It is important to understand the various aspects of horse care before buying your new companion. Owning a horse is a hugely rewarding experience – but it isn’t free from challenges! Check out these top tips for horse care so you know exactly what to expect:
Eating and Drinking
Horses are big animals, so require a fair amount of nutrition to remain fit and healthy. To best care for your horse, ensure it has round the clock access to plenty of hay or grass, both of which are relatively easy to a source!
If you have grazing field then you won’t need too much hay except for in the winter months, although a container full of water is a must in every field. Stables should have a daily supply of hay free from mold or dust, along with fresh water they can always access.
You can either house a horse in a stable or leave it out in the fields, although most people prefer a combination of both whenever possible. For a shelter, a stable or run in shed should provide enough coverage to keep them warm and dry, with various flooring, ceiling, and stall options to consider depending on the breed.
One of the most important aspects of horse care is daily grooming. You will need a body brush, soft brush, grooming mitt, tail/mane comb, and a hoof pick. The aim is to remove dust, dirt, and grime from the coat, tail, and mane, while also removing anything that may get stuck in the shoes.
Be extra soft around the shoulders, hips, and legs, as these areas are bonier than the rest so require extra care. Also, the belly and area between the hind legs can be quite sensitive, so take extra care grooming these areas.
Horse hooves require daily cleaning to prevent injuries, as dirt and debris can get jammed inside of the spaces on the hoof and cause damage if left unchecked. Rocks and twigs are big offenders, so be sure to clean them regularly.
You should always wash the hooves to remove any lingering dirt and manure, otherwise, infections such as thrush can develop. Using hoof picks greatly helps with this task, making it easier to remove clubs of debris, manure, and dirt.
You can also apply a hoof polish once a week to encourage healthy growth.
A good washing sponge and horse shampoo are recommended for washing your horse. Work from front to back and top to bottom to ensure you remain safe while avoiding rinsing the water off toward the horse’s eyes.
A horse’s teeth are constantly growing so require frequent check-ups from a vet to ensure they are free from sharp edges that make eating difficult. Aim to have a dental check-up twice a year to make sure their teeth an in top condition, otherwise, the horse may struggle to chew their food properly.