Properly caring for a horse can be a full-time job: they are not low-maintenance animals. They require daily care and attention, as well as a special diet and frequent vet check-ups.  

For new owners, knowing exactly how to ensure your horse gets everything he or she needs to stay fully healthy can be a lot to take in – and expensive. Carefully consider if you have the funds to provide your pony with everything it needs before acquiring one. 

 In this article, we’ll include everything you need to know about horse care before making the big decision to get one. We’ll lay out the basic requirements for food, grooming and exercise, and the typical day-to-day care that these animals need.  

Here is everything you should know about properly caring for a horse.  

Food and Water 
A horse’s basic feed is ‘roughage’: hay, pasture or chaff. In general, a good rule for feed quantity is to give your horse 1-2kg per 100kg of its bodyweight (more may be required if your pony is being worked a lot)You should also include a salt-lick or mineral block in the paddock. Be wary of including grass cuttings or food scraps in the feed – these may make your pet ill.  

Supplements to make sure your pony gets all the nutrients they need can be introduced with guidance from a vet. Supplements like E3 Live for Horses help keep hooves healthy and prevent sickness down the line.  

Of course, your horse should always have access to clean water: whether through a self-filling trough or a source refillable by you. Buckets are not suitable, as they will be quickly tipped over. In warm weather, horses may drink up to 45 liters per day. Therefore, large quantities should always be available.  

Shelter and Exercise  
Paddocks need to be spacious enough so that the pony can happily run around unless they live in a smaller space but are taken out to exercise daily. Fences should be kept in good repair, and the area should routinely be checked for rubbish or anything that could cause injury. Horses should never be tethered long-term; only for short periods, using proper tethering equipment.  

Shelter should be provided by a stable, to protect against the elements, or by trees if the paddock is stationed in a wooded area. You should provide extra shelter in extreme weather conditions. 

Grooming and Healthcare 
Hooves should be trimmed by a farrier (an equine hoof and shoe specialist) every 6-8 weeks. Hooves grow just like human nails do and become very uncomfortable if they’re not maintained. Shoes are only necessary for protection if your horse is to be ridden on rocky or hard ground.  

A veterinary dentist will need to check your pony’s teeth at least once per year – if the animal is under 5 years old, or is fed with grain, this increases to once per 3-6 months.  

Just like dogs and cats, your pony needs to be wormed and receive vaccinations: 
·         Worming medicine is usually administered to horses in the form of a paste and should be used every 6-8 weeks.  
·         Reduce the risk of your pony contracting worms further by ensuring the quick removal of manure from their living spaces daily.  
·         Your vet will advise you on what vaccinations your horse needs, and how often they should be re-administered; but common vaccines include viral respiratory disease, tetanus and strangles (a respiratory tract infection caused by the Strep bacteria). 

In addition, an important part of keeping your pony happy is to let her play with other horses. They are herd animals and greatly enjoy the company of their kind. 

Unless you are going to breed your male horse, stallions should be gelded (castrated) – otherwise, they are very difficult to manage and are a menace to other animals. Female horses (mares) and gelded males make great companions and should get on fine together.  

Ponies love being ridden. Joining a riding club will help you bond with your horse, learn a new skill and is an opportunity for both of you to socialize. Seek out a trained instructor and professional riding equipment if you would like to ride your horse.