Getting a horse is a large and expensive commitment, and you will need to prepare extensively to give your horse a good home. You will, for instance, need to find a veterinarian who treats horses. You will also need a farrier to care of the horse’s hooves.
Other preparations include the following.
Have the soil tested for toxins
Toxins in the soil can come from outside sources like pesticides or landfills, but many occur naturally. Examples of the latter include lead and arsenic. Either way, you don’t want them in your croplands or pasture. Contact a state or local department of agriculture or environmental resources or visit their website to get information about soil testing labs in your area. After choosing a lab, follow their instructions for collecting soil samples. Keep the samples someplace dry and cool until you take them to the lab. It will usually take two to three weeks for the lab to complete their tests.
If you have a very large property with several possible locations for a pasture, have the soil tested before choosing one. The tests could indicate that one area is less toxic than the others.
Have a pasture for running and grazing
Horses need to graze and run, and they need a lot of space to do so. The pasture should be at least 400 square feet (37 square meters). It should also be completely flat, so the horses can get around easily without risk of injury. Fill in any holes so the horses don’t stick their feet in it. While trees can provide shade, you will need to clear away any fallen branches. You should check the pasture at least once a week for other hazards like rocks, broken glass, and poisonous plants. Erect a circular fence that’s at least as tall as a horse’s shoulders to keep one from jumping out.
Get a farm shed for a stable and hay storage
Farm sheds can be used to store machinery, crops, and hay. They can also be modified to serve as a stable. Every stall in the stable should be at least 1.5 times as long as the horse in every direction. The partitions between each stall should be at least seven feet (2.1 meters) high to ensure that an angry or terrified horse can’t kick over it. The stall should also have a high window to admit daylight.
Ensure access to clean water
Every stall should have a water trough or tank. The average horse drinks at least one gallon (3.8 liters) per 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of body weight daily. Thus, a horse that weighs 1,000 pounds will drink ten gallons or 38 liters of water every day – and it can drink twice that if it is hot or has been exercised. The water tanks need to be cleaned at least once a week to curb algae growth. You can put fish in ponds or water tanks that are too big to be cleaned; they will eat algae and mosquito larvae.
In addition to the above, you will need a variety of supplies to care for your new horse. You will, for example, need a horse trailer to transport your horse to the vet and other places. You will also need feed, grooming supplies, and a halter. Owning horses is a lot of work and expense, but it can be rewarding.
By Meghan Belnap
who is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family and residing in Oklahoma.