Whilst owning a horse is not something that many of us are able to do these days, if you are fortunate enough to have the land and zoning that allows you to, or can keep one at some stables nearby, owning a horse is a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Whether a horse is used for pleasure riding, competition or is just kept as a pet, they make wonderful companions and a great hobby to keep you active.
Owning a horse however does require a long-term commitment given they can live up to 25-30 years! They also require a lot of time and effort, and a financial investment to keep them healthy and happy.
Basic horse care
Whilst horses might seem pretty self sufficient, they need much more than just a paddock with some grass and water and a bit of shade.
They need an appropriate diet, plenty of shelter from extremes of sun, wind and rain. Space to walk and run around in to provide daily exercise, grooming, protective health care and treatment of illness or injury. And, just like many other pets such as our dogs and cats, they also need companionship.
Whilst they need this extra care all year round, as the weather warms up here’s some Summer specific care tips for horses.
Summer horse care tips
Clean water must always be available for your horse. It should be checked daily and re-filled if necessary if the water source is not a dam or self-filling water trough.
As the pasture dries off with heat of Summer, it’s important to ensure you are feeding your horse for optimum energy and sustenance. A guide to the amounts to feed is 1-2 kg per 100kg of bodyweight.
Like us, horses need a balanced diet to maintain peak condition. As their carers, we need to ensure they are getting the right amount of vitamins & minerals.
They’ll need extra hay and other roughage to provide them with a balanced diet, particularly as the grass dries up across a lot of Australia.
Electrolyte supplements are also important in Summer to help replace salt from sweat loss.
Horse pellets such as the Mitavite Economix for example are steam extruded for full nutrition value and provide a cost-effective feed solution for all types of horses. From the pleasure horse that goes trail riding on weekends, through the pony club mount, to the competition horse.
They’re also packed with Omega 3 and 9 oils and other vitamins and minerals to keep their coat healthy and their hooves strong.
Horses require worming and parasite control all year round with many worming pastes requiring use every 6-8 weeks. Equimax is a popular & effective brand to use.
With the added warmth and humidity of summer encouraging the hatching of worms, it is important to be more vigilant than ever.
Whilst a horses’ tail makes for a good fly swatter at the back end, some extra help in the Summer to keep pesky flies from hassling them is also helpful. Try a fly repellant, such as Flygon, to help here, particularly on those extra hot days or when fly plagues hit.
A horse’s hoof is like a toe nail and continues to grow throughout their life, therefore they should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks to prevent them chipping or becoming too long and uncomfortable for the horse.
Shoes are only needed if the horse is to be ridden on hard or rocky ground.
Oiling their hooves in summer also helps ensure they don’t crack. Equinade Hoof Grease is a good product to help here.
There’s a misconception that in height of Summer horses shouldn’t wear rugs.
Whilst their usual winter rug is too heavy and hot, a Caribu cotton summer rug for example will actually reflect heat and catches the breeze so it can have a fanning effect.
Providing them with a good quality summer rug also helps protect them against flies and bugs.
Seek experienced advice
If you are considering buying or leasing a horse, or are a new horse owner, then talk to an experienced staff member at one of the 40 PETstock stores that stocks the full equine range. You can find out the closest store that stocks the full equine range here.
Or if you already know what you need, you can simply order from the equine range here.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area. Lara has also owned and cared for many horses!