The vet arrives for your horse’s annual exam, and you can’t find their medical records anywhere. This is a stressful moment, and a good remember to be proactive with your record organization.
Keeping accurate records of your horses' health is essential to ensuring their lifelong health and well-being. Even one horse can rack up a lot of paperwork, so organized records can be a huge time saver for you in the long run when you consider vet visits, farrier fees, hay invoices, health records, vaccination, and breeding history. Whether you're traveling with your horse or faced with a situation where you need their information immediately, you’ll look back and be glad you spent the time developing a records system.
What Records Do I Need to Keep?
This comes down to individual choice, but the more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to handle unexpected emergencies. Here is a list of the primary records you should have for every horse:
- Vet Visits - Keep track of dates of visits, the reason for the visit, any treatments, diagnostic testing, and additional follow-ups. Yes, your vet will keep records too, but this will make it easier for you to follow up with your vet later.
- Deworming/Fecal Testing - In addition to marking deworming dates on your calendar, keep a record of the brand and amount of dewormer you’re giving each time.
- Farrier Visits - Record dates and the work done.
- Vaccinations - Note all vaccinations given and the dates of each.
- Medications - Include the medication, dose, and dates given.
- Teeth floating - You’ll want your horse's teeth checked regularly. Mark this one on your calendar each time.
- Any injuries - Even if minor and you treated yourself. You’ll want to make notes on the nature of the injury and how you treated it.
Tips on How to Keep Records Organized and Up To Date
In addition to keeping accurate and updated health records, keeping track of other paperwork related to your horses is also essential. Like us, each horse has unique needs.
Keep a file on each horse, and within that file, keep separate tabs for vet visits, farrier information, registration, and travel documents such as health certificates and Coggins.
Barn maintenance - Create a separate “Barn File.” This should include any invoices for repairs and maintenance and can act as a business card file for quick reference.
Go automated - Keeping records on your computer or mobile app can not only be a huge time saver, but takes up less space, is more convenient, and is accessible. There are several digital services to track all of your horse's records.
Calendars - This tried-and-true method gives the entire barn easy access to records but can be limiting for travel. Keep one calendar for each horse and one for all related barn maintenance.
While it may seem like a lot of work, you’ll be glad you took the time to put all your horse and barn records in order.
BONUS TIP: We suggest trying a platform likeThe HorseNet to keep track of everything digitally to ensure you can access it anywhere.