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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, my daughter really wants her first horse, she is 13 and i know she can take care of it and we love to buy our own and keep in our 4 acre. Because we never had animal before;
1st question; we are wondering if this will be a good start or should we lease horse for her for sometime and keep at boarding.
2nd question; how hard is to keep horse and manage in winter?
3rd; Can you go away for weekend and they are fine?
Thanks you.
 

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Start with a lease so you all can learn the basics.

Depends on your winter and how mild or harsh, space available if at your home and availability of food, hay and water (will you have trouble with icing)

Again that depends on your set up. Best is to at least have someone to check on them.
 

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The truth is that riding horses and keeping horses are two separate skills, both complicated. For keeping a horse at home you will need knowledge, equipment, buildings, fences, gates, footing, water source, drainage requirements, manure storage and handling, feed and bedding suppliers, vet and farrier connections -- and someone will have to be responsible for the animal every single day, probably twice a day. You will also need at least one other companion animal, as horses do poorly alone. Either another horse, a pony, or perhaps a couple of goats. All of which need care as well.

It is very rewarding but also a LOT of work, and the learning curve can be very steep if you have no previous livestock experience.
 

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Before even considering a horse at home you must make sure you are allowed by law to have livestock on your property.
Horses are livestock and certain laws of doing are required to keep animal and people who live near the animal safe.

I would also be asking my homeowners insurance company about being covered if a horse is kept at home...

Animals, no matter what they are require care 24/7 for their well-being.
Having responsible people to come take care of them in your absence is the least of the issues..having knowledgeable people is what is needed and that is the issue.
🐴 ...
 

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I think introducing your daughter to horses through leasing is a great idea. If you have the options, perhaps you could arrange for her to have responsibility for some of the horse care (cleaning stalls, attending vet appointments, etc.) so she's learning about the care alongside riding.

Most people would advise you that it is terrible for the horse's mental and physical well-being to keep one alone. So, if you are going to have a horse at home, you're really going to have horseS at home. At least two. But depending where your daughter would ride the horse at home, two might actually turn into three, because the one who is left at home can get anxious to the point of hurting itself if suddenly "abandoned" by its pasture mate, even temporarily.

It looks like you're in Canada, though not sure what part. I'm in Vermont (northeastern US), and frankly, keeping horses in heavy winter is HARD, it's frustrating, it's physically demanding, and it's very time consuming. The biggest challenges of winter horsekeeping, in a loose rank order:
1. Sourcing high quality hay in an appropriate quantity, arranging its delivery, and having it stored so it doesn't become dusty or moldy before being fed. Most people will buy 8-10 months, if not 12 months, worth of hay at once because once hay season is over, you're not getting more unless you have it trucked in from elsewhere. Some dealers will store it, but they won't always have it for you when you ask for it if they oversold in hopes not everyone would use as much as they thought.
2. Water- do you have a water line out to the areas where the horse(s) live? Do you have a frost free hydrant installed? Do you have option for electricity to use heated buckets/tubs? Once it's consistently below freezing, it's not practical to have unheated water.
3. Manure management. Where will it go? How will you get it there through several meters of snow? How will you get it out of the horses' living area when it's frozen solid?
4. Vet/farrier care. Do you have reliable recommendations for these services? Do you have an area protected from the elements where the farrier can work every 5-7 weeks, even in extreme winter conditions? Do you have a place a vet could treat an injured or sick horse?
5. Fencing. Can you create fencing- electric or otherwise- that will hold up to very cold temps, drifting snow, heavy winds? Do you have horses that will test/climb fencing when snow is piled high, or are they content to "follow the rules" and stay within the boundaries even when fencing is compromised?
6. Plowing/snow removal. How easily can you get from your house to the horses' living area? Can you still get out there in blizzard conditions?
7. Will your daughter be happy doing all the work to take care of the horse for the 5-6 months of difficult winter without really being able to ride much, if at all? Where are the riding areas, and are they accessible during the months when snow and ice compromise the footing?
8. Trailer. Will you have one? Do you have place to park it but still access once snow is piled up? Do you have a way to winterize it if it won't be used?

I've had my horses (3) home for three winters now. I thought I was prepared for all those things, and I do get a little better at each of them every year. But it's almost constant work to manage all of this throughout the winter. We've had 2-3 feet of snow (.6-.9m) since December, and the horses have trouble moving around their field in it. They are bored, a little snippy with each other. I haven't ridden in a month, and can't even take them out handwalking because the road our farm is on is too icy to walk safely. We're heading into the home stretch and things will be a little more manageable a month from now, but winters are hard.

I think your daughter will enjoy her introduction to horses a lot more if she can do it in an environment that supports her learning and involvement, but doesn't saddle her with all the responsibilities right from the beginhing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you everyone for your supporting comments. I think best for us will be to lease the horse at beginning, which will help us to learn devote our time with horse and learn daily chores which required for horse. In mean time we will review our options and make our mind set. All forum are very informative. Stay blessed everyone.
I think introducing your daughter to horses through leasing is a great idea. If you have the options, perhaps you could arrange for her to have responsibility for some of the horse care (cleaning stalls, attending vet appointments, etc.) so she's learning about the care alongside riding.

Most people would advise you that it is terrible for the horse's mental and physical well-being to keep one alone. So, if you are going to have a horse at home, you're really going to have horseS at home. At least two. But depending where your daughter would ride the horse at home, two might actually turn into three, because the one who is left at home can get anxious to the point of hurting itself if suddenly "abandoned" by its pasture mate, even temporarily.

It looks like you're in Canada, though not sure what part. I'm in Vermont (northeastern US), and frankly, keeping horses in heavy winter is HARD, it's frustrating, it's physically demanding, and it's very time consuming. The biggest challenges of winter horsekeeping, in a loose rank order:
1. Sourcing high quality hay in an appropriate quantity, arranging its delivery, and having it stored so it doesn't become dusty or moldy before being fed. Most people will buy 8-10 months, if not 12 months, worth of hay at once because once hay season is over, you're not getting more unless you have it trucked in from elsewhere. Some dealers will store it, but they won't always have it for you when you ask for it if they oversold in hopes not everyone would use as much as they thought.
2. Water- do you have a water line out to the areas where the horse(s) live? Do you have a frost free hydrant installed? Do you have option for electricity to use heated buckets/tubs? Once it's consistently below freezing, it's not practical to have unheated water.
3. Manure management. Where will it go? How will you get it there through several meters of snow? How will you get it out of the horses' living area when it's frozen solid?
4. Vet/farrier care. Do you have reliable recommendations for these services? Do you have an area protected from the elements where the farrier can work every 5-7 weeks, even in extreme winter conditions? Do you have a place a vet could treat an injured or sick horse?
5. Fencing. Can you create fencing- electric or otherwise- that will hold up to very cold temps, drifting snow, heavy winds? Do you have horses that will test/climb fencing when snow is piled high, or are they content to "follow the rules" and stay within the boundaries even when fencing is compromised?
6. Plowing/snow removal. How easily can you get from your house to the horses' living area? Can you still get out there in blizzard conditions?
7. Will your daughter be happy doing all the work to take care of the horse for the 5-6 months of difficult winter without really being able to ride much, if at all? Where are the riding areas, and are they accessible during the months when snow and ice compromise the footing?
8. Trailer. Will you have one? Do you have place to park it but still access once snow is piled up? Do you have a way to winterize it if it won't be used?

I've had my horses (3) home for three winters now. I thought I was prepared for all those things, and I do get a little better at each of them every year. But it's almost constant work to manage all of this throughout the winter. We've had 2-3 feet of snow (.6-.9m) since December, and the horses have trouble moving around their field in it. They are bored, a little snippy with each other. I haven't ridden in a month, and can't even take them out handwalking because the road our farm is on is too icy to walk safely. We're heading into the home stretch and things will be a little more manageable a month from now, but winters are hard.

I think your daughter will enjoy her introduction to horses a lot more if she can do it in an environment that supports her learning and involvement, but doesn't saddle her with all the responsibilities right from the beginhing.
Really apricating you for your so so detailed of every aspects. I am in Ontario Canada, we have harsh winter for Jan and Feb. I am printing your comments and giving a deep dive to it. I think we will let her lease a horse for year and half and in mean time we will prepare ourselves for all the commitment. Thank you for your time of typing a well detailed comment. Stay blessed. Ranbir.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Ranbir Singh - you are very welcome! It's wonderful you're giving your daughter this opportunity in such a thoughtful way. I hope she has a lifetime of loving horses ahead of her.
Thank you Egrogan. We hope her the same too for her lifetime. Bit sad :Dpart is that i love horses too, and i really wants our kids to get involve with animals. I grew up in farm with milking Cows and Buffalos, i was very young when my grandfather sold his horses because he turned 90+ and he was riding on em until he sold. We sibling always missed those horses since. This year definitely gave me more time working from home, and i am looking forward to working from home in future for at least 50% which will give me some extra time to spend with horses if we will be able to get to that stage. But for sure, she needs to learn to spend time with horse at leasing place to get used too. Looking forward to ask more questions in soon future. Thank you.
 

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I applaud that you are looking for answers before jumping in! I have two horses at home (soon 3), and they are a lot of work, especially in winter. In the summer, it's not so bad, but in the winter, you cannot leave overnight. They need several feedings a day to stay warm and healthy. You also need to provide a shelter of some sort, water (this becomes a problem in winter so we use heated buckets), and possibly blankets.

Even in the summer, I almost never leave my horses overnight, and if I do, I have someone come feed them in the morning. I have 13 acres and live in New Brunswick. Snow and cold make everything a little more difficult in winter, but once you have a system in place, it can work well.
 

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Hi, my daughter really wants her first horse, she is 13 and i know she can take care of it and we love to buy our own and keep in our 4 acre. Because we never had animal before;
1st question; we are wondering if this will be a good start or should we lease horse for her for sometime and keep at boarding.
2nd question; how hard is to keep horse and manage in winter?
3rd; Can you go away for weekend and they are fine?
Thanks you.
My first horse we bought and kept in our fields; was not really a problem.
It is not hard to keep a horse in the winter, they just need free choice hay all day long. In the other seasons, as long as they have plenty of grazing, then they will be fine. (You will need water all year round ;))
If you go away for the weekend in warmer seasons, then just make sure it has a ton of water and hay, or maybe ask a neighbor to give them hay or water.
 

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My first horse we bought and kept in our fields; was not really a problem.
It is not hard to keep a horse in the winter, they just need free choice hay all day long. In the other seasons, as long as they have plenty of grazing, then they will be fine. (You will need water all year round ;))
If you go away for the weekend in warmer seasons, then just make sure it has a ton of water and hay or grazing, or maybe ask a neighbor to give them hay or water.
If you go in winter, then do the same thing.
 

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If you go in winter, then do the same thing.
Not sure where you live, but it's not quite as simple as this. For one, the poster is in Ontario where everything is frozen solid for several months of the year. He would need a heated water tank or heated buckets. Leaving enough out for a horse to meet his needs would mean multiple heated water tanks or buckets, which means a lot of wiring, and a high electric bill. In the winter, some horses need blankets so someone has to put them on and take them off again when it warms up.

In the summer, the horse(s) won't necessarily have enough to eat just from the grass. 4 acres isn't that much (not sure if this is 4 acres of just pasture, if so that would be great, or a 4 acre property with a house, barn, etc. which would not leave that much for pasture). He needs to have proper fencing so the horse isn't wandering around the neighborhood. Those fences need to stay on at all times if electric.

You can't give every horse free choice hay. My horses cannot have free choice hay or they get obese. If I leave 3 days worth of hay out, they'll have it eaten within a day and starve the rest of the time.

Horses need shelter and care. I would never go away overnight without scheduling feedings with a trustworthy person who knows horses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My first horse we bought and kept in our fields; was not really a problem.
It is not hard to keep a horse in the winter, they just need free choice hay all day long. In the other seasons, as long as they have plenty of grazing, then they will be fine. (You will need water all year round ;))
If you go away for the weekend in warmer seasons, then just make sure it has a ton of water and hay, or maybe ask a neighbor to give them hay or water.
How about to go away in winter for weekend? Can they be ok inside with water and hay if inside?
 

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How about to go away in winter for weekend? Can they be ok inside with water and hay if inside?
No, they cannot be left in a stall with water and hay for the weekend. Horses drink a LOT Of water. Roughly 5-10 gallons a day depending on the size of the horse. So you need to refill the buckets once or twice a day at the very least (depending on size of bucket). Heated buckets don't usually come in that size, and while you can have heated water tanks outside, you wouldn't want to put them in a stall because the horses could tip them over, get hurt, etc.

You can use slow-feeder hay nets and leave enough hay for a day. Some horses will nibble on slow-feeder nets for a long time, others find ways to get the hay out, even if you use the nets with the smallest holes (that's what I use). But the manure also has to be removed if they're inside. Did you know that horses poop about 50 lbs of manure per day on average? So if you don't remove the manure daily, they end up laying in it and standing in it, along with their urine. That is really bad for their feet.

And horses should not be kept in stalls for any length of time, ideally. A lot of people put their horses in stalls at night, but they need to get out and exercise or they will get frustrated and bored. They can then develop bad habits like cribbing (chewing on wood and other surfaces in their stalls), pawing, etc. So at the very least, they need to be turned out a few hours each day. Mine live outside 24/7 with free access to the barn, so they choose when they want to come in or out. This does make my life much easier. If there's a storm, they can just come inside. I do recommend that type of setup if you eventually have a horse at home.
 

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Not sure where you live, but it's not quite as simple as this. For one, the poster is in Ontario where everything is frozen solid for several months of the year. He would need a heated water tank or heated buckets. Leaving enough out for a horse to meet his needs would mean multiple heated water tanks or buckets, which means a lot of wiring, and a high electric bill. In the winter, some horses need blankets so someone has to put them on and take them off again when it warms up.

In the summer, the horse(s) won't necessarily have enough to eat just from the grass. 4 acres isn't that much (not sure if this is 4 acres of just pasture, if so that would be great, or a 4 acre property with a house, barn, etc. which would not leave that much for pasture). He needs to have proper fencing so the horse isn't wandering around the neighborhood. Those fences need to stay on at all times if electric.

You can't give every horse free choice hay. My horses cannot have free choice hay or they get obese. If I leave 3 days worth of hay out, they'll have it eaten within a day and starve the rest of the time.

Horses need shelter and care. I would never go away overnight without scheduling feedings with a trustworthy person who knows horses.
In the winter, everything here freezes solid too. It sounded like he did his research, so I assumed he would know if he needed a water heater. Also, my three horses have enough grazing in the summer on four acres that they get obese. In the winter, horses lose weight so the have to have more hay.
I’m m not going to answer to the rest, but no hard feeling.
 

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How about to go away in winter for weekend? Can they be ok inside with water and hay if inside?
Not sure if you have stalls or not; my horses are outside all the time (except for the run in shed) so I don’t know much about keeping them in stalls, but I would not recommend having it in for longer then 24 hours unless told to by a vet.
 

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No, they cannot be left in a stall with water and hay for the weekend. Horses drink a LOT Of water. Roughly 5-10 gallons a day depending on the size of the horse. So you need to refill the buckets once or twice a day at the very least (depending on size of bucket). Heated buckets don't usually come in that size, and while you can have heated water tanks outside, you wouldn't want to put them in a stall because the horses could tip them over, get hurt, etc.

You can use slow-feeder hay nets and leave enough hay for a day. Some horses will nibble on slow-feeder nets for a long time, others find ways to get the hay out, even if you use the nets with the smallest holes (that's what I use). But the manure also has to be removed if they're inside. Did you know that horses poop about 50 lbs of manure per day on average? So if you don't remove the manure daily, they end up laying in it and standing in it, along with their urine. That is really bad for their feet.

And horses should not be kept in stalls for any length of time, ideally. A lot of people put their horses in stalls at night, but they need to get out and exercise or they will get frustrated and bored. They can then develop bad habits like cribbing (chewing on wood and other surfaces in their stalls), pawing, etc. So at the very least, they need to be turned out a few hours each day. Mine live outside 24/7 with free access to the barn, so they choose when they want to come in or out. This does make my life much easier. If there's a storm, they can just come inside. I do recommend that type of setup if you eventually have a horse at home.
if you have a hundred gallon tank that is heated, then they will be good to go.
 

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I horse kept at home is kind of like a family child that does not live in the house. Although they are a different species and have completely different needs, but it is the same level of commitment and attention required. It is great that your daughter (and you too) can have a horse in your life. It is a blessing. I have had horses since I was a girl for the last 50 years and always kept at home. I have had vast wild country to ride in. I think it is a great idea to first a lease of a horse so you can start to learn what required and have support and teaching.
 
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