Introduction to Horse Ownership
Nothing really compares to the experience of owning a horse. They are uniquely intelligent, compassionate and affectionate creatures. In their 25-30 year lifespan, horses will form very strong bonds with their owners, becoming a deeply loved and appreciated family member. Since horse ownership is not easy or cheap, you must make sure you are truly prepared for this long term commitment. The horse will live for a quarter of a century, and will require food, shelter and medical care for the entire duration of its life. Be sure to account for this when you choose to buy or adopt a horse.
Adopting or Buying a Horse
When looking for a new horse for your family, you can either buy a horse from a reputable, accredited breeder or adopt from your local animal shelter. While both options have their merits, adoption is strongly recommended for families that will not be using their horses for racing or professional purposes. There are hundreds of needy rescue horses that need loving homes. For more information about the adoption process, contact your local humane society today.
Basic Horse Care
Caring for a horse is an ongoing expense that will increase as the horse gets older. Make sure you are realistic about your finances and meet with an expert before purchasing or adopting a horse for your family. Horses require a lot of food and water every day.For example, an average horse will eat about 20lbs of food per day and drink over eight gallons of water. Due to their sensitive digestive system, it’s important that horses are allowed to graze throughout the day rather than eating their fill in a few meals. As far as grooming goes, horses require shoes and hoof trimming. This is one of the most commonly overlooked costs when considering the expense of owning a horse. Equine Veterinarians are not cheap and you will need to see one at least once a year for vaccinations, dental care, and other checkups. This doesn’t even include emergency services which will come up during the horse’s lifespan. Intestinal parasites are also a common occurrence with horses so it’s important to keep them on an anti-worm regimen.
Shelter is vital for horses. They need to be dry, warm and safe. Adequate shelter can be very expensive to build on your property and over time, stable rental can be very costly as well. If you have your own stable, keep in mind that manure will have to be removed every day. Horses also need frequent exercise. In addition to the exercise that your horse gets from riding, you should also have a pasture with enough space to move about and graze on grass. Sturdy, safe fencing is required to contain a horse. Muddy, cramped conditions and lack of proper exercise can create health problems for your horse, which may cause it to die or be removed from your possession. You may even face criminal charges for animal cruelty or neglect.
Horses need roughage in their diets. Many horses are fed grain, which can be an effective source of energy and nutrients for the horse but their digestive systems are sensitive and require a lot of fiber. If your horse spends most of its of time in a stable it will need more roughage than a horse that is allowed to spend a lot of time in a pasture.
When feeding a horse grain it’s important to divide the feedings into several smaller meals instead of one big meal. Measuring your horse’s feed is vital for keeping it healthy and reduces the risk of weight gain and the problems associated with it. Be sure that you don’t feed your horse immediately before or after exercise. Aside from that, it’s important for you as an owner to be consistent and stick to a regular feeding routine as best you can.
Horse arenas are a great space for your horse to get exercise while keeping them contained and limiting their food consumption. Because most horse arenas and horse pens are lined with sand and base rock the horses won’t have the opportunity to snack on extra grass, helping you maintain your horse’s health and weight. Many of the materials sold at Meisel Rock Products quarries can be used for horse arenas. If you are not located near Oregon you will likely have to find a quarry nearer to you. Check our our horse arenas page for more information about rock products that can be used for horse pens/arenas in Oregon.
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