Want to know the quickest way to make your 10-year-old self jealous of your adult self? Get a horse!
In all seriousness, adding a horse to your family lets you forge a close and loving bond with the horse you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. Getting that bond established and keeping it intact, however, requires that you take into consideration how to take care of it. Improper care can lead to an unhealthy and unhappy horse.
So what can you do?
Well, we’re glad you asked. With this quick guide to raising a horse, you’ll be on your way towards horse ownership in no time!
But enough talk! Let’s jump into this thing.
Feeding and Hydrating Your Horse
The first thing to keep in mind when raising a horse is that horses eat a lot of food. Like, 20 to 25 pounds of it a day. If the horse gets a lot of exercise, the amount of food they need increases further.
The best way to determine how much food your horse needs is by weighing them. You can find this by measuring the heart girth of the horse (the vertical distance from just behind the elbow to the bottom of the stomach curve, in inches), multiplying it by 2, finding the body length of the horse (horizontal distance between shoulder and rear, also in inches) and then divide that number by 330. A livestock scale will provide a more accurate (if more expensive) solution.
Horses also get a lot of minerals missing in their usual diet of hay and feed through salt licks, which you should keep in their feeding area.
Horses also need a lot of fresh water. Fill large buckets for your horse to drink from and make sure to check on them throughout the day to keep them full. Too little water dehydrates the horse and can even lead to organ damage.
Housing Your Horse
When you’re not with your horse, you need to construct a heated, closed stable for your horse to sleep at. Lay down straw on the floor to serve as bedding for the horse, and provide a fresh layer (as well as cleaning out manure) every morning.
You should also have an exercise area of around 2 acres for your horse to run around in when not at the stable. Make sure to include some form of shelter within the exercise area for the horse to go if it gets too hot or the weather turns bad.
Raising a Horse Requires Safety
Another important factor in raising a horse is knowing how to behave safely around it. For example, if you’re wondering “Do horses bite?”, the answer is yes: they do so to indicate annoyance, discomfort, or pent-up energy. You’ll need to train it (and start young) to make sure the horse knows that behavior is unacceptable on humans.
You should also make sure to keep a wide berth around the horse’s backside. Startled horses can kick out, and their kick can shatter bones or even kill a person.
Horses also need lots of care and attention to stay healthy. Grooming them with a comb and brush helps keep their bodies clean and free from irritation, while their hooves need to get trimmed (with a farrier) and cleaned to prevent discomfort. Your horse should also get yearly dentist visits to check their teeth and vaccinations to keep them safe from diseases like rabies.
Finally, don’t forget to get your horse started on deworming medication as soon as you can. They should take these meds around every three months (though it depends on the medicine brand).
Riding Into the Sunset
So, now that you have this quick guide on raising a horse, you’re one step closer to riding off into the sunset on a horse of your own! But what if you need more tips about keeping your horse (or other pets) happy and healthy? In that case, make sure to check out the other articles on our website!