U.S.A.: General Horse Care Guidelines|
Posted on Tuesday, September 27 @ 15:56:18 CDT by donna
Are you interested in experiencing the joys of horse ownership?
While sharing your life with a horse can be a rewarding experience, it
also means accepting the responsibility of caring for your equine
companion for life. Here are some general guidelines for caring for
Even routine horse care is a significant and ongoing expense.
In fact, the cost of purchasing a horse is often much less than the
cost of maintaining one for a year. Make sure you are realistic about
your ability to afford quality care before you adopt an equine
Horses need a regular supply of food.
In most cases, they need to have hay or pasture throughout the day,
with additional grain feedings twice a day. An average-size horse will
eat about 20 lbs. of food a day and drink at least eight gallons of
water. Because their stomachs are relatively small and their digestive
systems surprisingly delicate, horses need to nibble or graze
throughout the day, rather than have one or two meals a day.
Horses need regular hoof care. Plan to hire a farrier (blacksmith) every six to eight weeks for routine hoof trimming or shoeing.
Horses need regular veterinary care.
At least once a year, your horse will need to be vaccinated against
tetanus and other diseases. The veterinarian will also provide routine
dental care. Keep in mind that medical emergencies, which are always an
unfortunate possibility, can cost several thousand dollars to treat.
horses are constantly exposed to intestinal worms from the ground they
graze on, they must be dewormed every six to eight weeks. Carrying
a heavy burden of worms can cause serious illness or death in equines,
so regular and timely treatment is crucial to your horse's health.
Horses need constant access to a dry, safe, comfortable shelter to protect them from rain, wind, and snow.
In warm and sunny weather, the shelter you supply will provide your
companion with much needed shade. At a minimum, you should have a
well-constructed, three-sided shed into which your horse can retreat at
all times. You will need to remove manure from the stall or shelter
Horses need exercise. To supplement
the exercise your horse will get when you ride him, he should have a
paddock or pasture in which to relax and stroll. No horse should spend
all day confined in a stall, except on a veterinarian's recommendation.
The pasture should be bordered by safe, sturdy fencing that will keep
the horse safe and secure. Barbed wire is not an acceptable fencing
material—it has been the cause of many serious injuries.
horse depends on your love, care, and commitment. You'll show your love
through grooming, petting, riding, and the occasional treat. You must
also show your commitment by providing for her needs 365 days a year,
in good weather and bad. With good care, your horse can live 35 years
or more, so plan to enjoy a long and mutually rewarding relationship
with your horse.
Copyright © 2005 The Humane Society of the United States. All rights reserved.