Taking care of a horse is a moral and spiritual obligation. Many people go into the ownership and care of a horse as if it were the acquisition of a new plush teddy bear. It would seem that many horse owners, first time equestrians especially, transfer how to take care of a horse, over from their stuffed toy collection years.
Nothing wrong with loving and tender; some great positive attributes can and should carry over from those young and innocent years, to the care of a horse or any live animal. But a horse is a large animal, a member of the livestock contingency; a once wild animal, domesticated over the years, but not to the form of human, or stuffed toy.
Caring for your horse is a serious responsibility
A horse can hurt you; and a horse can become hurt by improper care and an incorrect environment controlled by his human caregivers. Few horses can exist safely in and around sharp objects, projectiles, or rough and ragged surfaces. While one shouldn't have to think of providing a rubber stall for a horse, but his “home” must be free of objects which might cut or wound the equine.
So in any plan, to acquire and own and care for a horse, if you don't already have an existing horse facility, the care of a horse must be at the forefront of any plan to contain, fence, and stall the animal. Spend plenty of time in the planning phase of environmental safety before the actual acquisition of the horse happens.
Time spent here will avert and hopefully avoid expensive veterinary bills down the road, as well as down time and the lack of the ability to be able to ride and use the horse. How to take care of a horse begins with adequate planning time to design the physical area where the horse will spend his time.
Two places that need your attention for horse safety
Particular attention needs to be spent in two areas of physical safety. One of those includes the surface where the horse will be walking, running, grazing, playing around, and roaming; in other words, the ground and surface where a horse’s feet will spend time.
How to take care of a horse, is keen to his feet, which are quite tender and prone to injury, as are the legs the horse stands on above those hooves. Nails, sharp pieces of metal, even sharp stones and small rocks can penetrate the sole of a horse’s hoof, or cause bruising that can lame a horse for extended periods of time.
The other area of particular attention in the care of a horse is the horizontal space from the ground/floor, on up to above horse head height. Pay particular attention to those surfaces where his legs, belly and sides might rub up against or get banged into. Be sure that there are no nails, bolts, pieces of sharp wood, or metal which might stick out from a horizontal surface.
Pre-planning and prevention is the first step
Pre-planning and prevention will go a long way towards how to take care of a horse, and keeping your horse safe and healthy. If litter and junk abide and adorn any place where your horse might be spending time, then foreign material removal is a great place to start, and achieve environmental restoration.
Once your horse’s environment is rendered safe and able to fully contain a horse beyond his ability to push, kick or chew his way through fencing, gating and walls. Now you are ready to begin the plans for daily and extended care of your equine partner.
Don't take your horses nutrition lightly
How to take care of a horse can now be directed towards to feed, water, bedding, and pasture. Acquiring of all of the various tools and equipment, supplies, tack, and grooming aids, are your next steps.
A never ending supply of fresh drinking water should be your first concern on the nutrition list. Smaller is often better here when considering a water source. You want the supply to be as clean and fresh as possible, so a very frequent turnover of water is the best approach.
So don't go out and purchase the largest water trough your farm supply store has in stock, with the notion that you can fill it and leave it, and not have to fill it as often. That’s for your convenience, and is not in the best interest in the care of a horse.
If you are going to own a horse, he must come first. That’s a moral obligation; the same as it should be with the ownership of about any animal.
An automatic waterer can be the best choice if you can get and keep year round water coming to it. If an automatic waterer isn't in the budget or possible, then maintain a smaller tank, cover it, insulate it, use a stock tank heater if you live in a cold climate, and add fresh water to it no less often than every three days.
Make sure to have an Equine First Aid Kit
Your next consideration in how to take care of a horse will be to own an adequate horse first aid kit, or stock of first aid supplies, housed in a dust and dirt free first aid kit, or a barn or trailer cabinet. Your ownership and confinement of a horse to the limited physical properties you assign to him, no matter how many acres that may be, dictates that you are his first responder, the first to notice injury or sickness, and the first to be able to begin a regimen of rescue and care – whether that may be until a vet can arrive on the scene to take over, and/or for the long term care of the animal’s emergency need.
Go into horse ownership accepting these actions and necessities as crucial and obligatory to the act of being an equestrian. Food source, be it pasture, and/or supplementary grain and forage, such as hay, will be your next step towards becoming an ethical horse owner.
After these steps are accomplished, then the bling, fancy tack and equipment, horse clothing, hauling and riding accouterments, can then be considered as the fun part of accessorizing your horse. Business before play, will likely continue to follow you all of the days of your life as an equestrian. But put it in the right order, and you will enjoy those days more, and get the most of them.