Owning a horse is a very rewarding experience. But it is also a huge responsibility. If you have just become the owner of your first horse, or are considering buying one, there is much you will need to be aware of to keep it healthy and happy.
Stabling your horse
The stable you keep your horse in will have a big impact on the health and well being of your horse. It is your duty to make sure they always have plenty of fresh clean water and some hay so that they can graze when it suits them. The stable should be large enough for them to move and roll about without harming themselves and should include a good–sized bed. Before making the bed ensure that your horse is not allergic to anything.
Straw is one of the most popular things to make a horse’s bed from as it is comfortable for them to lie on and is not expensive. Shavings are also a popular option and really the choice between the two is a matter of preference.
If your horse does suffer from any allergies, a newspaper bed could be the answer. You just have to be aware that ink may appear on their coat, which can be a problem if they are light in colour.
How much work you need to do each day will depend on how messy your horse is, as some are worse than others. Your routine should include mucking out the stable, including under the bed, and then relaying the bed back in a comfy position. All solid waste should be removed every day.
Your horse may spend a lot of time in their stable so duties such as these are vitally important.
You need to take care of the health of your horse and a vet should see it regularly. They need to have their vaccinations, they need to be wormed and if anything does not seem right with them you may need to call the vet in. It is also a good idea to keep a ‘horse’s first aid kit’ in case of minor cuts and grazes.
If you have never groomed a horse before you need to learn how rather quickly. You can get all the brushes you need, and anything else for your horse, from the shop. Each brush, for instance, has its own job and needs to be used in the manner it was designed for. Then you will need the right sponges, hoof picks and maybe some toys to keep them occupied while they are in their stable.
Just like humans and our ideal diet, the amount a horse needs to eat is very much governed by their size. The vet will be able to give you some guidance on this matter. Just like all other animals on the planet, if they eat too much and exercise too little they will become overweight and with horses that makes them prone to more diseases. You need to be aware if their weight starts to climb, but only reduce the amount they are eating under the instructions of your vet.
All of this may sound like a lot of work but the rewards of owning a horse make it well worth the effort.
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