Questions about owning horses

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by MochaDuck, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. MochaDuck

    MochaDuck Songster

    Jun 7, 2018
    Hi everyone. I've been wanting a horse since I was 4. I'm probably not going to be able to get one in the foreseeable future, but I want to be prepared for when I do.
    1. What are the necessary items needed for owning a horse? (Tack, grooming, etc.) Things like brushes and blankets alone have about 5 million variations of each, and I don't know what's necessary, and what's just nice to have.
    2. How often should you ride your horse? (I'm wanting a horse about the size of a quarter horse if that helps)
    3. What are good companion animals for horses? I wanted to get a goat with a horse, but I want to make sure it's a good match first.
    4. What ingredients should I look for and avoid in a horse feed?
    5. I'm sure horses can't only eat hay and graze, but how much of their diet can just be those?
    6. What's a good horse age for a beginner to get a horse? I'm wanting a gelding that has experience being ridden, but is still young.
    7. How often should you groom a horse?
    8. How often should you muck out the stall?
    9. How often should you change their shoes?
    10. Do they really need shoes?

    I'm gonna add a couple more questions:
    11. What are some good beginners horse keeping books and/or websites?
    12. What's the best bedding for a horse?
    13. Is it cheaper to board your horse or to keep it at your home (if your able)?

    Thank you all for your help! :D

    I may have more questions later. If anyone else has questions feel free to post them here!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  2. Eilsel

    Eilsel Songster

    Dec 15, 2017
    NE Kansas
    Hi there! I have ridden and owned horses my entire life, my mom was a trainer and riding instructor, and I still train and teach lessons part time as well as ride competitively. Here are my answers to your questions, and then some advice I hope you take to heart at the end!

    1. What are the necessary items needed for owning a horse? (Tack, grooming, etc.)
    Bare minimum is a halter a lead rope, a good stiff brush, hoof pick, and a basic first-aid kit. Beyond that it really depends on what you want to do with said horse. (More extensive grooming kit, saddle, bridle, pads, etc.) IMHO, if you are keeping your horse at your own house you really need a truck and trailer of your own in case of emergency as well.

    2. How often should you ride your horse? Size of horse doesn't matter when deciding how much exercise it needs. For a horse to remain well behaved, riding several times a week is generally best, at least 3 times would be pretty good, though up to 6 times a week is fine for the horse. A lot of this does depend on the horse's temperament, training, and your riding goals.

    3. What are good companion animals for horses? The best companion for a horse is another horse. Some horses do bond with goats or other animals but they are a herd animal that really prefers their own kind.'

    4. What ingredients should I look for and avoid in a horse feed? Most commercial horse feeds are well-formulated for horses, some are specialized for older horses or horses in strenuous work. Most horses really don't need a grain/pelleted feed, but it adds a concentrated source of nutrients that can make up for what their hay or pasture is lacking.

    5. I'm sure horses can't only eat hay and graze, but how much of their diet can just be those? Ideally a horse will eat MOSTLY good grass and good hay. It should make up the majority of their diet! Some horses (ponies and older horses especially) can be sensitive to fresh grass, but a good grass hay is the best feed you can provide your horse.

    6. What's a good age for a beginner to get a horse? Age of horse or age of rider? The best age of horse is very subjective based on the horse. A 10-15+ year old horse that has been well trained is what I would recommend for a beginner rider. A horse is not like a puppy where the horse and rider can really grow and learn together, (green + green = black and blue is an old equestrian saying), it's more like a first car- you want your 16 year old to have something reliable but not too flashy or speedy! Save the sports car for when you're more experienced.

    7. How often should you groom a horse? Grooming is good for the health of the horse's coat and skin, but also allows you to look over the horse for any wounds or irregularities, and gives you time to get to know each other. Horses can be groomed every day and must be groomed before you ride.

    8. How often should you muck out the stall? If your horse is kept in a stall the stall needs to be cleaned every day. It keeps the task manageable and keeps the stall environment healthy.

    9. How often should you change their shoes? Horses need hoof maintenance every 4-6 weeks if they're wearing shoes and 6-8 weeks if they are barefoot. This can depend on anatomical factors as well as how fast the horse's feet grow and your farrier's recommendations.

    10. Do they really need shoes? Not generally. If you're riding on rocky terrain it's good protection for their hooves. Some horses' feet are more sensitive than others, and so whether or not they need shoes depends on the individual horse.

    Now, all that being said... I STRONGLY recommend you find a decent trainer in your area and take some riding lessons before deciding to buy a horse. Like, at least 6 months of once a week lessons would be an ideal amount in my opinion. See if you can help around the barn with taking care of the horses and the facility. This gives you time to learn how to care for and handle horses from a professional, get questions answered you may not have even known existed, and plan whatever facilities you may (or may not) want at your house before taking the plunge. Then when it comes time to actually purchase a horse, you will have someone familiar with your needs and skills, and the connections to help you find a suitable mount! Also you will have a go-to person to ask for help with your horse when you have issues and questions, as well as other horsey friends for horse-related activities! I hope this was helpful to you!
  3. MochaDuck

    MochaDuck Songster

    Jun 7, 2018
    Thanks for your help :D
    Thankfully I do have some horse back riding experience (not counting trail rides :lol:) but I certainly can use some more. I'll defiantly try to spend more time with horses ASAP, regardless of when I get a horse.
  4. New2Chicks97

    New2Chicks97 Songster

    Jul 3, 2018
    Washington State
    You have gotten some great advice already. I would just add that horses aren’t cheap to feed and keep. So make sure that you have the available resources to take care of a horse before getting one. :)

    You might also check into a care lease or partial care lease. Here some owners that have their horses boarded at barns will lease or partially lease their horse out for people to go and ride at their boarding facility. It would give you experience with horses and riding without a long term financial commitment.
  5. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Songster

    Sep 26, 2015
    Portland OR
    The other thing to keep in mind is financial commitment. Think of your horse ownership experience like owning a gas guzzling truck. They eat lots and lots of green.

    Regular farrier visits = regular farrier bills, and those are mandatory for the continued good health and soundness of your four legged friend. Find out what it costs in your area for a foot trim (if you can get away without doing shoes) and what it costs for shoes just in the front, find out what they charge when the shoes are new vs. a re-shoe, what you're in for if you've got all 4 feet with shoes on -- this amounts to real money. They need what they need …

    Then … finding a good farrier who is in the area regularly - find out- will they be willing to drive to your house to shoe just one horse? Or will they do it once and then not take your calls … because remember- driving a truck with all that heavy stuff is expensive!

    Find out: What hay suppliers are available in your area. How long have they been there- are they there year round with hay suitable for your horse, or do you need to buy in quantity to last the year? Ask yourself: What kind of facility do I have to STORE hay. If you can get a LOT of a great grass hay from the same cutting and you can store that hay and keep it dry, you'll have many fewer variables with the digestive health of your horse, because you'll have a quality product on hand. At various times of the year depending on where you live, this is NOT a given.

    Remember... The most expensive food you can buy isn't Purina or any of the myriad of bagged feeds - it isn't Eastern Orchard grass or leafy alfalfa or timothy hay.

    The most expensive food you can buy is the low quality hay that will almost certainly lead to a vet bill . The SECOND most expensive food you can buy? Food they refuse to eat. Usually I say it's the food they won't eat that is most expensive, but with horses, the consequences of poor quality food are amplified.

    Also .. don't overlook the cost of bedding. Much will depend on your local climate, but if you'll have your horse in a stall for any part of the year … you'll be paying for bedding... and then carting it out soaked in urine. =)

    None of this is intended in a negative manner. I love horses and spent much of my life with them. I just want to bring up costs it's easy to gloss over - especially when you think to yourself: Well, I won't have to pay board. He'll be at my house. Board usually covers things like food, bedding, and someone to clean the stall once a day- not always in every situation, but it's easy to dismiss that and say to yourself … how much can it really cost to keep a horse, they're making a killing charging "that" for board- when in a lot of cases (by the time you include the time involved with obtaining and distributing feed/bedding/disposing of waste) - no … they're not.

    Just do a very, very honest assessment of the financial commitment.
    The above post gave great advice too!
    Good luck!
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  6. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Songster

    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
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  7. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Songster

    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    Use the mildest bit possible and train your hands to be still.

    Sorry, you'll have to expand my answer above, it's embedded in your questions. Those are good questions by the way. Wish I had you as a student.....20 years ago!
    Melky likes this.
  8. MochaDuck

    MochaDuck Songster

    Jun 7, 2018
    I wondered what it meant when people lend horses. That's a good idea. Thanks :)
    Thanks :). Especially for your advice on food.
    Your horse shoe analogy makes my feet hurt.:lau But I get the point. What books would you recommend? Thanks for your help :)
    sassysarah, Melky and Shezadandy like this.
  9. SniperGoose

    SniperGoose Songster

    Apr 15, 2018
    Central Pennsylvania
    I've never personally owned any horses, though I do love them. I don't plan on getting any, but I enjoy learning about them, and so I'll recommend you this channel:

    This is the sort of person you'll either love or hate. He's a bit crude at times, but he gives some great advice and tips, and he does really know what he's talking about when it comes to horses. I especially enjoy the videos of his where he reviews other horse videos and discusses the behaviors he sees in the video, what the person did wrong to cause the behavior, etc. Very educational and worth your time :thumbsup
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  10. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Songster

    Sep 19, 2010
    I'll caution you, horses are extremely........................addictive!! LOL!

    If you can find a USPC (Pony Club) book, I would buy it! It's a wonderful book and even though I've owned horses my entire life, sometimes I still go back and reference it! There are several levels and if you can just find the beginner one, you'll be set.

    I will also second (or third) getting hands on experience with horses. That is a perfect way to gain knowledge! Good luck!
    sassysarah and Melky like this.

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