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Horse Articles :: Horsemanship 101

Horsemanship 101

Taking care of a horse can be a fun and rewarding experience. Just like any domesticated animal or pet, they rely on us for their well-being.

The first basic step in caring for your horse is to provide adequate feed, water, and forage. Grain comes in a variety of forms, such as pellets or textured. The compressed brand being granulated into pellets, and textured grain (also called sweet feed), allows you to visible see the oats, corn, and molasses. The preference is yours, but keep in mind your horse may prefer, perform, and thrive better on one versus the other. The amount of grain that you feed your horse will depend on his performance level, general health, and nutritional needs. The type of hay that you provide is also your choice. There are several varieties, such as timothy, orchard grass, coastal, alfalfa, as well as any mixture of the two. The amount fed will vary on type of hay and quality, as well as your animal's specific needs. Availability of hay is generally local, so contact your supplier. Be advised that horses need a lot of water, and their buckets will need to be cleaned regularly. Many horses have the habit of dunking their hay and grain into their water while eating (similar to dunking doughnuts into your coffee).

Keep in mind it as harmful to your animal to overfeed as it is to underfeed, so consult your veterinarian if you need help in managing your horse's weight.

After your horse has eaten, you will surely need to clean his stall. Daily cleaning is recommended. There are several bedding types that you can utilize, including sawdust, shavings, and straw. Sawdust is very easy to use. The wet spots and manure can be easily removed while sifting out the bedding that is still clean. Pay attention to your bedding, some allergy sensitive horses can develop problems if the sawdust is too dry. Some horses develop hives from straw, so it is best to see what type of bedding is best for your horse.

Coat conditioning is enjoyable to the horse, as well as good for him. Basic brushes you will need to brush your horse area curry comb, which loosens old hair and dirt as well as brings the natural oils to the surface. A stiff brush to flick away the loosened particles, and a soft finishing brush for the face will also be necessary. A woman's hairbrush or comb for the mane and tail works wonderfully. A good way to keep the mane and tail clean, long, and tangle free is to braid them. The mane can be braided into several sections, as well as one braid for the tail. Wash and redo them periodically. Horses do not need full bathes unless they are extremely sweaty or muddy. In such circumstances, dish soap works just as well as more expensive horse shampoos. Toweling a sweaty horse down after a workout is actually more beneficial, especially in cold weather. It also brings oils to the surface, leaving your horse with a naturally glossy sheen.

Hoof care is an essential element of horse care. A horse generally needs his hooves trimmed every six to eight weeks. Shoes are optional, but a good way to look at it is this: Wouldn't you rather wear sneakers than walk or run on stones barefoot? Your horse feels the same way. Clean the hoof daily if possible. Use a hoof pick to remove all debris and stones, since bruises can lead to an abscess.

It is important to remember that some horses will not be amiable to grooming or hoof care right away. They may also get scared if you clean their stalls while they are in them. Move slowly around the horse as not to startle them. Talk in a soothing voice; reassure them that you will not harm them. Take your time with the animal until he learns to trust you.

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