Becoming a horse owner for the first time can be an exciting experience for anyone. However, it is also a big responsibility, as horses require a great amount of care and effort to ensure their quality of life is meeting their needs.
Are you a soon-to-be horse owner who could benefit from some helpful advice on what to expect from their new equine friend? To help you, we’ve shared six of the most important things to take into consideration when becoming a horse owner.
Your horse will require plenty of exercise, but exactly how much will entirely depend on the individual. A great way to determine this is to always get your horse vetted by a medical professional. This series of checks will keep you informed on the overall health and fitness of your horse, which will be a good indication on the amount of exercise he or she will need.
What your horse needs in terms of exercise will also become more apparent as you get to know each other more. An older horse may find it more difficult to remain as active as they were in their prime, but it’s still important to encourage as much exercise as they are comfortable with.
Having a consistent exercise regime for your horse will help to improve their stamina and keep their muscles firmly toned. Maintaining healthy activity will also help your horse’s immune system fight off illnesses and limit any issues they could have with digestion.
Recognising Common Illnesses
As any horse owner will tell you, a horse can quite easily become ill and it is very important that you recognise the symptoms to help them recover. Here are a few examples of the most common ailments in horses and what preventive measures you can take:
Rain Scald – This skin condition most commonly occurs in damp and wet environments, which can be very irritating for your equine friend. Make sure your horse has adequate shelter from rain and you shouldn’t have to worry about rain scald.
Common Cold – Horses are just as vulnerable to the common cold as we are. They usually become afflicted because of a lack of ventilation in their stables, and will often show symptoms such as coughing and discharge from the nose.
Cracked Heels – If your horse appears to have scaly or inflamed skin on their legs or stomach, it is likely they may have cracked heels. This infection is often a result of constant exposure to muddy conditions.
Ringworm – This is a fungal infection that often affects a horse’s head, neck, and girth. Because it is highly contagious, symptoms should be spotted as early as possible and in an attempt to prevent spreading the infection to other horses, isolation may be the best cause of action leading up to treatment.
Regardless of what it is that is affecting your horse, you will want to do whatever you can to alleviate your animal’s suffering. Investing in Horse Insurance is a great way to protect your horse for when a health issue arises, and companies like Animal Friends offer a range of award winning policies for you to choose from.
Looking after your horse will be a rewarding yet challenging task, which is why you need to be thoroughly prepared for their day-to-day needs.
For instance, your horse will need a lot of care and attention in terms of grooming. To make sure you do the job properly, you’ll need essential items such as a mane comb, hoof pick, fly repellent, and a body brush to keep your horse well-groomed.
For riding, it’s also important that you have high quality equipment. Compromising on quality may be a cheap investment, but in the long term it will only increase the risk to both you and your horse.
The better the saddle and bit you buy, the more comfortable your horse will be. This will make riding a lot smoother for everyone involved.
As for maintaining your horse’s stable or pasture, it’s always good practise to have a sturdy pitch-fork, broom, and wheelbarrow on hand, as well as plenty of insect spray for good measure. Making sure your horse has a clean environment to call home, will help to keep them in good health.
Food and Drink
It’s important to be aware of your horse’s dietary needs to keep them healthy.
Horses are herbivores, which means that their nutrition is best found in the roughage that comes from foods such as grass and hay. They also enjoy concentrates such as bran and oats, as well as the occasional fruit such as apples.
It is also important for horses to have access to plenty of clean water. They are known to drink around twelve gallons of water a day, so making sure their water supply is clean and plentiful is a must!
These are just some of the considerations you will have to make to accommodate your new four-legged friend. While taking care of a horse is a big responsibility, the love and affection you will receive in return is a worthwhile reward.