An Equestrian Owner’s Guide: How to Look After a Horse

As most of us do, we come to a point in our lives where we want to own a horse. Some of us get to live out that dream and see that owning a horse is not quite as easy as it looks. A horse is a huge responsibility, and looking after one is a lot of work. If you’re a new horse owner or might be planning to be, here are some tips to help you learn how to look after your horse.

person petting a horse

Feeding Time

First things first. If you’re going to own a horse, you’re going to need a lot of food. Horses require large amounts of food and have very sensitive digestive systems. For starters, an average 1000 pound horse is going to need about 15-20 pounds of hay a day, less if they can graze. This is going to cost a pretty penny unless you have fresh hay or grass stockpiled. Introducing vitamins, minerals, and amino acids through supplements is a great way to ensure that your horse is not only full but healthy. Giving your horse carrots, apples, and melons as treats are also welcome. Be sure to cut the treats up, so they don’t become a choking hazard.

Horse Health

A healthy horse is a happy horse. Your horse’s health might be the trickiest aspect of owning such a magnificent beast. Horses are heavy animals that spend a lot of time on their legs.  This leads to joints and hooves problems. Hoof and joint care include proper trimming, maintenance, and introducing the necessary supplements. You can find the necessary supplements at either a reputable website that handles horse care or at your local equestrian shop. Joint health supplements contain Zinc and Copper which are essential for healthy joints. Like other domesticated animals, horses need vaccines, so make sure to get that done for your horse’s health.

Equipment

The next most important thing you need for your horse is equipment. Equipment for horses comes in four main categories: Tack and rugs, grooming, yard, and for you. Tack and rug equipment is for horse riding and needs to be kept very clean. You can get quite creative with styles and designs, but remember to clean your tack and gear after each use! Grooming equipment is essential for keeping your horse looking good and for good health.

Brushes, combs, horse shampoo, etc. Yard equipment includes buckets for food and water and first aid kits. Equipment for you includes helmets, riding boots, and whatever else you may need to brave the weather on horseback.

Grooming and Looking Good

Looking good and grooming is not just for show ponies. Horse care involves regular grooming so you’ll need to get pretty comfortable with a brush around your horse. Brushing your horse’s hair helps maintain a good coat and is a great excuse to check for bruises and cuts on the skin. It’s also a great way to bond with your horse while you take care of them! When it comes to their coat, you’ll need to know the right order of grooming techniques if you want to do a good job. Grooming includes the hooves, so you’ll need to learn how to take care of the hooves. Horses’ hooves constantly grow and need constant maintenance. Make sure your horse looks great from hoof to mane!

woman standing by white horse

Exercise

Exercise is very important for a happy and healthy horse. The type and amount of exercise depend on the horse breed, but regular exercise is essential. Exercise keeps both your horse’s health in check by keeping their joints lubricated, their legs from swelling, and their muscles toned. Whatever the exercises you incorporate, routine is key. You need to warm up your horse and then ease into more demanding exercises. Cantoring, trotting, jumping, or lunging are all excellent examples of activities for your horse, just be sure not to overdo it. Keep a close eye on your horse for signs of exhaustion or discomfort and take extra care on days when it’s hot.

Housing and Environment

Last but not least, your horse will need a place to stay. Horses are large animals and will require a large, dry area to sleep and rest. Depending on your climate, you will need to adjust your horse’s living space to combat the weather. The area will need to be dry and sheltered from rain or snow with a roof. During colder months your horse will need a blanket to keep warm, and possibly some protection from cold winds.

In hotter climates, your horse’s resting spot should be somewhere cool and well ventilated. Having a few good trees on the property to provide shade during hot weather is a good solution too. You also need to have enough open space for them to roam around freely.

To wrap up, taking care of a horse requires a lot of hard work and dedication. These gentle giants are wonderful animals but require a bit more care than a cat or dog. Make sure to keep them happy and healthy through a balanced diet and exercise. Keep them protected from the elements and looking good, and you’re good to go!

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