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Cherry Hill's
Horsekeeping Almanac

  Horse Health Care
Horse Handling
& Grooming
How To Think
Like A Horse
Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping Almanac
Horse Health Care by Cherry Hill
Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry Hill
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill


October 2003

This newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.
My goal is to answer some of your questions and send you interesting stories and helpful tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.

Vital Signs Issue

  2003 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

Vital signs measure a horse's body functions and are a good indication of his overall state of health. Learn how to take your horse's temperature, pulse, respiration, capillary refill time, perform the pinch test and become adept with a stethoscope for listening to his heart, lungs, and intestines. Know what is normal for most adult horses. But every horse is different, so know what is normal for each of your horses so you will know when there is a problem. To establish normals, take the vital signs twice a day for three Horse Health Care by Cherry Hilldays and average the readings. Choose various times of day but always when the horse is at rest, not when he has just been working or is excited. Write them in your horse's record. Then, when your horse becomes ill, you can take his vital signs and compare them to his normals. This is valuable information to have on hand when you call your veterinarian.

Adapted from Horse Health Care.

Click on a Vital Sign below to change pages

Pinch Test
Capillary Refill Time


You can take your horse's pulse reading just about anywhere you can hear or feel his heartbeat. Choose an artery close to the surface of the skin. Lightly press your fingertips against the artery. Count the beats for 15 seconds and then multiply by four to get the rate per minute. The maxillary artery, on the inside of the jawbone, is one of the easiest places to find a strong pulse, even on a quiet, resting horse. It's best not to let your thumb rest on the horse when you take a pulse as you might possibly pick up a throbbing from your own heartbeat and get a misreading. Another easy-to-find pulse spot is the digital artery located on both the inside and outside of the horse's leg just above the fetlock. Normal resting pulse for an adult horse is 30-40 beats per minutes. Pulse rates are higher with excitement, pain, nervousness, elevated body temperature, shock, infectious disease, and exercise. Pulse rates are lower on fit horses and in cooler weather.

Here's a clip from our DVD, 101 Horsekeeping Tips:

That's it for this month. Don't forget, when you ride, keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.

Cherry Hill

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  2003 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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