Keeping your horse happy at home | An Eventful Life

Keeping your horse happy at home

 

Good Routine - Make It Manageable

Horses are creatures of habit and they are most relaxed when their lives are set in a routine. It is therefore important to establish a routine that suits the horse and yourself, taking into consideration your own routine, life style and work. Don’t set yourself unattainable goals. Are you really going to leap out of your warm bed every morning at 5.45am?

Things can go wrong when routine is upset. If you are late feeding your stable or yarded horse you might well find he has knocked over his water bucket, ripped his rugs or worked himself into a sweat

Horse living outside who have to wait for their feed may start pacing the fence line and playing with the horse in the next paddock or generally getting restless.

 

Should horses live in or out?

In Australia most horses live out although many are kept in small yards, which essentially is the same as being stabled. In the UK stabling is much more usual, especially for competition horses and during winter

The majority of horses seem to prefer to live in a reasonable sized paddock imitating what nature intended.

However if the outside area for your horse consists of a half-acre bare paddock with no trees for shelter or shade your horse may well appreciate coming into a stable or a covered yard to protect himself from the elements.

 

The compromise

A horse needs access to some kind of space so if you have your horse in a small yard or stable make sure that he also has a larger paddock where he can be turned out as often as possible to stretch his legs.

During the winter the horse could come in overnight and be turned out during the day with the system being reversed during the summer so the horse is protected from the heat of the day – as long as the stable or covered yard has adequate ventilation.

 

Paddock maintenance and fencing

To keep a good quality of pasture in your paddock you have to invest some time and money. Contact your local Agronomist who will be able to help you choose the best fertilizer and grasses for your particular area.

Rotation of horses in paddocks is one of the most important things when trying to keep pasture in good condition. Plan to always have one paddock ‘resting’ giving it a chance to recover and regrow. If you can do this you will never end up with a bare dust bowl or a muddy mess.

If your horses are in a small paddock either remove the muck or harrow it on a regular basis.

Check fences on a regular basis especially the areas of fencing that you don’t see up close every day. There are many types of fencing on the market ranging from the cheapest – barbed wire - to expensive post and rail.

When barbed wire is new and tight it can be an effective fencing option however when it becomes loose it can lead to all sorts of danger from ripping rugs to ripping the horse itself and is generally not a preferred option

Post and Rail is considered to be the safest fencing as horses can see it easily and they tend to respect it. Many people run electric fencing off the top rail to prevent the horses from chewing the wood while others coat the wood in a substance to discourage this habit.

There are many ‘plastic’ fencing options on the market which act in the same way as post and rail but require less maintenance.