How to Care for Your New Horse
By: Plain Direct
September 27th 2022, 12:00:00 am
So, you’ve made the decision to purchase a horse, remembered all you need to know when buying a horse, and found a place to purchase from. Now, you need to understand how to take care of your horse. You’ll need to learn how to feed your horse, clean up after them, how to exercise them, and how to house them.
Feeding Your Horse
The largest portion of your horse’s diet should be roughage, like grass and hay. Horses’ digestive systems are meant to process nutrition from grasses. If you have a large, good-quality pasture, let your horse graze on the pasture. When your grass isn’t growing as well in the winter, supplement your horse’s grazing with hay. Keeping hay in front of your horse while inside allows them to mimic their grazing behavior - eating a little, sleeping, eating a little more. In a day, a horse should eat about 1-2% of its body weight in roughage.
You can give your horse some grains, like oats, in small amounts. Do not feed them bran. Grain should not be the majority of your horse’s diet because over-feeding oats can cause stomach problems. Occasionally, you can give your horse a treat of an apple, carrot, or sugar cube as a special treat. Again, do not make this a regular or large part of your horse’s diet, as it can also cause stomach problems.
Cleaning Up After Your Horse
As with any farm animal, you’ll need to clean up your horse’s droppings in its stall once a day or twice if they’re extra messy. To start, gather the clean bedding along one side or corner of the stall. Then, you’ll scoop all of the manure and dirty bedding into a wheelbarrow. After gathering all the debris, you can sprinkle some absorbent deodorizer on wet spots to help the smell. Then, let the stall air out before placing the clean bedding back and adding additional bedding as needed.
With the manure wheelbarrow, you can start composting it to use as fertilizer. If you are fertilizing your horse pastures, alternate which paddock you’re fertilizing and do not let horses roam the one you just fertilized. Speaking of paddocks, you’ll also want to clean up manure piles there twice a week. Leaving manure to pile up in your pasture can create rough patches of weeds, leaving your horse with less grazing grass.
Exercising Your Horse
Movement is essential for a Horse’s health, as it keeps them in shape and is actually a vital part of their circulatory system. Riding your horse daily is an excellent way to exercise your horse but it shouldn’t be the only exercise it receives. By letting your horse roam your pastures, you’ll be exercising it with slow steady movement, which is one of the best exercises for it. If you have multiple horses, they’ll stay out there for hours constantly moving around and grazing. But if you just have one, it might run out for a short period of time and want to come back inside. If this is the case, you should find other ways to exercise your horse. You can do some in-hand walking around the pasture with your horse. You could also walk them around in a circle using lunging, which is a great way to build up muscle.
Housing Your Horse
Horses need a suitable home to live a healthy life. The common wisdom is that you need one acre plus an additional one acre for every horse you own and/or house on your property. One horse needs two acres, four horses need 5 acres, and so on. You’ll also need a horse barn with a stall for every horse. Horses also benefit from a run in shed out in the pasture to rest throughout the day. You could build a hybrid run-in and stall to save on building costs. Be sure to line your stalls with bedding like hay or wood chips and provide your horse with plenty of water to drink and hay to eat. Horses drink 8-10 gallons of water and eat 1-2% of their body weight a day. Be sure to store your extra hay in another structure out of the rain to keep it from catching fire in your barn or going moldy in the weather.
Ready to Take the Plunge into Horse Ownership?
So, you’ve prepared your property for a horse. You’ve learned how to feed a horse, clean up after one, and give it exercise. Now you’re ready for horse ownership. There are many places to find horses to buy, including online classifieds, like Plain Direct. Our blog is also filled with resources that will help you find the perfect horse for you and your family. Browse the available horses from sellers on Plain Direct today and become a horse owner!