Horses are beautiful and powerful animals. Their history and the history of mankind have been intertwined for thousands of years. Most horses live happily in the care of humans, while a few bold ones still live wild in places like the Western United States. Horses are tough animals by almost any measure, but the ones that we care for do have certain needs.
Owning a horse is a real responsibility. It’s a relationship and a partnership: you have an obligation to give your horse the very best care and the best possible life, and you’ll get more back from your horse if you give it the care that it needs and deserves. Here’s what you need to know about caring for a horse.
You don’t have to be an expert in horse care to know that, just like any other animal, horses need to eat! But keeping a horse happy involves more than just dumping some food in a bowl the way you could for a dog or a cat.
Horses have evolved to live on plant matter, particularly grass and hay. Ideally, you should be able to provide your horse with lots of grass for grazing, plus hay. Keep in mind that horses eat a lot: you’ll need a decent amount of land to keep the grass growing at a pace that keeps up with your horse’s appetite. One horse can need up to two acres of pasture to graze on. Of course, this number varies based on the horse’s size, age, sex, and the amount of hay that is used to supplement the grass diet.
Grooming is more than vanity
Horses can get dirty. Their manes and tails can develop knots. The result can be a horse that doesn’t look its best, and the solution is grooming.
But don’t assume that grooming is all about looks. Grooming can act as preventative medicine, clearing out bacteria that develop in and around a horse’s mane, hair, and hooves. On top of that, it can help you bond with your horse and get your horse used to being touched by and cared for by humans like you.
So invest some time and money in grooming. You can find great supplies from brands like Finish Line horse products, so take the time to do the job right and keep your horse happy, healthy, and beautiful. You can’t do everything yourself, of course. Be sure to work with a great farrier for horseshoes, so that your horse always has healthy hooves and comfortable, effective, and safe horseshoes.
Visit the doctor
Just like you, your horse needs to pay a visit to the doctor once in a while. A large animal veterinarian is someone that you should absolutely have a relationship with if you own horses.
Horses need vaccinations to prevent them from getting common diseases. They need regular deworming, too: “worms” are the collective term for the many types of parasites that can find their way into your beloved horse, including tapeworms, roundworms, and blood worms.
Your veterinarian will also help you handle your horse’s teeth. Horse teeth keep growing continuously, and that can lead to issues. For instance, a horse’s teeth can grow too sharp, which can be dangerous for them (and for you). A good vet can help you spot issues and solve problems with your horse’s teeth.
And, of course, horses can get hurt or sick. Your vet will be your most important line of defense against threats to your horse’s health. You shouldn’t wait until your horse needs emergency help to reach out to a vet, though — make sure that your horse is on a regular schedule of preventative care.