Do I have what it takes to care for a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-18-2015, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Unhappy Do I have what it takes to care for a horse?

Hi all.
So I wanted to get the opinion of you experienced people about my current situation. It'll be a bit of a post so if you make it to the end thank you and if you give your thoughts I'll be really grateful.
So for the past 3 years my mum has been letting out our land to a local horse owner for their two horses (a 26 year old gelding and a 21 year old mare). Then about a week ago we found out that the owner couldn't afford the grazing costs anymore and had nowhere to send them and no one wanted them so they were going to have them put down. I'd grown really quite attached to them while they were staying here, they're such sweet old horses, and so I suggested we just keep them here for free since we had more than enough paddock space for them and I didn't have the heart to see them euthanised over a simple financial matter.

So they're staying here now but my mum and the previous owner had organised, unbeknownst to me, that almost all of their care be passed to me. So I am their caregiver now, my mum will be taking care of all the finances for them since I'm a full time student, I'm 21. I'm thrilled since I've always liked horses but I'm just wondering if it's really in the horses best interest to stay here? I'm more than willing to put in the hard hours to learn how to take care of them properly (spent all day today making a start) and I have their best interest at heart since we've already built a bit of a relationship over the past few years but I'm not sure if it's a good idea for a complete novice when it comes to horses to be suddenly the caretaker for two ageing horses. I'm worried that if I'm not up for the task though that no one else is going to help them and they'll just end up being put down. They're good beginners horses, very well behaved, easy to catch, let me pick up their feet, in okay health etc. and the previous owner has agreed to teach me what they know and to let us have their tack. I guess I'm just nervous about quite suddenly and unexpectedly becoming a horse owner and would really like some advice and your thoughts on whether or not this is a bad idea.
NZlad is offline  
post #2 of 13 Old 01-18-2015, 01:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2015
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That's so kind what you and your mom are doing. Yes, this is much much better then them being put down , and it sounds like you will take very good care of them. I think you should talk to the owner or go to a local barn to get more information and some lessons so you can still exercise them and learn how to be safe, but otherwise I think it's very good your keeping them. If you do t think you can handle it then find a very good owner, pease don't have them put Down.
BrooklynBaby is offline  
post #3 of 13 Old 01-18-2015, 01:28 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Delta, BC
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see if it's possible to lease them or one in exchange for a hand in caring for them, even if it's just once a week to someone who wants a horse to love and spoil and maybe pony around their 2 year old child/grandchild every so often. Go to a few local barns and explain the situation and ask for advice.

Equestrianism; 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain and 100% reason to remember you're absolutely insane to be riding a beast that big.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-18-2015, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the advice and the kind words. I found a local stable not far from us where I can enrol for some horse handling, grooming and riding lessons and might put up an ad there to lease them out if I feel like they need more than I can give them. Think I'm going to have the vet come around and give them a once over as well to be on the safe side.
NZlad is offline  
post #5 of 13 Old 01-18-2015, 01:59 AM
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Virginia
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I think, while it may not be ideal that you are inexperienced, with the right help it is more than possible. Definitely learn from the previous owners and maybe contact a vet for more on their care as senior citizens. The owners should already have a vet and farrier they use so I'd get their contact info. They will know more about the horses and their needs as they've been caring for them.

Things to ask:

-date of vaccinations and type(rabies, nile, etc.) you also might ask the vet what diseases are most common in your area and do a little research so you know the symptoms to watch for.

-last time the teeth were floated(horses have to have their teeth filed so they don't get sharp and make it uncomfortable to eat or accept a bit)

-Last time the horses were dewormed (a quick search online should tell you the symptoms if you don't know what to look for)

-any prior health issues or injuries and the severity, effect on them as riding horses etc.

-What kind of feeding schedule they have been on, find out the type of feed any supplements, if you need to add water to the grain or if any of them have a history of choking or colic(choking:horses don't have a gag reflex so often times when they get something stuck in their craw it stays stuck and must be removed by a vet or someone otherwise experienced,colic: is a symptom of many things though it could be as simple as a rapid weather change, but is basically some form of indigestion and if left untreated can be fatal) you can google the symptoms of both and here are a few videos as well
More advanced cases and loud symptoms-
Subtle symptoms of colic
Symptoms of choking
It might not be a bad idea to ask your vet what to do in case of an emergency until the vet gets there. Don't be discouraged though, these are all worst case scenario but it never hurts to be prepared. Also ask previous owners if the horses have ever coliced and what symptoms they have. Where I work i thought a horse was colicing because he kept throwing himself on the ground an thrashing but it was just because he wasn't with his pasture mate.Every horse is different.

-Ask the owners about providing hay during the winter, how much they get and feed etc.

-It might not be a bad idea to take a few lessons with a trainer or if the owners are willing to show you that's great too.

-Ask last time the horse's had their feet done, also get in touch with the farrier about anything you can do to help their feet if they are bad like using a supplement or a hoof sealant etc.

You'll need a set of brushes, and I find having basic first aid on hand is helpful. I keep an iodine wash, some bandages and vet wrap, thrush buster, a anti-fungal spray, and a topical antibiotic(great for keeping flies and bugs out of small cuts during the warmer months) in my kit.

Otherwise it'll just be a learning process with them, and know its never a bad thing to ask for help. You can ask most horse people and they'll tell you if for nothing else then the sake of the horse and of course you can ask here as well. Good luck!
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DarElBeck is offline  
post #6 of 13 Old 01-19-2015, 11:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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First of all, I think it is GREAT that you recognize that you have much to learn and are willing to put in the time and effort to do so. You are already a major step ahead of many first time horse owners!

Nothing can beat hands on experience and in person training like you will be able to get at the local lesson stable, but I'd also recommend checking out articles at . There are many articles posted there on a variety of topics that are well written and easy to understand. They certainly won't replace hands on teaching but might help you better understand some aspects of horse care like deworming, farrier work, senior horse feeding, etc. that you will likely soon be discussing with your instructor, farrier and vet.

Good luck with your new horse friends - they are lucky to have you.
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BearPony is offline  
post #7 of 13 Old 01-20-2015, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the all your help everyone! Checked out all the resources you gave me and learning a lot. I'm feeling much more confident about taking care of them now and am really enjoying learning to take care of them and being out with them of course :)
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NZlad is offline  
post #8 of 13 Old 01-20-2015, 08:49 PM
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by NZlad View Post
Thank you so much for the advice and the kind words. I found a local stable not far from us where I can enrol for some horse handling, grooming and riding lessons and might put up an ad there to lease them out if I feel like they need more than I can give them. Think I'm going to have the vet come around and give them a once over as well to be on the safe side.
This sounds perfect. You have a mature and responsible perspective. I took horse handling 101 before having my own horse. I've never been 100% on riding, but I knew I needed to know groundwork, handling, and general husbandry in order to be safe, competent, and keep the horses best interests in mind. You seem right on point! They are lucky horses.
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JoyinDriving is offline  
post #9 of 13 Old 01-21-2015, 12:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Lightbulb why is she wondering away?

Hi guys! my horse can not stand being around me she walks away every time i come near her, even when i have some yummy treats for her she still wont come she will wait till i put them down and leave to eat them. Help!
Rusty101 is offline  
post #10 of 13 Old 01-21-2015, 12:54 AM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Minnesota
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Rusty, you should start your own thread for this instead of taking over someone's elses, it's rather rude. You'll get more and better responses with your own thread.
Shoebox is offline  

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