Horse Care Basics – Part 1

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Horses require much care, love, understanding, dedication and personal attention. The species is extremely sensitive and is easily affected by their environment. Horse owners should be mindful of how they care for their horse as it will affect the horse’s health and behaviour.

I hope you’ll find this series of horse care tips helpful.

Behaviour in Herd environment

In a herd environment, horses must adhere to the rules of the system, especially to the established hierarchy. This is the key for horses’ survival and success of the herd’s organisation. This means, they must act fast when danger is signalled by the member of the group.

In this system, they take turns to sleep and take guards to protect other members from predators. Once a signal has been made by the alpha horse, they take flight to escape from the threat. They must learn how to respect the authority from the minute they are born. Owner can see a distinct order in horses in this system, and once they care for a horse, they become part of the herd. Even if that herd is unnatural by including a human and being as small as 2 members, the horse or the owner is born to be the leader. It is essential, for safety reasons, that the person is proclaimed the Alpha horse.

People should keep in mind that horses are extremely sensitive to noise. They can smell and hear predators far away and will take appropriate action to survive from their attacks. The noise interferences may disturb them and can put them in a confusing state. The power of smelling the predators is closely associated with their reflexes to take flight. This genetics wiring in the body give them a physiological signal in their brain to prefer peace and harmony and not to get disturbed by unnecessary noises. Horses can get flighty easily and may cause the person or themselves a severe injury. They may also cause trouble to people surrounded and hence, it is important to provide your horse an environment that is calm and reassuring. However, as we know, this is not always possible, especially when horses are athletes and travel to competition. This is why it is primordial to teach your horse to get used to these noisy environments and to see you as the leader.

Instinctively, the horse will follow and obey to the Alpha horse because he knows his survival depends on it. When the person is seen as the leader of the herd, the horse will willingly do what the human asks.

Horse-Human Relationship

The beginning of the relationship between owner and horse can exist if humans treat the horse well and build a strong friendly partnership with them. Horse care is not only about taking care of their material needs or riding the horse, but it is also about maintaining a deep and strong relationship with them. Owners must nurture them and build a relationship based on respect, fairness and love. Horses will always look to a companion, and owners can gain their trust and give them respect to earn a great relationship. To build that healthy relationship, be prepared to put lots of efforts and show your horse consistency, attention and understanding.

Daily examination of your horse

It is important to inspect your horse daily because they are prone to injuries. Take 5 minutes to examine the body before riding the horse and, preferably, first thing in the morning. For some reasons, it seems that horses injure themselves a lot at night! Legs, back and neck should be carefully checked for heat, soreness, scratches or lumps. Owners must thoroughly inspect the eyes to see if they are bright and free of discharges or glaze. They must examine the stomach for unusual noises or lack of noises as it is a good way to detect any bouts of colics. It is easier to catch problems early to keep the horse fit and healthy at all times.

One must take caution around mares in season and stallions as they may display a more aggressive behaviour. They can bite and become violent because of high level of hormones. Don’t forget that horses are big and strong, and we, humans, can be in their way so easily. A highly strung stallions can be extremely dangerous to us and can inadvertently knock a person down.

Mares can be extremely sensitive when touching their belly and near the teats, especially when in heat. These areas become tender and the mare may kick.

Part 2: you will get tips on grooming, management of stables and horse training.

6 thoughts on “Horse Care Basics – Part 1”

  1. Len Putney 0477 616 236

    Cass, I have printed all your Articles & I find they are very helpful tips. I have placed them in a folder & pick them up daily & read.
    do U have an article on feeding ASH & QH competing in Campdrafting ?? & QH competing in Cutting ??
    Thanks again for the Articles, Cheers Len

    1. Hi Len, thank you! I am pleased to hear they are helpful. No I haven’t got articles on feeding competing horses. They need to receive a lot more nutrients than resting horses that’s for sure. Make sure they have hay ad-lib, salt to help with sweat loss and concentrates to fuel what they burn. Cheers

  2. One must take caution around mares in season and stallions as they may display a more aggressive behaviour. They can bite and become violent because of high level of hormones. Don’t forget that horses are big and strong, and we, humans, can be in their way so easily. A highly strung stallions can be extremely dangerous to us and can inadvertently knock a person down.

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