Last Updated on April 23, 2022
If you’re thinking of buying your first horse, or interested in getting a foal, you will want to know more about how to raise a horse. Let’s find out everything you need to know about caring for horses, and the best ways to keep them happy and healthy!
Basic Horse Care Requirements – How To Raise A Horse
Horses, like any animal, have basic needs that must be met in order to maintain their welfare. In some countries, it is a requirement by law that these needs are met. Most of us want to do the very best for our horses and go far beyond the minimum care requirements for horses.
When figuring out how to raise a horse there are many factors to take into consideration. You will need to ensure that your horse has access to food, water, and shelter. It is also vital that the horse has the opportunity to behave like a horse, and the companionship of another horse, animal, or human.
Let’s take a look at each of these in a bit more detail.
Accommodation, Shelter, And Companionship
Horses are a social species, that evolved to live in groups or herds. They are prey animals, so their natural instincts will prefer to live in large, open areas where they can run away from predators.
In a domesticated situation, we often do the exact opposite of this! We keep horses on their own in a stable, where they cannot interact with horses or move around freely. Although stabled horses can seem relatively content, their natural preference is to live outdoors with other horses.
This means that even stabled horses should be allowed to spend time outside every day, preferably with an established herd of horses. This will give them the opportunity to express their normal behavior – grazing, playing, mutual grooming, and resting.
Horses that live outdoors all year round will need protection from the weather. This can be in the form of a barn, field shelter, or tall hedges and trees. Some horses will also need a waterproof blanket if they are not adapted to the climate.
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Food – How To Raise A Horse
It seems pretty obvious that all horses need food to survive and thrive, but it is the responsibility of the horse owner or carer to make sure that the right food is provided, and it is fed in the correct way.
Horses are grazing animals, that are designed to nibble at grass for many hours each day. In the wild, a horse would spend up to 18 hours a day grazing. This type of food intake is called trickle feeding, and the digestive system of a horse is adapted to digest a slow, continuous intake of food.
To mimic this in a domesticated system, the horse should be allowed access to grassland or hay for the majority of the day and night. It is common for stabled horses to eat their daily allowance of hay very quickly, leaving them with no food for the rest of the day. You can address this problem by using small holed hay nets or a slow feeder hay rack.
Water – How To Raise A Horse
Horses must have access to clean, fresh drinking water at all times. If the horse cannot access water, he will become dehydrated. He may also drink a large quantity of water when it is next given, potentially causing colic.
Water is particularly important in extreme weather conditions. In hot weather, the horse will drink much more, particularly after exercise. He may also need electrolytes to replenish minerals lost through sweat.
In cold weather, water troughs and buckets can freeze over. It may be necessary to break the ice, and offer the horse tepid water to encourage him to drink.
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Freedom From Discomfort, Pain, Suffering, And Disease
By law, a horse owner or carer must take every possible step to prevent ill health and suffering. This means not only seeking veterinary attention in the case of injury or illness but also taking action to prevent these from occurring in the first place.
When planning how to raise a horse, you will need a preventative health care strategy that includes dewormers and vaccinations. Other actions include maintaining the hygiene of the stable, daily grooming, and regular farriery care. You will also need to ensure the horse is safe from potential hazards, by keeping his accommodation and fencing well maintained.
Summary – How To Raise A Horse
So, as we have discovered, when figuring out how to raise a horse there are many factors to take into consideration. You will need to ensure that your horse has access to food, water, and shelter. It is also vital that the horse has the opportunity to behave like a horse, and the companionship of another horse, animal, or human.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how to raise a horse! Have you ever raised a horse from a foal? Or maybe you’ve got some questions about the best way to care for a horse? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Is It Hard To Take Care Of Horses?
Taking care of a horse can be a very demanding and time-consuming hobby, and one which should not be undertaken lightly. The level of care required will depend on whether your horse lives in a field or stable, and how regularly you wish to ride him. All horses should be checked at least twice daily to ensure they are healthy and happy.
How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Horse?
Horses are very expensive to raise, but the costs can vary according to how they are raised. If you have your own field, this will cut down on rental and feed costs. Keeping a horse in rented stabling and buying in hay can become very expensive.
You will also need to budget for all the horse's healthcare needs, such as farriery, veterinary care, dewormers, and vaccinations. It is advisable to budget around $250 per month to raise a horse.
How Many Acres Should A Horse Have?
If a horse is to live outside all year round, he should have at least two acres of good-quality grassland. This may need to be split into smaller sections, so the are area the horse grazes is rotated. For horses that are kept stabled and turned out for a few hours each day, half an acre may be sufficient.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE