How to Raise Horses

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Raise Horses
Raise Horses (Image: http://www.andersonprops.com/Investment_Properties/Farm__Ranchland.aqf)

Horses are wonderful animals that require a fair amount of work. Whether raising work horses or race horses or just pleasure horses, there are some basic rules to keeping the animals. These are easy steps to follow, although they can be labor intensive. The reward for the work are healthy, happy and well-trained animals that will make your experience raising them a better one.

Things You'll Need

  • Hay
  • Grain
  • Sawdust
  • Barn
  • Buckets
  • Harness/halter
  • Lead rope/leash
  • Round pen
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Sifting fork
  • Fencing
  • Pasture
  • Horse trailer
  • Brushes

Have a barn (or stable) ready before you bring the horses home. You will need stalls for the horses, a tack room for the equipment, another space to keep hay bales, and bins for grain and sawdust. It should also have a water supply such as a spigot or hose.

Fence in a place outside the barn, too. How big a pasture you will need depends on the breed and number of horses you plan on keeping. A single draft horse, for example, should have about 5 to 6 acres of pasture with room to run.

Make sure that in addition to grazing (grass), the pasture has access to water. A natural source, such as a stream, is best, but a water tank will work. Fencing to keep the horse inside the pasture is also wise.

Use a halter (or harness) around the horse's head, as well as a lead--like a leash but for livestock, usually rope or chain--to take the horse from the barn to the pasture, or into the horse trailer when you transport the horse.

Use a round pen where you can train your horse with simple commands. The pen should be a circular, fenced-in area. You'll also need a riding crop for those moments when you need to gently correct the horse with a tap on the side or hindquarters.

Make sure that every day each stall has a water bucket with clean water. You may also want a hay rack, but you can put the hay on the floor. There should be a good coating of sawdust on the floor, not only for the horses comfort but to help absorb odors and waste.

Clean the stall daily. A sifting fork allows you to scoop up the waste left behind without taking the clean sawdust with it. A wheelbarrow makes it easier to remove the waste to a compost pile as well as get fresh sawdust (usually kept in a bin) to re-line the stall when you are done.

Feed the horses grain and hay each day, even if they are also grazing. Grazing horses need less hay, but if you live someplace where winters are harsh, they'll need more in winter. Grain is easier to feed the horses if you use a grain dish that you can remove from the stall when they are done.

Clean your horses when they get dirty. Use a brush to clean the horses and help remove excess hair. It also helps you and your horse bond.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep your grain in bins with lids that seal tight. Garbage cans and elastic cords work well. If you've never trained a horse before, take lessons or hire someone to do it. Like any other animal, a trained horse is much easier to handle. Take the time to talk to and touch your horses even when you aren't cleaning them or moving them.
  • Horses are big animals, so always be careful around them. Accidents happen. Never use a whip. They hurt, they are cruel and they make for bad horses. If you've never owned a horse before, don't jump into it blind. Read up, talk to people, attend classes, and learn all you can before you get your own. Horses are living creatures, and just like house pets, require care and affection.

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