Graze Anatomy: First-Time Horse Owners Advice
There are so many things that can bring absolute joy to us, from making a massive achievement to getting to travel the world, and the one thing that can bring us total love and devotion without asking for much in return is owning a pet. While there are many pets that are great to have around the house, there are those that go one step further and go for an animal that requires a lot of time and effort to look after them. I am referring to a horse or a pony. I bet there are many little girls out there that dream of owning their own pony and riding around the forests and fields without a care in the world, but in reality, owning a horse comes with a lot of responsibilities, much more than owning a pet at home. Let’s break down the needs and wants of a horse and what you need to bring to the stable…
What You Need To Own A Horse
Owning a horse is such a rewarding pastime, but you need to be sure that you have what it takes to devote the time and attention the horse needs. You will firstly need to be sure that you have the finances in place. If you are lucky enough to be able to buy the horse outright, that is great, but if you don’t, there are other options available to you. You can take a horse or pony “on loan,” which means that you are effectively borrowing the horse from someone who already owns the animal. A standard loan agreement is for a pre-determined amount of time, and there can be a cost attached, but it can be on occasions for a very minimal fee, or even for free. With this type of loan agreement, there will usually be some conditions attached, such as the animal may not be put to certain uses or they must stay in their present location/yard. Other types of loan include a breeding loan, which is where the person loaning the horse will breed a foal which they will keep. Or there is the standard sharing approach, where you will likely help out with the upkeep of the horse in return for rides, or possibly joint ownership. There are other variations on the loaning or sharing of a horse, and you need to be sure what you are capable of before you enter into an agreement with an owner. You need to look at what you can provide, and if the agreement is suitable, not just to your own needs, but to the owner, and the horse itself. If you are able to spend a lot of time with the horse, then a more comprehensive deal of ownership will be suitable. But if finances and time are a problem, then the minimal approach of helping an owner with the upkeep in return for time or rides with the horse may be best for everyone. Really think about the time and effort you can afford.
Looking After Your Horse
So you’ve decided on the best way to share or to loan a horse, what do you need regarding supplies for you and your horse? Firstly, you need to have a good space for the horse to roam. A good outside area is very important for your horse to relax and to graze, also known as a livery. As you will probably know already, owning a piece of land that gives your horse plenty of space will be so good for their wellbeing. Seeing a horse that’s happy and content will be such a rewarding feeling for you too. There are plenty of options for land, and depending on where you live and what your finances are, you could invest in a ranch. www.rmabrokers.com is a site that shows the types of ranches that are for sale and depending on where you are in life, you could find a ranch that is a wonderful place to retire to. The benefits of having a ranch or ranch-style location means that you have lots of space for your horse to roam, and the location itself will be wonderfully rejuvenating for you too as ranches tend to be out of the way, so you can really get the benefits for the horse and for yourself. Each type of ranch or piece of land comes with its own specific cost, and they all vary in size. Of course, the bigger, the better. As your horse will have much more space to roam and to graze.
As well as having open space, having the right shelter is just as important for a horse. All liveries should have shelters in place, but if you’re looking to get a shelter, you need to look at the space your shelter requires as well as the material. You can order a pre-owned stable if you are looking for ways to cut down on your finances, but make sure that you thoroughly inspect the stable before you purchase it. Has it been maintained properly? Is there anything that needs fixing before you buy it outright? It may cost about the same to purchase a new one after all. Once the stable has been settled upon, you will need to get the tools to make the horse’s living space as well-maintained as possible. These include the following:
Pitchfork – One of the essentials, so you can move the stable bedding around.
Manure Fork – Different to a pitchfork, the fork is a bit wider, and the prongs are closer together, making life a bit easier for you when picking up horse waste.
Garden Wheelbarrow – This will make your life a lot easier when it comes to moving the manure around.
Feed Buckets and Hay Nets – Be careful when buying used feed buckets because some buckets that may not have been used for horses could have been used for chemicals.
Broom – A staple of the stable, and a big time saver in getting the stable clean.
Something that you may overlook when it comes to owning a horse is the need to transport it from one place to another. If you get a horse trailer, you can go for a pre-owned one which can be cheap, but if you need a new one, they can cost you into the 1000’s.
Grooming equipment is another essential for your horse. These include the following:
Halter/Lead Rope – A head halter and lead rope are what you will need to lead your horse around. You don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on a leather one, there are adjustable rope ones you can get for very cheap.
Stable Rug – If you experience harsh winters, you will need to give your horse some extra protection from the elements.
Grooming Supplies – Keeping your horse’s coat in good condition you will need a curry comb, body brush, hoof pick and mane comb.
One of the most wonderful things about owning a horse is the riding, and for this, you will need a horse tack. This is just a collective term for everything you use when it comes to riding a horse, and these are the saddle and saddle blanket, stirrups, horse boots, girth and cinch, the martingale, reins, and the bridle.
Essential Equipment For Yourself
Now you’ve got everything for your horse, what do you need? Here is a basic list.
Riding Boots – Essential for helping you get up onto the horse. You may think that wellies or standard boots are fine, but the boots need to be heeled so your feet can have grip on the stirrups.
Riding Hat/Helmet – An absolute must! A horse can run at high speeds, so you need to keep your head protected in case you suffer a fall.
Breeches – Instead of wearing jeans, which are uncomfortable for the horse and for yourself when riding, you should wear leggings or breeches.
Body Protector – Depending on the age of the rider, you may wish to invest in a body protector just in case of falls.
This is a basic list of what you need as a first-time horse owner. Owning a horse or a pony is a big challenge and can take up a lot of your time, as they need so much care and attention. In fact, they need as much care as a baby does (almost). What you need to remember above everything is the bond you have with a horse is so very important. The more time you spend with it, the more your bond will be solidified. The above advice is all about the basics you need for upkeep and general maintenance, but if you give the horse as much love and care as you can, this will further improve your relationship, and you will get as much satisfaction out of it as you would any pet. The bond between humans and animals is one of life’s greatest, so make sure you are doing what you can to strengthen that bond.