Just as any other pet, a horse needs to be cared for and looked after. A bit complicated than the care needed for other commonly raised pets like dogs or cats and can be way too expensive as well. Horse care basically includes providing the needed environment to live, nutritional needs, medical needs, and training needs. However, it’s not easy to become a horse care personnel. There are certain courses that you can follow to learn how to train, feed and take care of a horse.
Basics of horse care
A horse is not an animal that anyone can have which makes a horse a unique pet. Therefore, this unique pet needs to be taken care of with great dedication. There are basic needs that a horse needs like water, food and nutrition, shelter, medicine, training, and companionship.
Water – keep him hydrated
Water is a basic need of every living being. It is obvious that your pet horse should be kept hydrated throughout the das a horse is said to drink water around 5-15 gallons per day. This amount differs from the seasons. In warm days like in summer, extra care should be given to the animal since the water amount to be taken by the animal will rise more than just on a normal day with normal climate.
In cold weather, the water source must be checked because the water source can freeze due to the cold weather conditions. The water can be usually supplied through a big tub to the animal and buckets may not be a wise idea because the animal can flip it over so the water will spill. If the animal is extra sweaty on warm days it will be better if daily electrolyte supplements are given.
Food and nutrition
How much food?
Horses are known as ‘trickle feeders’ which means they constantly eat food throughout the day. The lack of land has made this impossible over time. However, it is estimated that a horse needs 1-2% of their body weight per day. Therefore the amount of food a horse should get to its’ body should be calculated according to its’ weight in order to maintain a healthy body.
Naturally, horses eat pasture grass and tender plants. Apart from that, they eat hay in case there is a crisis of grass or plants it’s an alternative. To make sure that the animal gets the needed minerals through hay, the hay should be in its’ best quality. Other than that horses are fed with grains like oats and corn. However, grains are considered to be a food that gives extra calories through carbohydrates in that which can be unhealthy for some horses. So it is important to balance meals between pasture grass, hay, and grain. Additional to these regular food vitamins and supplements also should be given with the guidance of a veterinarian.
What should not?
It is recommended that your pet horse should not be fed with caffeine, chocolate, tomatoes, garlic, onion, fruits with seeds and pits like apple or apricot and tomatoes. Certain chemicals in these types of food can lead to health issues of the horse and put him at risk. It is better to avoid these food tips and get the needed guidance from the veterinarian if there any other food that should be avoided.
Living Environment and shelter
A horse is a wild animal that’s used to roam freely in the wild. So if you are thinking of keeping the horse in a stall u should probably change your mind. Keeping a horse in a small stall where the horse cannot move freely can make the animal stressed and that can lead to the development of problems in their behavior. Therefore the animal should be outside combined to the environment whenever possible.
Horse care tips on housing horses
Horses are ought to be treated individually even though they are kept as groups in the shelters. Horses like to be socialized and be kept in shelters because horses are identified as herd animals. They like to spend time with their own species as well as human company is as important. Horses can get stressed when they are mixed with other horses. This stress can lead to fighting. This issue can be overcome by making the space allowed for the shelter to increase.
These groups of animals should be monitored closely when a new horse is introduced to the cult to avoid the possibility of bullying inside the group. A new individual, in this case, will face it difficult to get the needed food and water. An extra attention should be given to the particular individual and provide the needs to the animal. Also, make that you do not mix identically aggressive horses with a normal group of horses.
It’s important that you yourself monitor signs of illnesses like during the daily feeding time and grooming time. Normally you can easily identify signs of illnesses by observing abnormalities in appearance and behavior. These abnormalities include coughing and sneezing, lack of appetite, diarrhea or a discharge from the nose or eyes. Otherwise, there can be a loss of hair or itchy areas of the skin.
When there’s a problem with the musculoskeletal system, there will be lameness in the walking pattern such that reluctant to move or head bobbing. It’s better to direct the animal to a veterinarian as soon as possible if the symptoms are visible and for the betterment, the animal should be directed to the veterinarian once a month for examination even though there are no such symptoms.
Just the way humans are given vaccinations to prevent certain illnesses, horses are given these kinds of vaccinations as well. Before getting exposed to a certain disease, vaccinations are given prior to stimulating the immune system against certain infections. These vaccinations can change from region to region because some infectious diseases are vastly spread and framed to one region. These vaccines include tetanus, rabies, influenza, Rhinopneumonitis, West Nile and Encephalitis.
Encephalitis is vaccinated regionally as Venezuelan Encephalitis, Eastern Encephalitis, Western Encephalitis. The tip is to delay the vaccination until a mare’s maternity immunity wane because the foal will get the anti-bodies through mother’s milk within 6 hours. These antibodies in milk can protect the foal for 6 months so the vaccinations should be done after the foal is 6 months old. It’s always better to get your horse vaccinated by a veterinarian because in case of a complication like an allergic reaction due to the vaccination can be handled.
It’s important that your horse should be checked by a dentist at least once a year but with certain issues the horse should be checked by you regularly for dental problems. Problems can arise from a young age to the oldest age in different ways so it’s up to you to understand these different symptoms that occurred by different issues in their different stages of age.
At the young age of a horse, they lose their deciduous or milk teeth. You need to understand that this is a perfectly normal condition. But occasionally complications can occur such as when a tooth does not come out the normal way it should come out. This issue can be painful to the horse and also it can lead to certain infections. When it’s time for the mature teeth to come out it will come out of the gum despite the fact that the milk teeth has not fallen out. This situation is called a cap and it’s time you direct the animal to a veterinarian. You can understand this kind of a situation by observing the following behaviors of the animal.
- Spilling grain while eating
- Carrying the head to one side
- Drooling or foaming
- Bad odor of the mouth
- Tossing their head
- Spitting out little cuds of grass or hay
- an unusual way of chewing or holding jaw and tongue
After directing the animal to an equine dentist or a veterinarian, they will remove the relevant capping and check for any other issue in the horse’s mouth.
There are other problems that your horse faces when they get matured. One of the common issues are teeth with sharp edges and having hooks in their teeth. The domestic horses do not chew food the rough way wild horses chew. Mostly when the wild horses eat grass or plant they might eat them with silica or sand without their knowledge. These silica which were taken accidentally by the animal can naturally smooth edges in teeth if there are any. Unlikely, this does not happen in domestic horses as their diets include soft food material.
They face the problem of cutting through their cheek or tongue because of the edges in their teeth leaving the animal in pain. If this problem occurs more often it’s better to take your animal to do regular checkups.
Other than this another problem that can occur is wolf tooth or tushes. Wolf teeth are known to be the small pointed teeth that grow just forward of a horse’s first premolars. These wolf teeth have nerve endings which makes these types of teeth sensitive. These teeth can also get ulcerated or infected. If the signs of infections occur, it’s better to consult an equine dentist in order to get the relevant antibiotics for the infection. Before these complications occur, some owners tend to remove these wolf teeth and tushes.
Horse care-Parasite control
If you are wondering how a parasite inset inside a horse, the answer is through food. The plants or grass consumed by the horse or any other herbivorous animal consumes them with the possibility of worm eggs. The number of parasites inserted into the body of the animal depends on the quality and quantity of pasture consumed. This can lead to health issues such as diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems and a disease called colic. The most common parasites found in the intestines of these animals are tapeworms, roundworms, pinworms and stomach bots. These parasites damage the walls of the digestive system and it makes complications on the absorption of nutrients and leads to loss of blood.
Tips on controlling the parasite.
- Trim and rack pastures frequently so this will break up manure piles and exposes parasite eggs to the damaging effects of air and sun.
- Period to period rotates pastures to other livestock available (such that cattle or sheep) if possible.
- If the horses are n multiple sets of different ages, make sure you group them by age so the de-worming program can be undertaken effectively and it reduces exposure t certain parasites.
- Minimize the availability of horses per acre.
- Better to use feeders when placing hay and grain.
- Remove yellowish bot eggs from horses’ coats as soon as possible. A daily wipe-down with a warm, wet towel will stimulate the eggs to hatch, and the emerging larvae will dry out and die. Good grooming practices are necessary to remove the bot eggs, because they are firmly glued onto the hair so make sure you are good at the process.
- Parasites can resist parasite controls when they are exposed to them for a long time. It will be effective if you rotate the drugs used for de-worming purposes.
- Out of all if you still doubt yourself, go into consulting your veterinarian about an effective de-worming program.
As horses are outdoor animals, a horse definitely has the risk of getting affected by external parasites like flies and ticks. You should not make this easy because external parasites can infect head, neck, ears, nose, face, legs and even abdomen. It can affect and decrease the appetite of the animal which can decrease the growth as well. In case of such symptoms presenting in your animal it’s time that you direct the animal to a veterinarian.
In order to control and protect your animal from facing an external parasite attack, it’s important that you check regularly for ticks or other parasites. To control flies you should properly manage the manure and maintain stall cleanliness. To remove ticks and other parasites there are different kinds of sprays, lotions, and rubs that you can buy to control parasite situation.
Grooming takes an important part of the daily maintenance routine. This process includes brushing and currying so it takes out most of the bacteria and external parasites preventing possible infections that can carry out and hoof care as well. While grooming you can examine the condition of the animal’s skin by examining infections, sores, wounds or any other skin diseases before they become worse.
Hair that is bound up should be brushed and your horse will enjoy this action very much. Equine shampoo can be used to bath the animal. When winter falls it’s not a good decision to have your horse bathed because horses need to be dried skin to resist coat.
Hoof care is part of the daily grooming routine. All the dirt, stones, manure should be taken out of the hooves and check for any possibilities of damages like bruising, discharging, bad odor or discoloration. Shoes and nails should be examined properly as well. Water repellent hoof dressings are important during wet weather in order to keep the hooves healthy and dry. Also during wet weather, it’s good if you apply antifungal solutions. Another problem is that the horse hooves grow constantly and it’s your responsibility to trim them properly with the correct timing.
Horseshoes basically protect your horse’s hooves. Shoes vary depending on the healthiness of the hooves and the type of surfaces the horse will be traveling on. Horses who got cracked hooves may need a shoe called the barrel shoe for its support. Depending on the condition of your horse it’s better that you take veterinarians advice before giving your animal shoes.
Before you start training your horse for the first time it really sounds like a fun thing to start right? Of course training a horse is a fun activity but it can be really challenging especially if you are a beginner. If you are new to this course, the tip is that you may not want to start your training with a young horse. Young horses are really unpredictable so more experience and skills are needed to train them. First of all there are facts that you should understand about your horse before planning training for your loved animal.
You must first understand how to approach training, what does not work on your horse and hoe to know what you are doing is working. Along with that, you should work in an enclosed space like a ring, arena, round pen or a small paddock. To ensure more safety rain your horse to get into a trailer just in case of an emergency. This way you can assure the safety of your horse. Gradually you can teach change manners and behavior and teach the horse to neck rein and direct rein.
The key to become a good trainer is patience and it’s better if you can follow a course on horse training before you start training your horse. Horse trainings are available all around the world especially in the United Kingdom and the USA where horses are available and there are government as well as nongovernment institutes that give away certificates as well as diplomas in various categories related to horse training.
Horse care-Is using checklists for horse training useful?
Considering all the horse care factors mentioned in the article, it’s crystal clear that proper and close care and regular maintenance should be maintained. As the human mind can slip few things out of the mind it’s better that you keep proper written documents so that you don’t miss out on any of the care and maintenance in your regular horse care routine. Keeping proper records can help you improve daily maintenance if there have been any mistakes in them. It’s good for the horse as well as it’s easy for you to handle the workload.
Things to include in a horse care checklist;
- Clean water – check the water source often
- Feed minimum twice a day
- Clean pasture- check for parasites
- Cleaning the eating place
- Grooming- hooves, and shoes check
- supplements and medicine
- de-worming- parasite control
- first aid kit
- fly repellent
- farm equipment
- storage area- cleanliness
- access to equine specialists
- medical check-ups
- dental check-ups
- availability of resources