Advice/tips on horse ownership - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-09-2016, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: the very rainy state of Virginia
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Advice/tips on horse ownership

Hey, guys! For those of you that don't know, I've recently taken on the responsibility of financing and providing for my horse. Although, I've been riding and working with horses for 6 years, this will be my very first time taking on feeding, vet, and hoof care. I'm next to clueless about horse maintenance. I have a few questions that I could really use some answers to. I've also been googling a ton (of course) but would love some personal advice as well!

My horse is an American saddlebred and quite a big boy standing at 17hh. He's fairly lanky and its pretty hard to keep weight on him. My trainer where we board now feeds Dumor sweet feed and we buy Dumor weight gain to keep his weight half way decent. He still stays pretty skinny. No ribs showing but he's very hippy. He has all day access to hay and, of course, water. The place where I'm moving him to has very large green pastures so maybe that will help? His paddock presently is muddy with little to no grass. Very big, sturdy hooves. Energetic and sensitive, to say the least. Will be used mainly for trails/maybe endurance. A few set up jumps here and there. Will be ridden 3-4 times a week.

1.) What feed should I use?
2.) How much and how often should I feed?
3.) I know little to nothing about trimming/shoeing. What should I ask for when the farrier shows up? I like to have shoes on him. Light weight preferably and something to hold up on the trails.
4.) Blanket or not to blanket?

I really am just trying to be a responsible horse owner. I will be asking my trainer Friday about some of these but would like to hear from you guys as well. I know there are very knowledgeable and experienced horse people on here and look forward to hearing what you have to say. Any other advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-09-2016, 07:13 AM
Yearling
 
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I'm glad you found a place! I looked into your thread in the horse boarding section, sounds like a really good solution.

1) & 2) For feed, every horse is different. It sounds like your horse is in a field with the barn owner's horses, so it would probably be most practicable if you shared the cost of hay, rather than you providing your own, since there is really no way to control who eats what in a herd situation with free choice hay. Also, round bales are a pain to transport and you really won't need all that many for one horse, so it would be much easier to share.

There are better choices than sweet feed. Since your horse is sensitive, a hard keeper and it doesn't sound like he is in very hard work, I would probably look into a "cool calories" feed, along with a ration balancer. Maybe you have a local feed store that will be able to give you some guidance there.
How much you feed depends on the feed (there are usually recommendations on the bag) and the individual horse, start with less and gradually increase to the amount that works. As for how often, with horses more often is always better. Grazing and free choice hay is already a good start, it stimulates the digestive tract continually. I guess for feeding you would have to take him out from the other horses, so it would be limited by your schedule, but feed twice a day should be ok.

Most horse owners do not like to see back shoes in a herd situation. With hoof care, there are a lot of different opinions. When it comes to farriers, recommendations go a long way. Having a good farrier is so important, so if you have one treat him well :). Unfortunately there are many less stellar ones around too.

Again, many people have many different opinions on blanketing. With a healthy horse in moderate climate, blanketing is usually not absolutely necessary. If you clip your horse in winter, you need to blanket though. If it's just for added warmth, I would make sure to allow the winter coat to grow in properly before blanketing. If you start blanketing early in the fall, the winter coat grows in thinner. For horses that are quite thin, sick, or live in extreme climates, sometimes blanketing can just give them an extra bit of help. So if you notice that e.g. he loses weight in winter, blanketing might be a good idea. Depending on how bad the bugs are in summer, you could also look into a fly sheet and/or fly mask.
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-09-2016, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: the very rainy state of Virginia
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Thanks so much for the input! Any specific brand you recommend for the feed? I have a Tractor Supply and a Southern States nearby. I know they have horse feed as well as some supplies. Would that be a good place to start?My friend and I are making a trip out to estimate some prices and what not soon. Maybe this Saturday.

As for blanketing, he stays on the skinny side all year round. He seems pretty hardy in the cold months, though. He grows a very thick winter coat and I've never seen him shiver unless is pouring down rain (in which case he is usually brought in). I was seriously considering a fly mask/sheet along with almost daily application of fly spray. The flies here irritate him to no end. Me and him both!
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-09-2016, 09:30 AM
Yearling
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Texas
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I would try and find a feed store, and stay out of tractor supply. They are way to expensive to use day to day!

FYI, it is spelled W-H-O-A.
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-09-2016, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Thanks for the heads up! I will see about some local feed stores!

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-09-2016, 12:27 PM
Yearling
 
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Just a recommendation when going from mud to a lush pasture; hand graze him for progressively longer periods of time for a week or so instead of just letting him gorge himself on all that lush grass. It may help prevent potential colic or even founder.

I like pelleted feeds like Triumph Complete. Not so much sugar as the sweet feeds and they love it just as much. Start with the recommendation on the bag and watch his weight. You will be able to add or subtract based on that.

Ask around for recommendations about farriers and then just start with front shoes only. Unless ridden very hard, most horses do quite well barefoot in the rear and yes, most boarding places don't let horses with rear shoes get turned out with others. A kick barefoot usually isn't a big deal but with shoes it can lead to real injury. Also get the name of the vet that most of your co-boarders use so that you can begin a relationship with them. At some point you'll be glad you did!

I agree that the feed stores have much better prices than TSC and other tractor supply stores plus, if they are in a horse populated area, they will carry all of the legitimate brands.

Your fellow boarders can be a great help and resource but the crazy, overbearing ones need to be ignored. Figure out which is which before you make friends-there are good ones and bad ones at every single stable!
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-09-2016, 07:39 PM
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I don't think there are any fellow boarders. Sounds like it's a private place with a friend.
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-09-2016, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: the very rainy state of Virginia
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It is a private place :) She has, I think, about 3 or 4 other horses on the property. Its nothing fancy but she has a nice open field with a run in, I believe. I'm not too sure about her horsemanship but her horses seem healthy. Hooves are well maintained from what I can see. She is deaf but we usually write notes back and forth on my notepad in church. Very sweet lady. My dad and I went out to fix her fence today and she made us sandwiches. She has lots and lots of trails! I mean its trails galore out there! Nice open paths and fun little jumps and creeks to cross. Captain and I are going to love it there I'm looking at a Wintec all purpose so I can enjoy the trails in something a little "stickier" than my cutback.

Another question:

How much should I expect to pay in vet bills for vaccines?

I read its cheaper to give them yourself and I have no problem administering injections, but are the vaccines just readily offered to the public? I've watched a few instructional videos but I'm not sure I want to risk possibly injuring my horse (wrong placement etc...). What do you guys think?

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-10-2016, 05:41 AM
Yearling
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
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My vet here in the Midwest charges about $80.00 per horse for a regular 6-way vaccination but we all go together and have it done on the same day so the "farm call" (driving costs) are shared, therefore lower. If all of the horses on the property can be done at the same time, a lot of vets will give everyone a break on pricing. Vets, farriers and dentists would much rather make one trip and do numerous horses.

Complete standard vaccination packs (except rabies, I believe) are available at TSC for a reasonable price for those who are comfortable giving their own. I used to do my own routinely for many years but eventually it was just easier to have the vet do it in a group setting. Also, that way you end up with real, legitimate records proving when and what your horse was vaccinated for. If you ever travel across state lines, you will need a negative Coggins and a health certificate from a vet and that's another reason to just let a vet do everything.
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-10-2016, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: the very rainy state of Virginia
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I didn't know that, thanks!
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"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
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