Owning and Caring for a Horse

Having horses is a long-term responsibility. They don’t come cheap, and there should be careful steps when deciding to own one.

The basics of responsible ownership start by having all the necessary materials. These are all the things horses need for comfortable living, like food and shelter.

Caring for horses can be a rewarding experience if done right. They make for wonderful friends and partners for easier work.

Horse Breeds

Horses are lively by nature. Each breed has their own unique way of showing this energy.

Some horses excel at race competitions. Others are great for casual riding.
Whatever their breed and skills are, horses are reliable companions in daily farm life.

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Arabian Horses are one of the most favorite breeds across the world. People know them for their endurance and stamina. You can distinguish these horses by their high, muscular build.

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Morgan Horses are versatile and agreeable creatures. They don’t make a fuss, which makes them great for riding and saddling.

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Andalusian Horses are noble and brave. They’re prized as war horses. Their roles in the present day are for driving and jumping.  

There are other top breeds to choose from, like Paints, Warmbloods, and Appaloosas. Ask for more information from breeders and horse experts to decide which breed fits you.

Basic Requirements for Horse Care and Ownership

Horses must have a sturdy shelter, with food and water available at all times. You should track their health and general physique.

You must also think about their well-being. Horses are not solitary creatures. They may need a friend in the stable.

* Food and Water

Feed your horses after all the hard work they’ve done. Give them good quality roughage, such as hay or pasture. Don’t feed them scraps of food or grass clippings because they link to illness.

Horses can drink up to 45 liters per day, depending on the weather and work load. Install a trough that fills itself with water. Buckets are no good because horses may kick them aside.

* Environment

Stables or sheds must be big enough for the size of your horse. It should be sturdy against bad storms and other such calamities. Sheds with little leg room make your horse feel cramped.

* Exercise

Tethered horses are not meant to be inside for long periods. They grow restless if cooped up. Even when there are days that have no tiring farm work, take them out for walks.

Grooming

* Teeth

Young horses need to have dental checkups once every 3-6 months. Older horses need only annual appointments.

Horse dentists check if the teeth have become too sharp or uneven. If they are, it will cause mouth injuries.

* Hooves

Horses only need shoes for hard, rocky terrain. Prolonged horseshoe contact causes injuries.

Call a farrier for trimming hooves about once every two months. This will prevent uncomfortable chipping.

Look for thrush, punctures, or cracks. A mistake in fitting horseshoes may cause these problems. Your horse could also be standing in manure for too long, or walking along unkempt surfaces.

Don’t pull any piercings found. Let your veterinarian or farrier handle it. Moving foreign objects without notifying experts may lead to serious health problems.

Selection of Veterinarians and Farriers

You should take some time in choosing the best farrier and veterinarian for you and your horse. Check your area and ask for referrals from farmers or people who have horses. If they keep repeating the same name of a farrier or veterinarian, that’s who you want to talk to.

Check their credentials, license, and certificates. Note that farriers don’t have much of these, aside for a high certificate. The American Farrier’s Association awards this to competent farriers.

Ask about their knowledge and experiences. Listen to their stories and know how long they’ve been practicing in their respective fields.

Consider the distance and fees for each service. You want them to be nearby in case of emergencies. You also don’t want to go with the cheapest price since the service may also be too low.  

Search their ratings online. View their past service situations. It’s also a good idea to know if they had handled other horses which are of the same breed as yours.

Health Maintenance

Always watch your horse’s condition. Check if it gained or shed a few pounds.

If the belly is showing, cut back on food. Exposed ribs mean that they aren't getting enough nutrition. Ask your vet if there are available supplements for your horses.

Horses need regular deworming every 6-8 weeks. There are worming paste products available on the market, but it’s best to get them from your vet.

Diseases such as tetanus and strangles may attack your horse. Prevent them through vaccinations. The simplest way, though, is to clean the stables of manure and other waste products.

Common Horse Diseases

Poor hygiene and improper methods of caring will result in horse diseases. If you see your horse acting odd, call your vet immediately.

* Tetanus

Tetanus comes from the soil and multiplies in deep wounds and cuts. The bacteria have spores that can cause stiffness in your horses. If you see them looking like an inanimate sawhorse, it could already be too late.

* Strangles

This is a contagious disease that causes respiratory problems. The bacteria wait in contaminated water and feeding troughs for their next victim.

Young horses are particularly prone to this disease. They show signs of thick nasal discharges and swollen lymph nodes.

* Potomac Horse Fever

The fever occurs during spring and through fall. It’s an infection of the horse’s tissue and blood that affects mood and bowel movements. Diarrhea causes dehydration, often leading to death.

Keeping horses in unclean environments will increase the chances of them having diseases. Clean their surroundings every day. As an added precaution, use vaccinations.

Ask your vet about core vaccines that give immunity to a wide range of diseases. There are vaccinations injected every year, and at different stages of your horse’s life.

You'll want to keep horses for a long time. They’re hardworking animals that deserve your care and affection.

Feed and water them. Give them shelter and a companion to share space with. Take care of their health and groom them.

Be responsible in caring for horses, and they wouldn’t forget who their owners are. Help them, and they will help you around the homestead.
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Read about Horse Skin Conditions

Read about Horse Hoof Ailments

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