Owning a horse is a huge responsibility, and choosing to own one is not a decision that should be taken lightly. For one thing – they’re big! But everyone who has ever kept one will verify just how rewarding these majestic creatures are if they are looked after properly.
If you are thinking about owning a horse, here are a few things to take into consideration:
Where it will be stabled
Where your horse lives can have a significant impact on its well-being, so it’s vital to make sure you do some in-depth research before you take on the responsibility. It needs a constant supply of fresh, clean drinking water and a rack of hay that they can graze on whenever they want. They are naturally grazing animals, and a lack of hay can cause it to develop some severe health issues, such as colic. A horse’s stable should be big enough for them to comfortably lie down in and roll around in without getting stuck, and they should be given a well-sized and comfortable bed.
The stable will need attending to on a daily basis – yes, even those cold, wet days. Tasks you will need to carry out include a daily muck out (cleaning out poo!) and changing the bedding regularly.
Part of owning a horse is the grooming – this isn’t just for aesthetic reasons; it is an integral part of the animal’s wellbeing. It also helps to build up a bond between owner and animal – your horse will soon come to love the process. You’ll need a body brush to use in the warmer months of the year to remove the grease and dust from the horse’s coat. It’s important not to use it in the winter though – your animal needs to keep all of its natural oils.
A dandy brush should be another addition to your grooming kit, to remove any mud from them, and a curry comb should be used to remove any loose hairs from their body. As well as those, you’ll need a mane and tail brush and a hoof pick.
On top of that, your horse should be seen by a farrier once every couple of weeks for them to take care of and trim their hooves. If your horse has been shod, then the farrier will re-shoe your horse after its hooves have been trimmed.
What and how much you feed your horse is very dependant on the size and breed of your horse. Regulating your horse’s weight by keeping a very close eye on how much it eats is vital, and failing to do so can result in many diseases, including laminitis. Laminitis is just one of the illnesses that overweight horses are prone to, and if it is not caught and treated, then it will develop to the point that the horse will need to be put down. If you have a horse that is prone to this, there is specialist food out there, such as Happy Hoof.
Do you have any more tips for looking after a horse? Please let me know in the comments!