by Mariana Burgos
Since my daughter was two years old, she has been crazy about horses. Every time she was asked what she would want for a gift for her birthday, she would always say, “Horse!” And I would always tell her that a horse is not a toy. I would always tell her how a person must take care of a horse so that it will always stay healthy and happy its entire life. So, she was somewhat content to just have a toy horse instead.
Throughout the years, she has accumulated a lot of stuffed toy horses and other kinds of toy horses. She is turne4d 18 on the 18th of November. She still loves horses but she now knows that it is not that simple to have a pet horse.
Horses are herd animals that prefer to live and roam in herds over wide open spaces so they can escape danger. The website, Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy (KBHH), with their article, Five Freedoms for Horse Health and Welfare (https://www.msd-animal-health-hub.co.uk/Healthy-Horses/Health/FiveFreedoms), tells us that horses are gregarious and nomadic creatures. Naturally, they groom each other in order to strengthen their bonds and create a hierarchy within the herd. This is what they call the ‘pecking order’.
KBHH says that horses are meant to spend a considerable portion of their day chewing or engaged in feeding, and they have evolved as trickle feeders (16-18 hours). Since the majority of their diet should consist of forage (hay, haylage, and grass), which is because their digestive systems are primarily built to break down fiber.
Horses do need some protection from the weather, such as shelter, trees, and barns, but they do not need to live in warm places because research has shown that they can survive in low temperatures without suffering any discomfort. According to KBHH, horses have winter coats that naturally insulate them, but those whose coats have been cut may require rugs to keep themselves at a comfortable temperature. Fit and maintenance are essential for everything a horse wears, including rugs, head collars, bridles, and saddles.
KBHH says the implementation of a preventative health care strategy that includes immunizations and deworming is necessary. Your local veterinarian can talk about a suitable strategy for your horse. Make sure that fencing and stalls are routinely inspected for issues and fixed to help prevent injury.
Due to their inherent nervousness, horses can be particularly sensitive while being handled. Developing a trusting bond with your horse is crucial. They are sociable creatures, therefore isolating them in isolated stables or paddocks may not be enough to satisfy their social and mental demands. Stress may be brought on by a lack of space and social interaction. According to KBHH, this issue can be mitigated by turning horses out frequently and in groups.
In their natural state, horses are grazing creatures. They consume a consistent supply of water and feed throughout the day as they nibble on grass. You have to give food in defined intervals each day because they don’t control how much they eat and will feast on feed if they have access to a lot of it. Additionally, you must guarantee that horses have access to a constant supply of fresh, clean water.
Horses require a lot of time as pets. They are not creatures that can be abandoned for extended periods of time. You should be ready to visit your horse at least twice a day and show up every day of the week.
The cost of taking care of a horse financially is quite “costly.” According to the website, Zareba in their article “What to Consider About Horse Ownership before Saddling Up” (https://www.zarebasystems.com/articles/horse-ownership-saddling), caring for your horse means paying for the following:
2. Feed and supplements
3. Tack and equipment
5. Farrier services
7. Veterinarian and dental checks
Well, perhaps, the last item “number 9-Competition,” if you are the type who is not really into it, then, it is one less expense. But all the other items with the list above are all but necessary, and each one costs substantially.
Boarding is the horse’s housing where it is kept after its time of grazing in the field. Feed and supplements are additional food that the horse needs since it is being kept as a pet and not able to let it eat in its natural way.
Tack and equipment are the things you need to use when you ride your horse. It would be best if you kept it all in good condition so that it will not hurt the horse when you put the gear on it.
Bedding means the animal’s bed. It must be kept clean every day from dung and pee so it will not affect the horse’s health.
Farrier service is the service you need for your horse’s hooves not unless your horse has been barefoot since birth.
The lessons are what you, the owner, need to know if you intend to ride your horse. Riding one is, actually, quite challenging. Dangerous even, if you have not ridden one ever before. Hence, the lessons.
Veterinarian and dental checks speak for themselves.
Lastly, insurance is something of a necessity if you have invested a huge amount of money in something. Having a pet horse is definitely a big investment.
So, there you have it. If you’re planning to have a horse for a pet, these are what you should know first before getting one.
This article also appears in the Manila Standard
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