When buying your own horse, you might wonder if the horse is best kept inside a pasture or barn/stall. While there include disadvantages and advantages with every situation, many experts recommend using both outdoor and indoor living to provide a horse the advantages of both. After giving consideration to the below details, determine what is going to best work for both you and the horse.
Stall/Horse Barn Benefits
Although horses will grow a water-resistant coat within colder weather, a horse barn or stall offers extra protection from weather elements all year round. The walls and roof provide shade within the warm summer and will act as a barrier from rain, wind, and snow. Clean stalls and well-ventilated stables/barns assist in preventing heaves, or inflammatory airway disease. Also, stalls permit you to feed several horses individually to observe their food consumption. Lastly, you will not need to chase the horse around a massive space to tack him up.
Disadvantages of Stalls
Imagine being kept inside an office cubicle all day long and you may understand the concept of how a horse will feel while cooped up within a stall. They’re social creatures, and benefit from interaction with other people and horses. Confinement may lead to multiple behavioral problems shown by constant pacing from boredom, pawing the stall sides, and wood chewing. Within some instances, the horse displays aggression and will be less amicable while handled. If that occurs, presentation to a companion animal, like a donkey or goat, might calm the horse down. Even still, he must be taken out for some exercise and have the stall cleaned on a daily basis.
Advantages of Pastures
Plainly put, it’s the animal’s most natural state to be outdoors and within the presence of other horses. In this place, he may graze on grass several hours per day as a natural, healthy diet supplement. Horse companions will exercise by playing together, and create both a strong social unit and happy horse. Moreover, as prey animals, a group will rely upon their numbers to feel secure and safe.
While in the pasture all day long, the horse is exposed to biting bugs, or parasites, such as mosquitos. Placing a fly mask on the horse will keep bugs out of his eyes, yet he still can be bitten. Also, he’s exposed to the tough weather elements. A few pastures have run-ins, a basic, small shelter that has a big entrance which occasionally replaces indoor stalls. Certain breeds, however, such as the Arabian, can’t tolerate the cool weather and are inappropriate for living completely outdoors. Horses companions may create a codependency, and refuse to be separated. On the flip side, an alpha horse may eat too much, and deny food to the group’s “underdog”. Injuries may happen as horse’s kick one another, whether intentional or not, although keeping his hind legs shoeless will prevent a more severe injury. Pastures are similar to stalls, only a lot bigger, and still must be cleaned with its perimeter fence maintained in order to prevent injury or escape. Toxic weeds and plants have to be removed.
Combining Pasture and Stall
In ideal situations, the horse is housed inside a barn stall and placed out to pasture within the daytime, in wintertime, or in the cold nights throughout the summertime. For the ones who do not have a pasture, take the horse out consistently for exercise, with a companion horse if you can. Pasture-only horses still should have an appropriate run-in that is dry and kept clean, with an abundance of trees all throughout the land for purposes of shade. Both situations require your day-to-day care and attention. Stalls must be regularly mucked out, and horses kept outdoors require extra grooming from any additional mud and dirt picked up.
What will Go Inside the Bottom of Stalls?
The items for the horse stall’s bottom all are selected for a certain purpose. Horse stall flooring consists either of a nonporous or porous barn floor, removable bedding put on the upper layer, and optional stable mat. Every item will contribute to the horse’s comfort and health. As horses spend most of their time resting or standing in their stalls, they require a clean space for optimal health. A horse stall has to offer excellent drainage, as dampness contributes to hoof issues which may cause lameness. Knowing what will go inside the bottom of the horse’s stall and why every item is selected will assist you in offering the best care for the horses.
The stable floor itself is at the bottom of the horse’s stall. Stable floors either are nonporous or porous. Porous floors consist of gravel, dirt, sand or layer of each, and permits for excellent drainage. Wooden flooring also may be discovered inside horse barns. Nonporous flooring typically is designed from poured concrete. Oftentimes, porous flooring is better for horses because they’ll offer cushioning, prevent slips, and provide a dry environment. Concrete flooring is simpler to clean and will require less maintenance than a porous floor, yet is oftentimes harder on the horse’s feet and legs. They also can be slippery unless, in some way, concrete is textured to provide traction. Either horse bedding or a stall mat is put over the flooring itself.
Stall mats are plastic or rubber mats placed over a stall floor within the next layer that is above a barn’s floor. Typically, they’re used in stalls that have concrete flooring or hard porous materials. A stall mat provides cushioning for horses while standing on the hard concrete flooring. Also, this feature decreases the quantity of bedding required in the stall as the mats already offer a cushioning layer. Textured mats might assist in preventing horses from slipping on the concrete floor. They’ll vary in thickness from ½” to ¾”, and are put over level flooring. They may be put over gravel, concrete, or dirt floors. Some kind of stall bedding always is put over a stall mat.
Straw or Hay Bedding
Straw or hay bedding is a traditional option for the upper layer of the horse’s stall flooring. They’re renewable resources, and simple to remove and clean when soiled. They’re oftentimes inexpensive; farms may grow their own hay or straw, or utilize materials that are delivered as horse feed. One downside to straw and hay bedding is that horses often will consume their bedding and eat soiled straw or hay which was contaminated with rat, opossum, or mouse droppings, a source of possible infections like equine protozoal myeloencephalitis. Older straw or hay used as bedding also may be dusty, as well as contribute to respiratory issues within some horses.
They’re one other traditional option for materials used in stall bedding. Pine shavings include the most common. They may be delivered in bags or in bulk. Wood shavings offer outstanding cushioning for horses, readily absorb urine and are simple to clean. They may be expensive, and if bedding material becomes wet while in transport or storage you shouldn’t use it inside your horse’s stall. Also, wood shavings might have unwanted objects like metal fragments from black walnut or factories, which if eaten, may cause a disease within horses referred to as laminitis.
Recycled Newspaper and Additional Paper Products
One new material in the market that covers a horse’s stall flooring is recycled paper products like cardboard, newspaper, and additional paper. It’s usually extremely absorbent and offers exceptional cushioning for horses. Also, it’s lightweight as dry, one other benefit for the ones who must clean a horse’s stall and move materials from the storage to the stall. One other plus is that the whole stall bedding may be composted, and it’ll quickly break down as added to a manure or compost pile. It may be heavy as wet or soiled, and the ink, in some horses, might cause a reaction.
How many Bales of Hay Do Horses Eat/Day?
Forage is amongst the most critical elements of a horse’s diet. Hay offers the majority of a domesticated horse’s forage consumption. The quantity of hay the horse requires each day will depend upon the size of the horse and how active she/he is. The quantity of nutrition that’s in the hay additionally has an important part in how much is required to maintain a healthy horse.
How Much Hay Will the Horse Require?
The United States Humane Society and Louisiana State University concur that a horse must consume 1% – 2% of its body weight in roughage each day. If the horse has free accessibility to an abundance of grass, grass may serve as the forage. If the horse has a limited amount of grass, you have to be certain the diet is supplemented using hay. According to LSU, the average 1000 lb. horse has to consume around 10 – 20 lbs. of hay each day.
Weight of Bales of Hay
The weight of bales of hay are going to vary depending upon the quality of hay, as well as the settings on your baling machine used to bale your hay. The average square hay of bale will weigh around 50 pounds. To offer the horse the necessary amount of hay, you’ll need to provide him 1/4 – 1/2 a bale each day.
Quality of Hay
Some kinds of hay are more nutritious than other ones. Alfalfa is a quality hay, and if feeding a quality hay, you won’t have to feed as much hay or have to supplement using grain. Hay of poor quality contains few nutrients and is given more to offer roughage that keeps his digestive system moving than it will be to offer required nutrition. If you’re feeding a poor-quality hay, you’ll have to offer the horse concentrated nutrition within the form of grain.
All horses are individuals that have their own special dietary needs. Some easily gain weight and sustain a healthy weight without much effort, while other ones have trouble keeping a suitable weight. If he’s losing weight, you have to either give more hay or add more grain to the daily diet to sustain a healthy weight.
Average Month-to-Month Expense of Having a Horse
It is too tempting to picture buying your own animal then trotting off into the sunset. What is not as simple to imagine are the expenses related to owning a horse. From food to housing, the costs associated with caring for him vary depending upon where you reside, yet have to be considered before buying.
If you do not have enough land to support your horse, boarding at a stable or barn is your next best bet. An animal is assigned a stall and you are provided accessibility to an arena, a pasture, or trails. The price of boarding will average $400 – $500/month; however, may reach as high as $1,200 – $2,500 inside metropolitan areas. Services like mucking stalls out, feeding and turning out the horse to pasture might not be included within the price. For the ones lucky enough to have sufficient land, there still are expenses to consider. Offering bedding, paying for utilities, and maintaining pasture fences averages around $300/month. Moving a horse will require a trailer, ranging from $50,000 for a top-of-the-line trailer or $1,500 for a used model.
Healthy 1,100-pound horses consume hay and feed that costs, on average, $100 to over $250/month, even though horses allowed to graze on grass consume less hay. The cost of hay depends upon the type, amount during time of purchase, as well as time of year. You may pay $4 to- $18 for a 50- to 130-lb. bale of timothy or alfalfa hay or hay combined with clover or grass. Hay usually is less expensive in rural regions where it is abundant. Prepackaged, supplemental feeds may cost $10 – $30/month/horse.
The hooves of horses must be trimmed, similar to a human being’s nails are clipped, so they can function. A simplistic trimming will cost $20 – $50 every other month. A shoeing will cost more. Full sets of shoes will cost $110 – $135 close to cities or $75 – $80 within rural regions. A few horses might require corrective shoeing – for example, for cracked hooves — an average of $175.
Grooming and Tack
One reason to buy a horse includes riding him, of course. To do that, you require a pad and saddle, bit, halter, lead and bridle. A new set will cost thousands of dollars and will last 5 – 10 years; this breaks down to around $200/month. Equipment that is used may keep the cost down to ten dollars or more every month, although the tack might not last as long. The price of grooming supplies – soft and hard brushes, a curry comb, tail and mane comb, hoof pick, sweat scraper, face sponge, and bucket to carry all of it –varies depending upon quality, although it should not total over $100.
An annual visit to the vet will include teeth cleaning or floating, as well as vaccinations; generally, deworming is performed every other month. It may cost anywhere from $77 – $250 depending upon location. Tack upon a $35 – $75 charge if the vet comes to your boarding facility or property, in addition to mileage if it is not inside reasonable traveling distance. Although emergencies never are planned, they may cost thousands of dollars. Placing aside a little money every month, whether it’s $25 or $100, helps you bear the burden if one arises.
Although training is optional, it is especially useful if you are a novice rider or have a desire to learn a new style of riding. Lessons may be as low as $20 – $50 for one hour of private lessons and may reach as high as $650 – $850/month. Specialized training – for example, barrel racing clinics — may be priced at $300 – $500 for one weekend.
How Can You Avoid Overfeeding a Horse?
Measure the horse using equine weight tape to discover the quantity of food he ought to consume. Put the tip of the weight tape on the upper part of the horse’s withers, stretch the tape around his body, up to the other part and back over to the tape’s tip. It’s his heart girth.
Then, lay the weight tape’s tip on his side at the shoulder and stretch the tape to the rear of his buttocks for the length.
Multiply the heart girth times itself, and multiply it by the body’s length then divide by 330 in order to obtain the weight in pounds. For instance, a horse that has a heart girth of 72, as well as length of 74 will weigh (72 x 72 x 74) divided by 330 is 1,162 lbs.
Horse Class Determination
Read the feeding directions on the horse feed. Select the proper class for the horse.
On the feeding instructions, pick the stage inside a broodmare’s gestation. That might involve non-bred, gestation within the past 3 months or lactation if she’s feeding her foal.
Feed the horse the quantity of food upon the chart in which his weight and class intersect.