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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Horse information, continued
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Linda/Utah    Posted 01-23-2005 at 19:07:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cynthia, I can give you some idea of what it costs to keep each of our horses in Utah, but the costs will be different in your area.

Hay - I've seen hay in our area go anywhere from $60/ton to $120/ton. The price varies from year to year depending on availability of water and demand for the hay. Horses do best on good grass hay - it just fits their digestive system better. But, that's rarely available in our area, so ours get alfalfa hay. Most horses eat about 20# of hay per horse per day. A good grass pasture is great, but don't let your horse overgraze it. Horses seem to need more pasture than cows. Cows wrap their tongues around grass and pull it into their mouths, but horses, as has been mentioned, clip it off close to the ground with their teeth. If you overgraze, the grass will not grow as well and your pasture will gradually have less and less feed. Learn what plants are harmful to horses - many common ones are harmful.

Founder - there's a lot to learn about founder. It permanently harms the horse's feet. Start studying now - the library is a good place to find books on horses. If there is a book you'd like to read, remember you can interlibrary loan any book.

Worming - We worm every other month. We use a paste wormer at $10-$13 a dose. You can get cheaper wormer, but you will need to use the more expensive wormer at times. The cheaper stuff just doesn't get all the parasites. Worming pays off not only for the health of the horse, but less hay is consumed after the horse is wormed. Hold the horse's head up until he swallows, otherwise expensive wormer gets spit onto the ground.

Vaccinations - cost and type of vaccinations will vary. Check with a good large animal vet for suggestions and costs. Your vet can teach you to give the shots yourself, which cuts the cost. Buy them from your vet. It's only fair as he or she will be one of your best resources for learning about horses. And, vaccines from your vet have a better chance of having been handled correctly.

Trimming feet by a good farrier costs $20/horse in our area. Shoes cost $65. Horses need to be trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks. If you don't trim regularly, you can damage the ligaments in the horse's legs.


A block of salt runs approx. $3 to $5 and lasts a long time.

Tack - I've paid anywhere from $300 for a saddle up to $1800 for a custom saddle that fits me and the horse. The saddle HAS to fit the horse. You can't buy a saddle and expect it to fit every horse.

At the least, you'll need a halter, lead rope, bridle or hackamore, curry comb and a brush. Start saving your old hairbrushes - the plastic bristled ones (with the bristle set far apart) with a foam back. They are the best for combing out a horse's mane and tail. People usually toss them when the handle breaks. A small spray bottle with hair conditioner mixed with water is a good idea. Buy cheap conditioner for people. Remember the mane and tail hairs break off easily, work gently from the end of the hair toward the base.

You'll probably wind up buying a trailer of some kind for hauling your horse to the vet and to places you can ride. Make sure the trailer has a good floor and is made to have room for your horse. Not all trailers can haul all horses.

You'll need good fences - not so much for keeping the horse in, but to prevent injuries caused by horse vs. fence. A horse's legs are very fragile and many a horse has been injured by a fence.

Water - you'll need a good source of water, especially in winter. Depending on your climate, more horses colic in winter because they don't drink enough clean water. City or well water in a clean tank free of ice is best. They will drink more if the water is free of ice - relatively "warm" in cold weather.

Grain - horses don't require grain unless they're being worked very hard on a daily basis. Good quality hay or pasture fulfills their needs. A horse requires roughage for digestion. Without rhoughage to push the fecal matter through the intestine, with lots of fresh water to soften the fecal matter, you are looking at a higher risk of colic.

Teeth - a horse's teeth constantly grow and can cut the inside of his cheeks and make it difficult to eat. The vet can check the horse's teeth a couple of times a year and "float" or file down the teeth as needed.

There's so much to learn and it's fun! You might see if there is a 4H horsemanship leader in your area and offer to volunteer to help at meetings. It's one of the best ways to learn all about horses. Ray Hunt is a great horse trainer. His videos are expensive, but I would think they are worth it. Our trainer is also a good friend and has worked with and trained under Ray Hunt. She has taught me everything I know, and I am very grateful.

That's all I can think of, although I've got that "I've forgotten something" feeling. I hope this helps.


Donna from Mo    Posted 01-24-2005 at 05:12:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
You've given the best answers yet, and explained the pasture situation perfectly! I only wish it were that cheap to get horses shod here.


Linda/Utah    Posted 01-24-2005 at 11:06:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks, Donna. Until last year, it cost us $55 per horse for shoes. A few years ago I read in a horse magazine that in some places back east it cost as much as $200/$250 per horse for shoes. I'm afraid my horses would go barefoot at those prices.

I don't know what your riding conditions are, but here we have pretty rugged terrain. Mostly sandy ground, but steep, very rocky hillsides and mountains, and creekbeds that are composed of round rocks. We live at an altitude of 5700 feet, but ride in the summer mostly at an altitude of 10,000+ feet. At that altitude it's mostly grassland, aspen and pine forests, but with very rocky ground during the climb and descent.

A friend from upstate NY came out to visit and was astounded at the rugged terrain. When we came to some very large, flat rock slabs to cross she came to a complete halt and exclaimed, "You mean, horses can walk on that stuff?" She later laughed and said they have nothing like that where she comes from. She owns a dairy and lives in quite a wet area compared to here.


Cynthia    Posted 01-23-2005 at 20:02:34       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Wow, you gave me lots of information, I don't know how to thank you enough. It kind of scares me though I feel like I need to be rich to afford a horse and I am certainly not rich. I would really love to have one and I know that I would take good care of it I am just going to have to give some thought to weather or not I can afford it. Thanks again!


mark    Posted 01-23-2005 at 21:16:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
If you want low maint. get yourself a mustang.
They'll just about live on twigs and dirt, the only
thing ours has seen a vet for is gelding. When
the folks are out to take care of the other
horses they'll look him over but have never
had to do anything more than that. Never had
to have his feet done, last vac. he got was
from the BLM. About the only real expense
you'll have with one is getting it gentled but if
you'd buy any other green horse you'd be
paying for all that training anyway.


Battleborn    Posted 01-23-2005 at 21:48:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm sorry if this sounds snotty but...
A beginner should not "get" a mustang. Maybe you had great luck, good if you did. Most people would not without some experience.
My advice would be to get a live human trainer to help you set up what you need, line up the necessary resources, and have the trainer help you shop for a nice quiet (likely quarter horse) gelding that has been around the block a thousand times. Learning is no fun and can be dangerous if the mount doesn't have the disposition for it.
A trainer (in person) can keep you out of trouble and keep the game fair for your mount.
Owning a horse (we have 10) is very rewarding and very demanding.
Have fun!
Paul.


Linda/Utah    Posted 01-23-2005 at 22:08:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Excellent advice, Paul. I agree totally.


toolman    Posted 01-23-2005 at 21:56:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
paul i have to agree with you on that trainer thing , that is one way you can say money well spent. i have a horse here i bought wild right off the range, couldn,t do anything with him almost at my wits end swore i was sending him to the canners( of course i never would) wife was sending her paint to the trainers Chance didn,t want to see his buddy leave him was going nuts, trainer said i,ll take him see if i can do anything with him, best money i ever spent, he came back a totally different horse and a pleasure to be around now.if you don,t know horses and are shopping for one find a professional to go with you pay him and and buy a horse that will fit your needs and experience, be the first and probaby the best money you spend.no sense in buying something that you,ll never be able to use.


toolman    Posted 01-23-2005 at 20:49:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
hi cynthia, you don,t have to be rich to own a horse, but what is most important as far as im concerned is you have to care about them and look after them . you will learn as you go if you live to be a 100 you,ll never know everything about them, go ahead an get two , i say two because they need company and two isn,t much harder to look after than one.what linda and others have told you is good advice and you will learn it as you go, all horse people have their on way and like i said remember the horse is why you got into this . they do need their feet trimmed and dewormed, good clean hay and plenty of clean fresh water, vacc. will depend on you, not all horses shoud be vacc. for everything , you,ll learn what is needed or not for your area, you,ll also pick up your tack as needed, and wheather or not you,ll need a horse trailer and a pickup truck that is able to pull it saftly will depend on where you ride, most vets will come to you as will the farriers, remember horses are a commitent, they need to be properly taken care of but will give you back many times your investment in pleasure , good luck and ask any question any time you have them that,s how you will learn.


Al /Mi    Posted 01-24-2005 at 04:27:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
I agree with you toolman on getting two because
they are a herd animal but if you can't afford two you can get a goat . a horse will bond with a goat. It will com a horse down .
Al


toolman    Posted 01-24-2005 at 05:55:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
yup i have heard that AL and some of my neighbours even tried getting me into goats but when i walk by their place an the billy is doing his scenting thing that was enough for me, besides i had theirs come eat all the old vines and stuff and then go home, they do clean things up good , i,ll give them that but i like horses lol.


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