Every horse owner should be aware of and able to measure their horse's normal, healthy vital signs. 

The table below shows the normal ranges for a healthy horse. Please note that extreme conditions such as very hot weather may alter the range for your horse, These values are for normal, healthy horses at rest. Fear, anxiety and excitement can all increase temperature as well as heart and respiration rates as can exercise. If you are concerned please call your local clinic for advice.




37.5-38.5°C (99-101°F) 

Heart rate

36-40 beats per minute


8-15 breaths per minute

Mucous Membranes

These line the mouth and gums

Should be moist with a pink, healthy colour

Capillary Refill Time

The time taken for capillaries in the gums to return to the healthy pink colour when pressed with a finger.

2 seconds or less

Gut Sounds

A mixture of grumbles, tinkling and roars. There is no rhythm but you should hear a sound every few seconds.


If you pinch your horse's skin it should return to lying flat within 1-2 seconds. The longer the skin stays pinched up before flattening, the more dehydrated the horse is.

We advise all horse owners to familiarise themselves with 'normal' signs for the horses under their care. Comparing known normal values to times when you suspect something abnormal is happening can be helpful for you, when determining if veterinary assistance is required, and your vet when they arrive.