In need of advice on caring for a horse

United States
January 28, 2007 9:33am CST
i am a very new horse owner and am getting ready to bring my new horse home. i have never owned a horse before so i am looking for any good/great advice on how to manage and take care of a horse. i bought the horse because my step-daughter does show horses at fairs and really wants one of her own, i too love and wanted a horse so here i am a horse owner. please any advice would be great at this point.
2 people like this
6 responses
@urbandekay (18314)
28 Jan 07
It is a pity you don't say what type of horse it is nor what country you are in. But lets start with basics. You need at least two acres grazing securely fenced in wood or electric fencing no wire fences. The ground should be adequately drained and you will need to control ragwort, which is poisonous to horses, if there is no water trough in the field you will need an old metal bath or similar and fill daily. If the breed is non-hardy you may need a stable, which must be of sufficient size to allow the horse to turn round. A feed room and shelter for straw or other bedding material, preferably a tack room and a muck heap will be required. If you haven't already had a vet examine the horse take advice locally on choice of vet for horses and commission a full examination. Then you will be best to have the horses teeth treated by a qualified horse dentist and finally get a saddle fitter out to ensure the saddle fits correctly. Unless you step daughter is an experienced rider I would suggest someone else ride the horse first. It will be important for your step daughter to bond with the horse and she should handle it as much as possible, mucking out, grooming, etc only in this way will she become familiar enough with the horse to detect any changes in its appearance or behaviour. Try to make contact with local grooms, these are often the most knowledgeable people to ask for advice, regarding feeding, choice of professional, etc Before the horse is ridden it should be checked over, it may need to be brushed before tacking up. Pick its feet for stones and observe its eyes and general demeanour. Take each new thing you do with the horse slowly. Introducing it to anything that might alarm it in a safe environment and be careful the first time you take it on the road. Many horses will buck if they are badly schooled but if it bucks badly this may be a sign of a problem. If your daughter is wearing a back protector this needs to be fitted by a trained person. Remember a horse is a prey species and its natural inclination is to run at the first sign of danger. Your daughters job is to allow the horse to trust her. For the horse to accept her as a wise herd leader. Do everything slowly around the horse and remain calm, even if you do not feel it. A horse can read your body language from the other side of a field so it will no if you are tense. Make an effort to relax, keep your adrenalin level down and so will the horse. Horses are capable of great affection to humans but just like humans they can also take a dislike to people and they have excellent memories but small IQs. Always look where you want to go and try and exude an air of confidence Hope that helps a little all the best urban
1 person likes this
@urbandekay (18314)
29 Jan 07
Hi again, Forgot to say, if the horse is doing a lot of work it may need to be clipped, to allow it to stay cool when working, in which case you may, depending on your climate, need to rug it in the field and stable. If a horse has been working hard and is sweating, wash it down and use a scrapper to remove excess water afterwards. There are thousands of other things to tell you but this is where you need help and advice from a local person all the best urban
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
I am from the USA i live in Indiana and my horse is a tenn. walker. she is very calm and loves to be around people. she is not fully broke yet,she is will be 2 yrs. old in june. when i bring her home i will be keeping her at a horse stable near my house until i can learn more about taking care of her the correct way. i dont have a house with any ac. yet, but i am in the process of looking to buy a home that is safe and has adquit room to her to be able to run. i will take your advise to heart. thank you very much for your comment. tammy
• United States
29 Jan 07
urban you were also my best choice for comments but this site would not let me put 2 best on. just thought i would let you know your advice is just as informative as cowgirltoo. thanks again.tammy
• United States
28 Jan 07
I'm assuming you had the horse checked out by a vet before making the purchase and have ridden the horse enough to know that it is safe. Horses need a lot of care ... constant care ... and you while you are feeding and caring for him every day, you need to take a good look at him to make sure he appears well and is not injured in any way. Horses in good health have a shiny coat and bright eyes and will be eager for their feed. You should consult a vet to make sure you will be feeding him correctly for his age, weight, and activities. Horses can hurt themselves at any time so be sure you move quietly around him and don't startle him so he panics and jumps into a fence or runs off. When horses are frightened they run blindly and will run through fences or other obstacles and can be seriously injured. You need to find a good farrier and have his feet trimmed and reshod about every 6 weeks. You need to have the vet vaccinate him against encepholitis, strangles, and West Nile. He will need to be wormed at least twice a year and more often if the vet recommends it. Make sure the hay you feed him is the type recommended by the vet and make sure it's not dusty or moldy. I assume you have at least an acre or two -- five is better -- for him to graze on and at the very least you need a pole barn for shelter from the elements. Be sure you have the correct tack for him and that you use an appropriate bit for whatever purpose he is being ridden. Horses are a great joy but also a tremendous committment and the best thing you can do is find someone who has a lot of knowledge about horses and ask them all the questions you can think of. Horse people love to talk about horses and share their passion with others so you shouldn't have any trouble finding someone who will help you. Just be sure they are truly horsemen; there are a lot of wannabees out there too whose advice can be worthless and at worse, dangerous for your horse. Treat him kindly and gently and don't get impatient with him if he doesn't always respond at first they way you want him to. It will take time for him to adjust to you too. Of course, buy all the books you can find on horsekeeping and read them cover to cover and you'll do fine.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
hello and thank you. it was very hard to choose which comments was the best between you and urbandkay it really was a tie. you both gave me great advise. i am going to be getting some training from the stable i will be keeping her at. i live in indiana USA, i am looking for a house with some ac. so that my tn walker has a safe and comfortable place to stay once i bring her to the house. when i talked about bringing her home i mean to indiana. she has been checked by the vet. and is certified with the TWHBEA. she comes from a champion blood line,she is 1yr and 7 mo. old at this time. she is very calm and loves to be around people she is 14.5HH right now but i dont expect her to get much taller the prior owner told me she will prob. only grow about 2-5 more inches.the prior owner breeds tenn. walkers. oh yeah she also love dogs.she plays with dogs where she is at right now as well as other horses. again thank you for your comment. tammy
@Linny1 (40)
2 Feb 08
She sounds wonderful - love her and read, watch DVDs, ask experts and enjoy her...
• United States
28 Jan 07
Get as many books as you can on caring for horses and start reading. I would also STRONGLY advise you to make friends with a reputable horse trainer or barn manager in your area as well as your local equine vet and pester them with questions. Owning a horse is not nearly as easy as many people think, but if you educate yourself you should do well.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
thank you for your comment. i have been looking at books but there are so many it is hard to choose which ones i should buy.
@loveworld (104)
• China
5 Feb 07
oh,I have not one ,I cannot give you any advice.
• United States
1 Feb 07
The most important things to do first is to locate a good farrier and a vet. Make sure the vet will come out at night and on weekends. Next is fencing. It's still old school to use barbed wire, but it's very dangerous for a horse. You could end up having to euthenize if your horse were to spook, bolt and get tangled up in the fencing. Then there's shelter. It has to have at least three sides and a roof. Preferably a roof that doesn't leak. It must also not hold water when it rains or snows. This would only mean that your horse will be standing in mud, which will ruin your horses feet. Fresh water is a must. Obviously grass is a needed if you want to keep you costs down. Depending on the size of the area, your horse may be able to thrive in grazing alone. Horses do not like to be kept alone. They are herd animals. This does not mean you need another horse, even a goat would do, but I don't recommend goats, there are very destructive. I would look into a rescue group and see if they have any "companion" horses available for adoption. These are horses than can not be ridden, they are just for company and there is usually no adoption fee. I have two and I love them both dearly. Depending on where you'll be riding will depend on whether or not the horse needs to be shod. Your farrier can answer that. Worming meds can be purchased at your local farm store. I do mine at least every eight weeks. That's probably overwhelmed you enough. I hope it helped. Kim
@winky73 (1396)
• United States
31 Jan 07
Here is a great website for you http://horseriderinfo.net/ I wish you good luck and enjoy your new horse.We used to have horses when I was still living in Germany and I miss having them around.