General Horse Care for a happy horse and owner
As any horse lover knows, there is no better feeling than tucking your horse in to bed (so to speak) at the end of the day, knowing that they are comfortable, content and safe. There are a few hints and handy tips that can help all horse owners do the very best by their horse.
Stick to a routine
Horses are creatures of routine, keeping them in a daily routine can be so rewarding for both of you. The following is based upon a single horse owner and their horse being stabled at night and turned out when possible. Despite this, the practices detailed can be followed by most, it may just be the timings that differ.
In the morning if you visit your horse daily at the same time they will become accustomed to seeing you at this time, in turn they will realize their breakfast will also be arriving at this time. They will not only become potentially more vocal and say hello when greeting you as you arrive, but the risk of them becoming stressed by being stabled for a longer period of time will be reduced. This helps you and your horse begin your day together on a pleasant and happy note.
After breakfast you can set about grooming and generally spending some time with your horse. Grooming, cleaning and taking care of your horse is an important part of building and maintaining a happy relationship together. Horses in herds in the wild spend part of their day grooming each other, essentially by doing this you are developing your friendship together. As well as this, it also gives you the opportunity to possibly find any knocks or bruises that may have happened during the night. Any of which can then be treated to prevent it from becoming a problem.
Once clean and their breakfast has had time to digest, you can then enjoy your daily ride. Whether this is exercising in the school, practicing for that all important next competition or taking a leisurely hack, this is up to you.
On return from your ride, post exercise routine may vary slightly depending on what you did together. It is essential that horses that have become sweaty and hot during their exercise be cooled off, washed off if the weather and temperature allows and a wicking rug be put on to prevent the horse from getting a chill. If this is not the case and your horse has had time to cool off on your way back to the yard, be sure to brush off any dried on sweat and mud.
When suitably dry and comfortable you can turn your horse out into the field. Be sure to check the water supply is fresh and readily available and all fences are safe and secure. Once you have done this you can head back and muck out your horses stable. Many people, knowing they will be back again in the afternoon to bring their horses in, will muck out the stable and leave it up against the sides of the stable. This gives the stable a chance to dry out and air out over the course of the day. This is up to you. One small hint is not to do the horses water until you bring them in. This helps the water stay fresh and clean, rather than getting dusty and stale over the course of the day. You can also choose whether to put your horses hay / haylage in the stable ready for later or do it when you come back.
In the afternoon on arrival to the yard you can complete your horses stable, put the bed down if applicable, fill their water, put their hay in and make up their dinner. Then you can go and fetch your horse from the field. Many will have enjoyed a roll, so it is important to ensure you are putting your horse to bed comfortable. This requires you to pick out their feet, brush off any dry mud, wash off any wet mud and change from outdoor rug to indoor rug if you have decided to rug them. Once all this has been done you can put your horse in their stable (if you have been doing this on the yard) and feed them their dinner. Once you are sure they are settled and comfortable you can leave them to their nightly slumber.
This is a very basic, yet applicable routine that most horses will find easy to become accustomed to and happy involved in. Of course each horse owner will know their horses and variations of this will suit their days and their horse better.
- Feeding and Caring for Morgan and Clydesdale Horses (brighthub.com)