Owning a horse involves a lot of responsibilities including horse care. Horse care requires attention from the owner to ensure the horse’s optimal health and long life. There are many aspects to horse care such as age, breed, activity level, climate and underlying health issues. All of these affect the way the owner needs to care for his or her horse. In this article, I will discuss important things you need to know before you buy a horse.
What to consider when buying
When buying a horse, determine first your goal, or what you want and what you want to do. This will help you estimate the budget for owning and taking care of the horse. What do you want a horse for? Is it for trail riding, performing, horse showing, etc.?
Typically for riders, the first horse is most likely not their last horse. What most riders do is to get a starter horse that is safe to train with before they buy a more aggressive, competitive horse. You should also consider this, especially if you or your child is planning to join horse competitions in the future. Your starter horse should be that which can help you or your child learn horsemanship skills.
For a starter horse, buy a well-trained one. If you buy an untrained horse, your learning will not be as good because you will have difficulty in handling your horse. A starter horse should teach you and not the other way around. Untrained horse can be dangerous, especially for your child. You might also spend more in paying a horse trainer if you end up not being able to handle it.
Important facts about horses
Horse usually live outside and needs enough exercise to satisfy its physical needs. These must be provided to your horse or else it might develop stable vices. Stable vices are bad habit that can develop out of boredom or hunger, excess energy, isolation or emulation of other horses with stable vices. Examples of which are wood chewing, biting, wall kicking, pawing or digging, bolting feed, etc.
Since a horse needs exercise, it requires a room where it can exercise and run. A horse must be provided with a sufficient pasture, preferably one to three acres per horse, although area may vary in climate. The land must be hazard free, free from trash and poisonous plants, and there are no holes in the fencing. It is also recommended that your pasture have trees that can provide good shade for your horse, if not provide an artificial shelter.
Horses need shelter to protect them from the sun, rain and wind. The shelter must be large enough to fit your horse. The most common shelter for a horse is box stalls. Box stalls differ in sizes depending on the local cultural traditions, the breed and gender of horse, and any special needs.
Box stalls contain a layer of absorbent bedding like straw or wood shavings. Compared to wood shavings, straw is less expensive. However, wood shavings are cleaner and more hygienic to use.
A horse produces approximately 15 pounds of manure and also several gallons of urine each day, so regular cleaning of its shelter is advised. It is recommended that the shelter and beddings of your horse be cleaned daily. If the horse is stabled all day, the shelter must be cleaned three times daily. It is also important to disinfect the stable to avoid health risks.
Horses need sufficient food and water. They have to be fed two or three times daily, unless they are on full time pasture. They also need adequate water, about 10-12 gallons daily minimum. Make sure that the horse’s water bucket always has water in it.
Daily cleaning and grooming of the horse is recommended. This will keep your horse healthy and clean. Make sure that its coat is healthy and its feet clean. Cleaning the hoof and weekly hoof check will prevent hoof infections such as thrush, a hoof fungus. It will also help prevent lameness.
Lastly, Horses need a regular veterinary care, which includes vaccination, parasite management, deworming and dental care. Vaccinations are given to protect horses against sicknesses. Parasite management, which includes deworming, is done to get rid of the parasites and reduce parasite infection. Horses teeth also need to be checked as uneven teeth and sharp edges may cause problems to horses during eating or when being ridden.
Horses can be amazing additions to your family, but definitely require more care and more resources than the average pet. Know what you’re getting into before getting a horse, do your research, and be prepared. If you are, then you are in for a joy filled horse owning experience!