Author Archives: JB

About JB

Buying , selling and swapping second hand horse stuff in beautiful west Wales

Recycle Old Horse Riding Gear | Rusty or Single Stirrup Irons

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safe and great re-use of an old single rusty stirrup iron

Safe and great re-use of an old single rusty stirrup iron

Fed Up With Unwanted and Unused Redundant Horse Riding Things Cluttering Up The Place?

How About This For Recycling Those Old Stirrup Irons?

We were sent this idea by a friend who had a broken washing line, they used a single stirrup iron as one end of the washing line.The other end is attached to a tree

When wanting to use the washing line they simply unhooked the line from the tree at one end lifted the iron over a post, safe and great re-use of an old single rusty stirrup iron

This idea would also work with anything else that needed an easy fixing at the ends

Find lots more ideas for recycling that That Old Riding Gear Here

Abandoned Pony Found With Five Feet

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Trooper The Piebald Stallion Found With An Extra Hoof




An abandoned pony found to have five feet is undergoing veterinary treatment for the rare condition at the Horse Rescue Fund in Norfolk

The 13hh piebald stallion was rescued from an isolated area of land between a railway and a river last November

The Environment Agency asked the Horse Rescue Fund to take in the pony after the owners failed to respond to a removal notice

The pony was found to be not the yearling colt the Horse Rescue Fund had been asked to collect, but an eight-year-old stallion

He was named Trooper as the rescue took place the week before Remembrance Sunday

The stallion was found to be in good condition apart from his feet, especially his off fore

Staff at the Horse Rescue Fund were shocked to discover on removal of his feathers, Trooper had an extra hoof

An abandoned pony found to have five feet is undergoing veterinary treatment for the rare condition at the Horse Rescue Fund in Norfolk

An abandoned pony found to have five feet is undergoing veterinary treatment for the rare condition at the Horse Rescue Fund in Norfolk

Following clinical examinations and X-rays by Wherry Vets in Bungay and Rossdales in Newmarket it was discovered that Trooper had a duplicate lower limb growing just below the knee

The extra leg protruding from the off fore had a normal cannon bone followed by an undeveloped pastern, pedal bone and hoof

“Where the extra digit had been allowed to grow and strike the ground repeatedly the pressure had created a large split in the skin which had become infected with maggots,” explained Sue Albone from the charity Horse Rescue

The farriers first job was to carefully reduce the extra hoof in length by 4cm, avoiding the sensitive tissues within, thus reducing the risk of injury to his other leg,” said Sue Albone

“His main hoof, should, in time, improve with regular trimming”

The rare condition is known as a polydactyl or polydactylism, the term meaning extra digits

The first case of polydactylism recorded in horses was in the early 1990s in a shire horse called Norfolk Spider

The extra digit can be removed but Trooper is not going to have an operation as he seems to be managing well with ongoing veterinary treatment

“Currently he is adjusting to life on the yard with the other rescue equines and is a firm favourite with staff due to his placid and sweet nature,” said Sue Albone

The charity hopes to find a suitable companion home for the pony after his rehabilitation

Two Happy Little Ponies Owned By Leah * Snug As Bugs In Their Rugs

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Please share your Shetland Pony, fluffy or not – Join Our Gallery and Upload Their Photo Here



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Showcase | The Shetland Pony | The Smallest UK Native Pony Breed

This renowned native breed hails from the Shetland Islands, which are located north east of Scotland. For centuries small ponies have been kept on the islands and it is widely believed that this native stock was bred with ponies that the Norse settlers brought over. Additionally, the Celts would have taken to the islands the Celtic pony and this combination of breeding has resulted in the modern day Shetland

What A Cute Pair…Wonder What They are Discussing?

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Just Entered In The Cute, Cuddly and Charming Gallery, And Just Crying Out For a Caption

If Your Horse or Pony Is Cute, Cuddly or Simply Charming, why Not Share Their Picture Here?

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Please Include Some Details Of Your Horse or Pony In The Description Box

Upload Your Cute, Charming or Cuddly Pony Pics Just Here


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Thank You for Sharing…And If You Have A Caption For The Above Please Use The Comments Box below

Our Thanks To Rachael For Sharing This Wonderful Photo Of Her Appaloosa

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Although Entered In The Cute, Cuddly and Charming Gallery, Think the Words Striking, Stunning and Superb Suit This Wonderful Appaloosa Better

If Your Horse or Pony is Any Of The Above, why Not Share Their Picture Here?

Please Include Some Details Of Your Horse or Pony In The Description Box

Upload Your Cute, Charming or Cuddly Pony Pics Just Here


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Thank You for Sharing…

What a Charming Picture * Our Thanks To Nicola For Sharing

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Do You Have Cute, Cuddly or Charming Photos To Share? All-sorts Welcome As Long As They Feature A Horse, Pony or Other Equine

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Rescued Mini Shetlands With A Happy Ending The Sad Story Of Dee & Chabs

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We Have Repeated This Terrible Tale Word For Word From The Kind Soul Who Took In The 2 Starving Pregnant Ponies

Read Ann’s Story Below



A Tale Of Two Rescued Miniature Shetland Ponies With A Happy Ending
This Is The Story Of Dee and Chabs

Starting right at the very beginning

In March I was alerted to a horse hoarder whose horses were in a bad way. 36 on a 10 acre field and only food source was 1 round bale of haylage every 2-3 weeks (confirmed)

Another breeder/hoarder took 9 mini shetlands off him and under duress agreed to let me take 3 and my friend took 2, one of which she bred

4 days after being taken from 1 hoarder to another, 1 of the ponies died and the vets report was starvation. Upon vet checks on the others it was said that Dee had a body score of 0.5 and my vet advised pts

I asked if I could try to save her which with vets help and advice we fought tooth and nail

She started showing improvements if only slightly but any improvement was amazing

Chabs had a body score of 1.5 so wasn’t as bad but still needed intensive support

6 weeks and 3 days after coming to me, Dee gave birth to a very tiny 14.5 inches perlino colt foal who had slight dummy foal syndrome and swollen tongue, this meant he couldn’t suckle off Dee

18 hrs of syringe feeding followed and his tongue started to go down which meant he could start suckling which was a godsend as 3 days after Chabs gave birth to a palomino filly foal who herself was not given an easy birth

Due to the mares weakened state I had to help the foal into the world. Both foals are now healthy little babies and weaned and in new homes

Dee and Chabs took months of feeding 4 times a day tiny feeds they also had huge worm burden and were full of lice

Both girls are now happy in my herd along with Bonnie who was rescued with them. None of the girls will ever leave me now and have become a part of Caidnjax Miniature Shetlands

Dee went to her first show in December gaining 2x 2nd and 1 x 3rd placings with excellent comments from judges on her condition and coat condition

I love these girls immensely and will never give up until justice is served against firstly the owner that starved them and the so called rescuer who never got any of the ponies any veterinary treatment,this resulted in poor Amber dying

Special homes were found for Louis and Honey the 2 foals and are both in homes with very good friends of mine…

I am sending pics first ones of Dee 3 weeks after being with me as you will see backbone is still very visible even with such a thick shetland coat. Also pics of Chabs and of course babies plus pics of Dee and Chabs taken recently…

Photos Of Both Mares and Foals Here
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Say Hello To Flapjack…This Little Cutie Was Recently Shared On Our Facebook Group “Horse Stuff”

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Please share your Shetland Pony, fluffy or not – Join Our Gallery and Upload Their Photo Here



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Showcase | The Shetland Pony | The Smallest UK Native Pony Breed

This renowned native breed hails from the Shetland Islands, which are located north east of Scotland. For centuries small ponies have been kept on the islands and it is widely believed that this native stock was bred with ponies that the Norse settlers brought over. Additionally, the Celts would have taken to the islands the Celtic pony and this combination of breeding has resulted in the modern day Shetland

What a Cutie – Well Ahead With The Potty Training Too

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Do You Have A Shetland Pony As Cute As This?

Show Them Off Here In Our Shetland Pony Showcase

Here Is Probably The Worse Shetland Pony Joke In The World

A man walks up to a shetland pony and asks:
“do you have a sore throat?”
The pony replies:
“no I’m just a little horse”

and did you know that the smallest Shetland pony in the Uk is a tiny mare called ‘Lucy’ who comes in at just 19.5 inches high, that is small even by Shetland Pony standards

Please share your Shetland Pony – Join Our Gallery and Upload Their Photo Into The Shetland Showcase For Everyone To Appreciate

Please Include Some Brief Details About Your Shetland Pony, Name, Age With A Short Description

Section B Brood Mare On Box Rest – Beautiful Little Lady

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This Lovely Lady Was Recently In Our Care At Pet and Property Sitting Wales
We Provide Quality Care For Your Home And Animals While You Are Away
For More Info, a Chat or a Quote Contact Us Here

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Horse and Pony Ownership & Responsibility Part 2

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Read Part 1 Here

Horse and Pony Ownership & Responsibility Part 2

If you decide to keep your horse in a field, you will still need to provide the horse with some form of shelter from the elements, particularly as the weather is getting more extreme with heavy snow falls, cold spells to heavy rain and heat waves

A shelter shed should be built in the corner of a field with its back to the prevailing wind and easily accessible for feeding. It should be positioned so that a horse cannot get trapped between it and the boundary fence

A shed, which is open fronted, will also lessen the possibility of one horse being cornered and injured by another. Also don’t remove the cobwebs as they act as a useful and free trap for flies

You may not see your horses using the shelter that much in the winter, but in the summer they provide great protection from flies

Your horse should always have access to clean fresh water

If a stream runs through the field make sure that the approach to the water is not steep or likely to cause injury to the horse. Also the water should be free flowing and not stagnant

If there is no stream in the field then you need to supply water to the field. A large trough or old bathtubs with smooth edges are ideal. They should be checked and cleaned regularly at the very least twice a day, more in hot weather and any ice taken out during cold weather

Feeding

The rules to good feeding are as follows:

Clean fresh water must be available at all times

Feed little and often (for their size horses have very small stomachs)

Feed according to work, temperament and condition – if you have a big cob he may need a higher energy feed then your thoroughbred

Also the sick horse will be on a different feed to the healthy horse. Like us humans, each horse is different so you need to change your feeds to suit each horse

Keep to the same feeding hours each day

Do not work hard immediately after feeding – take your horse out of the field at the very least ½ hour before riding him, depending on the work he is about to do

Feed adequate roughage – grass, hay, chaff or bran

Introduce changes to feed gradually – horses have sensitive digestive systems if you change their diet too quickly they can get colic and other illness

Feed clean, good quality forage – you would not eat bread covered in mould, so don’t give mouldy feed to your horse

Feed something succulent every day – depending on your horse, this can mean grass or a carrot

If the field has not got enough grass for the horses or they are doing hard work, you will need to supplement their grass diet with hay and what are called ‘hard feeds’. These are oats, barley, pony cubes, mixes etc

In order to give your horse the correct hard feeds you should talk to your supplier about the right diet for your horse taking into account the amount of work the horse is expected to do each day, the type of horse you have and the condition he is in

Rugging Your Horse

Most native breeds of horse, like the Irish draught and Welsh cob, will not need rugs. If the horse is fit and healthy, his own coat will keep him comfortable and warm, but if he has been clipped, or if his coat is very fine and he is groomed regularly then you will need to put a rug on to protect him from the cold

This is why the grass kept horse should not be groomed on a regular basis. You should check for any cuts, bumps or bruises on a daily basis, but only give him a light groom such as cleaning the feet and removing heavy mud and sweat marks

This will allow the horse to maintain the natural oil balance in his coat and reduce the need to use a rug. If your horse does need to be rugged there are hundreds of rugs available for outdoor use, they need to fit properly and be checked on a regular basis to ensure sores have not occurred. After a wet muddy winter it may be necessary to have the rug washed and re-proofed to ensure its waterproof

In the interests of safety and comfort, a horse’s rug should be of a suitable type and correctly fitted. A rug that slips, has been on too long without being reset or does not fit correctly from the outset, will rub the horse and cause discomfort

Checking The Fit Of a Rug

The size of rug required is calculated by measuring along the side of the horse, from the middle of the chest to the point of the buttock

how to measure for a horse rug

How To Measure For A Horse Rug

Rugs are sized in increments of three inches (approximately 7.5cm) and standard sizes range from four feet (122cm) to seven feet six inches (229cm)

Horses vary in both size and shape – the depth of their girth or neck and size of their shoulder can all affect how a rug fits

The cut of the different rugs can also vary, enabling the most appropriately shaped rug to be selected to suit an individual horse

A rug should fit well around the horse’s shoulder and around the base of the neck

The front of the rug, when it is fastened, should not be able to slip back and down below the point of the shoulder

The rug should fit comfortably over the top of the neck in front of the horse’s wither, and should not be able to slip backwards down the horse’s spine

The horse should be able to move freely and be able to lie down and roll without the rug slipping or causing restriction. An especially broad horse may require a size larger than measured

All fastenings should be secure and measures taken to prevent them from coming undone

In addition to chest straps, rugs are fastened either by cross-surcingles (straps which cross from one side to the other underneath the horse’s belly), by a pair of hindleg straps (that pass between and around the hindleg), or a combination of both

There should be a clear hand’s width between the horse’s belly and the surcingle, and leg straps should be similarly adjusted to allow a hand-width between the strap and the horse’s thigh on both sides

The leg straps should also be looped through each other to prevent rubbing, enabling them to work together and prevent the rug from slipping.

Rugs should be cleaned and dried regularly, with outdoor rugs also being maintained in a waterproof condition

Straps, buckles and stitching should be inspected regularly for signs of damage and any necessary repairs made immediately

Using Horse And Pony Tack

Tack is a term used to describe the bridle, saddle and accessories worn by a horse

There are numerous types and makes of saddles and bridles. It is essential that any tack used should be suitable for the purpose intended and fitted correctly

Damaged and ill-fitting tack can affect the horse’s comfort(causing behavioural problems when ridden) and may result in serious injuries to horse and rider

Buying second-hand can be cost effective but ensure items are in good condition paying particular attention to straps, buckles etc

The Bridle

Bridles may be made of leather, webbing or synthetic material, and are secured by stitching, buckles and billets

They are available in four main sizes (Shetland, pony, cob and full) and are fully adjustable. They normally have standard cavesson nose band which can be changed to a different style if required

To Check The Fit Of A Bridle:

The headpiece, which forms the main part of the bridle (in combination with the cheek pieces), should lie comfortably behind the horse’s poll

The brow band should rest across the horse’s forehead (preventing the headpiece from slipping backwards), with a clearance of two finger widths to prevent the headpiece from pinching the ears

It should be possible to place two fingers under the cavesson nose band if this is correctly fastened

The cheek pieces should be buckled equally and should allow the bit to lie comfortably in the mouth, creating only a slight wrinkle at the corner of the lips

The bit should lie flat in the horse’s mouth, with approximately one centimetre of clearance on either side of the mouth

The Bit
The bit forms the mouthpiece of the bridle and is one of the means by which a rider, via the reins, communicates with and directs the horse

There are many different types of bit, which can be classified into five types according to their mode of action. In very general terms these five are:

Snaffle
Double
Gag
Pelham
Bitless – A contradiction as no bit is used

Snaffle bits are the mildest and should be the most commonly used

Other types of bit are generally more severe and need an experienced and knowledgeable rider to use correctly

The bit must be of the correct size and fit to ensure it works correctly and is comfortable for the horse

Bits are available (in increments of 0.5cm) in sizes ranging from 9cm (3ins) to 15cm (6ins)

Bit sizes are measured along the length of the bar between the inner edges of each bit ring, when the bit is laid flat

The size and shape of the mouth varies from horse to horse and, together with other factors such as age and schooling needs to be taken into consideration when selecting a suitable bit for an individual horse

The action and strength of a bit may be altered or increased by the application of a different style of nose band, the type and fit of which will influence the degree of pressure on the nose

The Saddle

It is vitally important a saddle is both well fitting and positioned correctly on the horse’s back

A qualified saddle fitter should carry out fitting, although every rider should be able to position a saddle correctly for use and be able to identify signs that a saddle no longer fits and requires attention

If the horse’s shape alters, as a result of weight gain or muscle development, the fit of the saddle will need to be checked

How to correctly position a well-fitting saddle:

The saddle should be placed on the back, over the wither, and then slid backwards into its natural resting place.

Check that the saddle is balanced and level and not tipping backwards or forwards. There should be a broad-bearing surface, with the weight distributed evenly along the horse’s back

No part of the saddle should make contact with the spine or wither. The gullet of the saddle should be approximately 6.5cm wide along its full length – there should be a similar clearance between the front of the saddle and the top of the horse’s wither

The position of the point of the saddle tree should sit behind the horse’s shoulder blade, so that it does not restrict the horse’s normal movement. The tree-arches and points should not dig into the horse’s shoulder

The back saddle should not sit too far along the back (as the horse is not designed to take weight on its lumber region) and no further back than the start of the last rib

Ideally, the rider should use a mounting block, or get a leg-up when mounting, to avoid twisting the saddle and affecting its position or straining the horse’s back

When the horse is being ridden, the saddle should not move significantly in any direction and should remain well fitting and balanced

The Girth

Girths are a vital piece of tack, attaching the saddle to the horse and helping maintain its position

They are available in many shapes, types and sizes to suit a range of different saddles

Essentially, a girth should be broad and smooth, fitting comfortably around the horse’s breast

Most general purpose saddles have three girth straps and it is correct to attach the girth to the first and third of these on each side

A correctly fastened girth should rest approximately one hand’s width behind the horse’s elbows

Saddle Cloths, Numnahs and Pads

Saddle cloths and numnahs are used to keep the underside of the saddle clean and to minimise saddle slip

If they are too thick or allowed to crease up under the saddle, they can alter the fit of an otherwise well-fitting saddle

They should not be used in an attempt to improve the fit of an ill-fitting saddle

Undue pressure can be placed on the horse’s withers and spine if a saddle cloth or numnah is not pulled up fully into the gullet. Pads are often used to alter the fit of a saddle

If such measures are necessary long-term, then the saddle clearly does not fit and a new, well-fitting replacement should be obtained

Influence Of The Rider

A bit is only as kind as the manner in which it is applied

A rider with hard hands, who constantly pulls or jerks the reins, can cause soreness, bruising and a great deal of discomfort to the horse’s mouth. In the wrong hands, any bit, irrespective of its severity, can cause a great deal of pain and distress to a horse

Placing a more severe bit in a horse’s mouth, to increase control and therefore enable a forward-going horse to be ridden by a less experienced rider, is a recipe for disaster. In such circumstances, the horse is being forcibly prevented from going forward, and instead may go sideways, backwards or even rear upright, with potentially serious consequences

When mounted, the rider must sit centrally and correctly in the saddle, thereby distributing their weight evenly. A correctly fitting saddle will help the rider to adopt the optimum position, allowing for the correct application of leg and seat aids, as well as ensuring maximum security

However, a poor rider who sits badly (crookedly or tipping forwards or backwards) can have a detrimental effect on the horse’s balance and put pressure on the animal’s back

An uncomfortable or poorly fitting saddle may be evident in the way a horse moves and reacts when the saddle is used. For example, the horse may become reluctant to move forward, and may start hollowing or hunching its back or even buck

A rider should be observant of any changes in a horse’s physical appearance and behaviour that may indicate that a saddle no longer fits comfortably. The advice of a qualified saddle fitter should be sought

Grooming Your Horse

You don’t need to have all the latest products and gadgets to keep your horse clean and happy. A few basic pieces will be sufficient

The necessary things you should have are:

Hoof pick – absolute must have, if your horse can’t walk, you can’t ride him

Curry comb – either plastic or rubber, this is very good for lifting dirt off the coat, massaging the muscles and cleaning the body brush

Body brush – removes the dust and scurf from the coat, mane and tail

Water brush – for use with your bucket of water to remove heavy mud and stains

Sponge or cloth – for cleaning eyes, nose and muzzle and dock

Shoeing A Horse

Remember, ‘No Foot – No Horse’

Depending on your horse and the type of work he does your horse will need to see the farrier between 4 and 8 weeks, and they will also be able to tell you how you should look after their feet and whether or not they need shoes. You should talk to your farrier about the best practice for your horse or pony.

There is now a growing trend towards keeping your horse barefoot, this warrants the services of an experienced hoof trimmer and may be a service that your local farrier also provides

There are alternatives to shoes, which help protect your horse’s feet, being barefoot is not suitable for every horse so seek advice

Your farrier will also be able to help and advise if your horse has laminitis or other hoof related injuries / ailments

Laminitis is a very serious condition, which can cause severe lameness and deformity in the horses hoof.

There is no one cause for laminitis and there is no cure – but it can be controlled and prevented. Every horse is different, so while one horse in a herd may develop the condition it does not mean all the horses will

Some causes of Laminitis are too much rich feed, not enough exercise, standing still on hard ground all the time, pregnancy

Laminitis is the inflammation and swelling of the sensitive areas in the horses hoof around the bone and behind the hoof wall. The level of discomfort would be something akin to you putting on and wearing 24/7 a pair of shoes a size to small for you – causing your foot to be pressed into the narrower area with no room for movement

If you suspect your horse has laminitis contact your vet immediately, followed by your farrier as he may need to remove or re-adjust the shoes on the horse to help relieve the discomfort

Bad shoeing can also lead to laminitis, so make sure your farrier is fully qualified

Dentist

Just as you should go the dentist once a year for a check up so should your horse. Horse’s teeth need to be seen to on an annual basis

Due to the nature of a horse’s diet and the way they eat, horses teeth can develop very sharp edges which will result in discomfort for the horse and in turn for you as the rider / handler

Looking After a Sick or Injured Horse

With the best intentions in the world, we cannot always prevent our horses and ponies from being sick or getting injured. We can reduce the risks but sometimes these things just happen. And when they do happen – the important thing is not to panic and not to leave the horse in pain

To help reduce the chances of your horse getting Equine Flu or Tetanus you should have him vaccinated once a year and keep clear records of the injections on his passport

A big problem facing a herd of horses is worms. To prevent your horse getting ill from an infestation of worms you should worm your horse on a regular basis – approximately every 6 – 8 weeks

Talk to your local vet to confirm the type of worming dose to give your horse throughout the year. Different types of worms appear at different times of the year and no one product is effective against them all

If your horse is sick or injured contact your vet straight away – it does not matter the time of day or night. Depending on the severity of the injury / sickness the vet may tell you what to do over the phone or he may call out

If you suspect your horse to have colic, contact your vet immediately. Colic is a very serious condition. The symptoms of colic include laying down and getting back up again repeatedly, the horse looking at their quarters (bum and back legs), stamping the ground, swishing of their tail, unable to go to the toilet though they keep trying

The horse may not present himself to you with all these symptoms – he may only show one or two, but you should be able to recognise in your own horse through constant handling when he is not feeling well

If your horse has an injury or illness, don’t keep riding the horse, unless the vet gives the all clear. Give your horse a couple of days rest and then start back with gentle walking in hand before sitting up on him and taking him for gentle hacks as this will give him time to recover before being put back into heavy work

Going Away on Holiday

If you are going away on holiday have a friend or experienced person look after your horse while you are away

Leave them the contact numbers of your vet and farrier and also any special diet requirements your horse is currently on

This Article On Keeping And Owning A Horse Has Been Compiled By Tamsyn Lewis With The Aid Of ‘The Manual Of Horsemanship’, Published By The Pony Club

Do You Have Something Equestrian To Write About? Get In Touch Here

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Horse and Pony Ownership & Responsibility Part 1

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Horse and Pony Ownership & Responsibility


Is Owning Or keeping A Horse The Right Decision For You?

Owning or keeping a horse, pony, donkey or any other equine can be very rewarding, but it is a huge responsibility, is expensive and very hard work

You need time, money, commitment and access to suitable land with shelter

Every responsible equine owner and handler will need to keep themselves updated on all aspects of horse care and information in order to ensure their animals live a long, happy and healthy life

There is also a legal responsibility to ensure proper care is given to any horse or pony

What Does The Law Actually Say Regarding Keeping A Horse?

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice

What Does This Mean For Those Responsible For Animals?

In short it means they must take positive steps to ensure they care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which are:

The need for a suitable environment
The need for a suitable diet
The need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
The need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

It should not be understated that equines require a high level of care, including exercise, grooming and vaccinations, keeping or owning any horse is expensive and very time consuming

Equines belong to the family Equidae, which comprises horses, ponies, donkeys, asses, hinnys, zebras, and mules

Depending on where you live and keep your horse, as the law is different in Ireland than in the Uk, you may need to have a licence to keep a Horse, Pony or Donkey

When you get your horse you must get them micro-chipped and registered on a database. The micro-chip is injected into the horses neck and should not cause him any discomfort

You must also get an equine passport. It is illegal to sell or buy a horse without a passport and if you are the person owning or keeping the horse then you should retain possession of it’s passport

Most horses and ponies can live for over 20 years and some often live into their 30’s, so owning a horse is very much a long term commitment and not for the faint hearted

Another thing to consider when you get your horse is horse and rider insurance, this can be another expensive factor in keeping a horse but could be necessary in the event of an accident or incident where your horse causes damage

Horse insurance is also available for vet bills, which could save you hundreds or thousands of pounds in the long term

As with all insurance, it pays to shop around to get the most competitive price

Behaviour

Horses, in their natural environment, live in herds, and they crave the company of their own kind. They need companions, ideally other horses or ponies, although they can benefit from other animals in close proximity. They are happiest outside grazing in open spaces

Therefore it is much better for them to live outside then be permanently stabled, but if the horse is to live outdoors all the time, then they must have access to suitable shelter when the weather is too hot, cold or wet

Horses are very much creatures of habit, and are more relaxed in a given routine with the same thing happening at the same time every day, especially when it comes to feeding times

Caring For Your Horse or Pony

Handling

When handling your horse always be aware of the look in his eye. This will help you to know his thoughts and to anticipate his movements, be they friendly or aggressive

For everything else the golden rules are to speak quietly, handle the horse firmly but gently and avoid sudden movements that could startle the horse and panic

Always speak to any horse before you approach it and while you are handling or working around the horse. This allows the horse to be able to recognise the voice of the person who feeds him or from whom kindness is expected

It can also make it easier to catch if the horse is out with his companions in a field, he will hear your voice and know to come to you

When moving your horse you should either use a correctly fitted head-collar or a halter. If you decide to leave a head-collar on the horse when they are out in a field, ensure there is nothing for the horse to catch the collar on, such as branches or broken fencing

Halters are not designed to be left on the horse as the excess rope that is used to lead the horse cannot be removed and so will be left to trail on the ground, which means it can get caught or the horse can step on it and injury himself

Tethering (tying a horse with a rope or chain to restrict its movement) is not illegal but should be avoided as tethering compromises a horse’s well being in many ways

A tethered horse requires high levels of monitoring, proper tethering equipment, feed, water, and a degree of freedom provided regularly

It is not a low cost or low maintenance way of keeping a horse and is not considered to be good practice

A tethered horse requires high levels of monitoring, proper tethering equipment, feed, water, and a degree of freedom provided regularly

A Tethered Horse Requires High Levels Of Monitoring


If you are leaving the head-collar on the horse, be sure that it fits snugly – not too tight that it can rub the horse, but not too loose that it gets caught in branches. You should also check and clean the head-collar regularly to be sure that there is no build up of dirt and causing an irritation to the horse

When leading your horse, you should be able to lead the horse on both sides. However, majority of horses are used though to being led from the left hand side. When leading a horse, always walk at his shoulder – it is harder from him to kick out or step on you if you are beside his front leg

If you must lead a horse on a road, the horse must travel in the same direction as the traffic and the person leading the horse should be between the horse and the traffic

This is for your own safety – if the horse spooks away from the traffic he will also be spooking away from you and so you won’t end up being squished by a frightened or nervous horse

Horses Kept In The Field

If the field and horse are properly managed, many horses and ponies thrive on living out in fields and it can save you considerable time and money. It can also mean a happier and healthy horse

In the growing seasons of spring and early summer, if the fields are big enough they will be sufficient to provide the horses their full dietary requirements

In this case, you will only need to provide fresh water and a salt-lick. Grass-kept horses are also able to exercise themselves as they are not constricted by space – this will also reduce the necessity for you to exercise them every day

The downside of keeping your horse at grass, is that they can get very dirty and wet, he can decide not be caught when you want him, it is very difficult to regulate the diet and during the winter extra feed may need to be put out if the grass is inadequate or the horse is doing a lot of work

It is very hard to give hard and fast rules about the amount of land needed to support a horse. A lot depends on the quality of the grass in the area, the drainage of the land and the nature of the soil

If a number of horses are being kept in the one field then the general rule of thumb on the minimum size the field should be is one acre per horse. But a field the size of one acre is not big enough for a single horse – they need to be able to move around

Ideally, you should rotate fields so that the fields have a chance to rest and the grass gets a chance to grow. Constant grazing in the one field can make the field horse sick, and therefore, unsuitable for the horses to remain on

In order to ensure your horses are safe from wandering off the field and into traffic or populated areas the field needs to be properly secured

In an ideal world properly treated post and rail fencing with a hedge at the back are considered the best, but so are properly maintained thick hedges and stone walls

The main points to note when securing your fields are the following:

Can the horse easily jump the fence?
Can the horse push through the fence?
Can the horse injury himself from sharp edges, barbwire, or protruding nails?

The following plants are poisonous and they should be removed before leaving a horse in the field:

Buttercup
Privet
Rhododendron
Ragwort – by law this plant should be cleared from grazing land on a regular basis
Foxglove
Yew
Horsetail
Hemlock
Laburnum
Acorn (oak)
Nightshade – woody, black and deadly varieties
Laurel
Sycamore Seeds

There are other poisonous shrubs and plants also poisonous to horses, the list above are the most common ones






This Article On Keeping And Owning A Horse Has Been Compiled By Tamsyn Lewis With The Aid Of ‘The Manual Of Horsemanship’, Published By The Pony Club

Read Keeping And Owning A Horse Part 2 Here

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The Ultimate Wedding Venue For Equestrians

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