What you should know before buying a horse
You are thinking of buying a horse?
Here’s the things you need to know before making the big jump.
Owning a horse is the best thing that ever happened to me so far. When you own a horse, you’re in a different world. It is a beautiful world. I love it! But owning a horse demands a lot of work and knowledge. If you are a passionate, I would say go for it! But before making the step, make sure you have every knowledge about it.
First of all, horses, like any other living being, needs food and water.
Before buying the horse, you need to find a hay supplier. This is the first step to do. If you don’t have hay, you can’t have a horse. Yes, of course they eat green grass in the field, but they also need hay. especially if you live in a place where you have winter. Here on the Magdalen Islands, we do have cold winters and we do get snow. So there’s no way for my horses to eat green grass in the field. Once you found your hay supplier, you gotta make sure you order enough. Depending on the size of hay bale, the amount will be different. I Get the small square bales. One horse eat about 1 square bale per day. ALWAYS order more than what you will need . We always get a few bales in the batch that aren’t good… Get the hay home before the horse.
Next you need to find a feed supplier. In almost every barn that you will walk in, there will be a ”feed room”. Feed/grain is not mandatory. It’s not true that horses NEED grain in their diets, but helps bring a good supplement of vitamins, proteins, minerals and energy they need. There is several kind of feed/grain on the market. The most commonly fed are oat, barley and corn. There’s some kind for all special needs: Horses that work on a daily basis, a nursing mare, a senior horse, a young horse, a horse that needs to gain weight, a racehorse, and many more. Each horse needs its individual portion. Every horse owner has its own ”feed time” routine. Some give it once a day and some twice a day or more. Have a talk with your veterinarian to make sure you are giving the good feed/grain and portion to your horse.
WATER! Water is the most important nutrient to give to your horse! They can’t run out of water. Some people prefer to use the automatic water system to avoid carrying water buckets and some prefer to use the water buckets to verify the quantity of water their horses drink in a day. I use both. I have an automatic system but I also have water buckets in the paddocks and in case my automatic system breaks down. Water represents 60 to 70% of the total weight of a horse. They can only survive a couple of days without water and become dangerously dehydrated when they lose 5 to 10% of the water of which they are naturally constituted. A horse drinks on average 20 to 25 liters of water a day. Thereby, it is primary that they have enough of clean and fresh water everyday!
You need to provide a shelter.
All horses need a shade and a shelter. In the wild, they find shade under the trees and shelter in the woods or by the mountain etc.. As for a domestic horse, if you don’t provide a shade and a shelter, where will he find it? It is important that you provide a shade and shelter to your horse for the reasons below:
- Horses need shades because, just like human, they can have a heat stroke. In the hottest summer days, if horses don’t have a shade they can also get dehydrated.
- Horses with areas of white can get a sunburn if they stay too long in the sun. the white areas are sensitive to sun. Especially on the nose, mouth and around the eyes where often it is hairless.
- Horse flies prefers the full sun. Therefore, horse will get more annoyed by these bugs if he doesn’t have a shade.
- It is also uncomfortable for their eyes to be in the full sun all day.
- Horses can handle the cold with no problem. Horses will seek out for a shelter mostly when it’s raining and windy.
- They need a shelter to escape from the strong wind and rain.
- Also, it is good to have a shelter with a floor (At home, my horses can come in and out of the barn as they want) to give a break to their hooves. If they always have their hooves in the dirt/mud, they can develop problems like rotten frog.
You will need litter.
the litter isolate the horse from moisture and cold and can remove the feces and urine more easily. A cleaned stall keeps hoof, skin and lungs problems away. It is important to muck out the stall everyday. The risks associated with poor litter management can lead to serious health problems, such as hoof and foot injuries. Due to the humidity, there may be an appearance of rotting or skin diseases. And because of the concentration of ammonia, there could be problems in the lungs. The owner can choose between different kinds of litter according to his preferences, costs, maintenance time, ease of use, health and character of the horse. The litter must be comfortable and free of dust to allow the horse to lie down and rest in a dry place. Many sort of litter exists : straw, wood shavings, peat, paper, flax litter, hemp, wood pellets.
personally, I prefer the wood shavings or the peat litter. Wood shavings is the most used here in Quebec, and is the cheapest. It is easy to use and gives a good look. Be careful though, that there is no track of varnish or dye on wood chips because it is not edible. Peat litter is also really easy to use and is hypoallergenic. It’s a very good absorbent, but is more costly and is dark. It decrease the brightness in the barn.
Horses need to exercise everyday! You don’t want to let them rust in their stall. A horse that is always in his stall isn’t a happy horse. Horses are naturally born to run. If you don’t have time to saddle up your horse and work it, or no time for lunging, at least take the time to let it go in the field to stretch and run a bit. If you are considering buying a horse but are wondering if you will ever get the time to exercise it, then DON’T buy the horse. Or hire someone to do it for you. Otherwise, you will have an unhealthy and unhappy horse.
Cares to provide to your horse.
Horses need daily, monthly and yearly cares.
- As I mentioned below, horses need to be fed and water everyday.
- Their stalls need to be mucked out daily, and ideally twice a day.
- They need to be groom on a daily basis.
- They need to exercise everyday.
- Their hooves need to be scraped cleaned before and after every work session. And need to be trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks.
- They need showers after every hard work session.
- Horses need to be de-wormed every 2 to 3 months.
- Their teeth need to be check every year or more if you notice that your horse is losing appetite.
- They need to be up to date with vaccines.
- Once or twice a year they need a complete check up by the veterinarian.
- Once a year, you need to clean his/her private parts. You can ask your vet to do it or you can do it by yourself.
- The barn needs to be cleaned from ceiling to floor once or twice a year.
And finally, horses need to be loved <3