HORSE Pet Care
"Neigh, neigh, whinney!" ...HORSE
General Care Information
- Horses will require on going care and attention - educate yourself on the cost of owning a horse
- Make sure horses have access to plenty of nutritious foods and fresh water
- Horses hoofs need regular attention and care - about every 6-8 weeks
- Take your horse to the Veterinarian every year for a check up and a tetnus shot
- Horses need regular exercise - establish a regular exercise routine
- Horses need protection from the elements - provide your horse with adequate shelter to protect them from wind, rain, snow and heat
- Horses need to be de-wormed every 6-8 weeks - consult with your local veterinarian for the best de-worming solutions
HORSE Feeding Information
Giving your horse proper nutrition will allow it to grow and function normally throughout its life. Hay is generally the most widely used source of food for horses – it’s rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins and is an essential part of normal food digestion. A balanced diet for horses is largely based on carbohydrates, with fats and proteins as essential supplements to the diet. In addition to an adequate balance of proper food and nutrition, horses should always be provided with plenty of fresh water.
Corn, oats and barley are great additions to a horses diet, but should not be the main staples in the diet. These types of foods are great for use to entice or reward your horse for proper behavior or performance. Be especially careful in feeding your horse too much corn, as it is high in calories and cause unwanted weight gain. Sugar beets, another common “reward food” for horses should be given sparingly and are not recommended for horses that will experience strenuous activity.
Grooming your horse regularly produces many benefits. A regular, daily regimen of brushing will keep your horse clean, disease free and will help keep your horse accustomed to being handled. Additionally, grooming provides a gentle massage to your horses coat to promote good circulation and further enhancing resistance to disease.
To groom your horse, us a good stiff brush and stroke your horse using a firm broad stroke in the direction of the hair. Do not brush your horse against the grain of its coat. To remove unwanted dirt or stains, use warm water and a brush. You should avoid using soaps and shampoos that will remove oil from the horses coat – these natural body oils are important for keeping the horse clean and warm, especially during the winter months.
Whether in a barn or in the field, horses need to feel safe and have the ability to find
seclusion and rest. Horses should be provided some sort of shelter from the elements where they can escape the bitter cold, pounding hail, strong winds or even the heat of the sun on hot days. Typically, barns and stables are used as temporary holding locations for horses, as horses prefer to be outdoors where they can run for exercise and graze. Sometimes, horse owners will stable their horses to prevent them from over eating or if they are stress from the elements or pets.
As a side note, if you must tie up your horse, do not tie up the horse so that its nose is tied closely to the pole, restricting the horses’ movement. Feeling constrained and being unable to turn its head from side to side, horses will panic and may injure themselves or damage their harness.
When constructing a barn, always consider the comfort of the horse first. Barns should provide adequate protection from the elements so they can get cool in the summer months and find adequate warmth in the winter months. The stable box should be at least 14 ft. by 14 ft. to allow the horse adequate space to turn around and lie down.
Provide your horse bedding materials that will allow them to get comfortable. While hay is the preferred bedding material, wood shavings can also be used provided the dust does not irritate your horse or cause allergies to flare up.
As a general rule of thumb, each horse you own needs about one and a half acres to roam in. Be sure to create an area that allows for grazing and ready access to water.
Horses, like most animals, need plenty of exercise. Regular exercise will improve your horse’s circulation and digestion and improve the strength of muscles, tendons and bones, and will build endurance, stamina and resistance to disease. Horses kept in open fields will find ways to keep themselves in shape, while stabled horses need the focused attention of their owners to get enough exercise.
As you begin to exercise your horse, set up a regular schedule or routine for your horse. This will insure that your horse gets consistent attention and will allow the horse to gradually build up strength over time.
Before beginning a regular, strenuous exercise routine, horses need to build up strength. Start with light running and walking, allowing your horse to get accustomed to the activity. Remember to walk your horse before trotting and trot before running. Horses that are not adequately warmed up and stretched can injure or pull muscles.
Before beginning stretching, take your horse for a brisk walk to warm up the muscles. To stretch your horse, pull gently on each leg – do NOT use excessive force as you may injure the animal. Stretch each leg for 30 -60 seconds.
As you exercise your horse, be sure to choose exercises that you and your horse both enjoy. Activities such as running, climbing or jumping will appeal to different horses in different ways. Be sure to follow cues from your horse as to what activities it prefers.