Horse Ownership 101
Everything You Need To Know About Horse Care
Owning a horse is of course, a privilege and wonderful responsibility. By nature, horses make great companions and the key to a successful friendship with your animal lies in caring for it properly. If you look after this noble creature to the best of your ability, you’ll have an equine friend for life.
Keep Them Active And Keep Them Company
In their natural habitat, horses are designed to roam within wide open spaces with their herd. While most do become well-adjusted to living in a stable, very regular exercise will make transitioning to a new owner a lot easier. A horse can and will become extremely agitated if it doesn’t exert its full physical energy, which will make it harder to train. Because horses are so social, they will also grow lonely if they can’t enjoy the frequent company of humans and/or other horses. Make sure to spend a lot of time socializing with your animal, especially in the first few weeks of ownership.
Take Care Of Their Pasture
Even though there isn’t an exact acreage requirement for horses, one acre or more pasture per horse is the general recommendation in equestrian circles. Before you bring your new horse home, make sure that your pasture space is properly fenced. While rail fences look great, they are very expensive and maintenance can be costly. Wire fences will work well, as long as they are attached to sturdy wooden posts. Also make sure your new pasture is free of hazards like trash or poisonous plants. Plants to look out for include; yew, deadly nightshade, buttercups, oak leaves and acorns, bracken, laurel, privet, castor bean, horsetail, star thistle, and sorghum. In order to keep the pasture a safe place for your animal, do check the grounds for the aforementioned weeds and the fence for damage on weekly basis.
Give Them Shelter
Naturally your horse needs shelter to protect it from the elements. While trees provide excellent shade, a three-sided enclosure will keep your horse safe from the wind and rain. Make sure your shelter is large enough to accommodate future horses if needs be, and build it so the back wall faces the prevailing wind. If your horses are stabled, their quarters need to be cleaned out daily and fitted with proper bedding. Straw is a popular bedding choice because it is inexpensive and keeps horses warm, but it can contain fungal spores and of course, horses do enjoy eating it. Rubber mats with dust free wood-shavings are a cleaner and more durable choice.
Proper Watering and Grooming
It’s imperative that horses have a constant supply of fresh, clean water. A watering trough, supplied a pipe is a convenient choice, as watering buckets are easily tipped over. Just remember to check that the pipe and water surface don’t freeze over in the winter months. As far as grooming goes, stabled horses should be brushed daily to keep their coat healthy. Horses that spend more time in the pastures will require less grooming, but must be checked for ticks and fleas regularly. The natural oils that the horses skin produces outdoors will keep its mane and coat shiny and healthy.
Before you make the commitment to buy a horse, make sure you’re ready for this kind of responsibility. Remember that good owners have good relationships with their horses. As long as you make sure your horse’s quality of life is satisfactory, you’re sure to forge a very special bond with them that will last a lifetime.