Proper horse care is the most important aspect of owning a horse. Since they are a domesticated animal, they rely strictly on humans for their entire well-being. They are unable to move in search of better food, go to higher ground when the rains come, or seek out their own shelter; it is therefore up to us to make sure these needs and many others are being met. It is essential that one understands what a horse will need and how to give this to them before considering horse ownership. The following information can be used as a guide for those who are new to horse ownership and care, as well as experienced horse owners.
If you have decided to keep your horse at home, there are a few things to consider about how you are going to shelter your horse, and how you will be traveling with your horse. First, stalls need cleaning daily as manure can pile up quickly and become a problem for both you and your horse. It is also a good idea to have a way to get rid of the manure that you rake out. Some options are: taking the manure to a dump, selling it to a plant nursery, or finding other farmers who may have use for it such as hog farmers. It is also imperative that horse barns provide adequate shelter from the elements. While more resilient to temperature changes than humans, horses should be kept dry and out of the rain, snow, and other elements as much as possible. Lastly, a horse needs lots of room to graze. Due to their large size and high amounts of energy, horses often need at least an acre to run on. It is also beneficial to have at least two pastures to rotate the horses to as they can quickly turn a single pasture brown from overgrazing. A custom building on the property may also be helpful.
- Horse Stables
- Housing for Pleasure Horses
- Horse Barns
- Animal Waste Management for the Horse Owner
- Good Neighbor Guide for Horse-Keeping: Manure Management
- Transporting a Horse
- Horse Transportation Requirements by State
- Traveling With Your Horse? Reduce the Red Tape
There are some basic nutrients that horses need for health and performance. There are many options available, as well as different myths surrounding when and how to feed a horse, which some may find confusing. Generally, horses need a balanced diet that consists of water, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vitamins. In terms of water, horses will regularly drink between five to fifteen gallons per day depending on the season and their activity level. After water, the largest part of a horse’s diet is usually carbohydrates. Carbohydrates come from hay, grass and other foraged foods. There are also a number of feeds available that use beet pulp or soybean hulls in order to fill these needs. Proteins are found in feeds that contain lysine, the protein horses most often intake; it is important for healthy hooves, hair and muscles. Fats, minerals and vitamins are important for energy, and the amount required often changes as a horse ages.
- Choosing Hay for Your Horse
- Alternate Feed Options
- Cold Weather Feeding Practices for Horses
- Preventing Pre-Ride Dehydration
- The Rules of Feeding Your Horse
- Equine Nutrition
- Odd Things that Horses Eat
- Horse Nutrition and Feeding
- Feeding the Performance Horse
- Nutrient Needs of Horses
One of the most important things you can do for your horse is to create a wellness program for their basic care. The first part of the program is a yearly exam for your horse. This is where a veterinarian comes in and makes sure your horse is growing and progressing at the right rate. They can also schedule vaccinations, and answer any questions one may have, as well as set up regular dental appointments. The program should also contain some sort of parasite control. Your parasite control regimen is usually determined by rainfall, your environment, your specific area, as well as several other factors. Lastly, having a proper nutritional guide will make sure your horse is eating right for their activity level and life stage. Work horses have different needs than sport horses, just like young pleasure horses have different needs than aging horses.