So, yeah, don’t be offended with my too many comparisons of horses and cars. I do cherish my car dearly, because, as a trimmer, I depend on it daily for trimming appointments. I care for her every needs so that she won’t let me down. She gets inspected when it’s due, she gets serviced following manufacturer recommendations, she gets new tyres when needed, she gets her fluid levels and tyre pressure checked weekly and basically gets any new parts that she needs.
That’s definitely expenses to take into account but at least she’s happy, and giving it back to me by being reliable and safe.
With horses, that’s also something to keep in mind: the expenses and the schedule. Besides the trimmer / farrier appointments (that should take place every 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the horse), horses should be regularly be checked by quite a few equine professionals:
Depending on your country, discipline or horse management, a yearly vet check is usually a good idea.
Depending on your dentist recommendations for your individual horse, a yearly check too is interesting. So many research and studies show strong causal relation between feet and teeth! (See studies from Dr. Tomas Teskey DVM).
OSTEOPATH / CHIROPRACTOR / PHYSIOTHERAPIST
It is also recommended for a pleasure horse to have a yearly check. It can be required every 6 or 3 months, depending on your horse’s workload/type or pathology. We have impressive results on the feet, after a specific structural or visceral problem has been sorted higher up. The other way around is also true. It is recommended to have an osteo/chiro check-up approx. 3 cycles after taking shoes off, as the feet changing will affect the horse’s whole posture and movement, and can hence cause balance issues with the horse’s “former” body (skeleton, muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, organs, etc.)
Then, maybe not as frequent, but also very beneficial to your horse:
Shiatsu: it is most efficient after the horse has been through a few trimming cycles (if freshly unshod) and shortly after an osteopath session. It is recommended to have it done at every seasonal changes (at the best of the guardian’s abilities). There has been great results on hoof cracks (located on a weak meridian) or flares, even thrush thanks to good shiatsu balancing.
Saddle-fitter / Bit-fitter: First, it is nice(er) for the horse to have properly fitted gears. But same as with dentist or osteo, a problem higher up can show in feet.
Massage-therapist / Bodyworker: It yields excellent results with Hi/Lo syndrome (paired with proper trimming and adequate work). It also has a nice impact on scars. Indeed, scars can often be the reason for a horse’s lameness or discomfort. A scar on a joint can reduce amplitude of said joint, gelding scars can impair the gelding’s proper movement of his hind legs (very common!), a scar in a muscle can create tension / lack of suppleness and make the horse look lame.