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Yea or neigh?

October 16th 2018

Author: Sarah Butler

Even if you have enough land for a horse to graze, how ready are you really for horse ownership?

Many children, and even adults, dream of owning a horse. After all, they look like so much fun in the movies. However, while horse ownership can be rewarding, it can also be a lot of hard work. Are you up for the challenge?

Firstly, it’s important to be aware of a horse’s nutritional requirements. There’s a common misconception that putting a horse in a paddock ticks all the boxes for both food and shelter, but the reality is entirely different. A horse requires at least one percent of its body weight in food per day, and it’s not going to get all of the nutrients it requires from grass alone. Hay and grain are also needed, and grain may also need to be fed out at least twice per day. Owning a horse is a full-time job in itself, so you need to be ready for 365 days per year of ongoing care.

Equally as important is its veterinary care and hoof maintenance. Every six to eight weeks, horses need to have their hoofs trimmed or shoed. This process is best to be carried out by a hoof care specialist known as a farrier. Farriers are involved in all components of hoof care, including trimming, shoe installation, and hoof balancing. What’s more, a trip to the vet at least once a year is crucial for vaccinations, as well as regular dental care. Parasites can also pose a problem, so treatment for intestinal worms is an ongoing expense as well.

If you’ve decided that you have plenty of land and time for a horse, it’s time to think about their shelter and exercise requirements. Horses require a robust, three-sided shelter, at a minimum, that can provide protection from all elements – be it driving wind and rain, or shade from the intense sun. They also need regular riding as well as exercise, and a safe enclosure in which to stroll that has adequate fencing. Fencing should keep the horse in without causing injury should it try to escape.

Care for horses can run into the thousands of dollars every year, and the attention they require can often be more than the average person can provide. If you’re interested in becoming a horse owner, but you’re not sure whether you’re ready or not, talk to us at North Hill Vet. We will be more than happy to talk you through a horse’s everyday needs.