Grooming helps keep a horse healthy and improves it's appearance. Horses kept in a stable should be groomed daily with a rubber currycomb, body brush, hoof pick and mane and tail comb. Areas touched by the saddle and girth and the regions behind the heels and in the hock depressions need special brushing. A thorough wiping with a soft cloth should follow the brushing. The hoof pick removes the dirt, stones and other objects from the feet.
Shoes : protect the feet of horses that run or workon roads and other hard surfaces such as race tracks. Light shoes, weighing about 8 ounces and having only a few nails mak the best shoes. Race horses wear light shoes which may wear out after a few races. Shoes for wear in winter and mountains have cleats to prevent them from slipping.
Horses should be examined by a vet atleast once ot twice a year. They should be vaccinated against tetanus, influenza and other diseases. Sometimes a horse's teeth must be floated ( filed to remove sharp edges ). Horse owners can prevent many medical problems by feeding and breeding horses properly, keeping them and their stables clean and exercising them daily. They should watch out for a changes in condition or bevahior of the horses. Signs of illness include loss of appetite, lack of vigor, mucous or bloody discharge from eyes or nose, swellings or sore in the body and hot legs and feet. A fast ot slow pulse rate is also a sign of illness ( Normal pulse 30-40 beats/min ).
A horse's legs become easily diseased if not cared for properly. Some common diseases include thrush, navicular and laminitis. Thrush can be prevented by providing a dry, clean bedding for the horse. Navicular is the disease of the foot bone that causes a horse's legs to become stiff and sore. It is treated with correective shoeing and drugs. Laminitis, also called founder, is an inflammation of the foot. It's symptoms include lameness, hot feet and increased pulse. It is treated by medication and soaking the foot in warm water.
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