Wednesday 24 July 2013

Your Horse’s Home Sweet Home

When the weather is cold or even just after a long hack on a warm day, your horse will appreciate returning to a comfortable, safe place. Creating the right environment for your horse can be a tricky business, but if you get it right it can make a huge difference to your horse’s wellbeing. 


Keeping your horse at grass is a popular option for owners once the weather warms up. The costs are lower and the labour less intensive and it can often reduce the behavioural problems that stabled horses can develop. However, it can also result in more preparation before a ride if your horse gets muddy, and your horse can be exposed to a greater risk of injury or ill health, so it’s important that they’re checked daily. If considering keeping your horse at grass, it’s important to remember it’s not always an easy option. It’s important the fencing is completely safe and secure, and the upkeep of the field is paramount to ensure no poisonous plants are present.

Any horse kept at grass should always have a sheltered area to ensure they are comfortable in wind or rain. In the summer, having somewhere to shade them from the heat is just as important for your horse as having somewhere to shield them from the snow in the winter. To reduce costs, choose a field with natural shelter in the form of dense trees or bushes. If natural shelter isn’t available, then opt for a field shelter. Vale Stables offer custom built shelters to accommodate all your horses needs, so visit their website if you’re considering investing in something a little more substantial for your horse. 


If keeping your horse at grass isn’t possible, then it’s important to know how to create the perfect environment for them in stables. Upkeep of stables is no easy task, so it’s a good idea to develop a strict routine when it comes to managing your horse’s home. Mucking out should be a daily task in your stable upkeep timetable, and as a minimum you should be removing any wet patches and faeces every day to prevent infection. It’s vital that your horse is kept well away from the stable whilst you’re mucking out to ensure they are kept safe from dust and the ammonia that becomes much more highly concentrated when the wet bedding is being moved around. For the same reason, you should always protect yourself by wearing a dust mask when completing this task. 

Water and forage upkeep should also be high priorities on your stable management calendar, as should taking steps to ensure you’re horse is mentally stimulated. Stables can be a boring place for highly intelligent animals like horses, but there are steps you can take to encourage mental stimulation. A variety of horse toys are available, such as the horse ball, which horses love to kick around or throw in the air. Of course, just as it is if you choose to keep your horse at grass, stable safety is paramount and should be a top priority. Obvious safety tips include not smoking around the stables and regularly checking the locks are safe and secure, but for an extensive list check out this website to make sure you’re doing everything by the book.