention is needed and treatment given for an injury or ailment. Whilst there is no substitute for veterinary care, there is a lot that can be done to prevent issues occurring in the first place and save the costs of tests and treatments down the line when an issue has gone undetected for too long.
So as you embark on a whole New Year and start working towards competitions and events or just getting out on more hacks, take a moment to look at your horse, to really look at it, in its entirety. Look at the symmetry of its face, how its eyes move, is it more comfortable with you being on one side than the other, how does it stand, how does it move (in a walk not trot which hides too many evils) or just consider its general behaviour and any noticeable changes that have started creeping in. The chances are you’ll find all sorts of things that just don’t ‘feel right’. Remember horses are prey animals, designed to hide their issues until they are at such a stage they can’t hide them anymore. If you can find a therapy that helps you identify issues early on and focuses on general maintenance then you will be taking a prevention not cure approach to your horse’s wellbeing and will have a much happier, healthier horse in the long term.
So, as you consider your resolutions for 2019, take a moment to consider your horse and what resolution you can make for it this year. You may find it’s one resolution that you actually manage to keep!