New Horse Owner? Essential Horse Care Tips You Must Follow

The most thrilling thing that can happen to a horse lover is finally getting their first-ever horse. It is a rewarding experience to own a horse as horses make wonderful companions. Becoming a horse owner comes with plenty of responsibility, though. In some cases, a lack of knowledge might turn this exciting event into a disaster. Horse, like other animals, requires proper and regular care.

It is your responsibility to provide your horse with all the necessities it needs to stay healthy and happy. This short guide will illustrate the basic needs and requirements you would have to fulfill.

Basic Needs of Horses

Let’s have a look at the basic needs you must provide to your horse:


Hydration is crucial for the overall wellbeing and health of your horse. Horses drink about 5 to 15 gallons of water every day, on average. You must make sure that your horse has access to fresh, clean water all the time. Check the water source regularly to ensure there is sufficient water and that it is safe for the horse.


The foundation of your horse’s diet must be forage. Horses are referred to as trickle feeders, which means they can eat food throughout the day. They can spend about 17 to 20 hours lazily grazing on the forage! However, scarcity of quality pasture in the land might not provide them with that luxury.

Your horse has to eat about 1% to 2% of their body weight. In case there isn’t any access to fresh pasture, or if your horse has dietary restrictions, then hay can be given to meet their food requirement.

If your horse isn’t able to maintain its energy levels and healthy body on forage alone, you can also add multivitamin supplements in their diet. Since not all pasture is balance and offers complete nutrients, these supplements can offer the minerals and vitamins your horse needs.

You can also give your horse occasional tasty treats that they are bound to look forward to enjoying.

Shelter and Space

Horses must have a sturdy shelter that protects them from rain, wind, and sun. A suitable horse shelter includes a stable, walk-in shed, and trees. Adding a waterproof rug protects your horse from cold weather, but you must check it every day to make sure it isn’t leaking, slipping, or rubbing.

Horses also need sufficient space to run and walk around unless you help them exercise every day. In the stable, the horse should also have adequate space to roll, lie down, turn around, and walk forward. In case the horse gets sick, you must consult a vet to provide them with the right shelter and protection they need.

Horses shouldn’t be tethered for the long-term. Short periods are acceptable, only if you provide it with the following basic requirements:

  • They can graze freely

  • The area has a shelter, like a physical shelter or a tree

  • They must be inspected twice every day

  • The tether should be attached to a halter or a collar with a swivel

  • They must be able to stand and lie down without any restriction

  • They get exercise every day

  • They have access to water all the time

Horse Grooming and Care

Grooming is a major part of a horse’s daily care as it helps in disease prevention and health improvement. Moreover, it also creates a bond with your horse and allows you to know more about your pet.

Hair Care

Grooming helps in thoroughly cleaning the horse by removing loose hair, identifying changes in their body temperature, removing burrs and dirt, sweat prevention, etc. There are various grooming tools that can help you accomplish this task.

Feet Care

Horse hooves must be trimmed after six or eight weeks to prevent them from chipping and becoming uncomfortable for your horse. It also helps in removing any stones that get stuck in the hoofs. If your horse rides on rocky or hard ground, they might require shoes.

Teeth care

The teeth of your hose must be inspected by a competent and trained dentist annually. Unchecked teeth result in mouth injuries, pain, and become sharp.

Horse Health

It is essential to ensure your horse is in optimal health by looking out for signs of common health issues, getting them dewormed, and ensure they get their vaccinations on time.

Common Health Issues

Prevention is always the key when it comes to health. Here are some of the common health issues of horses to look out for to ensure your horse’s health:

  • Laminitis

  • Colic

  • Respiratory conditions, like cough and the common cold

  • Skin conditions, like sweet itch, cracked heels, mud fever, rain scald, and ringworm

If your horse is acting strangely, for instance, shows unexplained behavioral or physical changes or is restless, then you must consult a vet immediately.

Worming Your Horse

Regularly worming your horse is also crucial to prevent a worms and parasites buildup in the intestines and stomach. There are multiple worming pastes available that can be used every six or eight weeks. Aside from this, you must remove the manure regularly from the paddock to decrease the chances of worm contamination.

Consult Vaccinations

A vet will check your horse and suggest the vaccinations your horse needs to stay in good shape. They might recommend vaccination for strangles, viral respiratory disease, and tetanus.

Monitoring Your Horse's Health

You must keep a close watch on the health of your horse. Make sure they are eating properly and aren’t showing any unusual signs and symptoms. Avoid letting the horse get too thin or too fat.

Becoming a horse owner can be extremely exciting. With the right guidance, you will be able to keep your horse happy and healthy. Understanding their basic needs, including food, water, shelter, and grooming requirement, will ensure you take good care of them. Regular health checks are important to take preventative measures. You will continue to gain more experience and learn new things as you start taking care of your horse.