Learning basic horse care is the first step you should take before even thinking about bringing your new horse home. There are many important responsibilities associated with owning a horse as they are a long term commitment that require a serious amount of time, effort and money.
As an owner, it is your responsibility to provide for your horse. Some of the very basic elements of owning a horse consist of; keep the paddocks clear of holes and possible hazards; a secure fenced off area that they can’t escape from; unlimited supply of fresh clean water; good quality hay; and a dry clean shelter to keep them out of the weather. Petplan will also take a look in to some other ways to care for your horse…
Your horse should always have an adequate amount of good quality feed (pasture, hay or chaff) to keep them healthy and their body in good condition. Make sure you are not feeding them moldy hay as this can cause serious health problems.
You may need to get a general guide of how much to feed your horse by asking other owners or your vet, however this may change depending on how much exercise and work they are doing. The rough guide is 2kg of feed per 100kg. You may also need to supplementary feed your horse if there is not enough pasture.
Unlimited supply of fresh clean water should be available to your horse at all times. A dam or self-filling trough is best however you can use other items such as bathtubs – although these much be checked daily and re-filled if necessary. A horse can drink anywhere between 25-45 litres a day so you should always be checking on their water supply and making sure that it is not contaminated with mold, fungi or any other possible problems.
In some areas, weather can turn extreme within a matter of minutes. Your hose should have a sheltered area that they can escape the sun, wind, or rain. A walk in shed is best; however trees or other coverage areas are suitable. In the winter months, a waterproof rug is a great accessory to protect your horse from the elements. This will need to be checked regularly to ensure it is not rubbing, slipping or leaking.
Unless you are exercising your horse on a daily basis they will need a large space/paddock that they can walk and run around in. They need this exercise area to strengthen their muscles and relieve stiffness in joints – even during the colder months.
When you eventually bring your horse home, they are relying on you to provide for them. Not only will you need to follow the basics provided above, you will also need to groom them weekly and check for signs of possible problems. If you think that your horse may be showing signs of a potential health risk, contact your vet immediately.