Preventive health care of pony club horses in rural New South Wales, Australia

Petra Buckley, David Buckley, Glen Coleman, John Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To describe preventive health care provided to a cohort of Pony Club horses in rural New South Wales, Australia, and the associated veterinary involvement.
Design: Prospective longitudinal study. Methods: Observational data collected for 48 Pony Club horses using daily owner-kept diaries and monthly veterinary visits for 9–12 months.
Results: Frequency of healthcare events varied markedly between the horses; 54% of horses received 5 or more foot-care treatments, 69% received 1–3 anthelmintic treatments, 40% received dental care, 21% received chiropractic care; only 8% were vaccinated. Farriers and owners administered most of the health care. Veterinarians were infrequently involved, administering 2 of the 111 anthelmintic administrations and 2 of the 244 foot-care treatments. No annual health checks or prepurchase examinations were recorded. All dental care was provided by non-veterinary dentists. Horse turnover appeared quick, with 54% of horses acquired within the previous 12 months.
Conclusion: The majority of preventive health care was provided by farriers and the owners themselves. The type and frequency of healthcare events varied markedly and most commonly involved foot care and anthelmintic administration. The reasons for the lack of veterinary involvement are unclear. Veterinarians engaging with Pony Club families in a preventive context would likely bring health benefits to this population of horses. This may require adaptation of existing veterinary services to meet the demands of this unique population of horses and young riders. Furthermore, epidemiological studies are required to describe the effects of various preventive healthcare interventions on subsequent and long-term horse health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-270
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


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