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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

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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.

Click on a Vital Sign below to change pages

Capillary Refill Time


The pinch test is a quick and easy subjective way to evaluate skin turgor (normal state of distention and resiliency) and measure dehydration. However, the best indication that your horse is properly hydrated is to know that he is drinking plenty of fresh water and that his manure is moist. To perform the pinch test, pick up a fold of skin in the neck/shoulder area and pull it away from the horse's body. Release the fold of skin. It should return almost immediately to its normal flat position. If the skin remains markedly peaked for two to three seconds, it probably indicates a degree of body fluid loss. A "standing tent" of skin for a five to ten second duration indicates moderate to severe dehydration which might require the attention of your veterinarian.

Adapted from Horse Health Care.


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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