What does "Natural Care" mean?

by Yvonne Welz ©2006

Does "natural care" mean that you treat your horse like a wild mustang, and provide little to no health care maintenance? Does "natural care" mean that you avoid all chemicals, antibiotics, dewormers and vaccinations? Does "natural care" mean that you avoid all veterinary care & dental care, or never feed any supplements, or never apply any medication in any situation?

We say, absolutely not!

"Natural Care," as a phrase, is simply an extension of the care provided by an educated barefoot horse owner. The same scrutiny and thought that went into your horses' hooves needs to be applied to every aspect of your routine management. This means working WITH your veterinarian to figure out what your unique horse needs in his unique situation, in regards to vaccinations, dewormers and other preventative health care treatments.

Just as you may have read, researched and combed the earth for hoof information, do the same about nutrition, vaccinations, deworming protocols, horse medications, equine dentistry, etc. Learn as much as you can about every aspect of your horse's health care. Be an active part of it, don't just be a bystander! Make your own decisions based on the knowledge you acquire, and work with your veterinarian in these decisions.

The knowledgeable "Natural Care" owner will seek a balance in every situation. Your goal is to keep your horse as healthy as possible in his own captive environment. Health is promoted by providing your horse with natural boarding conditions. Overdoing chemicals, worming medications, and vaccinations can lead to negative consequences, but everyone's situation is different. These chemicals are often very necessary and health promoting, when used correctly. The "Natural Care" owner will want to optimize parasite control for the greatest effectiveness with the least amount of chemicals, minimize their vaccinations to the safest and most effective ones, and save the antibiotics and strong medications for their timely, and often lifesaving uses. These ideas are not just for barefoot horse owners, but make simple, good, common sense for every horse owner.

There is nothing new about natural horse care - this information is widely known, and you can find these recommendations in some form or another in every horse care book ever written. Everyone just needs to be reminded about the simple basics now and then!

©2006 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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