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Hello! My parents plan on getting a pair of horses in 1-2 months, and I have a lot of questions. I am very much a beginner when it comes to horses, so please forgive me if I use incorrect terminology or something.
Here are my questions!

1. Is there much of a difference in behavior between males and females? If so, what would you recommend for a first horse?

2. We found a great equine rescue near us, would you recommend rescuing for our first horses?

3. What's a good age to get them?

4. What are the basic supplies needed for horses? Any specific brands you recommend?

5. What does their daily care entail?

6. Any specific breed(s) you'd recommend for a beginner?

7. Any good resources/articles on horse care?

8. What are some important parts of horse care I should research?

9. What else should I know?

Thank you so much! I'm really nervous about the idea of getting horses, I feel like my parents are jumping into it too fast. Any advice/info would be appreciated! Thank you again!
 

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If you are completely new, i would honestly not recommend a rescue simply because i like to buy a horse from someone who has spent a lot of one on one time with the animal and knows their history and that's not a guarantee when buying from a rescue. I'm not saying it's impossible to get a good horse from a rescue, only that you're getting a horse that has potentially minimal handling, perhaps past abuse and who knows what. If you're set on that route, just be sure that the owner can show you that the horse is good to catch (i hate going to see a new horse and they're already standing tied), that they can pick up their feet, stand to be saddled, ridden, etc or whatever they've told you he can do.
Also, i would not recommend buying anything that is untrained as a first horse. Some people do well "learning together" but I've found a green horse can ruin a green rider's confidence very quickly, and visa versa. It's tempting because these horses are often cheaper, but they're cheaper for a reason.
If you do choose something younger or untrained, i would advise looking around for a reputable trainer who can give you and your horse lessons.

As for breed or gender, it's all a matter of preference. If the horse has a calm, willing demeanor it won't matter if it's a mare, a gelding, an Arabian or a Quarter Horse. A good horse is a good horse so look for one that has had lots of handling and riding hours. My personal MUSTS for a good horse is that they are GOOD TO CATCH, good for the Ferrier, will load into a horse trailer, no bite, buck, kick or rear, decent with fences, stands tied and can be ridden out on its own.
I also prefer a horse that is not labeled as suitable for beginners because they "have more whoa than go". To me, this means the horse just doesn't listen and will fight you down the road when you eventually want to go faster than a walk. Unless that's all you want to do of course ;)

I, myself prefer mares but most people are partial to geldings because mares come into season monthly and can be a bit, let's say... emotional. They also have a habit of getting other horses stirred up, though often unintentionally.
And age is not a guarantee of a sound horse. There are 6 year-olds with more riding hours than some 20 year-olds. It all comes down to training and experience.

When it comes to care, you will need a good ferrier. Horses should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks, though some can go longer up to 12 if they're not in use and don't have hoof issues to begin with. But a horse's feet are very important so be sure not to neglect them.
Another good thing to keep around is a salt block and a mineral block.
Feed will depend on the horse and your property. Typically you need at least 1 acre of pasture per horse to avoid having to feed hay year round, but this also depends on the quality of grass. When you do feed hay, a good rule of thumb is 2 pounds of hay per 100 pounds of horse.
Older horses may need more. And although it is tempting to spoil them with oats, most horses do not need them unless they have issues with weight, are young, old or are being used regularly or for sport.
Also think of a shelter, whether it be enclosed on 3 sides, a simple wind break or trees, they should have somewhere to go to hide from the hot sun and hail stones.

Good tools to have on hand are hoofpicks, a soft body brush and a stiff one, a mane & tail brush, a shedding blade for the spring time, a manure fork, pitch fork, several lead ropes because they always seem to disappear and a halter or 2 per horse. Nylon are simple to use but i prefer rope. It's up to you.
You may also want to get some fly spray for the summer too because horse flies are horrible little creatures! If the horses don't like being sprayed, there are many simple training tricks to get them over it, or else just spray the bug dope onto a rag/sponge and apply it that way.
As far as saddles & tack go, it's best to wait until you get your horse because its important that the saddle not only fits yourself but the horse as well. An ill-fitting saddle can quickly lead to a grumpy horse.
I like good quality tack over cheap tack because it's better for the horse and lasts longer, but cinches, saddles, pads, bits, bridles can get expensive so don't be afraid to look for used. There are probably some 2nd hand tack shops near you or else there are many pages on Face Book where people have tack to sell.

There is alot that goes into horse ownership, but much of it you will learn on the go. Just never be afraid to ask for advice or help! Have fun and best of luck :)
 

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Many people lease a horse before they buy one. And most take lessons for at least a year before leasing. Are your parents willing to look into that? I think you sound very level-headed, and I 100% agree that you don't want to rush into something like this.

This is something posted on the website of the woman we bought our horses from, and I think it's just so true:

"All horses will test you. Even if you purchase a beginner-friendly horse you need to take lessons so you understand how to handle common horse behaviors of testing their handler. If you don’t handle these common behaviors correctly, you should expect bigger behavioral problems to follow."

In other words, if you and your parents are fairly new to horses, and you bring some home, it's quite possible that they will develop behaviors that you aren't able to handle. You can read through all of the posts here where people talk about their horse biting, kicking, bucking, rearing, being aggressive, etc. These are all dangerous behaviors, and most of them could lead to your serious injury or death. The more horse experience you have before bringing a horse home, the better off you will be, and the better able to handle these.

Since you have 6-12 months, I would spend a lot of time here reading other people's posts and learning from them. But, nothing beats in-person experience. Are your parents willing to learn how to take care of horses, or are they expecting you to do all of the work for them?
 

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@lilruffian summed it up pretty good!

Personally, before you but the horse you need to get some horse experience, as @ACinATX said. Yes read through this site and read sine things and learn all you can. Yes post threads and ask questions. But nothing will beat real physical knowledge. I would begin to look into lessons. If you were to find a good barn you could learn to ride, nd take care if a horse and what that entails. Then once you know they horse people you can begin looking into buying or leasing a horse. You may even be able to lease the horse you're getting lessons with! If you can't for whatever reason take lessons, look into volunteering somewhere. This could be just helping your neighbour (I'm assuming you live in property with other horses around. If you aren't, then just ignore that lol) with their horses, might be volunteering at a riding barn. Or you could volunteer at your animal rescue. I volunteer at my rescue and I love it! It's been really great and I've learned a lot!
You may also consider reading books. Cherry Hill's book How To Think Like A Horse, is sooo good! I just got it for Christmas and it is really good! I have sa bunch more recommendations but I'll leave it there lol! Just let me know if you want more! 🤪
Good luck! Sounds like this journey could be really fun!
 

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#1. IMO, yes. Although each horse is an individual, a beginner is better off with a gelding. Mares can be more difficult to decipher, even for someone with experience. I know a woman who wanted nothing but mares. The last time I saw her she had ran through six different mares in four years.
#2. Depends on the people who run the rescue. They should tell you if the horse you're looking at is good for a beginner, or not. But whenever you go to look at a horse, no matter who's selling it, make sure it you see it caught and saddled, and have them ride it first.
#3. Again, it depends on the horse. But generally, you want a horse some experience. I'd say, ten years.
#5. At least feed water and check their feet. The last one takes some time to gain knowledge
#8. Feet, nutrition. Don't feed too much sweets, or legumes!!!
#9. There's a lifetime of learning when you enter the horse world. You can't learn everything in a short time. Be patient, don't jump to conclusions, be observant.
 

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Okay, I got some time, let me answer your questions...

1. Originally I thought there was, but as I've been reading more and more, there doesn't seem to be too much difference, just personal preference. I always assumed that I would get a gelding as a first horse, but now I am considering mare as well, so personally, I don't think it matters too much. Some people prefer one over the other, but I'd encourage you to go hang out with mares and geldings, and see which temperment you prefer.

2. You could. A good rescue would definitely be more honest with you and give you everything they know about the horse. This might not be very much though because they may not have gotten all the information on them from the previous owners. But a good rescue can be very good. Like I said earlier, maybe start volunteering there for a while, and get to know the horses, that way the rescue can see you and how you work with the horses, and will be able to recommend a horse suited your needs/experience.

3. Again, tempermant, there is one horse at my rescue that is 6yo, and she is pretty much bombproof. You can do anything to that mare, she just takes it all in stride. Then you get on the 12yo mare, and she spooks over every little thing. So lead the horse around, ride him, watch him rode, get to know him/her.

4. Tack - Saddle, saddle pad(s), bridle, halter, lead. Grooming supplies - couple different brushes. For sure a rubber curry and a stiff dandy, but you will probably want a couple more than that, you should be able to buy a grooming kit online or at your local feed store. Salt/mineral block.

5. Well, it kinda depends on the horse, and what your doing with him/her. He should be exercised pretty regularly. This may not be riding every day. Could just be lunging, or liberty work. He should always have food and clean water, and shelter to get away from the elements.

6. Again, depends on the horse. I love bigger horses, but you might be wanting a smaller horse. I would look for an easy keeper - meaning, he doesn't need extra minerals, vitamins, or vet stuff. I personally love American Quarter Horses, but I also found an Arabian that I just fell in love with! I also know a Clydesdale who just amazing! So it really just depends on the horse.

7. Yep! Read through everything you can on here, get as many books as you can from friends, or the library. Maybe put up an add in a feed store looking for used horse books or something.

8. All! Just keep reading! Once you find something that makes you go "Oh! I might have that problem!" Then go and research it more. I've definitely done that. I was reading through a book, and they briefly talked about barefoot shoeing, this piqued my interest, and I began looking into barefoot shoeing.

Hope that helps! :)
 

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Okay, I got some time, let me answer your questions...

1. Originally I thought there was, but as I've been reading more and more, there doesn't seem to be too much difference, just personal preference. I always assumed that I would get a gelding as a first horse, but now I am considering mare as well, so personally, I don't think it matters too much. Some people prefer one over the other, but I'd encourage you to go hang out with mares and geldings, and see which temperment you prefer.

2. You could. A good rescue would definitely be more honest with you and give you everything they know about the horse. This might not be very much though because they may not have gotten all the information on them from the previous owners. But a good rescue can be very good. Like I said earlier, maybe start volunteering there for a while, and get to know the horses, that way the rescue can see you and how you work with the horses, and will be able to recommend a horse suited your needs/experience.

3. Again, tempermant, there is one horse at my rescue that is 6yo, and she is pretty much bombproof. You can do anything to that mare, she just takes it all in stride. Then you get on the 12yo mare, and she spooks over every little thing. So lead the horse around, ride him, watch him rode, get to know him/her.

4. Tack - Saddle, saddle pad(s), bridle, halter, lead. Grooming supplies - couple different brushes. For sure a rubber curry and a stiff dandy, but you will probably want a couple more than that, you should be able to buy a grooming kit online or at your local feed store. Salt/mineral block.

5. Well, it kinda depends on the horse, and what your doing with him/her. He should be exercised pretty regularly. This may not be riding every day. Could just be lunging, or liberty work. He should always have food and clean water, and shelter to get away from the elements.

6. Again, depends on the horse. I love bigger horses, but you might be wanting a smaller horse. I would look for an easy keeper - meaning, he doesn't need extra minerals, vitamins, or vet stuff. I personally love American Quarter Horses, but I also found an Arabian that I just fell in love with! I also know a Clydesdale who just amazing! So it really just depends on the horse.

7. Yep! Read through everything you can on here, get as many books as you can from friends, or the library. Maybe put up an add in a feed store looking for used horse books or something.

8. All! Just keep reading! Once you find something that makes you go "Oh! I might have that problem!" Then go and research it more. I've definitely done that. I was reading through a book, and they briefly talked about barefoot shoeing, this piqued my interest, and I began looking into barefoot shoeing.

Hope that helps! :)
You're correct that much of the discussion of mares versus geldings is a matter of personal preference. And like I said before, all horses are individuals. But I would still say, that based on over 30 years of riding, it is more likely that a beginner will find a suitable gelding, than a mare. Having said that, mares that are good are usually VERY good. My first Arabian was a mare. She was the most athletic horse I've ever had. And she was smart. On the other hand, she took no pity on this beginner. I either learn how to ride, or I was going to be doing a lot of walking home. :) I was once asked why didn't I shoot her. But once we formed that bond, we were one. I cried like a baby when I was forced to euthanize her, due to a terrible case of arthritis that kept her in constant pain. We have had some good mares. We had one, simply known as The Mare, on which you could put a baby and walk away. She was going to take care of that baby. I don't have anything against mares; I'm simply saying that it is more likely a gelding will fit a beginner better.
I think one question that has to be asked of horse people is do they ride and what kind of riding.
 

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You're correct that much of the discussion of mares versus geldings is a matter of personal preference. And like I said before, all horses are individuals. But I would still say, that based on over 30 years of riding, it is more likely that a beginner will find a suitable gelding, than a mare. Having said that, mares that are good are usually VERY good. My first Arabian was a mare. She was the most athletic horse I've ever had. And she was smart. On the other hand, she took no pity on this beginner. I either learn how to ride, or I was going to be doing a lot of walking home. :) I was once asked why didn't I shoot her. But once we formed that bond, we were one. I cried like a baby when I was forced to euthanize her, due to a terrible case of arthritis that kept her in constant pain. We have had some good mares. We had one, simply known as The Mare, on which you could put a baby and walk away. She was going to take care of that baby. I don't have anything against mares; I'm simply saying that it is more likely a gelding will fit a beginner better.
I think one question that has to be asked of horse people is do they ride and what kind of riding.
I totally totally totally agree with that! But I just don't want OP to limit her search to only geldings, when there is the possibility of finding an amazing mare too. I work with one mare that is just a pain in the butt and I hate her, but the other mare had to be one of the best horses I ever rode. She was the first horse I had a deep connection with, and I will always remember her.
Everyone can have their own opinion whether mares or gelding are better, but I just don't want OP to be told what to think before she has spent enough time around horses to be able to make that decision for herself. Because I was taught that geldings were superior, and mares were moody, and you can never trust one, and they tend to bite more. I don't even know how people thought up half the stuff I was told, and I as I've been able to be around more horses, I've come to realize for myself, that I don't find a huge difference between the gender. Between each individual horse, yes, of course, there's a difference, but between mare or geldings? Nope. They can be moody or not, depends on each individual horse.
In my experience, of course, everyone has the right to agree or disagree with that, and I have to respect that!
 

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" I don't even know how people thought up half the stuff I was told, and I as I've been able to be around more horses, I've come to realize for myself, that I don't find a huge difference between the gender. Between each individual horse, yes, of course, there's a difference, "

Through their own experiences with both.

While I don't, and most here don't, buy into generalities and will tell you every horse is unique, same as each person, with their own temperament and personality that geldings are typically more suitable for a beginner than a mare there are exceptions. The skill, experience and confidence that an owner has makes a big difference. Any new owner needs time spent with horses under the eye of someone experienced that can teach them what they need to know before purchasing. It doesn't always happen that way. That's one reason why you see the threads from those that thought they were ready, bought a horse that was sold as beginner safe and dead broke and are now screaming about liars and cheats that sell horses that aren't either. Truth is they weren't ready. The horse knows it and takes advantage. Not out of spite or maliciousness but because that is what horses do.
 

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Before you get any horses, make sure you have good sturdy pens that have room for them to move around, buck , roll, trot or gallop .That there is a cover for shade and rain . If it is cold in your area you may need to have some stalls.
Make sure you have room for a hay shed, because you will need someplace to stack hay especially for winter months when there is not available hay.
You need a place to tie them safely. For Vets and for Farriers.
Mare or gelding - either sex is fine.
You should be able to find a horse through a rescue IF the rescue is Good . BE sure to spend time with the horses , before you bring them home. AND see if the rescue
will take the horses back if they do not fit with you , and you can get different horses or a refund of $$. Also have A VET check the horses to be sure they are not crippled and are disease free.
Your basic start up kit... Halters, Lead ropes, brushes, fly spray, hoof picks. Manure forks, wheel barrows. Fly mask . If you do not want to use fly spray you should get some fly sheets. Also get some wound spray, teh seem to get small wounds a lot. Horse shampoo. Buckets. You will need to find a saddle that fits the horses and fits you . Saddle pads. Bridles - headstalls, bit or hackamore, reins. Mildest bits and learn soft hands do not tug on the horses mouth. Maybe the Good Rescue will work with you on lessons !
Hay -type depends on where you live and what is available. There is alfalfa hay, grain hay, grass hay. You need to feed whatever amount is needed to keep the ribs and bones covered.

Age -- depends on the horse. If it is a horse that has had been trained and ridden and is calm and quiet and not a nervous horse and is a gentle horse then 6 -20 should be okay.
If it is not trained, never ridden .. you Do Not Want It. No matter How Old It Is.
You can google just about any question you have on horses. Every person that trains, think they can train will give you different information .lol. I do not know of any 2 trainers that train the same .
Ask the rescue what farrier they use. You will need one.
Be sure to keep a slush fund for Vet bills.

The horses from a rescue should have this done before you take them.. Vaccines. West Niles, WEE, EEE, and Tetanus. there are other vaccines EHV , Rhino . BUt you need the Tetanus WNV EEE WEE. Teeth floated (the Vet files down the sharp points they get so they can chew the hay good) and recent Farrier, trim or shoes . Not all horses require shoes.

I hope all the responses help you !
 

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Hey! Here are some answers for your questions!!

1. From personal experience and I’m sure others would agree, I would definitely recommend getting a gelding. Mares can be sweet and lovely horses but 9/10 they wil be generally more moody than geldings.

2. It really depends what kind of rescue horses? If they are horses who have just been given up because their owners couldn’t care for them but they are gentle and behave then sure! But if they have had a bad past and they aren’t so comfortable around humans I wouldn’t recommend for a first horse. Also make sure to have a full medical examination done to ensure they are completely heathy! Also make sure that if you do want to ride them they they are safe and bomb proof enough to ride, the last thing you want to do is get a green horse! (Happened to me once when I wasn’t experienced enough about buying my own horse, I had to train it for 2 years before it became the perfect calm pony it is today, and its not easy.)

3. I would recon around the age of 9 or older, I bought a 5 year old a couple of years ago and I can say he was not an easy ride back then (And sometimes not even now) but that partly is because he is a hot blood, and I’m definitely not saying that young horses are crazy because sometimes they aren’t, they just aren’t for beginners . People say they want young horses because they can bond with them and grow up with them but you can do just the same as an older horse who will appreciate being around you.

4. Well I feed my horses hay in the morning and hard feed in the afternoon but it depends on the horse. You just have to try certain feeds and see how well they do on your horse. For example, you would give your horse lucerne hay if they are really energetic and hot headed.

5. Daily care would mean grooming, riding as much as you can, feeding, ect. You also have your vet bills and farrier and depending on your horse some other things too. Seeing that you will be getting 2 horses also mean you don‘t have to go out and do things with them every day as they have a paddock mate, but you can still go out and spend time with them everyday.

6. I would definitely recommend not getting a hot blooded horse as a beginner!! This includes Arabians and thoroughbreds. I would recommend a large pony (around 13.3hh to 14.2hh).

7. The best information you can get about horses is from horse owners around your area. Go to your local stable or maybe even to some horse events and just chat with the horse owners.

8. One of the most important things you should research with horses is the cost. You will be paying for agistment (unless they are staying on your property), grooming supplies, feed, tack, vet bills, farrier, dental care, the horses and more. Because horses can be expensive!

9. Just have fun! Not many people are able to have horses and so you are one of the lucky ones! No matter what you choose to do with them, just make suse to give them lots of love!

Goodluck!!!!
 

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1. Is there much of a difference in behavior between males and females? If so, what would you recommend for a first horse?
- Not really, it is more down to the individual horse. Mares in season are similar to woman on their periods as they experience the same sort of cramping and crankiness, but also like women symptoms vary from an extremely "marish" horse to one you would never even guess is in heat. Stallions and some geldings can be a bit more challenging to handle around mares because they tend to have a strong drive to breed, though mares can too. In general, geldings are considered easiest because mares (as the natural leaders of the herd) can be more independent minded. Stallions and geldings (as the protectors) tend to be a bit more playful and usually play rougher. It really comes down to the individual horse though.

2. We found a great equine rescue near us, would you recommend rescuing for our first horses?
- No, when rescuing a horse you often end up with a horse that has lots of past trauma and behavioral issues. These sort of horses require expert knowledge and lots of attention to get them functioning as good equine partners. There are exceptions and I know people who have rescued amazing horses, but I would not recommend it as it can be quite a harrowing experience if you don't know what you are doing.

3. What's a good age to get them?
- If you want to ride right now, anywhere between 5-15 years. Don't get a horse that has been ridden before the age of 3 and past 20 is on the older scale. It depends more on the experience level of the horse and individual, though.

4. What are the basic supplies needed for horses? Any specific brands you recommend?
- Forage (I use grass hay), supplements (California Trace is a good one), brushes (brush, curry, & some sort of mane & tail brush along with detangler), hoof pick, blankets, bridle, saddle, saddlepads, stall or paddock, room for turnout, good vet & farrier, & horse trailer. There is more that can be added or subtracted from the list depending on the horse's individual circumstances.

5. What does their daily care entail?
- Mucking, picking hooves, feeding (breakfast, lunch (usually where supplements given), dinner), potentially blanketing, & making sure they get to move around.

6. Any specific breed(s) you'd recommend for a beginner?
- Yes, I highly recommend Icelandic horses for beginners. They are small (average 14 hands but very powerful and strong) and non intimidating, but very versatile and willing to work (tend to be particularly good at liberty work and are quick learners, trail riding, endurance, dressage, competitive trail riding, jumping, and being your heart horse). They also make great pets because they are brave, very intelligent, and super affectionate. My Icelandics are more like dogs than horses. Also, they are very forgiving and don't usually take advantage of beginners, making them amazing "babysitter horses" because they adapt to the rider's skill level. They are also relatively inexpensive to care for as they are tough, require little vet care, often don't need shoes, and eat a lot less than big horses because they are very good at taking in nutrients (adaptation from living in Iceland where need to absorb all they can). They are also very charismatic and adorable, and one of the most unique and colorful breeds. To top that off, they often live into their 30s (I know some being ridden at 35) and are one of the only 5 gaited breeds (they move much smoother than most horses and have two extra gaits in addition to the walk, trot, canter/gallop which are the tölt and pace).
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7. Any good resources/articles on horse care?
- "Connection Training: The Heart and Science of Positive Horsemanship" is a great briefing on horse care/training/bonding

8. What are some important parts of horse care I should research?
- Diet, training, bitless vs bitted, saddles, barefoot vs shoed, & disciplines

9. What else should I know?
- There is so much to learn, and I will get back to you if I can think of anything else.
 

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Allow me to offer my own two cents.

1. Yes but also no. It really comes down to individual horse and individual owner and preference. It's less about picking a mare vs. a gelding and more about picking the right fit for you. Mares do have heats but some of them don't have as bad of attitudes during theirs as others.

2. Maybe. Maybe not. Past trauma, behavioral issues, lack of training, health issues, etc. there are a lot of reasons to pass up on a rescue. They often come with lots of baggage...otherwise they would've been sold for $$$ instead of surrendered to a non-profit. That's just the sad truth of it. Rescues can be great horses if you have the experience for one that needs training or the desire for a pasture puff often with medical issues. If you're getting two horses though there's no saying the horse you plan on riding can't be bought and then the buddy be a rescue that just needs a soft landing to spend retirement. It can definitely be like looking for a needle in a haystack though.

3. Age isn't as important a factor for me as long as they're not young/green. Experience is the important factor and IMO it's much better to get an almost retiree that won't put you in the hospital than it is to get one that has many, many years left and clotheslines you on the nearest branch during your first ride.

4. Starting from scratch?
They'll need access to clean water at all times. A trough or automatic waterer outside and if they have stalls at least two 5 gallon buckets inside. They drink on average about 10 gallons a day give or take. More if it's really hot outside or if they're exercising and sweating a lot. A hay net/rack is also nice to have if you don't want to just put it on the ground and a slow feed net may be a necessity if one of the horses tends to eat too fast. You'll also want a metal container for grain/alfalfa pellets/the like. It's not the end of the world to use plastic but rodents and vermin can chew through plastic if they're determined enough and the lid will need to be very secure.

For grooming you'll want a curry comb, brushes (you can get away with just one but it's nice to have one that's stiffer for the harder dirt and another that's softer/finer for the smaller particles and dust), shedding blade, sweat scraper, hoof pick with a brush on it, a mane and tail comb/brush. A lot of the other stuff is just extra or depending on what your horse will need. Someone who shows kit is probably much more extensive than mine. I also have a sponge for bathing, one of those microfiber mitts, and a microfiber rag for really finishing them off or giving them a spot bath. I got the sponge, mitt, microfiber rag, and paddle brush at a dollar store 😂. Some of it is the same stuff just advertised differently. Having a detangle serum can be nice as well but if you keep on top of things you shouldn't need it too often.

Halters and leads. With extras in case the one you're using breaks. You don't have to get the expensive ones but don't be tempted by the low price on the cheap ones since they'll just break easily and need to be replaced anyway. Plus the hardware on the cheapos tend to rust. I prefer the nylon ones but that's just for me. I use a nylon halter and lead on the daily but my spare is actually a rope halter. If you do get a nylon one though definitely go for the ones with a clip instead of a buckle, it's worth the few extra bucks.

Having a few first aid supplies is always a good idea too and you'll also likely need them before anything else. Some vetrap, bandages, wound cream/spray should suffice as a base. You can also buy kits too but they can be pricey.

For flies you'll need a mask and some spray. I personally don't think the fly sheets help much in most situations as the bugs usually just go underneath them and bite anyway. There's a lot of different fly products out there but mask/spray is what most people I know use and a simple way to start out if you're unsure.

Preferably there will be a run in for when they're outside but if they don't have that out in the pasture they'll need a stall you can put them in if the weather gets super bad. You may also want to look into winter blankets if you don't have a run in. They can withstand pretty harsh temperatures if they're dry but if they don't have a wind break or they get wet they'll need extra protection. Some horses also have health reasons for needing blankets or for whatever reason don't grow a sufficient coat on their own. It's always preferable they don't need the blanket but if and when they do you'll want one on hand. Disregard this of course if you're in an area that doesn't deal with winter.

5. Making sure they have their clean water, feeding them their hay (if they're not free fed) and whatever supplements/grain you give them if you do (a forage based diet is best and hay/grass should make up the bulk of their food even if they are given grain but it's not the end of the world if you do give them grain just make sure it's not the cheapo sweet feed). If being given supplement/grain they should be fed at least two times a day and not just all at once. You don't have to groom everyday if they're not being ridden and there is such a thing as overgrooming but you will want to check their feet everyday and make sure there are no obvious tangles forming in their mane and tail. If they've been stalled you'll have to pick/clean their bedding, dump the gross stuff wherever you're dumping/composting it, and put down some new bedding. Exercise may also be included in daily care. Not just riding but if your horse isn't getting sufficient exercise by being turned out you'll have to "make them" (mine are so lazy they don't do hardly anything even when given a big pasture to run around in, I'm surprised they even put one hoof in front of the other to get to more grass 🙄). This isn't necessarily a must for literally every single day. And it's good to give them days off. You can get away with exercising them only a few times a week or so but it's unhealthy to just let them stand around all the time.

6. No. Like with mares and geldings it's a personal thing and also what is available to you. Or what you're planning on doing with them. In my area QHs and QH types are the most common so it's more likely to find a suitable horse among that breed. It may be different in other areas.

7. Go to the website horses (dot) extension (dot) org. They have lessons, courses, etc. In their own words, "Extension Horses, Inc. is a group of professionals from different Land Grant Universities around the country that collaborate to bring the public research-based information for educational use. We are a group of horse lovers just like you! Our group is dedicated to bringing you resources to help you make more informed decisions about your horse." The extensions programs from different universities is amazing. Other than that there are a lot of horse magazines with interesting/helpful articles. You can also get lots of books but magazine articles on the magazines website and the extension programs are good sources you don't have to pay for. Which make them very accessible and their info will be up to date.

8. All of them should be researched but I would say nutrition since it's such a beast.

9. You should have a vet and farrier lined up before you bring the horses home. You'll need to keep in mind routine things such as worming, teeth floating, vaccination, hoof trims/shoes. Your vet will help you out a lot with making decisions on the medical side of things and potentially with nutrition (not all of them have a lot of training in this area however so it's a bit hit or miss, which is why it's important to either find an equine nutritionist to help you or do a lot of research on your own...or both if possible) and likewise with your farrier when it comes to the hoof. You'll also want to find a hay supplier.

It's also nice to make friends with horse people you can meet in real life, not just online. They can be a great support network. But not everyone lives close enough to other horse people for this to be feasible.

I'll also note that it's a good idea to take lessons for a while before getting your horses. Not only so you can begin building some experience before jumping in but because your trainer will be able to help you find suitable ones. Your trainer will know what you want, what you need, and how to navigate the (often painful) process of finding and picking one. Not saying it's impossible to have it work out starting from basically scratch but that it's ideal to go this route. Even leasing before ownership is recommended but depending on area and options available this isn't always a choice. There's a lot of scammers out there and a lot of not so reputable types looking to make a quick buck and they smell blood in the water with beginners going it alone.

I think that about covers the most general basics asked for but of course there's always more. I wish you luck with your horse journey, I know it probably seems a bit overwhelming trying to figure out everything all at once but it'll be rewarding if you stick with it.

Now I should probably look into some of those extension courses myself...
 

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Hello! My parents plan on getting a pair of horses in 1-2 months, and I have a lot of questions. I am very much a beginner when it comes to horses, so please forgive me if I use incorrect terminology or something.
Here are my questions!

1. Is there much of a difference in behavior between males and females? If so, what would you recommend for a first horse?

2. We found a great equine rescue near us, would you recommend rescuing for our first horses?

3. What's a good age to get them?

4. What are the basic supplies needed for horses? Any specific brands you recommend?

5. What does their daily care entail?

6. Any specific breed(s) you'd recommend for a beginner?

7. Any good resources/articles on horse care?

8. What are some important parts of horse care I should research?

9. What else should I know?

Thank you so much! I'm really nervous about the idea of getting horses, I feel like my parents are jumping into it too fast. Any advice/info would be appreciated! Thank you again!
Answer to one:
It depends on what you what truthfully some mares you never would have guessed there a mare, and I’ve seen geldings act like studs.

Answer to two:
If your trainer thinks you can handle a rescue that could possibly have some issues or if they have a well trained horse... GO FOR IT!!!
Answer to three:
Depends on your experience level.

Answer to four:
I’m going to make a list

•Good brushes of every type (you never know what you are going to need)
•Two sponges one for the face and one for there behind
•Towels to keep at the barn
•Good shampoo and conditioner (I recommend mane and tail, Gallop (for your horses color), Cowboy Magic)
•First Aid EVERYTHING!!! (The one thing you don’t have is the one thing you are going to need)
•Saddle THAT FITS!!!
•Bridle
•Halter
•Sun screen
•Fly spray
•Roll on fly spray for there face
•Fly mask with nose and ears, fly sheet, fly boots (flys can carry and cause diseases so I believe the more covered the better off you are)
•Blankets if you need them where you live (better to have them on hand just in case)
•Cooler so you can rinse them if they get sweaty in cold weather
•Stall toys even if in a pasture

And any thing else your trainer recommends

Answer to five:
•Feeding
•Cleaning and refilling water buckets
•Clean pasture daily or if at stalled twice or more
•Turn out for at least 12 hours and if possible 24/7 (I bring mine in to eat and at night in the winter and when it’s super hot hot so they can have a fan but even then they still have a 15 by 20 stall)
•exercise

Answer to six:
Depends on the horse

Answer to seven:
If allowed Pinterest has some great stuff, YouTube channels, books, vets, farriers, and other horse people.

Answer to eight:
Health
Nutrition
Bare foot Hoof care
Hoof boots
Horse training
Paddock Paradise
Positive reinforcement
Natural Horsemanship
Stalling VS Pasture

Answer to nine:
Make sure you have taken lessons and have a trainer.
Ask you trainer for vet recommendations.
Pick a main vet and a secondary vet just in case (Have both numbers on speed dial).
Ask both vets and you trainer for farrier suggestions.
Have a vet check done and if possible ask the farrier you have picked to look at the horse as well.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
 

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1. Is there much of a difference in behavior between males and females? If so, what would you recommend for a first horse?
Geldings (castrated males) are usually more even in temperament. That's not to say mares aren't wonderful, I'm personally more a mare than gelding person but for someone who's new to horses, I would recommend a gelding as you don't have to deal with the extra stress of handling a big animal with hormones. Geldings are more predictable and easy to handle in that aspect. With that said, do not write off the perfect horse just because they are a mare. Mares can offer more than geldings sometimes and are often more mentally mature. Don't limit mares from your search just because you've heard someone personally doesn't like them.

2. We found a great equine rescue near us, would you recommend rescuing for our first horses?
I would not recommend a rescue for a first-timer just because as rescues you don't have a strong idea of their background or what they've endured. Previously abused or neglected horses are hard work, expensive and potentially dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Even if they're advertised as beginner safe, the stress of moving to a new property and changing handlers could uproot a rescue horse's progress and you could be bringing home a completely different horse to what you saw. That can apply to any horse though regardless of where they've come from.

3. What's a good age to get them?
Horses don't physically mature 100% until they are about 6 years old and it often takes even longer for some to mentally mature. On average, they are usually "out of commission" for riding but the time they are 25, some can be way earlier and others way later all depending on the individual horse. If a horse is healthy and well cared for they can live well into their 30s, meaning even if you buy 15 year old you could expect to have them up to another 20 years, so that is always something to consider. Buying a horse is a 20-30 year-long commitment. All the advice I've ever been given has said get a 10+ year old gelding as a first horse which I think is good advice to go by :)

4. What are the basic supplies needed for horses? Any specific brands you recommend?
A grooming kit with a body brush, a hoof pick, a curry comb, sponges, old towels, sweat scraper and mane/tail comb. You can get a nice basic grooming kit with a bag from a horse supply store for $15-$20 and always add more to it.
A basic first aid kit with liquid iodine, wound cream, vet wrap/adhesive bandages, gauze and scissors are the absolute basics. You will always need more and can always add to it over time.

Then you'll need a hay net, a halter and lead rope, a bridle (that fits), a fly mask (same size as the bridle), saddle pads, fly spray. Now with rugs/blankets and saddle, they're both things you can't get before the horse comes to you as they need to fit. You can look up how to measure your horse for a blanket and with that, you can buy a turnout blanket, a flysheet, a cooler sheet etc. I would really recommend if you spend your time or money on anything, it's to have someone measure your horse for a saddle. Not someone who's going to try sell you a custom-fitted saddle, just someone who can tell you the dimensions of the saddle the horse needs. With those dimensions, you can go shopping for a secondhand saddle and get something nice in your budget that fits the horse. Schleese/Saddle Fit 4 Life, which I would say cares most about saddle fit more than any other company, offers free online saddle fit evaluations or thorough in-person evaluations with an accredited fitter.

5. What does their daily care entail?
Daily care: Blanketing/unblanketing, check/refill hay and water, cleaning pasture and/or stable, grooming if necessary and a full-body check over
Monthly care: Checking of facilities for safety hazards, board pay if necessary, cleaning out feed and water tubs
Every 6-8 weeks: Have your farrier out to trim, shoe if necessary and check over the health of your horse's feet
Every 3 months: Deworming
Yearly care: Have your horse's teeth floated with an equine dentist, routine yearly vaccinations and general health check by a vet
Depending on where you keep your horse and if you board/agist it somewhere, places can offer full care/semi care/DIY care of your horse. There is a weekly or monthly fee for full/semi care which covers feeding, blanketing, turnout/stabling, stable and paddock cleaning and sometimes full health care including deworming, farriery, dentistry and general vet care which is done on a cycle with every other horse there. Sometimes they expect you to handle and pay for some of that health care yourself.

6. Any specific breed(s) you'd recommend for a beginner?
Quarter horses are generally bred for good temperament but honestly, I've met some terrible shyster QHs who were supposedly for beginners. It all comes down to personal preference and the individual horse's training, experiences and temperament. For a first horse, the general height zone I would recommend is 14hh-15hh obviously depending on your height and what you are most comfortable with.

7. Any good resources/articles on horse care?
FEI Campus - A completely free resource that lets you enrol in courses and learn about the inner workings of horses at your own pace. Up to date and scientifically accurate
Dover Equestrian Library - A good general reference
Equitopia - Video resource library with in-depth videos on many important topics (check out their YouTube)
Kentucky Equine Research - Nutrition and feeding
Jet Equitheory - Equitation and +R theory
Warwick Schiller Performance Horsemanship - Training and riding with the horse in mind (check out his YouTube)
Practical Horseman - Magazine/articles
Horse&Rider - Magazine/articles
The Horse - Magazine/articles

8. What are some important parts of horse care I should research?
Barefoot vs shoeing, the benefits of 24/7 turnout vs stabling, positive reinforcement (+R), nutrition and forage, ulcers and colic, the Equine Grimace Scale

9. What else should I know?
This is a big commitment and will take up a lot of your time and wallet but horses are so rewarding. Take your time with everything and most importantly, take consistent lessons, read as much as you can, keep an open mind.
 
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