Reasons Why Your New Horse Needs Shelter And Other Pertinent Care Items

Posted on: 2 April 2018

Owning a horse is a big responsibility. The bigger the pet, the more you have to do to keep it healthy and provide comfort for it. If you recently bought your first horse, there are lots of things your horse needs besides food and water. If the following things are not provided for your rideable pet, there could be some dire consequences. 

Horse Shelter

Horses spend a lot of time outside, so why would your horse need shelter? Actually there are plenty of reasons for providing shelter, all which can affect the overall health of your horse. For instance, your horse can get frostbite when left outside temperatures below twenty degrees Fahrenheit.

Despite their coats, they can also get sunburn, and they suffer from heat exhaustion when it gets too hot outside. Ergo, horses need at least a lean-to shelter when bitterly cold winds blow or when it is scorching hot outside. (If you really want to spoil your horse, blanket him/her in the winter and keep him/her in his/her stall in the barn on really hot days.) Contact companies like Rarin' To Go Corrals to learn more about horse shelter options.

Salt Licks

Horses are complete herbivores. They rely entirely on a diet of grass, hay, and grain. Unfortunately, most of these foods do not provide a key mineral, salt, for the overall health and well-being of your horse. A salt lick should be dropped in the open grazing fields or in a tub next to the watering buckets and watering holes. If you board your horse, there should be a salt lick available in your horse's stall too. You can also provide salt supplements in other forms to your horse, which you should definitely do if he/she is quite picky and refuses to lick the salt block. 

If your horse does not get at least two tablespoons of salt a day (more if you take him/her out riding or driving), your horse will not be able to maintain water levels in its body. Its heart and pulmonary system can fail without adequate salt. In worst-case scenarios where your horse has not had enough salt in some time, it can faint, fall over, and die.

Excellent Hoof Care

A horse's feet are its everything. If a horse goes lame in the foot, you cannot ride him/her. Injuries to the soft tissues of the foot behind the hard hoof wall are in constant danger of puncture wounds, thrush, and infections. Your horse's feet have to be cleaned daily, and his/her stall and shelter space have to be cleaned too. Keeping the feet, your horse's bedding, and your horse's two forms of shelter clean prevents everything that could possibly go wrong with your horse's feet.

Additionally, if you intend to ride or drive your horse on hard surfaces, he/she will need horseshoes. The horseshoes prevent excessive growth of the hoof walls, which in turn prevents the horse from tripping over the excessive growth and breaking or injuring its front knees (and taking you with it!). When the farrier comes to fit your horse for shoes, the farrier also trims back the hooves (which are akin to giant, hard finger nails) before attaching the shoes.

Filing Your Horse's Teeth

Unlike other animals whose teeth grind down over time and stop growing early on in life, a horse's teeth keep growing and do not grind down. Usually their diet helps with that problem, since they have to constantly chew and grind their grass, hay, and grain. However, their teeth can still become so long and gnarly that the teeth begin to stab at the tongue, gums, cheeks, and roof of the horse's mouth. Should your horse ever stop eating suddenly, get a vet. If the problem is the teeth, the vet can use a dental rasp to file down your horse's problem teeth. Then your horse will feel better and return to normal eating patterns.