Horses make a great family pet, and riding a horse can be a thorough workout. Horses are large animals that require a lot of attention, so it’s important to know how to properly care for your horse.
Horses eat a lot of food every day. A 1,000-lbs horse will eat around 15-20 lbs of hay per day. They should be eating mostly grass and good quality hay. Hay is actually just dried grass, but it’s important to monitor the grass and hay your horse eats. Giving a horse free access to pasture grass all the time could result in the horse overeating.
Every once in awhile it can be fun to reward your horse with a treat. Horses love to eat fruits and vegetables and sugary treats. Some vegetables that are safe for your horse to eat are carrots, celery, and pumpkin. Some fruits that are safe for your horse to eat are apples, bananas, strawberries, and cantaloupe. Avoid feeding your horse onions, cabbage, potatoes, brussels sprouts, and tomatoes. These foods can lead to intestinal gas and some health issues. Horses also enjoy sugar cubes or peppermint candies. It’s safe to give your horse a treat every once in a while.
A horse’s “bedding” is not like the traditional soft materials we think of for ourselves or dogs or cats. Horses sleep laying down only for a little bit of time, they are actually able to get most of their sleep while standing. One of the main purposes of horse bedding is to absorb urine. Wood pellets and shavings are common options for bedding a stall. Challenger Pallet sells wood shavings specifically for animal bedding and delivers it directly to your house.
Horses need an indoor shelter to go to. It provides them with shelter from rain, snow, and heat. Your horse can have a run-in shelter or a stable. A run-in shelter is a smaller 3-sided building left in a pasture for the horse to freely come in and out of. A stable is a larger building full of horse stalls and maybe even a tack room. Multiple horses can be housed in the same stable.
Horses need to be vaccinated and dewormed. Every horse should get a tetanus vaccine, and then you can talk to your veterinarian to see what other vaccines he thinks your horse would benefit from. Horses need to be regularly dewormed because worms can cause deadly health issues. Worms can make a horse have a poor coat, develop colic, and lose weight.
Horse’s hooves grow like human’s nails do. They need to be trimmed regularly about every six to eight weeks. Have a farrier trim your horse’s hooves and put shoes on your horse. Horses do not actually need to have horseshoes and you could choose to not use them. Talk with your farrier or veterinarian to see if they think your horse will be okay without shoes.
Like horse hooves, horse teeth always grow. A horse that has teeth that have uneven wear or sharp edges could have health issues. These problems could make it hard or painful for a horse to chew. It’s wise to have a veterinarian look at your horse’s teeth at least annually and to have the teeth floated. When a veterinarian floats a horse’s teeth, they use a file or float to sand down any rough edges of the teeth.
Taking care of a horse can be overwhelming but they are worth it. Before purchasing a horse, you should know how to take care of your horse. Horses require a bit more care than your average pet but with a bit of research on care, you can become a pro at it.