What better way is there to get your daily dose of fresh air than riding a horse down a local trail? However, you shouldn't go out and buy one until you know how to take care of a horse.
Bringing a horse into your family can be a very rewarding experience, but it's also one that requires a lot of care and attention. You can't just stick it in the stable and bring it out whenever you want a ride.
If you've just acquired your first horse, then you'll need to brush up on all the details of caring for them. That includes buying the right equipment, understanding how they communicate, and maintaining their health.
Here's how to take care of a horse and some general tips on horse grooming.
Horse Care for Beginners: The Basics
First-time horse owners are likely to find themselves overwhelmed in the beginning. It's not the same as adopting a dog or a cat, which are much smaller and easier to handle. Your horse depends on your love, care, and commitment to thrive.
You'll need to get all the best equipment you can find and prep your stable before purchasing a horse. There's also the matter of making sure there are dependable resources nearby, such as a horse vet.
Essential Equipment You'll Need
One of the most important horse care tips you'll ever hear is making sure you have all the equipment you need. Some of the things you'll need to buy are horse blankets, boots, bandages, saddles, and stableware.
Horse blankets offer a way to keep your steed warm in the middle of a cold winter. They come in a variety of options, such as the stable blanket which is meant for the indoors, and rain sheets that keep off any rain.
Check your local farm goods store for feeding equipment, barn and pasture maintenance tools, and grooming gear.
The stable is where your horse eats, sleeps, and goes when the weather takes a turn for the worse. As such, stable cleaning and maintenance should be an essential part of your daily routine when you own a horse.
Clear out any manure and urine spots morning and night. Make sure their water buckets are cleaned and refilled every day. Replace old bedding and put down some odor control solution or stable disinfectant.
Fly control is another essential stable supply to invest in. Biting insects can cause serious discomfort for your horse and can bring diseases. You can spray your horse with insect repellant spray as well as use a fly rug and fly mask.
Obtain a Horse
Once you have your stable situated and equipment purchased, you can go about finding a horse. For your very first horse, you want to buy one that is well-trained, well-mannered, and has a quiet temperament. An untrained horse could prove a danger to you and your family.
Keep in mind that not all horses are the same size. You should be able to comfortably mount and dismount them without difficulty.
Certain breeds are quiet and more docile than others. There are also some breeds that are more powerful than others. Your instructor should be able to point you to the right kind.
Most importantly of all, do not purchase a horse without a vet check. This veterinarian should be unbiased and have no connection to the seller. Request that they draw blood to check for any drugs that may be masking lameness or underlying pain.
Find a Local Vet and Hoof Trimmer
Something most people fail to consider when they buy a horse is their hooves. If a horse isn't given the kind of exercise it needs, it's easy for the hoof horn to grow out of control which may cause discomfort and injury. Additionally, the hoof may need to get trimmed so their horseshoes fit properly.
A hoof trimmer will handle the bulk of the work. Make sure to set up routine appointments every six to twelve weeks.
As for your horse's health, you'll want to find a local vet that can handle horse care. They may charge more for a farm call, and prices can vary depending on how far they have to travel.
Failure to properly care for your horse may result in them becoming lame, which usually calls for them to be put down. In some cases, you may also be liable for horse negligence.
Daily Horse Care Routine
It's important to establish a daily routine for your horse to keep it happy and healthy. The three most important tasks are feeding them, refilling their water, and getting them at least thirty minutes of exercise every day (unless they are older and retired).
Horses often wake up hungry, so you'll need to feed them first thing in the morning. Dinner should come in the late afternoon or early evening. At the same time, make sure to clean out their water container and provide fresh water.
You can use a feeder to keep your horse from eating off of the ground. Automatic waterers can be installed in your stall and wherever your horse spends time.
Exercise should consist of riding, lunging, or walking. Adjust the duration and intensity according to the activity so they get a good workout.
How to Take Care of a Horse Over 18 Years of Age
Maybe you've decided to adopt an older horse so it can live the rest of its life in comfort and luxury. Senior horses require specific strategies to keep them healthy and active.
Provide the right feed for their needs. Your older horse may have dental problems and can't chew normal feed as well. As such, give them more time to eat away from the other horses.
If they do have dental issues, schedule regular care with your vet to diagnose and treat them. You can soak their food to make it easier to digest.
In addition, minimize a senior horse's contact with others to lower their risk of infection. Antioxidant minerals and vitamins can help as well.
Outfit Your Barn and Stable
Learning how to take care of a horse means outfitting your barn and stable for their maximum comfort. You should also consider buying some equipment for yourself, such as appropriate footwear, outdoor attire, and saddlery. However, your local farm store won't have a ton of options to look through.
Country & Stable provides the best equipment for both horse and rider. Our curated selection includes horse gear, barn equipment, and more. Contact us if you have any questions or wish to learn more about our stock.