10 Signs of a Healthy Horse

The 10 Signs of a Healthy Horse 

There is nothing more frightening than the thought of your horse being sick or in pain. It’s for this very reason that we advise all horse owners to be aware of the signs of a healthy horse and to know what to look out for in case of any trouble.

Eyes and Nostrils

  • Eyes should be clear and bright
  • Eyes should not be cloudy or discoloured, and no discharge should be visible
  • If excessive or discoloured discharge from the eyes or nostrils is present this could be indicative of a health problem
  • Clear, minimal discharge is normal


  • Teeth need to be checked and ‘floated’ or rasped at least once a year
  • Sharp points could develop from uneven wear if proper care is not taken
  • Look out for signs of discomfort and if the horse drops much of their feed out of their mouth it could require a visit from the vet or dentist


  • Appetite is a good indicator of how well, or unwell, your horse is feeling
  • A good appetite is normal for a healthy horse
  • If your horse shows disinterest in their food, it could be an early indicator of problems to come

Weight and Body Condition

  • Aim to keep your horse in optimum condition by not allowing him to become obese or too underweight
  • Horses may drop weight quickly especially considering their level of activity, so keep a keen eye on their body condition
  • You should not be able to see the ribs, but you should be able to feel them

Healthy Hooves

  • NZ horse racing tips dictate that a Horses hooves have to be kept in a good condition at all times which means a regular trim by the farrier
  • Long, weak, or brittle hooves most likely means that your horse needs a regular farrier appointment, and you should look into their diet to ensure that they are receiving all their nutrition requirements

Clean Legs

  • Horses legs should be free of lumps or bumps – making them ‘clean’
  • Be sure to check the legs for any signs of heat, pain, swelling, cuts, or lumps on the skin during grooming

Free Movement

  • A healthy horse will have flowing, free movement
  • Should not show any signs of lameness or irregular gait
  • A lame horse will appear to step ‘short’ and may ‘nod’ their head when trotted up on a hard surface


  • A healthy horses temperature will be 37.5 degrees Celsius, but minor fluctuations are normal
  • Find out what is normal for your horse by checking their temperature regularly and temperatures that fall outside of the normal range should always be treated with utmost care
  • A temperature of 39 degrees Celsius or higher requires immediate veterinary attention

Shiny Coat

  • A healthy horse will have a shiny, glowing coat which can be accomplished by meeting all their nutritional requirements and keeping a regular grooming schedule
  • A dull coat could be a sign that something is nutritionally lacking or an indication of worm burden


  • Your horse should have a bright and alert demeanour
  • They should be interested in their surroundings and seem comfortable
  • Horses who are sick or injured may seem uncomfortable or appear to be dull, listless and disinterested
  • Other signs of pain include obvious signs of discomfort such as rolling, pawing, or repeated kicking and rapid respiration (breathing)

If you are at any time concerned with your horse’s well-being, consult your vet immediately.

About Becky Johnson