To be an educated owner, first you must know what diseases your region of the US is more prone to. Here in southern NY we have endemic pockets of Potomac Horse Fever. Strangles always crops up in a few barns bc of the amt of show horses travelling thru our towns (i live one mile from Old Salem Farm). EHV-1 outbreaks in the NE have spurred some facilities to require flu/rhino to be given every 90-120 days if your horse leaves the property for any reason (incl a simple trail ride). Even basic husbandry dictates your vaccine strategy: on my side of the Hudson River where almost no one feeds round hay bales, a botulism vaccine is a 'special order' event, whereas on the other side of the Hudson where round bale feeding is ubiquitous, the botulism vac is routine. Furthermore, if you board out, some barns require a specific vaccine schedule regardless of your desires.
Some vets aggressively want to vaccinate for everything possible. Ask him/her why for each vaccine and do your research. Ask friends at other barns what their protocols are and why. You have have a lical Horse Council chapter that might be helpful.
As a veterinary professional with a vaccine-sensitive PPID horse, I've seen both sides of the vaccine argument. Luckily I keep my mare at home, i maintain a 'closed herd', and my vet is a 'vaccine minimalist' for senior horses and esp for PPIDs. My best advice is educate yourself on a local level to best protect your horse(s).
Kerry Isherwood, LVT-VTS(ECC)
Licensed Vet Tech, Critical Care Specialist
Pinky, Sept 2014
Tofurky, Nov 2014