Horse Normals

It's important to know what is normal for your horse.Temperature, pulse, respiration and capillary refill time are all things that a horse owner should be familiar with.

Normal Temperature: 99.5 - 101.5 F

Normal Pulse: 32-36 beats per minute

Normal Respiration: 8-12 breaths per minute 

Normal Capillary Refill Time (CRT): ~ 2 seconds

So, how do you record all of the above?


You can use any rectal thermometer. It helps if it is lubricated. 

Make sure you aren't standing directly behind your horse, but to the side of them.

Wait at least one minute, or until your thermometer indicates it is finished, to read the thermometer. 

Heart Rate/Pulse

You can listen to your horse's heart on the left side of his chest, behind the left elbow, using a stethoscope. 

When there is no stethoscope available, the facial artery can be used to record the pulse. The facial artery is located on the bottom side of the jaw, in a shallow groove, beneath the last cheek tooth. 

Record for 15 seconds and multiply by 4, or you can record for 30 seconds and multiply by 2, and finally, you can also record for an entire minute to get the heart rate. 


To record the respiration rate, you can watch the horses chest or feel the breaths with your hand cupped over the nostril. 

If a stethoscope is available you can listen for each breath. 

Recording the respiration rate is similar to recording the heart rate, if you record for 15 seconds, multiply by 4, etc. 

A normal breath will sound consistent and clear. 

Capillary Refill Time

Press your finger firmly on the gum above the incisors just for a moment.

When you release your finger, count the seconds it takes for the color to turn back to pink. 

If there ever comes a time when you think your horse is sick, it is a good idea to make record of everything listed above. If anything is out of the normal, don't hesitate to give us a call. 


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