Just about every horse owner has once dreamily contemplated the idea of looking out their bedroom or kitchen window to see their beloved equine friend happily grazing away. The idea of having your horse at home just steps from your front door, is undoubtedly an extremely appealing idea. While the idea is tempting, the reality is that there are a few different things to consider before you bring your horse home.
When we trust in a boarding facility to care for our horses, there is always at least one person on staff at all times to ensure the safety and comfort of the horses. This means that there is always someone checking water levels, tossing the horses a flake or two of hay whenever needed, and ensuring that the horses are fed at least two times each day. It also means that there is always someone in the barn to keep an eye on things and be present in the case of an emergency. Unless you plan on hiring someone to carry out these duties on your property, it is important to keep in mind that bringing your horses to live at home essentially means that you will be the sole individual responsible for all of these tasks.
It is also important to keep in mind that if you were to go on vacation or simply away for a night or two, you would need to arrange for someone to come and care for your horse, or you would need to look into temporarily boarding your horse. Horses require constant care, and bringing them home to live with you means taking on a considerable amount of work and responsibility. It is important to ensure that you are prepared to sacrifice some things in order to enjoy having your horses at home.
Pasture And Manure Management
Keeping your horses at home also means that you will now have to oversee the management of the pastures or paddocks. Horses produce a lot of waste on a daily basis, and it can add up quickly. Explore your options for disposing of the manure, whether it be dropping it off at the dump, selling it or giving it to local farmers, or even local tree or flower nurseries.
It is also important to keep in mind that you will need to rotate the use of your pastures or paddocks in order to prevent overgrazing and the eventual drying out of the grass. If possible, try to ensure that you have at least two different pastures or paddocks in which to turn your horse out. If you have more than one horse, remember that it is generally a good idea to dedicate one acre of land for each horse; this will help you ensure that you are not overcrowding or overgrazing.
In Case Of Emergency
When we board our horses, we not only have access to staff who ensure the safety of our horses, but we also become part of a close-knit community of individuals who have varying levels of experience that can help immeasurably in the case of an emergency. When you bring your horse home to live with you on your property, it is important to be sure that you feel confident in your ability to help your horse in the case of emergency, whether it be something as minor as a scrape acquired in the pasture, or something serious like a bad case of colic. If you do not feel comfortable in your ability to recognize the signs of illness or injury, or in your ability to treat these conditions, it may not be the best idea to bring your horse home quite yet.
Make sure that you have a direct line of communication with your veterinarian, so that in the case of emergency, you will be able to immediately contact them to have them come out and take a look at your horse. It is also generally a good idea to make sure that your truck and trailer are always ready to go at all times, or to ensure that you would be able to have a friend bring a trailer for you when you may need it. You do not want to wait until you are dealing with an injured or sick horse to arrange for a method of transport for your horse or horses; this is the time in which you will want to have a foolproof plan that will help you ensure the health and safety of your horse.
If you work everyday and don’t expect to be home much during the day, you may run the risk of your horse becoming stall sour. Even if you plan to keep your horse outside in pasture during the day, it is important to make sure that they are being properly exercised. This will help prevent both health and behavioral issues further down the road. If possible, make a point to saddle up at least twice a week at a minimum, whether it be for a routine workout, or even just for a trail ride around the property. This one-on-one bonding time also helps keep the bond between you and your horse strengthened, as well.
If you feel that you may not be able to ensure that your horse is properly exercised, consider hiring someone to come over once or twice a week, or ask around with friends and fellow equestrians to see if anyone would be interested in a free ride once or twice a week. Many people are happy to have the practice riding a different horse, and this can be a great way to ensure that your horse is receiving enough exercise and attention when you are unable to be home with them.
Bringing your horse home to live with you on your property at home can prove to be extremely rewarding, and for many horse owners, it is often the ultimate goal that many work towards achieving. With the proper planning and preparation on your part, you will be able to enjoy keeping your horses at home.