When you own a horse, you have something greater than just a pet you can spend time with. You have a pet that can become a loyal friend and a pet you can ride for pleasure or competition.
Regardless of why you have a horse, you still need to know a few basic skills that will assist you in taking proper care of them.
So continue reading for some great tips and a good starting checklist of Basic Horse Care For Beginners.
In addition to being able to have access to an animal large enough to carry you on several different adventures, you still need to dedicate a fair amount of time daily to ensure that their needs are met. This becomes your responsibility and you will have to put some effort into it. However, the rewards that come from proper care and attention for your horse will make all that extra work worthwhile.
Daily Horse Care Routine
The basic horse care for beginners begins with understanding your horses daily routine. Think about what you do daily in your life in order to function normally. Your horse will need a lot of the same things plus a few that are different than you need. Here is a short list of daily items you will need to attend to in order to keep your horse healthy and strong:
- Open space
- Paddock (for exercising)
- Shelter (to get out of bad weather)
- Company (another horse for companionship)
- Regular health care treatments
- Emergency first aid treatments (in case of illness or injury)
You can’t let your horse go hungry and you can’t depend on grazing in your backyard or paddock as providing enough nutrition to keep your horse healthy. This is why you need to provide proper feed and the right amount of it to keep your horse in good physical shape. Hey, we didn’t say grazing was off limits, did we? But you do have to watch what they are eating to ensure that the right stuff gets into your horse’s system. Grazing helps with muscle building and digestion so let ‘em roam the back paddock when they want to.
In addition to the hay and grass your horse will enjoy while grazing, you have to prepare special feed from barley and other seeds. The simple formula for this kind of feed is 1 to 2kg per 100kg of your horse’s body weight. There is a disclaimer here. If you exercise you horse regularly, you will have to increase the amount of auxiliary feed you provide in order to maintain muscle. A salt block in the stable is also a good idea and don't forget about horse treats as a reward every now and then.
On a hot day your horse will drink between 25 and 45 litres of water. You can’t just leave them a water hose to help themselves to. You actually need a water trough that is automatically fed fresh water in order to keep the trough clean and water healthy. Buckets are easy to knock over and tubs require a lot of extra cleaning. Regardless, you must keep a fresh water source handy for your horse.
Your horse is not built to withstand extreme weather conditions, much like you can’t. This is why you need to provide some kind of shelter that provides shade from sun and protection from wind and rain. A stable gives your horse room to walk around when the weather outside is nasty. They can come and go as they please and with a proper ‘bed’ your horse will have a comfortable place to nap and sleep. A thermal blanket is a great addition for those cold days and nights. Just make sure you fasten it properly to your horse to prevent them getting sick or pulling it off.
4. Open Spaces
Hey, how much do you like staying cooped up in the same enclosed space all day? Well, your horse is the same. They need room to roam, wander, explore, snoop and play. By giving your horse access to a field or some other open area, you give them a chance to exercise. It's a much better alternative to keeping them secure in a small area or tied up all day in a stable.
5. The Paddock
First, fencing needs to be in place and in good condition surrounding the field or open area you plan to use as a paddock. The idea is to provide your horse with a safe and secure outdoor area to spend time, without the threat of injury.
6. Regular Health Care Treatment
Under this heading we are going to take a closer look at parts of your horse that you need to pay attention to in order to keep them strong and healthy.
You should be cleaning hooves on a regular basis and have a farrier visit every 6 to 8 weeks to provide additional foot care. Hooves that grow too long or chip can be painful for your horse. Plus they should wear horseshoes if the ground they walk on is rocky or hard.
The size of your horse will determine the frequency of dental care visits. Smaller horses should have dental check ups every 3 to 6 months. Larger horses require the same attention about once a year. Your horse’s teeth require trimming to prevent them from cutting their gums or mouth.
To prevent worm buildup in the stomach of your horse, you should feed a worming medication every 6 to 8 weeks. The dosage and frequency depends on body weight and the age of your horse. A good way to reduce worm buildup is to keep the stall clean of manure. We haven’t mentioned that part yet but expect to spend time working with a shovel and wheelbarrow.
Your vet will handle the details on this but vaccinations are required on a regular basis to fight such ailments such as viral respiratory conditions, tetanus and strangles.
Protecting Your Horse From Disease
When you keep your horse strong and healthy, they can fight off most kinds of virus just like you can when you are in good health. By providing your horse with a well balanced diet, exercise, water and attention, they will maintain good health.
Watch For The Signs Of Colic
A common condition horses can come down with is colic. This develops from digestive problems that can become quite painful for your horse. Signs to watch for include teeth grinding and restlessness. And then to the extreme where your horse may get down and roll around excessively. If your horse exhibits these signs, contact your vet immediately.
Basic Horse Care For Beginners Conclusion
Because horses are social and herd animals by nature, they don’t really like to be alone for long periods of time. By providing regular interaction, going for rides and spending time together, will keep your horse happy. If you are considering purchasing a horse you should really adhere to this list of Basic Horse Care For Beginners to get you started. Afterall, a healthy horse is a happy one and much more gentler on your wallet.