So you've decided to welcome a new four legged friend to your property? But before you saddle up and start riding, it's important to make sure your new buddy feels right at home. Creating a safe and comfy environment is key, this article will give you some down to earth advice on getting things just right to welcome your new companion.
We have compiled a list of the 7 most important factors to consider when introducing your new addition to your property.
A sturdy fence surrounding your pastures
Just like having a cosy shelter and a freshwater source is a must, having solid fencing is equally essential when you've got a horse on your property. Horses are strong, speedy, and sometimes feisty creatures, so the fencing needs to be both sturdy and easy for them to spot. This way, they stay safe and stay put, without getting into any tangles. When it comes to fencing for horses, there are a few things to remember. For starters, the fence should be tall enough – at least five feet for lighter breeds and around six feet for the bigger, more powerful ones that might decide to hop over shorter fences.
Shelter or barn
When it comes to providing a comfortable home for your horse, there are a few common choices, but the two most popular options are run-in sheds and stables. A run-in shed is usually a cosy three-sided structure that allows your horse to come and go as it pleases. This gives your horse the freedom to stay in the shelter when it wants or to trot around as it pleases, keeping it active and moving. The beauty of this setup is that it reduces the need for constant maintenance, as your horse doesn't require as frequent cleaning, and there's also a lower risk of fire hazards.
When it comes to letting your horse graze, having the right pasture is vital. The amount of land your horse needs depends on its breed and forage quality. Larger, more spirited breeds need more land with nutrient-rich plants to sustain them. Consider the number of horses you have, their care needs, and location. Generally, an average horse thrives on at least two acres of well-kept pasture. While good pasture reduces the need for hay, it's smart to supplement with hay or legumes for extra nutrients. Remember to store hay and feed in a cool, dry, well ventilated spot to maintain nutrients and prevent contamination.
Access to fresh water 24/7
We all know how important staying hydrated is, and horses are no different. Keep a clean, reliable source of fresh water available at all times. Automatic waterers are great, but a good old-fashioned trough does the trick too. Just make sure it's cleaned regularly to avoid any unwanted algae parties. Horses need a good water source, drinking around 20 litres daily on average. This can go up depending on factors like size, activity, weather, and diet. In colder times, a horse's water intake drops, which isn't good for its health.
Apart from a dependable water supply, it's crucial to keep the water from getting too cold. Heated water buckets, automatic waterers, and electric/propane heaters for stock tanks can help you ensure your horse's water stays warm and inviting.
Foot Friendly Ground
Horses rely on their hooves for every step they take, which is why providing them with a suitable walking and standing area is essential. Ensuring your horse has a well-drained space to move around comfortably is crucial. Muddy areas might seem harmless, but they can lead to a slew of hoof issues. Hooves soaked in mud for extended periods can become soft and prone to injury or infection. The constant dampness can also make hooves more susceptible to fungal and bacterial problems. Moreover, muddy grounds can create an uncomfortable and unstable surface, potentially causing strains or discomfort as your horse moves. After heavy rainfall, inspect the area where your horse spends its time. If you notice the ground getting muddy, take steps to improve drainage or provide an alternative dry area for your horse to stand and move around. Creating a space with proper footing not only safeguards your horse's hoof health but also contributes to its overall well-being and comfort.
Safe storage-tidy barn
If you have a barn or storage area for horse feed, tack, and gear, it's crucial to ensure that the space is safe and suitable for your equine companions. Horse-proofing this area is a responsible step to take to protect both your horses and their equipment. One primary consideration is to secure the area against potential hazards. Lock away any items that could be harmful if ingested or come into contact with the horses. This includes cleaning supplies, pesticides, or any chemicals that could pose a danger. Horses are curious creatures, and they might inadvertently interact with these substances, leading to health issues. Maintaining tidiness is equally important. A clutter-free space reduces the risk of accidents. Horses moving around can knock over items, causing potential tripping hazards or situations where objects might fall on them. Keeping the area organised and free of unnecessary clutter not only makes it safer for your horses but also for anyone entering the space.
Horses, much like us, thrive on social interactions. When bringing a new horse onto your property, think about providing them with a companion if you can. This companion could be another horse, a friendly donkey, or even a sociable goat – a buddy for both chatting and grazing. Having a companion animal can make a remarkable difference in your horse's well-being. It helps stave off boredom and anxiety that might creep in when a horse is alone for extended periods. Just like we appreciate having someone to talk to or share activities with, horses benefit from companionship as well. So, when bringing a new horse into your life, consider introducing them to a companion, fostering a more fulfilling and cheerful experience for your four-legged friend.
Remember, creating a horse friendly environment is all about making your new friend feel welcome and cared for. So, roll up your sleeves, put on your thinking cap, and get ready to create a cosy and safe haven for your horse to thrive in.