Routine for horses

Routine care for horses

When you have a horse, there’s much more to it than just riding.  There are a variety of jobs that you need to do, to care properly for your horse.  Read about the jobs that Kim does daily, weekly, monthly etc. …

A Calendar

Taking care of a horse does not need to be overwhelming, nor does it need to be so time-consuming that it takes the entire day! A good approach to take is to determine what things must be done on a daily basis a weekly basis or a monthly basis. You’ll find this’ll make it much easier for you to manage all the jobs that need to be done.  Some jobs really need to be done at the same frequency, i.e. weekly, by all people that have horses but others, such as shoeing, vary.  Here are the basic jobs that I do along with how often I do them.

Daily

  • Provide your horse with plenty of fresh, clean water. This means that you’ll need to change his water even if it has just been standing for more than a day
  • Feed your horse every day. This will primarily be grass and hay. Remember that your horse will eat approximately 2% to 3% of its body weight every day
  • Muck out every day. Remove old/soiled bedding and droppings.  Make sure your horse has a clean place to lie down.  I always look at my bed and think it should be good enough for me to sleep in!
  • Do a visual check for any signs of injury or illness signs. This needs to be at the very least once a day, more often if possible.  Look for scrapes, cuts, bruises and puncture wounds on your horse's legs, head and body.  Treat any injuries promptly
  • Pick out your horse's hooves and check for bruising, cracks or loose shoes
  • Love your horse and spend quality time with him.  Isn't that the reason why you got him? Make sure he is happy and healthy every day.

Weekly

  • Groom your horse. Many horse owners do a bit of grooming each day with a full grooming only when needed or when they've got time to do so. If your horse lives out all of the time, you shouldn't groom him too much as this removes the natural oils that protect him from bad weather
  • Check the amount of hard feed, hay, bedding and supplements you have. Try to have at least two weeks supply so that you don’t run out
  • Pooh-pick your field at least once a week. This cuts down on flies, keeps the field clean in the same way that you would a stable.  Plus it makes a nice environment for you and your horse
  • Check fences for broken rails, loose wire, protruding nails, loose gates etc...that could cause injury
  • Scrub out your water trough or buckets and feed buckets. Dirt, food and algae quickly build up on these
  • And don’t forget to clean your tack!

Monthly

  • Make sure that you pay your livery bill or rental for your field on time.

Beyond monthly

These jobs are just as important but depend on each horse's individual requirements. In the long run these will save you money and, more importantly, save your horse from suffering from preventable conditions:

  • Get his feet trimmed, shod or shoes reset. You'll get to know how often your horse will need this.  The important thing is to make sure it is done, so problems don't start
  • Get him vaccinated 
  • Get him seen by the dentist at least once a year
  • Worm your horse. Nowadays there’s a great deal of debate about worming as people think very differently about it nowadays.  Whatever, worming is essential to keep your horse healthy
  • Book regular physio appointments if you think your horse needs it.

Seasonal

Some routine jobs are determined by the season or, moreover, the Great British weather!

  • Bath your horse when the weather's warm enough to do so. After the long autumn and winter months, there's nothing better than giving him a lovely bath to make him smell nice!
  • Spring clean your stable. There's nothing more satisfying than giving your stable a deep clean. Do this at least once a year on a warm day so that it dries quickly. This'll give you enough time to put it back together if he needs to go back in it at night
  • Clip him if he needs it. Read my blog to find out what is the best clip for your horse.

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Author

Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

Comments

  • Ann posted on February 21 2017 at 07:02 PM

    I think getting the saddle checked at least every 6 months by a qualified saddlefitter is critical to keeping your horse’s back healthy and consequently keeping your horse safe and comfortable.

  • Anne posted on February 22 2017 at 11:02 AM

    Regularly assess whether you need to rug your horse or change any rugs currently worn, i.e. as weather changes from season to season make sure the horse is in the right type of rug, if needed, and that any rug they are in is comfortable and the horse is benefitting from wearing it.

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