Horse Care 101: Beginner’s Guide to a Healthy Horse

When it comes to taking care of your horse, you should excuse any expensive and give your full love and attention.  If you are just bringing home your new horse friend, this guide will make sure you give the proper care to your horse.  Horse care is an important factor of horse ownership that can not be overlooked if you are interested in having a healthy and well trained horse you can enjoy!

Horse Basic Needs

Horses are domesticated animals that belong to the Mammalian class. Many first-time horse owners dread about welcoming a new animal into their care, particularly it’s not the common dogs or cats. Taking care of an equine is a unique learning experience. As long as you can provide their basic needs and understand their special equine behavior, you’re good to go.There are several basic necessities that a horse needs to be healthy and thriving. 

Here are the basic needs for a horse:

  1. A nice pasture without major hazards such as holes, loose wires, or other dangers.
  2. Proper fencing to keep the horse within your designated property.
  3. A solid amount of grass or a similar amount of hay for the horse to graze.
  4. Shelter from natural hazards.
  5. Love and attention.

These are the five basic primary factors that contribute to an all round happy horse and, importantly, a healthy one!

Basic Equipment Needed For Horses

It is crucial you have the necessary equipment when caring for a horse.  Here is a comprehensive list of what you will need to properly care for your new horse!

  1. Feeding equipment: feed tub, water trough, water heater.
  2. Emergency care equipment: horse vetwraps, first-aid kit, stethoscope, etc.
  3. Barn and pasture maintenance: wheelbarrow, pitch fork, etc. If you are looking for the perfect wheelbarrow for horses click here
  4. Grooming equipment: lead ropes, hoof picks, body brush, halter leather, combs, repellent.
  5. Riding equipment: saddle with cinch / girth, blanket or pad for under saddle, helmet, bridle, safety stirrups or boots

Making sure you have most of each of these categories of equipment is a good rule of thumb to make sure you have everything you need to properly take care of your equestrian friend.

Horse Health Information You Need To Keep Track Of

Like humans, horses require an appropriate eating plan to help maintain their health, physique, and weight. Before taking care of equines, it’s important to know the health threats and risks that your equine may potentially encounter. Thus, here are the most common health conditions in horses: 

  1. Gastric Ulcers: This condition is similar to that of humans, where painful, open sores invade the horse’s stomach lining, affecting your equine’s appetite, behavior, appearance, and riding experience. 

To prevent this condition, feed your horse regularly and avoid exposing them to psychological stress. You can also incorporate probiotics for horses for improved gut health into their diet. 

  1. Arthritis: Also known as the degenerative joint diseases (DJD) in animals, this condition mainly impacts your horse’s joint tissues and cartilage. They happen because of wear and tear. However, you can prevent them from happening earlier through:
  • Maintaining your equine’s healthy weight 
  • Allowing warm-up and cool down before activities

Desmitis: Another mobility condition in equines that targets the animal’s ligaments. Lameness is one of the most noticeable symptoms of Desmitis, but make sure that you know your horse well as this condition can creep up until it’s too late.

Making sure you have emergency care equipment like vet wraps for horses is very important, but it is just as vital to know the basics of checking the normal functioning health characteristics of your horse.  The primary way to do this is to check your horse’s pulse rate, respiration rate (the rate at which they breath), and body temperature, All of this can be checked relatively easily with a stethoscope or heart rate monitor, but you can also get an estimate simply with your fingers on the large blood vessel under your horse’s cheekbones.  These values are also generally higher in ponies and young horses, so it is crucial you check these values over longer periods of time so you can get an accurate idea of how your horse’s personal values measure up.

Although, they can be pretty variable depending on your horse, the accepted norm for these values are as follows:

  • Normal pulse rate is 28 to 45 per minute.
  • Normal respiration rate is 8 to 20 breaths per minute.
  • Normal temperature is around 98.5 F to 101 F, or, in celsius, 36.9 C to 38.3 C.

It is not fundamentally necessary you check these health values, but it is very encouraged as knowing this information can tell you whether your horse is feeling ill and may assist your veterinarian in healing your horse friend. 

Horse Grooming Basics

Learning to groom your horse is an important and often exciting trial (it’s not always easy).  This is one of the activities where you can build an ever-lasting loving bond with your horse, and it also gives you time to check for any injuries or irregularities.  

Make sure you have the proper supplies for horse grooming which we previously mentioned, and get your horse in a comfortable position where it won’t be able to run off (depending on how comfortable you are with the horse).  Now, we are not going to go into too much detail on the step by step directions as that is best explained in youtube videos, but here are the important tasks you need to do to properly groom your horse.

  • Clean Your Horse’s Hooves
  • Comb Out Tangles
  • Use Body Brush To Get Rid Of Dirt
  • Clean Ears, Eyes, Muzzle, and Dock Area
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