Horses are amazingly beautiful and sensitive creatures.
Horses require not only understanding and patience to have a horse as a pet, it also requires a whole lot of
Observe horses in the herd system, each horse's welfare in
the wild depends upon an instinctive submission to the discipline of the herd. The instinct is for immediate
action. To the horse, action is survival. When horses live in a herd environment, they often take turns sleeping
and standing guard for any predators. When the leader of the herd signals danger they take
Learning respect and ascending to authority starts on the
first day of life for the foals, there is a distinct pecking order in herds of horses.
It is important to keep a quiet profile around horses. Horses
naturally do not like unnecessary noise because in the wild their survival depends on detection of predators
with their hearing. Extraneous noise interferes with this predator detection. This predator detection is tightly
coupled with a horse's flight reflex. Due to these survival genetics, horses have a physiological wiring in
their brains that predisposes them to prefer quietness and to become bothered by unnecessary noise. Many horses
can get startled easily from abrupt noises and this could result in injury to the horse, the rider, or people
around the horse. Talk to your horse in a quiet, reassuring voice.
Relationship With Horses:
A horse will love you if, first and foremost, you treat it
fairly, and secondly, if you allow yourself to develop a relationship with it in the same way you would a human
partner. There are too many who will look after the horse's material needs but put nothing back into the
partnership itself. The horse born in captivity will identify with an alternative provider and companion,
resulting in a healthy relationship from the beginning. A healthy relationship with your horse requires: trust,
coupled with respect, fondness with compliance, and a desire to please.
Check Your Horse:
Examine your horse every day and especially prior to riding
the horse. Carefully examine the horse's legs and back for any unusual heat or lumps. Make sure that the horse's
eyes are alert and not glazy. Listen for any excessive noise or gurgling sounds coming from your horse's
stomach. Catching problems before they become serious is critical to keeping a show horse sound and
Exercise caution and discretion when around stallions and
mares when they are in heat. They are dealing with hormones on an order of magnitude that you probably cannot
comprehend. Stallions typically bite and some may be easily triggered into violent behaviour.
Keep your horse clean. Keep your horse's entire coat free
from dirt, mud, sand, and sweat. Brush your horse every day. Pick out your horse's feet every day. Wash out any
sweat residue from the saddle pad or girth every day. Wash out any dirt or sand residue, as from the riding
arena, on your horses legs every day. A number of different problems can result if a horse's coat is not kept
Keep your horse's stall clean. Make sure that your horse's
stall is cleaned every day. Be sure that any wetness is removed with the manure. Replace the removed bedding
with fresh, clean, dry bedding. Water should be dumped from buckets every day without exception. Unhealthy dirt
and bacteria can build up in a bucket if it is not cleaned on a daily basis. Clean water is essential to
maintaining a healthy horse. Make sure your horse always has clean, fresh water available.
Training A Horse:
The intelligence of the horse increases rapidly with
education. An intelligent trainer can make an intelligent horse. A kind but firm trainer will result in a
disciplined but pleasing horse.
Feed your horse(s) at the same times every day. A horse may
get upset and colic or injure themselves by kicking the stall or pawing, if not fed when feeding is expected.
You should not make radical changes in a horse's feed program. If you must make a change in the feed program,
make the change gradually. Drastic changes in a horse's feed program can cause the horse to colic and in some
cases, may die. Your horse's stomach is a highly sensitive bio-reactor that maintains a delicate balance of the
organisms that digest food in your horse's digestive track.
Visitors should not feed a horse that you do not own without
the owner's permission; no carrots, no apples, no treats, nothing. The horse could potentially, get sick if they
have an allergy or sickness.
Pay attention to everything that goes into your horse; that
means all feed, all hay, all water, all treats, all supplements, all pills, and all shots. This knowledge could
save your horse's life in an emergency situation. Post this information on your horse's stall door so that it is
available to a vet if you are not around in an emergency. Make sure that your horse gets high-quality feed and
hay. Your horse's health and soundness depend on the nutrition that you provide for them. Take good care of your
horse. A rider without a horse is no rider at all.
Make sure that you have a good equine veterinarian. A good
vet will save you money in the long run and may save your horse's life someday. An ounce of prevention is worth
a pound of cure. Make sure your horse has all the vaccinations that are normal for your geographical location.
All horses should be on a good worming program to control intestinal parasites. A horse should be wormed by a
vet at least twice a year.
In the summer spray your horse trailer down with fly spray
about 10 minutes before you load the horses. The flies should leave, and your horses will be without those pesky
Never spray a hot, sweaty horse with cold water immediately
after working the horse. This can cause muscle spasms and binding, or shock that can lead to death. Wait until
the horse is breathing regularly, and use warm water if it is available. If a horse has heat shock, consult your
vet and the vet may instruct you to cold hose the horse, even if still hot and sweaty. Never put a horse in a
stall or confined area while sweaty or while they are still breathing heavily. This can result in shock and/or
colic that can lead to death. Walk the horse until the horse is cooled out and the breathing is
Horses' hooves generally grow approximately 1 cm in a month,
and take nearly a year to grow from the coronet band to the ground. Horse's hooves need to be trimmed regularly
(about every 6-8 weeks). Shoeing a horse does not hurt them. If you were to grow out your finger nail, you could
put an earring/pin through it without causing discomfort; however, if you pushed the pin through the part of
your nail that is attached to the soft tissue of your finger, it would hurt. When horse shoes are nailed in,
they are nailed at an angle so which the horse doesn't feel it.
Make sure that you have a good farrier, especially if you
show your horse over jumps. The concussion from landing from jumps amplifies any problems in a horse's shoeing.
If a horse gets sore feet or legs from bad angles or bad shoeing, the horse cannot just take his shoes off, sit
back on a couch, and rub their feet, or find another pair of shoes like you can. Bad shoeing can result in your
horse becoming lame due to a number of problems including: bowed tendons, popped splints, or shoulder/back
soreness or spasms. Bad shoeing can ruin a good horse, so don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish where shoeing is
concerned. A laid-up horse is far more expensive to maintain than a good farrier. And remember not all horses
need to have shoes, only if they are competing, walking on hard/rocky surfaces, or have hoof
Horses do lay down to sleep, but only if they feel completely
comfortable in their environment. It is not enough to provide a dry stable, food and water. Horses will often
sleep standing up by locking their knees. Horses are one of the few animals that can put one half of their body
asleep while the other half is wide awake. Emotionally and mentally, all horses need to feel they have and be
comfortable in their own space!
To fully enjoy a horse's finer qualities, you must treat them
with both kindness and quality care. In the end, a happy horse will mean a nicer ride and a happier