General Horse Care Part I
Once you have brought your new horse home, whether it be a boarding stable or to your own farm, the daily regimen of horse care begins. Horses are grazers and need to eat little and often. If they are not on pasture, then a suitable hay must be fed several times a day. The type of hay should depend on the horse (i.e. whether he is an easy keeper who doesn’t get worked much and needs more “roughage” or if he is a performance horse with a high metabolism). Some horses also require a grain feeding 2 x per day if they are in regular work or are harder keepers.
If your horse is kept in a stall, then his stall will need to be mucked out at least once daily with all the manure and soiled bedding removed. Fresh bedding should be then be added and spread evenly. Suitable bedding types are sawdust shavings, expandable pellets, and straw although some horses are known to eat their straw bedding so watch out for this.
If your horse gets turned out in a paddock, then his paddock will also need to be picked out daily and any left over soiled hay should be removed. To reduce the wasting of hay in both the stall and the paddock, a manger can be installed. This can save hours of labor time and cut down on the cost of hay.
Your horse should have access to fresh water all day long. If you do not have automatic waterers installed, then buckets can easily be installed in stalls and paddocks. If you have many horses in a pasture, some people find old bath tubs work well as a water trough just make sure there are no sharp edges. Remember to clean your horse’s water buckets, troughs and waterers at least once a week.
Caring for your horse can be a lot of work, there are no days off, but it can also be very rewarding!