If you have the pleasure of owning a horse, then you know how important taking care of your horse is. Your horse is your friend, your counselor, and your partner. Here are seven basic horse care tips to make sure your friend has what they need to thrive.
Caring for your horse is a lifelong commitment. Anyone who has ever owned a horse knows that they are all different, with their own personality and quirks. When it comes to horse care, “one size fits all” doesn’t work. Your horse may need different food or supplements than someone else’s horse. Or maybe your horse likes more attention. Whatever their quirk is, you will need to work with your vet, farrier, and other equine professional to best care for your horse.
Here are seven basic horse care tips you can follow to make sure your horse is thriving.
Tip #1: Provide Your Horse With Fresh, Clean Water Daily
Horses can drink from five to 15 gallons of water a day. No matter what time of year it is, always provide your horse with water. Check it multiple times a day, especially in the sweltering summer when they may drink more. In the winter, make sure their water has not frozen over. Hydration is especially important to your horse’s health.
For a horse who does not like to drink water or that sweats profusely, talk to your vet about adding an electrolyte supplement to their diet. This will help replace the needed salt and minerals to your horse’s body and encourage them to drink.
Tip #2: Make Sure Your Horse Is Getting Quality Forage
The foundation of your horse’s daily diet should be quality forage, such as hay or other roughage. Finding good grazing land is hard, so you need to have hay brought in from your local feed store. Your horse should eat one to two percent of their weight in forage. That means a 1,000-pound horse will eat 10 to 20 pounds of hay or forage daily. Keep in mind that even if your horse is eating enough hay to sustain their body and energy level, they still may not be getting enough nutritional value from it. Consider adding a multivitamin supplement to your horse’s daily diet. Some horses may also need calories to maintain a good weight, so add a fortified grain.
Tip #3: Provide Your Horse With Companionship
While spending time with your horse will make him or her happy, horses are herd animals. They enjoy having other horses around. Being part of a herd is how horses socialize. Consider adding another horse or two to your stable. Having friends will keep your horse happy. And who can have just one horse, anyway?
Tip #4: Give Your Horse Adequate Shelter
While horses are hardy, they still need shelter to protect them from the elements. It will provide your horse with a spot to escape the heat of summer and protection from harsh winter winds, snow, and freezing rain. Horses can regulate their own body temperature. Being out in all types of weather will not bother your horse. As herd animals, horses are used to roaming. They should not be cooped up in a stall all the time. Giving them a place in the pasture to find shelter lets your horse decide when to come in out of the rain.
Tip #5: Work With Horse Care Professionals To Keep Your Horse Healthy
Your address book should include the phone number for a horse vet and a farrier. Having your horse examined at least once a year is essential to maintaining their health. Your vet will check your horse’s teeth, give them vaccinations, and deworm them as needed. Your farrier will make sure their hooves are maintained so that your horse has no trouble walking or running.
Tip #6: Add Supplements To Your Horse Care Routine
We talked earlier about adding supplements to your horse’s daily feeding. Supplements will help with digestion, joint movement, hoof health, and more. Talk to your vet about what type of supplements can help your horse stay healthy, especially if you have a senior horse who may need additional care.
Tip #7: Provide Your Horse With Training
Every horse needs some level of training. Even if your horse is just a pasture pony, they should still learn how to walk on a lead, so it is easier to get them to the vet if needed. Training your horse is also good for their soul. It allows you time to bond with your horse and it makes them less stressed. A talented horse trainer can help you and make the time you spend with your horse that much more meaningful.
Do you have any basic horse care tips to share? Please tell us what has worked for you in the comments below.