interested in experiencing the joys of horse ownership? While sharing your
life with a horse can be a rewarding experience, it also means accepting the
responsibility of caring for your equine companion for life. Here are some
general guidelines for caring for your horse:
Even routine horse
care is a significant and ongoing expense. In
fact, the cost of purchasing a horse is often much less than the cost of
maintaining one for a year. Make sure you are realistic about your ability
to afford quality care before you adopt an equine companion.
Horses need a
regular supply of food. In most cases, they need
to have hay or pasture throughout the day, with additional grain feedings
twice a day. An average-size horse will eat about 20 lbs. of food a day
and drink at least eight gallons of water. Because their stomachs are
relatively small and their digestive systems surprisingly delicate, horses
need to nibble or graze throughout the day, rather than have one or two
meals a day.
regular hoof care. Plan to hire a farrier
(blacksmith) every six to eight weeks for routine hoof trimming or
regular veterinary care. At least once a year,
your horse will need to be vaccinated against tetanus and other diseases.
The veterinarian will also provide routine dental care. Keep in mind that
medical emergencies, which are always an unfortunate possibility, can cost
several thousand dollars to treat.
Since horses are
constantly exposed to intestinal worms from the ground they graze on, they
must be dewormed every six to eight weeks.
Carrying a heavy burden of worms can cause serious illness or death in
equines, so regular and timely treatment is crucial to your horse's
constant access to a dry, safe, comfortable shelter to protect them from
rain, wind, and snow. In warm and sunny weather,
the shelter you supply will provide your companion with much needed shade.
At a minimum, you should have a well-constructed, three-sided shed into
which your horse can retreat at all times. You will need to remove manure
from the stall or shelter every day.
exercise. To supplement the exercise your horse
will get when you ride him, he should have a paddock or pasture in which
to relax and stroll. No horse should spend all day confined in a stall,
except on a veterinarian's recommendation. The pasture should be bordered
by safe, sturdy fencing that will keep the horse safe and secure. Barbed
wire is not an acceptable fencing material—it has been the cause of many
horse depends on your love, care, and commitment. You'll show your love
through grooming, petting, riding, and the occasional treat. You must also
show your commitment by providing for her needs 365 days a year, in good
weather and bad. With good care, your horse can live 35 years or more, so
plan to enjoy a long and mutually rewarding relationship with your horse.