- Horse DO's?
- Horse DON'Ts ... ?
- Horse Internet Links and Books ... ?
- Why Does My Horse ... ?
- Ask A Vet ... ?
- Horse Care ... ?
When first purchasing a horse it is important that you decide exactly what type of riding you want to do – trail riding, arena riding, barrel racing, etc. The type of riding that you are interested in will determine what type of horse will best suit your needs. How big YOU are will determine how tall your horse should be. Gaited horses, such as Fox Trotter, Tennessee Walker, etc, are wonderful for trail riding or just general pleasure riding, the non-gaited breeds are excellent for events such as barrel racing, team penning, etc. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, and crossovers, but in either case the style of riding you want to do is very important to consider on your quest for the perfect horse.
Be sure that you look at horses for sale by a reputable person or facility. Horses are wonderful creatures, but can come with issues that a novice rider should not attempt. A good rule of thumb is to ask for a pre-purchase examination by a veterinarian…this will eliminate purchasing a horse that might have leg or hoof problems, bowed tendons, weak back, or other physical problems, etc. If the seller does not want this done, it is best to move on and continue your search elsewhere. Also, ask someone to go with you on your search that is experienced with horses that can help guide to purchasing the right horse. Also the horse’s personality should mesh with yours…..if you are a very calm and quiet person – you would not want a high-spirited thoroughbred, for example…..match your personality to your horse and the type of riding that you want to do.
A horse is a very serious commitment – be sure that you are financially able and willing to care for the horse in the manner that it deserves. Horses eat a LOT…..and the type of food that is fed them determines how healthy and happy they will be. Good quality hay is important, when grass is not available. Horses are grazing animals and are most content when they are free to graze, walk around, breathe fresh air, have access at all times to clean, cool water. Junk hay may be eaten….however it will not allow your horse to thrive and stay healthy and in good weight and condition. Moldy hay is a big NO-NO. Mold can make your horse sick….and can be fatal. Please inspect the hay to make sure that it is clean and fresh, is free from debris, foxtail, thorns, etc. Hay older than one year old has very little nutritional value – no matter how much is eaten.
Some horses during the winter need a little extra boost – a good quality grain fed once or twice daily, in addition to free access hay. Your local feed store can advise you on the type of grain that best suits the needs of the horse you have – and will depend on its age, physical condition and how often it is ridden.
Horses are NOT a cheap animal to own…..if you do it right! Be sure that you are willing to provide excellent food and care for your horse…and you will be rewarded MANY, MANY times over by one of the most beautiful and awesome animals that exist on our planet. They have a big heart and will be your partner on many exciting and wonderful rides. A special connection between a horse owner and his horse is one that will fill your heart and soul for many years.
These are thoughts concerning your first purchase of a horse…and are over simplified, however do your homework as there are many, many other detailed do’s and don’t concerning horses. Information can be obtained from several sources geared for the horse owner. Use your common sense…as well as learned knowledge…and you will be one of the many people that will enjoy their horses and form a partnership that will last for many years to come.
Horse DO's... ?
Purchase a horse only if you are financially and emotionally able to care for this horse. It is a commitment….take it seriously.
Make sure that you have adequate room for a horse, including access to pasture, fresh water, and shelter
Since horses are ‘herd’ animals, they do best when they have a companion for company, consider this fact when purchasing a horse.
Have a schedule for yearly vaccinations, worming, wellness exams as well as farrier visits every 6-8 weeks to keep hooves in good condition
Remove horseshoes in the winter if not riding – this will keep ice from building up and making it uncomfortable for them to walk
Check them daily to make sure that they are all right and have no physical problem that might need attention.
Have a veterinarians contact info handy – one that is familiar with you and your horse
Check horse for runny noses, eye drainage, cough, limp etc. which might signal a health problem. If in doubt….call the vet.
Wear a good quality safety helmet when riding……accidents do happen on horses that have had no prior ‘problems’. Better safe than sorry!
Pick and clean your horses feet before and after riding…rocks often get lodged there and can cause stone bruises.
Cool your horse off after a strenuous ride….brushing and cooling down allows the horse to relax and return to it’s normal body temperature.
Remember that if in doubt about your horse’s well-being – ask your vet immediately or a friend or neighbor that is familiar with horses…..they will almost always be very glad to answer questions that you might have.
Horse DON'Ts ... ?
Don’t buy a horse on a whim….do your research as to the proper care and feeding of a horse and the costs involved then make an informed decision.
Assume that because there is hay available that they will eat it….hay gets moldy, or too old or soiled for them to eat.
Just buy any hay…..check out the quality and contents of the bale….some weeds and grasses are toxic to horses…..others are not eatable.
Feed hay that is over a year old that has been sitting outside in the elements…..most of the nutritional value is gone and your horse may be eating it….but nutritionally they will be lacking.
Assume that they will lick frozen water and get enough……water should be clean, fresh and in the winter, a tank heater will keep the water unfrozen.
Assume that they are o.k. alone….horses need companionship as they are herd animals…..they do best when they have a “buddy”
Assume that since they are ‘broke’ to ride that they won’t have days when they will be difficult and ‘out of sorts’…..they are large animals with a lot of strength…be careful.
Let your horse be the “boss” …… they need to be taught firmly and Kindly that you are the boss…..and your space is to be respected.
Horse Internet Links, Books ... ?
- Merck Veterinary Manual
- Muddy Creek Rain Gear
- AAEP - Horse resource
- Farm Info/Horses
- Valley Vet Equine Supplies
- Missouri Trailblazing
- State Line Tack
- HorseAdvice.com (Membership required)
Books... There are thousands of great horse books. These are some general books, but go to any online bookseller for books to meet your needs. There are many horse training books but we recommend that you contact a reputable trainer in your area if you are not experienced with horses. Go to clinics, join online training clubs like Monty Roberts, Parelli, etc. These provide great resources as well as a network of other horse lovers.
- First Aid for Horse and Rider: Emergency Care for the Stable and Trail by Nancy S. Loving DVM and Gilbert Preston (Jun 17, 2008)
Horses for Dummies by Audrey Pavia (Author), Janice Posnikoff D.V.M. (Author)
The Ultimate Horse Behavior and Training Book: Enlightened and Revolutionary Solutions for the 21st Century by Linda Tellington-Jones, Bobbie Lieberman, Gabriele Boiselle and John Lyons (Sep 1, 2006)
- More content coming soon!