4 Things a New Horse Owner Needs to Know
Owning a horse requires a lot of work and responsibility. However, horses are wonderful, majestic animals that make excellent pets. They can also be used for trail riding and for traveling short distances. For those who are new to horses, there are many things to learn and mistakes to avoid. Horses can be quite expensive, so it’s important to prepare for the arrival of a horse before it is adopted or purchased.
A horse requires a shelter in order to get out of the wind, rain, sun, and snow. The shelter should have a leak-proof roof and three walls, with plenty of space to lay down in a bed of straw. Trees can offer additional protection from the elements, but they will not replace a true shelter.
Hay can be difficult to come across during the winter months, and it could be extremely expensive after a dry spring and summer. There should be enough hay in storage to last through the fall, winter, and the first 6 weeks of spring. Having an excess of pasture can help, especially for the first 6 weeks of spring.
Horses require regular immunizations and worming, and some may require regular teeth floating. A good veterinarian who makes house calls should be chosen well before adoption. Many owners also enroll in horse insurance in order to protect themselves when veterinary emergencies occur. If a horse has a medical emergency, the veterinary bills will be far more extensive than the average cat or dog emergency.
Horses require at least 2 acres of total pastureland for grazing. There should be at least 2 or 3 pastures to allow for rotational grazing. Otherwise, the land may suffer from compaction and overgrazing, which will significantly reduce the quality and quantity of grass for grazing. Once a pasture is grazed to 3 inches in height, the horse should be rotated.
Horse ownership is an incredibly rewarding experience. New owners should be fully prepared before the horse arrives, so that they may thoroughly enjoy this new, exciting journey.