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What Are The Basic Needs of A Horse to Take Care of Them?



When you have a horse, you have to know how to take care of your horse.



There are some basic care needs that you got to provide for your horse as well as other horse care needs.

So, what are the basic needs of a horse?

The basic horse care needs that horse needs are food, water, shelter, exercise, and companionship. There are also other horse care needs such as professional care, training, and grooming.

Basic horse care requirements

Food

Horses must eat high-quality food such as pasture, hay or chaff so their body can be kept in a very good condition.



However, the most favorite type of roughage that horses love is hay which is sold in cube or pellet.

There are different types of hay including alfalfa, timothy, oat, bermuda, and orchard.

You can also feed them concentrates such as oats, barley, and corn.

There are different amounts depending on the nature and size of the horse such as if they are young, old, or competing in nature.

For example, a healthy horse needs 2 to 2.5 pounds of food for every 100 pounds.

Water

Water must be clean and provided at all times. A dam or self-filling trough could be used but must be checked out frequently.

Buckets should never be used as a water supply because they can be tipped over.

On average, a horse should drink 25-45 liters per day in hot weather.

Here is the general guide for providing food and water to a horse based on age

Horse sizeFood (pasture, hay or chaff) Water requirement
Pony
(up to 13.5 hands, 200–350kg)
3–7kg/day Clean water must always be available. Dams or self-filling troughs are the most appropriate.
Galloway
(13.5–15 hands, 350–500kg)
7–10kg/day Clean water must always be available. Dams or self-filling troughs are the most appropriate.
Horse
(15–16.5 hands, 500–650kg)
10–13kg/day Clean water must always be available. Dams or self-filling troughs are the most appropriate.
Heavy Horse
(16.5+ hands, 650+kg)
13+ kg/day Clean water must always be available. Dams or self-filling troughs are the most appropriate.

Shelter

Even though horses regulate their body when in cold or hot weather, Horses still need shelter from rain, sun, and wind.

The best type of shelter for horses are trees or walk-in shed or stable.

You can also add to the walk-in shed or stable a waterproof rug that can protect the horse from the cold weather; however, it needs to be checked daily to ensure that it isn’t leaking or slipping.

Exercise

To keep a horse in top condition, they require about two hours of exercise every day whether they are led or ridden.

Exercise helps horses with circulation and digestion. So, you got to always exercise your horse and not leave them in the stable for long periods of time.

Horses that are left in stables for a long period of time tend to become constipated and may develop circulation problems.

Lack of exercise causes your horse to become bored. They can also develop many psychological problems such as weaving, cribbing, or stall walking will happen because of long periods of confinement.

Companionship

Horses need companionship. They are herd animals who feel comfortable and their best when they are around their own kind.

The benefit that horses are around their own kind is that they are less bored and less likely to be destructive.

Some of these destructive behaviors include stall walking, wood chewing, and unusual repetitive behaviors.

You can also build a bond and provide companionship for your horse by spending time with them and being loving toward them.

Other horse care needs

Professional care

Credited: Oklahoma State University

If you have a horse, you must regularly check-up on your horse with your vet and farrier.

Your horse must have at least one wellness exam with your vet every year. If they are a senior, they must have two wellness exams per year.

Your vet can help you set dental, vaccination, and deworming schedule that is suitable for your horse.

You have to also work with your farrier to have a fixed schedule to care for your legs.

Training

Training your horse is a really important activity that your horse needs so they can grow into a well-adjusted horse.

But before you start, you should follow certain training tips.

Know why you want to train your horse

You got to know the reason behind starting training your horse.

Do you want to ride alone or with other horses? Do you want your horse to compete in dressage events or barrel racing?

These are some of the questions that you should think about before starting training your horse.

Get the right horse depending on your needs and your horse’s needs

Picking the right horse mainly depends on how experienced you are with horses. Are you new to horses or an experienced equestrian?

If you are inexperienced with horses, it isn’t a good idea to get a young horse. You must be careful when picking a horse so you are able to train them easily.

While if you are an experienced equestrian, you will find it easy to train your horse.

It is very important that you pick a horse that is suitable for your experience.

Work with an experienced local trainer

You can consult with your trainer about how to train your horse based on their needs and challenges. You can also ask them about their experiences when training horses.

It’s important to learn from a trainer how to deal with your horse behavior in a gentle and firm way.

Teach your horse manners

You got to teach your horse manners such as teaching them how to be safe around you and other people. Teach them other good behaviors.

If your horse develops bad habits, you got to identify them and then change them. If your horse has developed bad habits, you got to not let them grow on them because the longer the bad habit stays, the harder it is to unlearn.

Start training your horse to do tricks

Teach your horse a couple of tricks such as how to give you a hug or neck reining. By training your horse to do tricks, they are going to grow into well-adjusted horses.

Grooming

Credited: The Horse

To groom your horse effectively without any problems, you can follow certain tips. These tips will help your horse stay clean and healthy without any medical conditions.

Invest in high-quality brushes and keep them clean

High-quality brushes last longer when you groom your horse. But as you use them, you got to keep them clean by consistently cleaning them up.

Also, keeping brushes clean will help them last longer.

Avoid using the same brush on other horses

It is very important to not use the same brush that you used on a horse on another horse. So, its best to not use the same brush on another horse to avoid fungal infection.

Use a curry comb to groom your horse

You also got to curry your horse every day so their coat is kept clean. Another advantage of using a curry comb on your is that the natural oils are brought from the skin up to the surface.

Select curry combs based on season

For each season, there are specific combs to be used on your horse. For summer, curries are round rubber brushes that come in a variety of sizes and styles.

While winter combs, they are shedding blades that aid in removing hair as your horse sheds. When you comb your horse, brush in the direction that the hair grows in.

Pick your horse hoove daily

Picking your horse hooves daily will help remove dirt and debris that is stuck in their hooves. Debris and dirt on your horse’s hooves are like when you have something stuck in your shoes like a pebble.

It must be done daily not just before you ride your horse so you can guarantee that your horse isn’t irritated from the dirt and debris.

Put a lanolin-based hoof conditioner on your horse’s hooves

Putting a lanolin-based conditioner on your horse’s hooves will help maintain them and keep them well-kept.

It must be done at least once a week.

Brush your horse’s mane and tail in a specific way

Start with the end and go all the way up when brushing a horse’s mane and tail.

However, if you want your horse’s tail and mane to grow, don’t comb it every day instead pick out any tangles or twigs.

Use grooming mitts

Grooming mitts help remove dust from your horse and can make it easier to apply the fly spray.

Equipment for taking care of a horse

  • Grooming kits: They are important to keep your horse tidy and healthy in their coat. To keep the brushes and combs clean, wash them from time to time and never brush another horse with the same brush that you used on.
  • Feeding and medical supplies: You got to make sure that the feeding buckets that your horse eats from are safe. Rubber feeding buckets are better and safer when compared to other buckets. Be sure that the rubber feeding bucket doesn’t have metal handles. As for medical supplies, you got to have a first aid kit stocked up with medications/creams and anything that will maintain your horse’s wellbeing. Just make sure to check it regularly for expiry dates.
  • Tack: If you are riding your horse, you will need to keep the tack clean. The tack is any equipment used to ride a horse such as saddle, girth, cinches, bridles, martingales. Any leather equipment should be cleaned with leather soap and balm to prevent cracking and weakness in the material.
  • For your safety: You will also need to keep yourself safe when riding your horse. You will need a helmet, a body protector, suitable riding boots with a small heel to prevent it from slipping.

Related questions

1.) Do horses get attached to humans?

Yes, they do get attached to their horse parents depending on the way that the parents show love and affection, treat and respect them, and offer companionship.

2.) Do horses recognize you?

Horses can recognize their horse parent’s voice or by their face and what they are wearing.

Another study showed that a horse responded to what a person is paying attention to so if you are pointing toward something, they are more likely to look after what you look at something.

Conclusion

You can take care of your horse by taking care of their food, shelter, exercise, water.

There are other needs that you can take care of such as their training, grooming, professional care.

It’s important to take care of them so they can grow into well-adjusted horses.

Share your experience. How do you take care of your horse?