The key to being ready for summer, is starting in the spring. Warm weather brings out nice green grass where there was yucky brown mud (or worse, layers of snow!), sleek shiny horses where there was big fuzzy teddy bears and t-shirts and caps where there were heavy coats and 3 layers of hats! Some things to get going on now before it gets hot are:
Make sure your tractors, lawnmowers, weedeaters, etc. are all tuned up and in working condition. If needed, replace the blades to any mowers. Sharp blades make for cleaner cuts, which increases the health of your grass.
Go ahead and start building your fly control arsenal. You don’t want the flies to get an upper hand, they take that inch and run a mile!
If you haven’t already done so in the last 6-8 weeks, deworm your horses. Winter does not stop parasite cycles, and in fact, with little grass to eat, the horses are more likely to pick up parasite eggs off the ground while foraging.
Spring is the best time for yearly vaccination, for several reasons. The biggest reason being that your best immunity from many of the vaccines is during the first 2-3 months after they are given. Mosquitoes transmit one of the more common vaccinated diseases, encephalitis, as well as the West Nile Virus, so you want the best protection during the worst of the mosquito season. Other diseases like rhino and flu are transmitted from horse to horse. During the spring and summer, many folks are out more, trail riding, showing, etc. so again, you want that immunity boost before heading out!
Even if you don’t go anywhere with your horses, and are fortunate to live where mosquitoes never roam, please check your rabies vaccination records and make sure your horses are up to date with this important vaccine. Rabies has broken out in several different areas of late and there is NO CURE once your animal has contracted the virus.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to own several hundred acres, join the crowd. I’d recommend doing something to spread the manure out as thinly as possible in your pasture if you don’t remove it. This will not only cause the manure to break down faster, it will also expose any parasite eggs to the sun and elements, which will kill them.
Spring is the best time for reseeding and sprigging for warm weather grasses like bermuda.
I know if you are like me, you think continually about your horses’ well-being and comfort and tend to neglect your own. But because we at HorseHobbyist.com worry about you, too, we want you to be healthy and around for many, many moons! So please, before running out to spend a day in the sun with your equine buddy, do grab some sunscreen as you walk out the door (and apply it to your skin, doesn’t work well otherwise!). Not only is it uncomfortable to deal with sunburn, but skin cancer is one of the leading cancers out there and you don’t want to have to go through that!
Other than that, just get out there and enjoy the beautiful spring weather! Before too long we’ll be wishing for the mild temperatures as we sweat out the dog days of summer.