I am completely new to owning a horse...
I have a month to prove that I can competently care for my horse without the help of my boarding person. So I need to learn the basics about care and what not.
I know you're thinking (Oh god not another new horse person) but I've been doing a lot of research and my horse's needs are being met so don't think I'm neglecting her!
I know she's estimated around 1,100 pounds or so but I will get out the measuring tape soon.
currently she's on 1/4 flake of quality timothy hay in the morning, 1 flake at night, and about a cup of beet pulp to go with her vitamins at night.
The feedings above were recommended by the person who will be evaluating my ability to care for the horse but I really need to take it the extra mile because of internal matters with the boarder.
Health care issues:
She also has some kind of issue with her front left hoof...if she's worked really hard she has some kind of lameness issue that is remedied by keeping her front feet shod so she doesn't wear them uneven. A vet has looked at it and said though he cannot find out the problem it doesn't seem to be an issue especially when she has shoes.
She's selenium deficient so I have her on horse guard w/selenium.
The grass in my area is too rich for horses to be out at pasture so till I get my grazing muzzle she's not out in the field so she doesn't founder.
Other things I know about her:
She's about 6 years old
has done ground work with a CH trainer
is at least green broke and has been ridden
is very gentle and calm with most things
listens well enough to someone who doesn't know what they're doing
What I have:
horse guard with selenium
shrieners herbal spray
(on it's way) best friend grazing muzzle
(on it's way) rope halter
so if you can think of anything let me know...cause I am willing to learn and want to take the best care of my horse possible.
Well.... where to begin. There's so many things when it comes to horses, I hardly know where to start. Basic care for horses doesn't have to be overwhelming. A lot of it can be common sense as well. These are some of the main things you should be concerned about as a horse owner:
(btw, this is all coming out of my head as I go, so if it doesn't make sense just tell me and I'll try to clarify things) ......
- horses are grazing animals and a very large amount of their time is spent eating
- a horse needs (in this order):
b) grass (not too lush)
c) hay or some form of roughage
d) grain (some form of oats like sweet feed, pellets, etc).
- as for how much, a horse should eat about a rectangular bale of hay a day
- the amount of hay you said she has sounds too little to me
- I also saw the pictures of her and she could put on some weight so you should increase her hay
- make sure she always has fresh clean water to drink
- you can tell if a horse is dehydrated by pulling at the skin on their neck; if it springs back right away without leaving a crease, the horse is fine; if it leaves a lump or fold of skin your horse is dehydrated
- the amount of feed usually depends on the weight of the horse and how much work you doing with her
- the more work you do (as in riding) the more feed she needs to build muscle
- talk to a vet about getting the right feed & amount for your horse, I can't tell you that
- also talk to your vet about possible supplements
- my horse isn't on anything, but some horses need to be
- there's a saying that goes, "No hoof, no horse"
- a horse's hooves are very important
- make sure you pick her hooves out carefully every time you are at the barn, looking especially for rocks and large objects around her frog (the "sole" of her hoof)
- rocks stuck in a horse's hoof can make them lame
- your horse needs a good farrier to make sure her feet are in proper condition
- every 6-8 weeks a trim is needed and shoeing, which you are, I'm assuming, from what you have said
- also add a good hoof dressing like RainMaker to your list
- it is applied by a paint-type brush that comes with it and goes on the outside of the hoof (its also good to put it on the frog and up around the coronet band)
- this keeps the hoof from cracking in dry weather
- when you pick her feet, check the outside of her hooves for any cracking
- your farrier is your best friend! :P
3. SHOTS & DEWORMING
- a horse needs yearly shots from the veterinarian to be protected from diseases that affect horses such as rabies, strangles, etc.
- shots are usually done in the spring
- at our barn the vet comes out for one day and gives all the horses at the barn their shots
- besides the regular shots, some horses also get a Coggins test done
- I don't know exactly how it works, but it is needed if you are planning on trailering your horse to another barn (most barns require a coggins for another horse to come on their property) and also when showing
- deworming also needs to be done which helps get rid of worms, bots etc.
- this is usually done about 3-4 times a year and can be administered by an oral paste
- I've actually never dewormed before so I don't know how its done but perhaps you can get someone who knows how to help you
- dewormers come in many forms and brands and it is always a good idea to get a different kind each time to keep the immune system in working order
- a horse's teeth are also very important
- they tell age and obviously are necessary for eating
- a lot of horse's need to get their teeth floated (or filed) each year
- this keeps them from getting sharp and sore
- talk to your vet and either he or an equine dentist can do the floating
- a horse needs and loves to be groomed
- each time you're at the barn, tie your horse to a pole or to crossties and give her a good rub down
- this helps remove dirt and dust and keep her nice and clean
- its nice to brush her mane and tail and make sure they are free of itchy burrs and such
6. OVERALL HEALTH
- you can tell a horse is healthy a lot of times by just watching how they behave and how they look
- a healthy horse will have a clean, shiny coat, clear, bright, interested eyes, they will poop and pee regularly (hehe), drink water, and play around with their friends (as in other horses)
- a horse also needs frequent exercise to be healthy and fit
- even if you don't know a lot about riding right now, don't worry, that will come with time, but your horse still needs to be exercised
- lunging is a great way to exercise a horse without having to ride; its also fairly simple when learned
- make sure though that you ALWAYS walk your horse out thoroughly before stopping (as in, cool her down)
- feel her chest, if she's still really hot, than she's needs to be cooled out more
Ummm.... what else.... it's summer time now and its really hot, so bathing is a nice thing to do. After a ride, if she is really hot you can hose her down with the hose. You'll need a sweat scraper to scrape the water off and make sure she's completely dry before putting her back in the paddock after bathing. Bathing with shampoo should only be done a couple times a year because overuse of shampoo can dull the coat.
Oh, here's another tidbit:
7. HORSE BEHAVIOUR
- I can't go into all the details now but horses have very unique behavioural patterns
- spend a lot of time watching the horses in the field
- which one seems to always get to the hay or grass first and pushes the other one out of the way? (that's a dominant horse)
- which horse stays behind and takes whats left over (that horse is lower on the pecking order)
- horses like to play and will often play halter-tag, rearing and sometimes kicking each other which is normal usually (lol)
- umm ... a horse's ears pinned right back mean she's angry or about to lunge or kick (at another horse)
- horses loves companionship and you will often see them whinnying to each other
- your horse is a mare, so she will also go in heat which is like the human menstrual cycle
- most mares are fine, but some get moody and touchy around this time
- they pee a lot and tend to flirt with the male horses (lol)
Anyway, thats about all I can think up for now and it looks like I wrote an entire novel! :lol: If I think of anything to add, I'll post it later. But good luck and I hope this was helpful! Sorry if its stuff you already know :oops: but I thought I'd start from the real basics.
Oh and one thing I should add ...
8. HORSES ARE FUN!!
K, I'm done. :P
Please tell me she's on pasture, two flakes of hay and a couple of cups of beet pulp isn't enough for an 1100 lb horse.
right now she has a little grazing room. If I put her on pasture right now two things will happen...my boarder will freak out and tell the person who is giving her to me that I cannot take care of her, and second she'll say the horse will founder.
Right now she has a little bit of grass to graze on but not nearly as much as I want her to. The boarder will not put her in a field without a grazing muzzle on either. All her horses are so fat I'm surprised they haven't foundered yet. Actually, her gelding is going lame so maybe he has who knows.
Anyways, when I actually have a real say so with my horse I will have her on pasture as well as hay and grain...but for now I'll try to up her hay intake as much as I can.
Well, one way to prove yourself capable of being responsible is to stand up and say "Hey, she needs more hay" so you're off to a good start.
Your basic needs:
Trainer or experienced person to help guide you
stiff body brush
soft body brush
mane/tail brush or comb (human dollar store versions work great!)
first aid kit (ask your trainer to help you gather one)
Fly spray of some sort
Optional: fly mask, mane/tail conditioner (another dollar store/human product that can be sub. for expensive horse ones) I don't recommend hoof oils/moisturizers, so don't waste your hard earned money on it.
grass hay (bermuda, prarie, orchard, etc, ) or pasture,
if hay is not enough...beet pulp or some sort of grain may be needed.
Salt block and water-free choice
Vitamine supplements, but you will need help determining what kind is best according to what her main food is.
I prefer a rubber pan that sits on the ground, but a bucket hung on a wall is more common. Or trough. Anything that you can clean and doesn't have sharp edges and keeps the feed off the dirt.
Water trough or buckets . Preferably easy to scrub out when needed. One horse will average 15-25 gallons of water, depending on weather and exercise, so a huge tank would just be stagnate water and hard to clean.
scoop and scale for weighing grain if you feed it.
Optional: hay nets or racks (I feed mine on the ground in piles)
Any kind you prefer should be clean and strong with no sharp edges or broken pieces. This is something more individual to the horse and your riding plans, so your "helper" is better able to guide you through this. Just keep it clean and tidy.
thanks again for all the information. The grass around here is Selenium and mineral deficient so all the horses get trace mineral salts. The horse guard I'm using also has selenium because of my horses deficiency.
Feeding supplies are all provided at the stable because horse owners do not actually do the feedings. The hay is provided as well by the facility. The water system allows horses to decide how much water they want. There are self feeding ones and also there are some stalls that have the kind that horses push their noses on. Either way the horses have as much water as they want.
Supplies wise it looks like I'm all set. I've bought everything on the lists I just have no tack but I won't be riding her anytime soon anyways. I guess I just want to make sure that I'm doing all the daily, weekly and monthly things for my horse to prove that I can take care of her. (though just a personal vent....I'm 25 and have a 4 year old daughter so I think I can take care of a horse given the knowledge of how to)
Choosing a vet is going to be a bit of an issue...there's only one out here that sees large animals and they don't know anything about horses specifically. So I'd be getting a cow vet. I've decided to learn to give as many of the shots myself, I will be having my "helper" teach me how and since I was in the medical/fire service for 7 years I already know how to give them to humans.
Anything I'm missing?
1. Why would she say that you can't take care of the horse and the horse will founder if you turn her out on pasture? Does she have a history of founder? Has seh been diagnosed with some metabolic condition? What breed is she? Unless she has a history of founder, a metabolic condition that incresese the risk of founder or is a breed that is more prone to these metabolic conditions, there is no reason to just assume that a horse will founder if put out on pasture.
2. Amount of forage per day: Horses need a minimum of 1.5% of their body weight in forage per day. So, you need to weight the hay flakes and see if she is getting enough. She should be getting a minimum of 16.5 lbs of forage per day. Include the dry-weight of the beet pulp in your calculations ;)
3. Vaccinations---depend on geographic location, use of horse, management (how the horse is kept). Minimum would be EEE, WEE, Tetanus and WNV yearly in the spring. Rabies is also recommended yearly. For a boarding horse Influenza and Rhino (EHV) are also recommended and may need to be given as often as 3 times a year. Strangles is often also recommended in boarding facilities--yearly.
There are other vaccinations that may be recommended based on specifics like breeding, creeks or rivers nearby, etc. You should talk to the vet and see what exactly his recommendations are--write them down.
4. Deworming---again is very dependant on your management--boarding facility, stalled, etc--environmental conditions, horse's age, etc. Anywhere from twice a year to every couple of months or even daily may be recommended based upon your situation. Ask the vet about this too. And write it down. For your own info, check out the 12 article series on deworming printed in The Horse magazine: http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=5303
And go ahead and pick up a good book like Storey's Guide to Raising Horses. Or search around the The Horse website. Lots of good information.
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