Equine Care Guidelines

The following guidelines are the short form for minimal care.  These guidelines were put together by the Indiana Equine Advisory Council, a group comprised of equine professionals from every aspect of Indiana's Equine Industry.

Feed:  Equine (horses, donkeys, mules, and other hybrids) must be fed or have sufficient access to pasture to be in a body condition score (BCS) of 3.0 or greater, the BCS to be determined using the Henneke Body Condition Scoring Chart.

 Water:  It is best to provide free-choice access to water.  There are circumstances which prevent free-choice access to water and in those cases equine should be offered their fill of clean water at least twice daily.

 Space:  Shelter, either natural or constructed, should be accessible to each individual animal to provide safe and adequate relief from extreme climatic conditions, (extreme heat or cold, wind, precipitation and other inclement weather), and allow room for equine to safely maneuver. Fencing should be in good condition and adequate to properly contain animals.

Health Care:  Equine should appear alert and without signs of unattended injury or illness.  Equine hooves should be maintained so that the equine can stand and move comfortably.

Summary:  Equine can survive in a variety of conditions if they are provided adequate feed and water.  Harsh environments may warrant feed and shelter adaptations, and certainly equine benefit from regular preventative care.

Equine owners with management questions should contact their veterinarian or county extension office. Those with concerns about the care equine are receiving should contact their local law enforcement or animal control agency.

Law enforcement agencies may contact the Indiana Board of Animal Health to request assistance investigating suspected equine neglect situations at 317-227-0300.  Also, if you are a law enforcement officer and would like to discuss the laws and case law regarding each of these topics please contact us.


Indiana Law:

Indiana Code 35-46-3 Chapter 3 Offenses relating to animals reads:
Definitions (partial list):

IC 35-46-3-0.5-1 “Abandon” means to desert an animal or to leave the animal permanently in a place without making provision for adequate long term care of the animal.  The term does not include leaving an animal in a place that is temporarily vacated for the protection of human life during a disaster.

IC 35-46-3-0.5-4 “Neglect” means:
(A) endangering an animal’s health by failing to provide or arrange to provide the animal with food or drink, If the animal is dependent upon the person for the provision of food or drink;
(B) restraining an animal for more than a brief period in a manner that endangers the animal’s life or health by use of a rope, chain, or tether that:
     (i) is less than three (3) times the length of the animal;
     (ii) is too heavy to permit the animal to move freely; or
     (iii) causes the animal to choke

IC 35-46-3-7 Abandonment or neglect of vertebrate animals; defense
Sec. 7. (a) A person who:
             (1) has a vertebrate animal in the person’s custody; and

             (2) recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally abandons or neglects the animal;

Commits cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor.  However, except for a conviction under section 1 of this chapter, the offense is a Class D felony if the person has a prior unrelated conviction under this chapter.

            (b) It is a defense to a prosecution for abandoning a vertebrate animal under this section that the person who had the animal in the person’s custody reasonably believed that the vertebrate animal was capable of surviving on its own.

            (c) For purposes of this section, an animal that is feral is not in a person’s custody.

If you're an individual and you'd like to report animal abuse or neglect, please click here for more information.