Horses are truly beautiful and wonderful animals that demand a lot of attention and care. Basic care for horses includes feeding, grooming, bonding, training, and keeping them in good health generally. If you love your horse like most horse owners, you would ensure he has everything. To begin with, it is important to acknowledge that there is no “one-size-fits-all” in the care for horses and that every horse is unique and may require slightly different treatment approach from all the other horses. Below are general tips on how to care for horses.
A rubber curry brush can be used to loosen some of the dirt on the horse’s coat. Avoid using the brush on the horse’s legs and face because they are delicate. A dandy brush can then be used to get rid of dirt from the surface of the horse’s coat. You can then use a body brush to help smooth the horse’s hair. If the horse’s body hair is long, you may use electric clippers in trimming the body hair. Do not forget to clean the hooves of the horse. Lastly, bathe the horse with warm water and rinse off dirt in readiness for shampooing.
Horses need plenty of clean water. Also, do avail plenty of quality hay, as they eat grass in large quantities. They need about 20 pounds of mold-free hay every day. They also need grain in small quantities throughout the day. Note that the horse’s nutritional needs may vary depending on the amount of fresh grass consumed and the level of activity. Feedings should be scheduled for an hour before/ after ridding the horse to avoid interfering with digestion.
Sit on the fence or in the paddock and wait for the horse to approach you on his own terms. Spare some time to spend with your horse to gain his trust. When approaching the horse, do so slowly, and with a calm demeanor to improve your trust. Petting your horse is a great way to show appreciation. Stroke his muzzle, massage the ears, and pat the head. However, these and other treats given need to be in moderation. Some great treats include fresh carrots and apples. Lastly, encourage neck drops, which demonstrate submission and a good bond.
Observe safety at all times when training the horse. Avoid walking directly in front of or behind the horse. Take your time and do not rush the horse to learn fast, as patience is crucial in this process. Talking to your horse in a low and calm tone may help calm his frustrations. Using positive reinforcement to reward your horse when he does what you want helps get the horse on the right track, just as much as negative reinforcement, such as a gentle whip, does when he does what you dislike. A high quality saddle for comfort is important when training the horse.
Last but not least, the health of your horse is your responsibility. Plan regular visits to the vet for dental and physical examination. Ensure the horse gets all the vaccinations, including rabies and tetanus. The horse, just like you, also needs social life to interact with other horses. Also, protect your horse from extreme weather conditions and hazardous plants like oak leaves and black walnut.
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