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The Responsibilities of Owning a Horse

Horse Care, Horse Health, Owning a Horse

The responsibility that goes along with owning a horse is great. A horse is a large animal that when confined to a small pasture or paddock, is completely reliant on its owner. If the owner is delinquent or is not aware of all the correct care a horse requires the horse’s health and overall well being will suffer. With the correct knowledge of horse care, anyone can own a horse and successfully meet its needs. Read on for a break-up up of the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual responsibilities of horse ownership.

Every day there are many things you will need to provide for your horse. The most important thing is that your horse has free access to fresh water or an unlimited water supply. If the pasture has a creek running through it, then you don’t necessarily need to worry so much about water. You do however, need to be sure that the creek is running well and there is ample fresh water for your horse. If you need to water your horse artificially, you will need to fill the water trough daily, if not two times a day. Horses need to drink a lot, even in the winter. During the summer water is very important because horses cool their bodies by sweating. In the cold of winter, a horse also needs a heavy supply of water because the hay and food they are eating has zero water content.

Each day you also need to be sure the horse has plenty to eat. Horses in the wild graze all day long. While many horse owners are not able to provide a plentiful pasture for their horse year round, pasture rotation will help the grass to grow and keep up with a grazing horse. If you pasture is not sufficient to feed the horse, you will need to provide additional feed. Hay is an excellent food source and fairly inexpensive. You can also buy a pellet complete feed mix at your local farm store to meet the required calories for your horse.

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A horse also needs shelter daily. During the summer, the horse must have a way to get out of the hot summer sun. Like wise in the winter a horse needs to find protection from the cold winter winds. Inspect the shelter daily for any signs of damage to be sure your horse will really be safe in the sheltered and not farther endangered!

Your horse also relies on you for safety. In the wild, horses are rarely hunted and if there is a predator, they can run for miles upon miles to get away. When confined, a horse cannot escape so you need to be sure they are safe from predators. This means keeping your feed safely stored away so no animals will try to eat it. Also be sure that you are keeping a safe farmyard free from loose fencing, farm tools and anything else your horse may injure themselves with.

There are also many responsibilities of a horse owner on a weekly basis. One basic responsibility that should be done at least once a week is horse grooming. A complete grooming should be done weekly to ensure a clean horse. This grooming session also allows you to inspect your horse for any cuts, scrapes or other wounds. Your horse will look forward to these grooming sessions as will you!

Also, at least once a week you should clean out your horse’s stall or shed. Manure will pile very quickly, and the more manure, the more flies. Horse’s that are kept clean by their owner will start to keep cleaner themselves. You may even notice your horse devoting one corner of the shed to his bathroom area! This cleaning should also be devoted to fly management during the summer months. After cleaning out the manure, follow up with proper fly management skills by applying pesticides where needed.

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On a monthly basis there are several things you should do for your horse. It is good to give your horse a complete hose down and washing during the warm months, especially summer. Fly spray, sweat and dirt can compound in your horses coat and lead to excess weight and heat entrapment. A simple wash with horse shampoo can rinse their coat clean and help them to feel nice and cool again!

Your horse’s food and water containers should also be washed thoroughly at least one time a month. This will stop any growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. There can also be many microorganisms living on the feed and water dishes that can be easily ingested by your horse. To clean the containers simple mix a solution of 1 part bleach to 5 parts water. This will disinfect and thoroughly clean the containers.

On a quarterly time schedule, you will need to de-worm your horse. Some horse owners even complete a de-worming schedule on a 6-8 week time line. The longer you allow your horse to go between de-worming, the greater their chances are of becoming infected with parasites. Rotate the type of de-worming medicine you use each time to be sure the parasites are killed with each dosing.

On an annual basis you will need to vaccinate your horse. Horses need annual booster of tetanus vaccine, rabies vaccine and west nile vaccine. These vaccinations are very important to protect your horse as well as the horses he or she may come in contact with. Keep a low stress level and your horse will hardly feel the vaccinations.

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There are many other day to day chores that you will come across in your horse ownership that are not listed here. Caring for tack, repairing fences, buying feed, and fixing shelters are some other common tasks related to horse responsibility. Give your horse the highest level of care, and you will be rewarded with a long life of your horse!