Shadow eating grass hay
It is important for any horse owner to know the basics of proper horse care. After all, a horse is not just a big dog. Horses have very specific care needs, from the construction of sturdy and clean horse shelters to the regular application of horseshoes. It is vital for any would-be horse buyer to understand all the needs of the horse they want, and make sure they can meet those need adequately, before proceeding.
Horse buyers have two basic options when it comes to horse care:
A horse in the backyard: If the new horse owner has the time, the space, the money and the inclination, he or she may wish to build a barn or other horse shelters at their own home. These backyard horses are common in many parts of the country, but it is important to make sure it is the right move. The first step when considering bringing the horse home is to make sure your zoning allows it. It is also vital to know that caring for any kind of horse be it a male horse, a female horse or baby horses, is a serious and time consuming job.
Boarding the horse: If you are not up to doing your own horse care, the other option is to board the horse. There are a number of excellent boarding facilities all across the country, and chances are there is at least one near where you live. These boarding facilities run the gamut, from high end fancy operations that hold their own horse shows and employ their own horse trainers, to basic operations that simply provide a number of horse shelters and basic care and feeding. The prices for board vary quite widely as well, according to the amenities offered and the part of the country where the operation is located. If you plan to go on a horse ride once in awhile, it is a good idea to be sure there are plenty of safe trails nearby.
Whether you board your horse or keep it at home, however, the owner is still responsible for the basic horse care:
Food: pasture is the most natural food for a horse. Make sure your horse has enough grazing. A horse also needs other types of food, like hay. Make sure the hay is of good quality. Pasture and hay are the most important types of food, but sometimes your horse needs a little extra (pregnant horses, foals, recovering horses) like pellets, cubes, grains and mineral & vitamin supplements.
Water: your horse needs plenty of fresh water. Healthy horses drink from 35 to 55 liters a day.
A salt/mineral block
Shelter: make sure your horse is protected from the elements. A horse needs shade, dry footing and protection from rain, wind and snow. Keep the stall clean!
Hoof Care: it's important to keep your horse feet in good condition. For most horses, the horseshoe will last between 6 and 8 weeks, but competitive horses like roping horses and barrel racing horses may need more frequent shoeing. Keep your horse's hooves clean, pick them out regularly. If you find an object like a nail sticking in your horse's sole, don't pull it out yourself, call the vet.
Fencing: check the fencing regularly for nails that are sticking out or boards that are missing. See to it that your horses can't get into contact with barbed wire.
Hygiene: it's import to keep your horse's coat clean. Make sure to use a specialized shampoo that doesn't dissolve the oils in the coat that your horse needs for protection.
The horse owner will also be responsible for providing such things as proper joint care, and for buying insurance for use in the event of illness or injury. If the horse is elderly or injured, equine massage can also be part of the overall horse care regimen.