When we were new horse owners, we worried about all the horse care/colic/etc horror stories we had always heard. Luckily we have a great breeder/trainer (35+ years experience), farrier (50+ years experience), and vet (30+ years experience) down the road that were always happy to give advice and pointers. Here is our experience..
- Stock type horses (QH/Paint/Appy) seem to be very low maintenance in general. Our Paint mares are very easy keepers and do not require a lot of effort..
- Keep things as simple as possible. Horses eat grass...we feed free choice hay and only a cup of grain a day and have never had a horse colic. They get an apple as a treat occasionally..nothing else. You'll have less dental problems, too; our mares have never even needed their teeth floated.
- Unless your horse has a medical reason, leave it barefoot. Not only does it cost less, our mares have never had an abscess or any hoof problem and they can ride over almost anything. Pick them out once a week...if for no other reason than to get your horse used to you handling its legs and feet.
- Have your first aid kit. Horses get a lot of minor scrapes, cuts, and nips. Peroxide or betadine and neosporine are always in our kit. A cold pack and leg wraps are handy for sprains. Unless something is broken or needs stitches, you probably don't need to call a vet.
- Groom and handle as much as possible. Horses are touchy-feely animals and love the contact and attention. Look for injuries, ticks, etc.
- Watch and observe your horse. Horse/herd behavior is much different than what we're used to with our predator pets (cats/dogs).
- Have fun and enjoy.