1. Get Your Horse Microchipped.
As of Dec. 1, the United States Equestrian Federation requires a microchip for horses and ponies competing for points in classes that require United States Hunter Jumper Association horse registration.
The microchip verifies the horse or pony’s ID, which allows him to compete for points and prize money and to be eligible for certain US Equestrian and USHJA programs and awards. Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and can hold electronic data. They provide a reliable way to verify a horse’s identity, which is important in horse sales.
2. Tack Checkup
Take time to thoroughly examine your tack and equipment, looking for wear and tear. While most state equine liability laws protect horse owners from liability, there is an exception in many statutes for providing faulty tack or equipment.
Also consider having a qualified saddle fitter check your saddle. Many behavior problems under saddle can be attributed to bad saddle fit.
3. Check Current Prohibited Substance Rules
Each year, USEF, FEI, and other governing bodies update their prohibited substances list. Make sure you and your trainer are familiar with the most recent drug rules for your discipline. Just because an ingredient is “natural” does not mean that it is allowed. For instance, chamomile and lavender are banned by USEF and the FEI. USEF has a barcode lookup which enables the user to check on a particular substance.
If you administer Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA), otherwise known as Depo-Provera, review the new reporting rules instituted by USEF.
4. Review Your Horse’s Supplements
All too often we, as horse owners, fall into the routine of giving our horses the same supplements. However, over time, the horse’s needs change. The horse may have retired, a previous issue may have resolved, the horse may have moved to a different part of the country. Be sure to consult with your trainer and/or veterinarian to determine your horse’s supplement requirements.
5. Take Time to be Thankful for our Equine Partners
Having a connection with these magical animals is an honor and a blessing. As horse owners we have the unique opportunity to bond with our equine friends and partners. Resolve to be thankful for the amazing journey we have embarked on.