What you need if you want to own a horse

Owning a horse can be a wonderful and beneficial experience. Horses are beautiful, majestic animals that can be a pleasure to own. Taking on the responsibility of a horse is a huge task and there are some things you need to know before you make that commitment.

Find a Suitable Base

Horses need somewhere to live and that can’t just be anywhere. There are certain conditions and factors that need to be taken into consideration. If it can be kept outside then there is no direct need for a stable but you need to make sure you have ample turnout to rotate fields for grazing purposes. Be mindful that during the wet month’s fields become quite churned up which destroys the grass.

For horses that cannot be kept outside all year, they require a suitable stable. Stabled horses still need ample turn out and fields will still need to be rotated.

Consider the location of your horse’s new home. Will your horse have company? If you plan on riding is there a suitable place even in winter? Are the fields secure with good access? Who will look after your horse if you are on holiday or are ill?

If you are new to looking after horse’s livery yards are a great place to gain knowledge and share expertise with other horse owners. It means your horse will have company and so will you. Often other liveries will help each other out when it comes to holidays or times you cannot get down to the yard.

Find a Good Vet

It’s important when owning a horse to find a suitable vet. Horses need regular vaccinations and other general health checks. It’s also good to know who you would call in an emergency. Make sure you research vets that specialise in equine treatment. Enquire about whether they can deal with all equine-related matters or if they would need to refer you and if so who they would refer to. Preparation is key and having this knowledge in advance could save you a lot of stress.

Locate a Local Farrier

Horses with shoes need them regularly removing and refitting as well as having their feet trimmed. Some horses don’t require shoes but they still need their feet trimming regularly. Looking after your horse’s feet is a vital part of their care and can prevent issues down the line. Every horse is different but you will usually require a visit from a farrier every six to eight weeks. Farriers often have numerous clients and this means their schedule can get full quite quickly. Finding one and scheduling them in advance means that your horse can be seen when they are due and won’t have to wait.

Feed Suppliers

Horses eat a unique diet that is only available from specialist retailers. It’s important that you have plenty of feed stocked up for your horse and you replenish your stock regularly. Horse feed is very appealing to vermin such as rats and mice so make sure that all food is kept off the floor in vermin-proof containers. Find out where your nearest feed specialist is located or look at online horse feed suppliers. If you aren’t sure what your horse should be eating speak to an expert or vet for the best advice. Not all horse feed is suitable for all horse types so it’s best to check before feeding.

A large part of a horse’s diet consists of forage such as hay or haylage. Research your nearest supplier and find out what their delivery options are. Forage can take up a large amount of space so make sure that you have a clean and dry area suitable to store it.

If you are new to the area or you want reputable recommendations for vets or farriers to reach out to other horse owners in the area. They will likely be able to point you in the relevant direction for what’s local to you. Owning a horse is a big commitment so if you are unsure always ask an expert first.