Horses as Pets: 8 Tips to Keep them Happy

December 8, 2020

horse riding

If you are reading this, then there’s a good chance that you are a professional jockey or breeder of racehorses, or you have a farm large enough to comfortably house a few horses and ponies in the stable. Either way, you will find the following tips to be particularly useful, because they are all focused on keeping your horses healthy and happy.

Get to Know the Breed

It can be a good idea to follow blogs, forums and social media pages related to horse keeping, and ask experienced owners more about their magnificent pets. The bottom-line is that in order to keep your horse in good condition, you must take the time to understand their specific breeds well first. This will help you get a clearer understanding of what they need, when they need it and how to provide it to them. Here’s a brief introduction of the best horse breeds from around the world which can all be found in the UK now:

  • Carolina Marsh Tucky: Tough, riding and farming horses of the west that were bred to be tough and loyal
  • American Quarter Horse: A true equestrian horse in every sense of the term, these are supposed to be the fastest breed for sprint races
  • Morgan Horse: A descendent of the Welsh cob bloodline and the majestic Arabian horses; they are one of the best breeds for everything from racing and shows, to just plain old riding
  • Thoroughbred: These muscular animals are often held as elite results of selective breeding between Arabian horses and the King’s Stead
  • Arabian horses: These are tough as nails, white, desert horses with unmatched beauty
  • Friesian Horse: Arguably the most beautiful and majestic of all horses, is the dark, Friesian horse, which narrowly escaped extinction just a hundred years ago

Use Only the Most Comfortable Equestrian Equipment for Your Horses

There is something about horses that every aspiring equestrian should be aware of; they hate being uncomfortable. It does not matter how tough they are, they would always be happier and perform better if the horse tack and shoes on them are particularly comfortable. If you aren’t sure where to look, head over to the Equi Supermarket online, and you will find all the horse supplies you need in one reliable place.More importantly, they pride themselves on carrying only the best equestrian equipment that’s available in the UK. 

Horses Scare Easily: Make Them Feel Safe

Even trained military horses can get scared if they do not feel safe at night in the stable. It does not have to be a predator, but even a mouse or a loud bang can scare your horses quite a bit! The point is, if you wish your horses to enjoy a good night’s sleep and be energetic in the morning, make sure that the stable is a quiet, safe and well-sheltered place.

Vets and Pets

No animal should be kept without regular veterinary care, so don’t wait around until something begins to bother your horses. A monthly visit is highly recommended from the vet, just to keep an eye on their health and detect problems before they can become more serious. Also, you may want to consult the veterinarian regarding the diet to make sure that they are getting all nutrients they need. Diets also differ a lot, depending on the kind of roles the horses have to play. For example, show horses and racehorses have a very different diet.

Horses are Not Meant to be Cooped Up

Before they were domesticated, horses lived in teams, out in the open wilds. They ran all day, played and fought (never deadly!) among themselves freely. It is something that never left their blood. Even if you have a pony, don’t keep it cooped up in a stable all day, because that breaks the sprit of a horse. Ensure that they get plenty of running, walking and/or riding time, almost every day that it’s not unsafe outside.

Greet and Meet Your Horse Before Riding It

A classic mistake is to try and ride your horse right away, or by force. Handfeed your horse, treat it with respect, and earn its trust enough so that your horse is actually okay with carrying you around on its back. Also, you may want to get the proper equestrian equipment yourself, before riding a horse. Chaffed, rolled skin after ridding a horse without the proper equipment is no joke!

Look Out for Pests

Mice do sometimes make it into barns and stables, but that’s usually nothing much to worry about, but rats can bite your horse. However, the real problems are the insects. Consider the following to be the most common enemies of any horse:

  • Gnats
  • Mosquitoes
  • Flies
  • Bots
  • Mites
  • Blister beetles
  • Lice
  • Ticks

Keep an eye out for these equine pests on your own, but know that some of them can only be detected by a vet in their early stages of infestation, making vet visits even more important. In general, ensure that the stable really is cleaned every single day during the warmer months of the year.

Hoof Trimming

Either learn the craft yourself, or rely only on an experienced farrier to trim and shoe your pets’ hooves every 1.5 – 2 months. Also, keep their hooves clean regularly, and especially after a ride to avoid your horse getting a foot infection.

Never forget that your choice of equestrian equipment and other horse supplies is likely more important than beginners realise. If you are a professional horseback rider or a racehorse breeder, then it should not be necessary to state that the happiness and health of your horses is absolutely crucial to their performance on the track. Given that uncomfortable or low-quality gear may hurt your horse, that’s in direct contrast with the kind of environment that they need to thrive happily. Horses are intelligent, compassionate, majestic and loyal, but that’s all only true if their owners take excellent care of them.

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