Tips to Tune-Up Your Horse in Spring

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As the vibrant colors of spring emerge and the weather warms, horse owners are gearing up to provide their equine companions with the care they need for the season ahead. Here are some essential spring tune-up tips to keep your horse happy, healthy, and ready for action.

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Hi, this is Lillian and I’m here with April Love of Holistic Horseworks

It’s springtime, what can horse owners do to give their horse a good spring tuneup?

April: So the first thing again, you’re going to be having more exercise coming up and you want to make sure the horse is balanced. So, every spring is when you should be looking at not all the vaccinations, but a dental exam on your horse to make sure before you’re putting a bit in, before they’re needing to eat more and bring more calories that all the teeth are in balance, including the front.

I’ve seen some people use power tools in the back and not even touch the front teeth and then the horse can barely connect. And there’s a lot of lameness issues that are actually related to individual teeth. So please make sure you find an equine dentist. This is not the normal veterinarian unless they took the $25,000 classes in equine dentistry, which is usually just hand tools.

So, we start with the teeth and being able to eat and you don’t even want to go out there because you know when you’re grooming your horse, you’re going to be wearing all that hair back in the house, in the mudroom, tracking it everywhere. It’s in your car. So, for people on a budget, what I had done is find a vacuum attachment.

At the time I was using Bissell. Bissell. It was a big dog grooming brush with a clear plastic dome and metal serrated teeth that were really short. And it went on the end of a shop vac. So, I just got a shop vac that my horse got used to the noise got a longer hose and used a $29 dog grooming tool, and just started vacuuming the horses.

And they love it. It pulls the oils up and their skin and it helps to get rid of dandruff. Their whole coat’s healthier and you’re not going to be wearing it like it does when currying and it’s going off into the wind and everything. So, a lot of horses don’t like vacuum noise, but they really get used to it.

And when you just do long strokes and back in them, they really like it. The black Lab that I used to have, she would just wiggle and smile and grin and like vacuum me, vacuum me to show that was really nice in the house as well. If you vacuum the hair off the dog, you don’t have to vacuum all the hair up off the floor.

So that’s what I start with because the whole grooming process is like, Oh, my God, I got to groom my horse for an hour and it was going to be hair everywhere. 

And then we want to look at their feet. What’s the quality of their feet that have been in the mud? The horse has to run on these hooves.

So, I have an amazing hoof soak recipe. And the only boots that I like are the U.C. Davis Soaker boots. You can find them on Amazon pretty cheap. They’re really sturdy and I do two or three hoof soaks to just pull out toxins, it’s like an ionic foot bath for people. So I might only do one or two on the high end, which can be a little more challenging.

And if you have old IV bags from the vet, the big IV bags, you can put it on like a sock on the horse and just do a little bit of vet wrap to tighten it, especially on the hind feet so that you don’t have these big boots sloshing and I’ll use the UC Davis soaker boots on the front and I make sure I kind of walk the horse around a little bit so they’re not afraid of the boots, before you add the soaking solution, which has a little bit of a tingle to it. So, if you have a lot of flies in your area, you want to make sure you fly, spray the legs or put something on them so they won’t be picking up their legs to slam down. And you put this solution in for 45 minutes and it’s just amazing.

It’s one cup of Epsom salt and two full droppers full. So, I have the Dynamite liquid trace minerals. So when you open the bottle and you squeeze up a dropper full, it’ll only be half. So, if, if it’s doing that in your bottle you have to do six half-droppers full and that’s in a 32-ounce shaker bottle, like our smoothie shaker bottles. That’s 32 ounces. You can shake it up in there and then pour it in the boots. Stay there with them. Give them a hay bag. So, they’re not sloshing around in the water. 

And normally when you pull those boots off, it just smells like dead, rotting animal. It’s just pulling everything out of the frog and a white line fungus that has separation on your hoof while you’re looking at it barefoot.

If you see a separation in the hoof wall. That’s the white line fungus. So, it kills and tightens the hoof wall. If you have a horse that has shoes on and you want to go barefoot. I recommend doing three of these soaks three days in a row before taking off the shoes and then the horse saying, “Oh, my God, my feet hurt so much, I’m not going to move anywhere.”

So, we want to balance the teeth. You want to balance the feet and vacuum the horse and then start into my yoga program to make sure everything can move correctly. So, my yoga program has five moves. And if they can’t do any part of that easily, you have a glitch there. The carrots stretch, the nose should go all the way back to the stifle on both sides.

If it only goes on one side long and one side short, you have a glitch in that area. The leg circles up and over down to drunken horse pose. Should be easy. If it’s easy with the right shoulder and not easy with the left shoulder and you tack it up and right it left front shoulder tightness is going to throw back to mysterious right hind issues.

It’s going to throw stress to the diagonal so there are no mysterious lameness and by the time that you see a horse bob its head, it’s already, to me, three-legged lame. And there’s other compensation we need to look for. And I always start with how happy are the hooves, tendons, and suspensories. I have a video that you can look at on how to check your horses, suspensories, and tendons by palpating, especially if you’re a jumper, barrel racer, or endurance rider… need to make sure those legs are ready to go.

So that starting with the whole horse’s teeth and the hooves.

And then we get into the body issues, you know, the tail pull and the butt tucks. They can’t do it if the pelvis is not in alignment. And if your pelvis isn’t in alignment, you’re going to start to get the roach back and the hunter’s bump, but also the hocks that come too close together because your psoas in spasm.

So, then you have a horse that’s going to pull the hills at the front end and not be able to push off the hind or engage the hind well. And then again you’re going to have mysterious lameness.  The belly lifts is all about, are all the ribs free and is the back free.  

The belly lift scratch in the girth area should not be done with a hoof pick, you should just scratch and the whole back should pop up and you want to hold it there. So, it’s like an isometric tone and stretch. And if your horse can’t do the yoga well, you shouldn’t be tacking it up and riding it until you do my bodywork program. The yoga is a great diagnostic tool.

If you’re doing competitive endurance or barrel racing, like my clients, as soon as they’re done with the event, they loosen the girth, they lift the back of the saddle. unless it’s ice-cold air to take the pressure off and get some air underneath. You can leave the saddle on, and you can do my whole yoga program in between each event. And they found that by doing that and not sitting on the horse, you know, in the shade for the horse show, which just locks their whole back and just keeping them in movement, that their horses are doing the same speed events and performing as well at the end of the day, when everyone else’s horses are starting to fade. And we’ll also teach to work the K-27s, which is a nice little energy boost at the end of the day for one more event. 

So, one of the things you should do before you ride is stand behind your horse about 10 feet. And if they’re tall, get on a bucket and look at the top.

The back of their butt and their back from the rear is one hip higher is one side of the back, lower is the withers crooked? And that’s on 95% of all the horses out there, which is why you need to learn my program. So, you can tune up your horse yourself. So, if you have a horse that’s not looking symmetrical and you’re putting on a straight treed saddle and girthing, it uptight, that’s when they get girthy.

And the horses, if you’re putting that saddle pad on and they’re already pinning theirs and swishing their tail, your horse has pain. This is not an attitude of, “Oh, I just don’t want to be ridden today.” It has to do with the horse’s body’s crooked, you’re tightening up the girth into a straight saddle with wood and leather that doesn’t allow the horse to bend and breathe.

So, it’s not just lunge the buck out of them, or, you know, tighten the girth slowly. You need to find out what the issue is. The horses that just hate to be girth, it’s usually some kind of impact or trauma in the past from a horse kicking him or running into a fence that affected their whole sternum and the chiropractic and bodyworkers that are only working on the withers and the ribs on top and not looking to the intercostal is in the whole sternum tightness underneath is missing like half the issue.

So, email me if you have one of those horses that absolutely hates to be girthed up and I’ll teach you about what we can do about all that. So please enjoy my free e-book. It’s www.Horse It goes into how all the issues start slipping and falling in the pasture, going down and trailer the foal taking a tumble in the field.

What happens to a horse when they pull back and they’re tied to something and all the cranial nerve damage that’s done? Our horses did not wake up and say, “Oh, I just really want to piss off my owner today and not do everything they asked me to do.” They don’t work that way. They’re loving, they’re willing, they’re kind, sentient beings.

So, if your horse is talking to saying, I’m not comfortable, I can’t pick up the right canter. You know, it’s not let’s just keep lunging them until they can do it, because then you’re going to end up with a really sore stifle or string hall or shivers in the hind leg. So, please contact me through my website,

You can find over 190 helpful videos on my YouTube channel, Holistic Horse Works and Facebook page Holistic Horseworks. Hope to see you there.

Dental Care


Spring is the perfect time to schedule a dental exam for your horse. Consider scheduling a thorough dental examination with a qualified equine dentist. This examination should encompass not only routine checks for signs of dental issues but also an assessment of overall dental balance.

An equine dentist can identify and address any issues such as sharp points, uneven wear, or dental abnormalities that may impede proper chewing and digestion. By addressing these concerns early on, you can help prevent discomfort, performance issues, and potential complications down the line.

It’s worth noting that routine dental care goes beyond simply floating teeth. While routine floating, or filing down sharp points, is important, a comprehensive dental exam should also include checks for other dental conditions such as malocclusions, periodontal disease, and tooth fractures.

Furthermore, dental health can have a significant impact on your horse’s overall well-being. Poor dental health can lead to difficulty eating, weight loss, behavioral changes, and even systemic health issues. By investing in regular dental care for your horse, you not only ensure their comfort and performance but also contribute to their overall health and longevity.

Shedding and Grooming


Spring heralds the onset of shedding season, presenting horse owners with the challenge of managing copious amounts of loose hair. While grooming is essential year-round, it takes on added significance during this time of transition. Regular grooming not only maintains the aesthetic appeal of your horse but also plays an important role in promoting their overall health and well-being.

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Investing in specialized grooming tools can streamline the process and enhance its effectiveness. I recommend using a vacuum attachment designed for dog grooming, which proves remarkably efficient at removing loose hair from your horse’s coat. This innovative approach not only reduces the time and effort required for grooming but also minimizes the spread of hair.

Beyond just hair removal, grooming offers an opportunity to assess your horse’s skin and coat condition. Regular grooming sessions allow you to detect any abnormalities, such as skin irritations, cuts, or signs of infestation, enabling prompt intervention if necessary.

Hoof Inspection


Spring’s muddy conditions pose a challenge to hoof health, requiring proactive care. Regular inspections are key to spotting issues early, such as cracks or wear. Consider incorporating a homemade hoof soak using Epsom salt to promote overall integrity and combat environmental factors.

Protective measures like hoof boots provide defense against abrasions and injuries, especially in challenging terrain. Additionally, proactive management of conditions like white line disease is crucial.

Maintaining a balanced diet and providing ample exercise support healthy hoof growth. Partnering with a skilled farrier ensures regular trims and expert guidance in hoof care.

Limber up


After a wintery hibernation, it’s important for your horse to limber up before being ridden! Incorporating yoga exercises into your horse’s routine can have numerous benefits beyond what you might expect. Just as yoga benefits humans by improving flexibility, strength, and balance, it can do the same for horses.

One of the fundamental aspects of horse yoga is its diagnostic value. My horse yoga routine can highlight areas of stiffness, tension, or discomfort in a horse’s body, allowing you to address these issues before they escalate into more significant problems. For example, difficulty in performing certain yoga poses may indicate underlying musculoskeletal issues that require attention.

Moreover, horse yoga can play a helpful role in injury prevention and rehabilitation. By engaging in targeted stretches and movements, horses can improve their overall flexibility and muscle tone, reducing the risk of strain or injury during physical activities. Additionally, yoga can aid in the rehabilitation process for horses recovering from injuries by promoting gentle, controlled movement that supports healing without causing further harm.

Reassessing Saddle Fit


Your horse may have gained a few pounds over the winter, so it’s time to reassess saddle fit! One of the key elements of rider-horse harmony is the proper fit of the saddle. A poorly fitting saddle can lead to discomfort, pain, and even injury for the horse, ultimately impacting their ability to perform at their best.

To ensure optimal saddle fit, it’s essential to regularly assess both the saddle and the horse’s back. Look for signs of discomfort such as rubbing, pinching, or uneven sweat patterns under the saddle pad. Additionally, observe your horse’s behavior while saddling up, paying attention to any signs of discomfort such as pinned ears, swishing tail, or resistance to being mounted.

Collaborating with a knowledgeable saddle fitter or equine professional can help ensure that your saddle fits your horse correctly. A professional fitting involves evaluating the saddle’s tree width, panel shape, and overall balance to ensure it distributes weight evenly and does not cause pressure points or restriction of movement.

In addition to saddle fit, it’s important to consider the type of saddle pad used. A well-chosen saddle pad can provide additional cushioning and support, further enhancing your horse’s comfort. Opt for pads made from breathable, moisture-wicking materials that provide sufficient padding without adding excess bulk or heat.

And as I so often say, “You can put a straight saddle on a crooked horse!” So much about proper saddle fit relies on proper body alignment. By bring your horse’s body back into proper form and function with horse bodywork, you can ensure a much more comfortable fit for your horse. Start with the Level 1: Equine Musculoskeletal Unwinding home study. 

Level 1: Equine Musculoskeletal Unwinding Home Study


Learn how to keep your horse happy, healthy, and rideable through their 30’s while saving thousands on vet bills! The reason why your horse is having so many problems is that most people you go to for advice— including vets, trainers, and many equine professionals— are only treating the symptoms, NOT the root of the issues. And that’s the way it’s been for years and years. But if “the good ole’ ways” just aren’t working anymore, now is the time to start looking at things in a whole new way.

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