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Make sure it is safe to work behind your horse.  Make sure you work in a well lit area and that you can access the behind of the horse easily and safely.  Ensure you have someone standing at your horses head and that the horse is wearing a halter and lead rein.

 

How to check the vital signs of your horse or pony

 

Temperature:

 

Make sure it is safe to work behind your horse.  Make sure you work in a well lit area and that you can access the behind of the horse easily and safely.  Ensure you have someone standing at your horses head and that the horse is wearing a halter and lead rein.  Standing next to the horse, facing his tail, lift his tail with one hand. Gently insert a lubricated thermometer into his bottom.  Make sure that you hold the thermometer against the side of the inside wall or else you could just be taking the temperature of his manure.  Hold this in position for 30 seconds or if it is a digital one it will “beep”.  Remove the thermometer slowly, release the tails and record the temperature.  The normal temperature is between 37.5 and 38.5 degrees Celsius. 

 

Pulse:

 

Again ensure that you have someone experienced holding the horse.  Cup your fingers and move them around the inside of the jawbone.  You will feel  a tube.  Press this gently against the inside of the jaw bone and you should feel a pulse.  Count the pulse over 10 seconds and times it by 6 to get the heart rate per minute.  The normal pulse for an average adult horse is 28-38 beats per minute.

 

Respiration:

 

Standing next to the horse, watch his ribcage rise and fall.  A cycle of one rise and fall will be one breath.  Time the number of breaths he takes in 10 seconds and time this by 6 to calculate the breaths per minute.  The respiration rate for a horse at rest is 12-15 breaths per minute.