Do you love horses or are thinking about owning one? Horses are certainly appealing to certain personality types, and horses have adorable personalities that are difficult to resist. When you see that there is a horse rescue or your child is asking you to buy one, you may need to think carefully about certain challenges horse ownership will present. When you read through these five facts about owning horses, you can better understand if you have the appropriate personality, space, and finances to get one. Otherwise, having someone else stable your horse for a fee or donating to a horse rescue that lets you take rides on occasion may be a wiser solution for the sake of the horse.
Horses do not like to eat only one type of food
A recent article by HorseTalk.co.nz talks about the research done on horse diets. For instance, feeding the horse alfalfa prevents stomach ulcers in horses. As far as food preferences, research shows that horses prefer baled hay (because it is moist and ferments) versus dry hay. Other horse facts related to diet include not letting them eat too much corn. They also feel happiest when they get fed at the same time everyday, and they like to rummage in the pasture for food on occasion. Finally, HorseTalk.co.nz points out that horses can tell if you have changed the amount of food your normally give them. If given three buckets of apples, they will choose the bucket that has the most apples.
Be careful which animals horses graze with
When you own house pets or other common farm animals, you usually do not need to worry about them getting along. There may be a period of adjustment, but the dog eventually stops chasing the cat or the chickens. On the other hand, horses are going to be the exception to that rule. Horses are social animals, and they prefer to be with other horses. However, it is better to get another horse, donkey, or pony for a horse companion instead of taking the risk of keeping it with other types of livestock.
Keep in mind that donkeys can live up to 40 years and ponies can live as long as 50 years while the average lifespan of a horse is 30 years. As far as other farm animals go, it is generally understood that horses usually need to be kept with other horses or cattle that have their horns removed. The same is true for keeping goats or sheep with horses. There are also several instances in online forums that state horses may not like a smaller animal and will injure it.
There may be hidden costs for keeping a horse
The University of Georgia estimates that keeping a horse can cost up to $4000 per year. You can easily use a horse ownership calculator and find out how much a new horse will cost you per year. However, on top of other basic care and money set aside for emergency vet visits, there are three facts about grooming a horse that a new owner will need to be aware of. For instance, keeping their hooves shoed will need to be done every six to eight weeks by a specialist called a farrier (about $500 per year).
Additionally, a horse’s teeth never stop growing and this means they will need regular dental attention. This is called teeth floating and the procedure will be done once or twice a year. If the horse is sedated, the cost can be as high as $70 to $100 per session. One other hidden cost is the maintenance of pasture land; which can vary drastically based on your experience, local climate, and the land you are using.
Horses cannot puke, and this causes expensive problems
Unlike other animals that cure themselves by doing so, a horse will not vomit when it is sick. Naturally, this can cause a large number of complications. One of the main reasons that horses are expensive is due to the fact that they are prone to be colicky, and colic is difficult to diagnose. After all, you will not know if it is something bad that the horse ate or colic because the horse will not be throwing up. Colic in horses is a condition that is noted by a horse refusing to eat its food, general lethargy, and other signs of abdominal pain.
The problem is that every suspected case of colic in a horse is an absolute emergency that must be treated by a vet at once. One of the common causes of colic in horses by new horse owners is feeding them grass clippings from mowing the lawn. Besides mown grass, horses usually understand which plants are poisonous, but they may eat them anyway when they are extremely hungry.
Different horse breeds do have different personalities
One of the major mistakes that new horse owners make is forgetting about the different types of personalities that are specific to horse breeds. While this is a common understanding with dogs, many people think about horses as being one breed in the same way that most people think about a common house cat. While we may not know what kind of personality a cat will have based on its coloring, some horse breeds are going to be drastically different than others.
A good example is the Thoroughbred. In general, this kind of horse has been bred for racing, and it may or may not be suitable for children. Along those lines, an Arabian horse has a sensitive, dog-like personality and may need more attention than you can give it. According to HorseForum.com, the best horse to get if you are a new horse owner is the Quarter horse, the Morgan horse, or Painted horse. While these horse breeds are intelligent, they are less likely to constantly outsmart a new owner with a fiery personality like the Thoroughbred or Arabian horse. Of course, common advice for new horse owners states that the best success with a Morgan, Quarter or Painted horse happens when you work with a trainer regularly.
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