Articles and Tips for Horse Enthusiasts
With a Little Horse Sense, You Can Afford a Horse
A horse can be an engaging companion and great exercise. Contrary to popular belief, horses don’t actually eat money, and there are ways to save on becoming a horse owner.
A horse can cost between $500 and $1500. But you can often save on an older horse. Many people get horses cheaper or even for free on Craigslist and similar sites. Before buying a horse, you should check to make sure the seller is a reputable trader, and that the horse doesn’t have serious health or behavior problems.
If you’re boarding your horse, you can save money by going with self-care board. That means you do all the work just as if the horse were on your property–feeding, cleaning the stall, providing supplies and calling the vet. This requires a commitment of visiting the horse at least once a day. But you may bring your cost down to a dollar a day, as opposed to full board at $700 a month.
You can save more by keeping the horse on your property in a paddock. A paddock is a small, enclosed field that provides more room than a stable. The horse can graze, saving on feed costs. Horses in a paddock need hay sometimes, but stabled horses need it every day. You can bring feed costs down under $25 a week. The paddock has to be cleaned, but you can save on the cost of a stable, which has to have new straw every day.
If you go with a paddock, make sure it has a sheltered area for bad weather, and a sturdy fence that the horse can see, and is not barbed wire.
With careful planning and a time commitment, you can join the horsey set, and your budget won’t say naaay!
Less Thought Of Things That Your Horse Needs
Owning and taking care of a horse is a big but rewarding project. You know your new friend needs a place to live, food and grooming equipment, but it takes more than the basics to make a horse happy. These are things every potential caregiver should think about before purchasing a horse.
Horses may not be as social as dogs, but they should not be left alone for very long. Someone needs to visit your horse at least twice a day for feeding, cleaning its stall and making sure the horse is uninjured and healthy. The rest of the time a horse will be fine with animal companions like donkeys, other horses, sheep, goats and most typical barnyard animals.
The Great Wide Open
Check the spaces your horse will roam, and clear the area of sharp objects, holes and miscellaneous farm equipment. Common trees like red maples, oaks and more are toxic to horses. Find out if any dangerous plants and trees grow in your space and remove them or develop a way to keep your horse away from these spots.
Horses can be skittish around new people, but first time horse owners are the ones who are anxious when their horses get hurt. Prepare yourself by stocking up on the supplies you may need to treat common horse injuries. This first aid kit should include items like wound cleaner, padding, self-sticking bandages, Epsom salts and a thermometer.
Consider your climate and what a horse could require throughout the year. When the spring season approaches, your horse needs vaccinations and time to adjust to the weather and new vegetation and might need its hair clipped. If you live in an area that gets chilly winters, your horse’s water supply should be heated to avoid freezing.
Five Points for Beginners With a New Horse
- Approach with Respect
A horse is a huge animal capable of showing much love, but can also do a great deal of harm. Their weight in comparison to humans as well as their ability to swiftly kick with powerful legs or bite with huge teeth must certainly be respected by all.
- Build Trust
As you become more familiar with your new friend, you’ll learn to trust each other. When you become better acquainted, the horse will take cues from you as to whether to be afraid or not and vice versa. Laundry hanging on a washing line, for example, isn’t scary to you, but might terrify your horse if it is an unfamiliar sight. Remain relaxed as you walk by and your horse is likely to relax as well once he trusts you.
- Use Patience When Teaching
Horses are gentle by nature and many experts believe that their feelings can be hurt, especially by those that they consider their friends. Without patience it may take much longer to teach what might otherwise be a simple task.
- Take Your Time
Go slowly when introducing your horse to any new situation. A horse trained with patience will be an excellent mount for years to come and isn’t as likely to develop bad habits. Be clear about what you want and take your time in getting the message across.
- Safety First
Safe movement around a very large animal is simply common sense. Be definitive when you approach so as not to startle your new friend. Additionally, be aware that a confused or frightened horse may be difficult to handle. Always err on the side of caution when working together.
Top Five Things You Must Know to Own a Horse
- How to muck out a stall
If you are not the proud owner of either a pitchfork and lots of straw or an apple picker with plenty of sawdust, then do not buy a horse. The stall will not muck itself, and your horse will not be happy without a clean stall.
- There is no such thing as growing up with a horse
Parents who love their children and know nothing about horses: If you love your child and want them to stay living, do not buy a foal or a filly thinking it would be cute for them to grow up together. Inexperienced riders need experienced horses, i.e. trained and at least six years old.
- Does the vet make barn calls?
The time to find out the vet you wanted to use expects patients to arrive at the door to the vet clinic is not when an animal needs veterinary attention. Make sure the local large animal vet is recommended by other horse owners and is willing to come to the horse.
- There is such a thing as Bute
Make sure the horse that was so nice at the former owner’s property is still nice a few days later. There are readily available tranquillizers such as Bute that will mask a painful medical condition or a nasty temper. Have an agreed upon trial period during which you can return the animal if it is not acting the same.
- Horses need attention
While horses do look beautiful running in a field with mane and tail flowing, they need help staying attractive. Horses need to be groomed and ridden regularly. Calculate the time you can spend on them before you buy.