Horses are among the most sensitive and emotional animals on the planet.
Their smart and sensitive nature is what has made them one of man’s most trusted and beloved four-legged friends.
In fact, studies show that horses can recognize human emotion.
Due to that nature, it means that you need to put extra effort into keeping your horse happy and healthy.
So, what does it take?
There is no straightforward answer to this question since horses are complicated animals. They have very specific needs regarding food, shelter, and emotional and mental stimulation.
The health and wellbeing of a horse require more attention than most animals. This article will outline how to take care of a horse to help you keep your animal in good shape.
How to Take Care of a Horse
The following tips will help you establish the environment as well as the care and attention that your horse needs to be healthy and happy.
1. Adequate Pasture
The ideal diet for horses consists of quality hay, grass, and plenty of clean water.
The average amount of pasture land it takes to keep a horse well-fed and comfortable is between three and five acres. Ensure to supplement this pasture with feed and hay during winter.
You will also need to rotate your pasture every other month unless you have a vast open pasture where they can graze freely.
This allows manure to compost. If it accumulates in one area, the grass in that section will be spoilt rendering it uneatable.
Even though wild horses live outdoors, they do seek shelter from the elements. They get this from natural geographical barriers and heavy tree cover.
Domestic horses also have a right to get out of the elements. As such you will need to provide your horse with a safe and clean shelter. These shelters may include:
Even though the terms barn and stable are used interchangeably, they have a difference. A barn is a multipurpose building that provides shelter to all kinds of livestock.
It is usually a closed building that contains slatted walls which open into outdoor runs. A barn typically has excellent ventilation. However, it is not heated. It may also have a feed room but usually does not have a separate tool room.
Also known as a horse barn, this is a shelter designed specifically for equines such as horses. It typically contains box stalls that have solid walls.
The stall has windows that may open into outdoor runs.
Stables are designed to house a large number of horses under the same building without fighting. They also have separate, rooms for feeding, tools, veterinary care, and even bathing.
The ideal stall size depends on the size, temperament, and activity level of your horse. Small, quiet equines such as ponies might be comfortable in smaller stalls. However, larger animals such as racehorses and stallions need big stalls.
Ensure to place a layer of absorbent material such as straw or wood chips to absorb urine. Also, make sure that the stall is cleaned daily. Consider getting stall toys as well for the horse to play with.
Horses naturally live in herds. This means that your horse will be happier when in the company of its kind.
If you are not in a position to get another horse, a donkey can do as well. In fact, some horses do not mind the company of other domestic animals such as chicken, goats, or dogs.
Stallions, however, should be separated from one another as well as other horses to avoid fighting and mating.
Grooming your horse is not only essential for hygiene, but it is also an excellent way of building rapport with them.
This will allow you to develop good and reliable handling techniques that will come in handy when you find yourself in an emergency situation while you are with them.
The only way a horse and its rider can establish good communication is through everyday interactions and handling.
There are a lot of ways to groom a horse. Some of them are complicated and require expensive grooming kits and materials. However, for basic everyday cleaning, all of that is not necessary.
You can give your horse a good cleaning through brushing and dislodging loose dirt and hair to help your animal to maintain a healthy and shiny coat through a few simple steps.
It is recommended that you lightly groom your horse as part of your daily horse care checklist.
How to Groom a Horse
If you want a happy horse, you must groom it. The following are some steps to do it right.
• Begin with the left side of the head
Use a curry comb to brush dust, dirt, and mud off the animal’s neck and left side of the body. Do the same for the right side. Ensure to always start from the front.
• Take a dandy brush and start brushing its body and legs.
Go over the mane to eliminate any stuck dirt or mud. When brushing the tail, ensure to stand to the side and face forward looking at the horse’s head so that it can see you.
• Clean the hooves
Start with the front legs and proceed to the back. You can apply hoof oil after clearing out all the dirt
• Use a small brush to brush its head and forelock and a damp cloth to wipe the horse’s face and ears.
• Comb the horse’s mane, forelock, and tail
Again, remember to stay to the side when working the tail so that your horse can see you.
• For a final touch, use a body brush to create smoothness and shine.
• Spray a fly repellent on the animal.
Instead of waiting every several days to do an intensive grooming procedure. Doing it daily is beneficial for your relationship.
5. Give Them a Job
If you have been around horses for a while, then you know they love having a purpose. No matter the kind of job a horse has, you will notice that they are always happy doing it. This goes for work, race, or riding horses,
Nonetheless, your horse does not need a traditional job for it to feel like it’s fulfilling its purpose. For example, a simple routine such as coming for his carrot every few hours and getting groomed might feel like a job.
Thus, simple things such as telling them where to stand as well as other instructions, and rewarding them for doing them will make them feel good.
We look at the physique that horses possess with admiration.
However, all that muscle they carry around needs to be worked in order for the horse to be happy. This is because exercise not only keeps them in shape, but it also allows blood to move around their body, thus rejuvenating them.
Additionally, exercise helps them digest their food. As such, if you cannot let your horse outside due to the elements, see if you can at least let them out of their stalls, so they can walk up and down the barn aisle.
While horses heavily rely on grass and hay for their food, you should supplement it with grains, traditional mineral blocks, and loose minerals. This will allow your horse to be a lot healthier.
Also, consider getting CBD oil for horses. Just like humans, horses have an endocannabinoid system. This is a receptor system that interacts with cannabinoids to help maintain optimal homeostasis within the body.
Some of the ways CBD oils can benefit your horse include:
• Treating and managing arthritis
• Relieving general pain
• Treating gastric ulcers
• Supporting immune function
• Taking care of allergies and skin conditions
• Boosting cardiovascular health
There are many more benefits to giving CBD oil to your horse. Talk to your vet to know how to administer it.
8. Take Care of Their Hooves
Ensure that you get to know a reputable farrier who will regularly trim your horse as well as make them shoes. Nonetheless, horses grow their hooves at different rates, so the frequency might vary. Your farrier should help you figure that out.
Overgrown hooves will make walking difficult and painful to the animal.
9. Keep a Vet Close
As horses are generally more susceptible to illnesses than other animals, it is crucial that you maintain a vet-client-patient relationship with an experienced veterinarian.
This will ensure that they routinely examine your horse so that any illness or condition is spotted early and treated.
Your vet will also notice if your horse is stressed and advise you accordingly.
10. Affection and Attention
As mentioned earlier, horses are very emotional creatures. So much that they can read your emotions. As such, if you are uneasy, your horse will pick up on that energy and be stressed as well.
Additionally, your horse loves being pampered. Take your time and interact with them so you can keep them happy. This will make them open to contact with other people, making everyone else’s job easier (vets and farriers).
Happy and Healthy Horses
There you have it. That is how to take care of a horse. The great thing about horses is that they will reciprocate the love shown to them.
A horse can live between 25 and 30 years, depending on its breed. That is a long time that allows you to build a real relationship with them.
Is your horse happy? If not, you know what you need to do. Don’t forget to keep checking back for new posts to help your pets have a happy life!