What’s now, what’s next for equine health care

William Woods Equestrian

Owning and caring for horses amounts to a $40 billion a year industry in the United States. Front of mind for many of the country’s two million horse owners is this — how best to keep the estimated 9.2 million horses in the United States healthy.

Owners quickly come to appreciate how horses remain — paradoxically — powerful and fragile creatures. From routine hoof and dental care to the promise of stem cell treatments, equine health is both a big business and a vigorous field of research and advancing care.

Farriers must routinely (every 6 to 8 weeks) trim your horse’s hooves to keep your horse’s feet in balance. Imbalances of the hooves can lead to lameness and osteoarthritis in the future. Add regular dental maintenance (every 6 to 18 months), veterinary examinations (two a year), parasite deworming and vaccinations to routine health care costs.

Beyond the routine, many horse owners and riders continue to monitor the advances of stem cell therapies to treat degenerative diseases of the joints. While questions still outnumber answers, research and treatment continue to show promise.

Equine Guelph, a vast online resource for horse owners provided by the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, offers a series of videos on stem cell research.

As a national center for breeding the American Saddlebred, Central Missouri has a keen interest in future stem cell advances.

For equestrian professionals, an Online Master’s in Equestrian Education from William Woods University delivers a convenient way to gain field teaching skills to transition into the role of educator. In that role, you will routinely interact with more than 4.6 million Americans involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers.

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