When horses first became domesticated, they had two roles. The slower, cold-blooded forest horses were beasts of burden and the faster, warm-blooded plains horses were a means of fast travel.
There are now several different types of horse and a large number of specific breeds that are recognised internationally.
The relationship you build up with a horse must be based on respect, not on fear and pain. You must always show the animal that you are in control, otherwise they will play up and test you.
The horse must do what you ask because it wants to, or expects to, not because it is afraid of you. A horse does not understand exactly what you want it to do, however when it has done something right, you should show that you are pleased. Also try to understand what your horse is saying to you, by learning its body language.
The horse’s natural instinct is to eat and drink, to obtain enough nourishment from its natural food grass, a horse needs to spend most of the day grazing. Because the horse is a herd animal it needs companionship, if you keep a horse on its own, you must provide the physical contact and mental stimulation that it would normally receive from other horses.
Although wild horses survive without being groomed, domestic horses are expected to be free from mud, stains and dust. Grass kept horses should not be groomed excessively because the grease in their coat helps to keep them warm and dry.
Keeping a horse requires a lot of hard work and the expense is not optional, food, rugs, farriery, vet visits and a field or stable are necessities.
General Health Information
- Do not introduce a new horse to a dirty stable, it should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected
- You should check a horse at grass twice a day, check its feet and that it does not have any cuts or injuries and that any rug is in place. If possible bring the horse in during bad weather
- Every day you should run your hand over every part of the horse’s body. Look for signs of inflammation, heat, swelling and pain
- Look inside their mouth and make sure there are no ulcers on the tongue or insides of the cheeks
- It is essential that your horse is wormed regularly