While it may not seem like it, horses, just like any other companion animal, need a lot of care. They also require a higher financial and time commitment than a dog or a cat.
So, before you get a horse it’s important to understand the work and effort needed to care for them.
Here are a few essential aspects of taking care of a horse.
Create a Mutual Bond with Them
A horse won’t even get near you, much less let you touch it before it becomes familiar to you. There’s a certain level of trust that needs to develop first before an animal lets you take care of it or train it.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage a mutual bond. For instance, once you get near the horse for the first time, show confidence and patience by letting it come towards you. Another thing to remember is to keep a gentle and firm attitude.
Provide Quality Food and Water
Horses have a lot of nutritional needs and satisfying those needs is the first major step to caring for your horse. They have small, delicate stomachs so they prefer having something to nibble on throughout the day rather than a few set meals.
Ideally, you should provide fresh pasture and grass daily, but if that’s not possible then a diet of hay and grain is perfectly fine too. In addition to daily meals, you need to include supplements and vitamins in their diet but not before consulting a vet first.
Manage Stable Chores
Horse care also means caring for their home, which is the stable. This also includes their equipment which includes the halter, western saddle, bridle, lead rope, etc. The stable chores involve sweeping dust and manure off the aisles and removing cobwebs from corners.
Equipment like leather needs to be conditioned and cleaned somewhat regularly to keep it soft and comfortable for your horse. Also, replace the bedding regularly so your horse has a large enough space to lie down and rest.
Groom Your Horse Everyday
Grooming is a necessary daily activity that you need to commit to. It’s beneficial to the animal because it removes dirt, dust, and mud from its body and helps find possible injuries, blisters, or infections early on.
Grooming has also been proven to increase the horse’s blood circulation. But you need to learn the basics or at least ask for help for a few weeks before you can properly groom your horse.
Don’t Forget Daily Exercise
Physical activity is one of a horse’s essential needs. It not only keeps them active but also happy and healthy. However, the type and intensity of exercise are different for all horses and usually depend on factors like age, breed, and health.
Horses love to follow a routine and are most satisfied in predictable situations, so it’s best to train them around the same time each day. On average, they require at least an hour of exercise daily.