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Basic Horse Care

This page includes information you need to know for basic horse care, including grooming, paddock maintenance, fencing, shelters/loose boxes, stables, yards.


*          Grooming          *


GREAT GROOMING RESULTS (while saving time and money)

All Credit for this Artical must go to Kathy, thanks for letting me use this on my site! 


Most of us are either short of money, or because of school, work and family commitments are also time wise challenged, especially through the winter months. So what do you do if you want to make the most of a short ride or schooling session and still want your equine friend to look good (or even better than you?) With all the different horse occupations I have worked in (including polo where time is at a premium when working 12-20 ponies before noon!) I have picked up bits and pieces over the years and developed a simple but very effective grooming system.


Although most of us canít afford a top of the line grooming kit (tho we would all love one!) you can make do with the basics.  A rubber curry comb, Dandy brush (or invest in a dog grooming rubber mitt with a brush on one side, about $5-7, that is what I use) body brush, plastic curry comb, mane comb and of course a hoof pick. Total cost is about $30.


Use the rubber mitt (rubber curry comb) in a circular motion over the muscular areas putting a bit of pressure behind it, a little gentler over the back. With the mitt, you can lightly rub over the shoulders, hips, legs and head (horses love the head rub!)


With the Dandy, or other side of mitt, quick, hard and short strokes all over, followed with the body brush.


With a spray bottle filled with no name brand baby oil (under $2) spray (lightly!) on the mane and tail before brushing with the body brush.  This makes the job a lot easier, especially when combing afterwards, and also gives a nice shine.  Spray for a week, then after that, should only need to use the oil once or twice a week. A heavier application on the tail, mane, fetlocks or elsewhere, will help removing burrs a lot easier, and painless for the horse.


After picking out the hooves, and if you want to oil them, put your expensive hoof oil in the cupboard to use on special occasions.  Mix in equal quantities Stockholm tar, animal fat and vegetable oil. (more oil in winter, more fat in summer)  I have been using this for years and not only are the hooves very healthy, but I have had not a single foot problem, even with my horses 100% barefoot, and mustering on rocky ground!


  A couple of tips

  -  Never use a dandy brush on the mane or tail, as it is too harsh, and will stretch the hairs and break them. And unless your horse is thick skinned, or has a thick coat, donít use on the body either as it can be irritating for them.  The grooming mitt has long bristles, but is not as harsh, so use it instead.

  -  When washing the tail, before rinsing the shampoo off, use the plastic curry comb to brush out the tail. The shampoo acts as a lubricant and makes detangling a lot easier (donít put baby oil on after, as it is unnecessary!)

  -  A slightly damp cloth quickly wiped over the horse before entering the ring will brighten up the coat.


*          Paddock Maintenance          *


horse paddocks need to be regularly groomed. Manure needs to be regulary removed or harrowed into the ground, paddocks will need to be check for weeds, and then remove them either by hand, or spray and rest the paddock. Occasional resowing of quality grass seeds to improve pasture is a good idea.


*          Fencing          *


horse fences need to be safe, and strong. Barb wire and horses do not mix, and straight wire is a much better option, and pvc wires are better still (less injurys occour with pvc wire) electric fences are great, and a stand off electric is a good addition to any standard fence, but all electric fenceing needs to be regularly check and tested to make sure it is working and no shorts have occoured. 


*          Shelters / Loose boxes          *


horses should always have access to some type of shelter, either a natural shelter of tree's of a man made shelter of a shed, sheds for one horse should measure at least 3x3 meters, with one side open. for 2 horses perhaps 4x3 or 5x3 meters would be suitable, and for more horses much larger. I have an 8x4meter shed that several horses share (up to 5 or 6)  


*          Stables/Yards          *


stables and yards should be large enough for the horse or pony to be able to lay down, and roll over, should they wish to do so. generally 4x3 meters is a good size for a horse, but smaller or larger could also be very suitable. water and feed should be easily accessed at all times.