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Have you ever wondered what horse ownership is like? The following information will fill you in on the details you might not know or realize. You are going to be caring for a horse for a large portion of your life- being that the average life expectancy for a horse is twenty to thirty years. It is your responsibility to be aware of what is to come.
Even routine horse care is a significant and ongoing expense. The cost of purchasing a horse is often much less than the cost of maintaining one for a year. Make sure you are realistic about your ability to afford quality care before you make this big step. Horses need a regular supply of food. They will need to have hay or pasture throughout the day, with additional grain feeding. An average horse will eat about 20 lbs. of food a day and drink about 8 gallons of water. Because the horse's stomach is so small and the digestive system is so delicate- the horse will need to graze all day rather than have 2-3 meals a day like most animals. Horses need constant access to a dry, safe, comfortable shelter that will protect them from Mother Nature. At a minimum, your shelter should be a well constructed, three sided shed. In a warm sunny environment, you will need to ensure your horse has a shady area to retreat from the sun. You will also need to remove the manure from the shelter daily. Exercise is a crucial part of a horse's life. There should be access to a pasture or paddock ensuring that the horse can exercise himself when you are not around. The pasture should be surrounded by safe, sturdy fencing that will keep the horse protected. A horse should never be confined to a stall all day, unless it is recommended by a veterinarian.
Horses do need regular veterinary care. At least once a year your horse will need to be vaccinated against tetanus and other diseases, rabies and be tested for equine infectious anemia. This may vary depending on the area you live in. Keep in mind that a medical emergency is always a possibility and may cost several thousand dollars to treat. Since horses are constantly exposed to worms, from the ground they graze on, they must be de-wormed every six to eight weeks. Hoof care is a constant need. Plan to hire a farrier (blacksmith) every six to eight weeks for trimming and shoeing.
Your horse will depend on you for love, care, and companionship. You will need to show your love 365 days a year in good and bad weather. You will also show your love through grooming, petting, riding and of course the occasional treat. Horse ownership can be a very rewarding experience. With good care you can enjoy a long and mutually rewarding relationship with your horse.
page last modified on: 6/13/2013