10 THINGS EVERY NEW HORSE OWNER SHOULD KNOW
#10: Be prepared! Always keep extra reins, buckets, chicago screws, snaps, & rain gear packed in the trailer. You never know when something is going to break, so its just best to be prepared!
#9: Walk around the trailer before hitting the road! This is one that will save you headache and worry. Take a look at your tires, double check your hitch and safety chains, and always always double check to make sure the back gates are securely latched.
#8: Stop every 4-5 hours when trailering long distances. Best practice is to get them out to walk around and offer them water. If you can't find a safe place to walk them, stopping and letting them rest in the trailer is good. We get sore from sitting in a truck, think about their legs standing in that vibrating trailer.
#7: Take a picture of the bit the previous owner or trainer was using on the horse before you leave! This picture is worth a lot when you stop in to buy your own. Its always good to start with the bit the horse was being ridden with, and then you may have to adjust to fit your style better.
#6: Hang feed buckets a couple feet off the ground. This is to keep Possums and other animals out of them. Possums are the #1 carrier of EPM, commonly known as "Possums Disease" that can paralyze, blind, or lead to death. Just to be safe, we like to use buckets hung at about 2 feet off the ground. This still allows for a more natural angle for the horses to eat at, but keeps them safe.
#5: Keep water buckets clean and full. Depending on the size of your buckets, you may have to clean them a couple times a week. The main thing is your don't want bugs or algae to stay in the buckets and give room for bacteria grow. Its best to rinse with clorox every week or so, especially in the summer. Horses also need clean water for their gut health. Getting de-hydrated can easily lead to colic, so keep them a clean full water bucket to help guard against any problems!
#4: Make sure the gate is always latched good! If necessary, latch with a chain and a snap. True story - I had a horse that kept getting out. I see him out one morning and I knew for certain I had latched the gate back. I put him back in the pasture and no more than turned around to hear him pulling the pin out of the gate with his teeth. I swear he smiled at me when I turned around!
#3: Research saddles before you buy. You will be better off to learn the differences in saddle qualities and fit before you buy. There are a lot of offers out there that seem great, but there is a large difference in how saddles are made. Also, saddles need to fit your horse correctly. When you are just starting out, take a friend or trainer with you to try some saddles on your horse. We have a place that you can come unload your horse and try different ones, or we let you take them home for a couple days to try. Its not just about your comfort, but the horses also!
#2: Keep the number to your local vet and horseshoer on speed dial! Its not if its when, there's going to be a colic or a cut that needs to be taken into the vet. You'll generally see the vet 1 time a year to get routine vaccines and coggins tests done. If horse care is new to you, the vets office will answer basic general care questions as needed. Also, the horseshoer is a good resource for a quick question or look at leg and feet questions. A good horseshoer can sometimes save you a large vet bill!
The #1 Thing to Remember: Never change a horses feed fast. Feed should be changed a little at a time over 7-10 days. A quick change in diet can lead to colic, which is the #1 leading cause of death in horses. Also remember you can over feed a horse, and cause founder (lameness caused by inflammation in the hoof). Always keep the horse on the same kind of feed when you take him home, & talk to your local vet or your trainer about how and when to change their feed if necessary.
Did we miss any?
Let us know if there’s anything we missed or other things you’d like other new horse owners to know about!