Horses can provide some of the most rewarding relationships to children and adults alike. These animals can range in size and personality, just like any person. And just like people, horses and ponies require a lot of upkeep.
It’s no small task to properly take care of one. In fact, it’s such a task that it takes a team of people to care for them.
Stable and Pasture
Stables and stable managers and workers are the first part of your horse’s team that should be in place. Horses are social creatures with a constant need to be around others. Stalls don’t offer the same level of intimacy horses have ingrained in them. Because of this, most stables will let horses out in small groups together for most of the day. This has been proven to increase the happiness of the horses.
When looking for a stable for your horse, choose one whose pastures have clean fencing. Walk them to make sure there are no holes in the ground large enough for a horse to get caught in. Make sure to ask as many questions as possible about how feed is stored.
The first thing to find after a stable is a good veterinarian. Horses have to see a vet at least once or twice a year. Sometimes it’s less, and sometimes it’s more. It depends on the horse.
Veterinarians are the ones who will monitor your horse’s health, and they will be able to help should there ever be an injury. Even if a horse never suffers an ailment in all of its life, a good veterinarian is a must-have item on any checklist.
Veterinarians don’t just do blood work and shots. When it comes to choosing one, the search should be focused on someone who communicates well and is available when the horse will need them. Check on their facilities. Make sure your horse will be getting the best care available. Most importantly, find a veterinarian you can form a long-term relationship with. After all, horses live an average of 25 years.
Farriers see a horse every six or seven weeks if it has shoes. If the horse is barefoot, the farrier will need to come trim the hooves every six to nine weeks.
Believe it or not, a farrier will need to have some kind of certification. Finding one in your area is easy, but don’t always go with the cheapest option if they have nothing other than a price tag. Research their clients. Ask other horse owners.
When it comes to feeding a horse, there are as many horse feeds as there are dog foods. Research the best products with what your horse’s diet should consist of. For example, a diet built for an active athlete competing at the top of his game wouldn’t be given to a stable pony.
The accepted rule is that a horse should eat at least 2% to 2.5% of its body weight in dry matter ration per day. This amount of dry matter depends on the water content of the feed in question; the higher the moisture content, the more the horse will eat.
When setting up a feeding station, it’s best to keep a steady supply of fresh, clean water available for the horse, along with a steady supply of hay if the horse isn’t let out daily into a pasture. Make sure it’s at the appropriate height to reduce the risk of improper tooth wear, choking, and respiratory issues.