If you are new to the horse world your first basic question is probably how do you take care of a horse. I learned mostly by doing and being in 4-H and reading books on the care of a horse.
Where Will Your Horse Live?
The best case scenario is to have your horse living on your property so you can walk out the back door and check on him everyday.
For me I can’t do this because my little mare, Poppy is boarded at a facility. I work some days so can’t get out there on those days. The thing is though I know she is being fed and taken care of when I’m not there.
If you are in the same situation my advice here is to check out the boarding place, make sure there is someone who feeds morning and night. The barn or stall with a run should be cleaned regularly. Get to know the people who run the place and their routine so you know your horse is being taken care of when you can’t be there.
I wrote about boarding facilities here.
When I got my first pony, Blackie, I was lucky enough to be living on a farm. My dad renovated an old shed for Blackie. He made a manger for hay and a separate built in box for grain.
Blackie could get in the shed anytime when the weather was bad or if he just wanted to get in out of the hot sun. He had access to the pasture as well. Oh, don’t forget water. That’s the most important, to have fresh water available at all times.
An everyday chore is cleaning out the stall. A pitchfork is the best tool for this job. I was nine when I first owned Blackie, but my dad let me do the cleaning, which was only fair. I put the droppings in a wheel barrow and threw it on a pile out back. Eventually my dad hauled that pile and flung it out over his garden and fields; helped them grow better with all this natural manure.
With the horse in a comfortable housing area he wants to feel clean and comfortable as well. I think it’s a good idea to groom a horse everyday. I know that’s not always possible, but I try as close as I can. A horse likes to lay down and roll. They don’t much care if they are in the dirt or grass as long as they can make that itch feel better. They get up and shake off, but they leave some dirt and debree behind so we as the horse owner should curry and brush it off. That makes a horse feel good too.
I clean out each hoof; before a ride to get out any rocks that may be stuck and would cause soreness and lameness if left in while riding and also after the ride in case she picked up a rock while out on the trail. Having a farrier trim your horse’s hooves every eight to twelve weeks is mandatory for good hoof health.
I try to keep Poppy’s mane and tail combed out and untangled too. She has the most unruly mane. Half of it is on one side and the other half on the other side. I’ve tried braiding it so it’s all on one side, but it doesn’t last. I’ve kind of given up and just comb it the way it goes. It’s her signature I guess and kind of cute now.
For more information on grooming read my blog here.
It’s Feeding Time
Good, clean hay should be available even if they have pasture time. I like to let my horse graze a little, it’s just natural for them. She doesn’t get out on the pasture by herself at this facility so I try to make it up to her by letting her graze around the barn. Then she has hay all the time in her box. She gets hay in the morning and evening.
My horse is fed a senior type grain that has less sugar in it. She gets some of that morning and evening as well. When I’m out there, which is four to five days a week, I give her a little grain at the end of our sessions together too. She’s not overweight so I’m able to allow her to have this treat in the afternoon. I put in a couple of supplements as well. One for hooves and her coat and one for joint care.
Wrapping It Up
This is the basics of horse care. Having a warm, clean, dry place for your horse where they can have plenty of food and water is the most essential. Grooming everyday and having a veterinarian check your horse on a regular basis are important as well. Keeping your equipment clean such as saddle, bridle, saddle pads, halters, and all the brushes and grooming equipment is part of being a horse owner too.
All this cost money so keep that in mind. It’s a commitment to the health and well-being of your horse. He is a live animal with needs and deserves the best care that can be given.
I didn’t mention the rides you will want to go on.
Depending where you live and if there are trails close, you might have to trailer your horse to another area to ride. Of course the best is when you can saddle up at the barn and ride out. It’s fun to go other places too and if you are into horse shows, well that is another horse riding event to look into.
There is a lot to do with horses and may you have a joyful time with your equine friend for years to come.
Thank you for stopping by my hitching post. Please leave a comment or ask a question, I’ll do my best to answer.
Top image courtesy of Pixabay.com