All horses have certain basic needs irrespective of the husbandry system under which they are kept. As a responsible horse owner you must provide:
- Readily accessible food and fresh water to maintain health and vigour;
- Freedom of movement to stand, stretch and lie down;
- Regular exercise;
- Social contact with other horses and people;
- Accommodation that neither harms nor causes undue strain, and provides adequate protection;
- Protection from disease and regular inspection to assess the need for attention to feet, teeth and worm control;
- Rapid identification and treatment of sickness, injury and disease.
If a horse is provided with clean water, proper food, good shelter, parasite control, vaccination, vet and dental care, proper exercise and company, it can be a happy and responsive companion which will give you many years of pleasure and loyalty.
Choosing A Horse
It is important to buy your horse from a reputable source. Beware of purchasing a horse from markets, dealers, or persons who cannot provide a satisfactory history of the animal.
Make sure the vendor knows for what purpose you wish to use the horse. It is important that you and your horse are well-matched so great care and time should be employed in its selection:
- Find out all about it: age, background and any vices such as behavioural or health problems. In particular ask whether it is good in traffic and what level of experience the rider will need to ride it.
- Examine the horse and have an experienced friend ride it for you;
- Ride it yourself. If it feels right ask for a one week trial, then ride and handle the horse daily;
- Have your own veterinary surgeon check the horse for fitness and suitability prior to purchase.