Horse care can seem like a lot of work if you’ve never done it before, but if you break down the process and take it step by step, it becomes easy to understand and keep up with. Caring for your four-legged companion can become a fun activity that the both of you enjoy. You just have to cover a few basic steps to learn how to properly take care of your horse.
If you would like to brush up on the horse care basics or learn more about everything that goes into caring for a horse on a daily basis, you can read the tips below. This general guide will cover the essentials that you will need to know about in order to keep your equine companion in good health.
Horse Care Tasks That You Should Complete
There are a few things that you have to do periodically in order to provide proper horse care to your horse. Regular grooming, feeding, exercise, and training is required to keep horses happy and training is required to keep horses happy and healthy. To make sure that your horse does not suffer from any health issues, medical checkups are also something you will have to schedule every once in a while.
The best part about taking care of a horse is that you get to bond with it as time goes by. It is important to create a connection between you and your companion, but you shouldn’t force it to happen from the very first day. It will take a bit of time to truly develop a bond with any animal, but once you have created it you will feel great whenever you get to spend time with your horse.
Don’t worry too much about doing something wrong in the beginning. You can always check a horse care manual if you’re unsure about something. Just let things unfold naturally and you will enjoy even the most routine tasks as long as you are having fun with your companion.
1. Providing Proper Shelter
The first thing you will need to put on your checklist when deciding to take care of a horse is providing it with proper shelter. Your horse will need access to a dry, comfortable, and safe shelter that can guard against rain, snow, wind, insect bites, and heat. The shelter should be dry, clean, and easily accessible. A barn, a shed, or a windbreak can be successfully converted into a horse shelter. You can also board your horse at a stable in your area for a monthly fee.
Once you have chosen a shelter for your horse, you should provide bedding material to cover the floor. You should fill half the stall with the bedding so that your horse can sleep more comfortably. The bedding has to be kept clean to avoid any health issues that the horse could develop. You can use straws, wood shavings, or hemp as bedding material.
Straws are inexpensive and comfortable but they can contain fungal spores which can make your horse sick. If you choose to use straw as bedding, make sure to monitor your horse’s health. Hemp poses less of a threat because of the lack of fungal spores. Dust free wood shavings may cost a bit more but they are a safe and hygienic option as the horse doesn’t ingest them and they are clean.
2. Feeding Your Horse
Firstly, you should provide your horse with plenty of clean water every day. Horses eat large quantities of grass so make sure you get good quality hay for your horse on a daily basis. Horses should eat about 1-2 % of their body weight in hay each day, so make sure you supply enough hay. Also, ensure that the hay has no mold or dust on it.
You should also offer your horse grain two or three times throughout the day. Horses are allowed to eat 1-2 pounds of grain per 100 pounds of body weight. Feed your horse equal, correctly measured portions of grain. It is also recommended that you adapt the amount of hay you feed your horse to its needs. For instance, if your horse has been eating fresh grass all day out on the pasture, it will not need as much hay. If the horse has had a very active day, more food may be needed to supplement the calories that were burned.
3. Grooming Your Horse
Grooming routines can be a great opportunity to create a bond between you and your companion. You should choose a different area outside of your horse’s regular stall to use for grooming. Once you’ve chosen the proper grooming area, tie your horse up so that it doesn’t wander away. You can now use a rubber curry brush and brush in circular motions over the horse’s body to loosen the dirt from the horse’s coat. Avoid the more gentle areas such as the horse’s legs and face, where the skin is sensitive.
You can follow this routine up by using a dandy brush to remove the dirt from the horse’s coat by brushing back and forth with a flicking motion. You should see a cloud of dirt falling off of the horse’s coat. After getting rid of the dirt, you can also use a body brush to smooth out your horse’s hair. Use long, even strokes to maximize the effect.
After you’ve finished with the coat, use a mane comb to brush out and detangle the mane and the tail. Be gentle when detangling the hair. Clean out your horse’s hooves by standing next to it and using one hand to support its hoof, then use a hoof pick to remove any rocks or objects that may have gotten stuck. Get your horse’s hooves trimmed by a professional groomer every 6 to 8 weeks to keep them in good shape. Shoeing your horse may not be necessary so ask for professional advice before you decide to do so.
Finally, it is essential that you schedule regular veterinary exams for your horse. Physical and dental exams with a veterinarian will help ensure that your horse is healthy and up to date with the required vaccinations. Planning regular check-ups is the best way to provide adequate horse care for your companion.