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What to ask when buying a horse

After years and years of just dreaming about riding a mighty stallion through the open fields at dusk, with that gentle breeze just crooning into your ears and drifting you into a world unlike any other, From those juvenile fantasies of racing your best mate across the land with your Arabian horse galloping like there’s no tomorrow, almost everyone of us have been at a point in life where we’ve want to buy a horse of our own. But buying and caring for a horse is no walk in the park. It requires a great amount of time, energy and a whole lot of money. Many people think that a horse is just like your neighbor’s dog Timmy. Mark my word, the maintenance of any traditional pet is nothing compared to the work load of caring for an equine. The job comes with a vast amount of responsibilities and commitments to be made.

So we’ve set out a Buying a horse checklist list that is absolutely essential for when buying your first horse. However, since this is not simple matter of buying another pet, we highly recommend that get in touch with an equine expert before doing anything else.

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1. The Horse – Genetics and upbringing

2. Equine law firm

3. Nutrition

4. The stable

5. Tech and equipment needed

6. Horse health and maintenance

7. Checklist before actually buying

The Horse – Genetics and upbringing

The first thing you would want to look into to is what type of a horse you are to buy. Now this is a vital aspect to look into if you are a noobie to the subject of horses. Horses are generally bought In Sri Lanka for either breeding or professional racing. There are 3 types of horses to look into. Stallion (male horses), Mares (female horses) or a Gelding (a castrated male hors)

Young Stallions are great horses for racing. However they are not the type you’d want to keep in your free land or small farm for leisure rides. Stallions are naturally social animals. But that is in the wild, not in your home garden. Based on the genetics, breeding and the training received each stallion maybe different from each other. They usually showcase aggressive behavior towards other horses and human handlers. They tend to bite and kick any one that invade their privacy or seem to post any sort of threat to them. Trust me; you do not want to be at the receiving end of those shoes. Even when it comes to behavior, each horse is different from one another. One might be very calm while around water and another might cause havoc if they come near water or at least see someone else using water. We would not recommend a stallion if this is going to be your first time around any horse. They are only for the experts and people that are serious about horses.

Mares are the exact opposite to stallions. They are generally very calm and quite. If you are looking for a riding horse, mares would make lovely companions indeed. They are naturally light headed and easy to be around, making them ideal for a person buying a horse for the first time. Much like the mares, geldings make great companions as well. A gelding is a castrated male horse, therefore they are generally easier to ride with other horses and take care of.

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Whatever the breed, training is a very important aspect to a horse, especially if you are new to them. Horses are brought up in different ways according to the different ideologies of their owners. “Natural”, “herd” or “pasture” are the commons forms of management used by horse trainers. Each method instills different qualities and attitudes within the horse. So it is very important that you get a proper understanding of how your horse was brought up and post it to an expert for further clarification. So it’s very important to get the background of the horse first.

The breed of the horse matters as well. Just like dogs, horses have been carefully bred with certain characteristics. Breeds like Quarter horses, paints and draft horses are quieter in nature whilst Arabian horses and thoroughbreds are more boisterous. Make sure you pick the right horse which fits your capability, not your preference.

As I mentioned before, the best advice I could give you is to consult an expert for guidance. They are the people who could direct you in the right path for buying the perfect horse for you.

Equine legal solutions

It is always good to have a legal backing for when buying your horse. Be it your first time or the 25th time, a legal backing is always good to keep close for any future needs. Equine insurance plans will be very beneficial when it comes to covering emergency medical treatments. The financial assistance will ease off the unnecessary burden that’ll be upon you and you will be able to focus on your horse.

Nutrition

• General feed and water

Proper nutrition for your horse is an essential factor to consider when caring for them. A common misconception many people make is thinking that 2 or 3 stacks of grass or hay per day would be sufficient for a horse to keep him full and energized the whole day. This is far from the truth. A young, healthy horse consumes almost up to 15- 20 kilos of grass per day. And that too in very small amounts while grazing over pastured land taking frequent breaks to help with its delicate digestive process. Alongside the meals it is vital that the horse has access to clean water throughout the day. A horse consumes up to 15 gallons of water every day, and more if fed dry feed such as hay.

• Proteins, carbohydrates and other nutrients

The main source of energy for a horse is the fats and carbohydrates in the food. Proteins help in building the muscles and tissues. Feed like corn, barley and oats have high amounts of carbohydrates which will provide adequate energy for your horse. Legumes and hay are great sources of protein. However, one must not over feed the horse as well. This can lead to it being too dynamic which might make the horse hard to calm down. Consult an equine nutritional specialist if you are not sure on what to feed in what quantities.

Ideally a horse that is for leisure riding or a horse that are not usually subjected to physical exertion, will have a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals in his body to keep the nutrients balanced. This depends on the quality of the feed. For instance if the horse is fed with low quality hay, he/she might need an addition of a specific supplement prescribed by a veterinarian to his daily diet. This is also applicable if you are constantly feeding your horse with grains. Young horses however require a balanced diet including calcium and phosphorus. This is to ensure the healthy growth in his/her skeleton.

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• Other feeds

Other feeds that include the essentials nutrients required for a horse are forages, grains, mixes and pellets. These will provide your horse with all other nutrients that are essential for its healthy growth apart from the normal feed.

Prior to feeding your horse anything, please be mindful to get the opinion of your veterinarian. The vet knows what to give, what quantities to give and when to give them.

The stable

Like a human would love to live in a comfy home, a horse too appreciates a respectable resting place. Many people may think that a barn in the back yard will be enough for a horse. A passionate horse owner couldn’t disagree more! A horse requires space, and a lot of it. So the best option for any new owner is to look for a bedding house or proper boarding facility from the vicinity if they are unable to provide housing on their own. Ideally it needs to be a half an hour drive from your house so it isn’t a burden for you to visit your horse every day.

Horses need to be kept in what are known as loose boxes or box stalls. Your horse might not like to be in it forever, but it makes caring for them much easier. The recommended floor area is 10’X10′ (3mX3m) to 12’X12′ (3.6mX3.6m) for a normal riding horse. But extra would be appreciated by the horse, the vets and yourself. Make sure that the flooring is done of a comfortable material such as sand or rubber mat. Concrete and stone floors maybe hard on the horses legs and over time the horse might tend to feel uncomfortable being in the stable. The ceiling height is also to be considered when selecting the perfect stable. Some stable owners look past this element and have their stable ceiling built just enough not to touch the horses head. The standard height for the room needs to be at least 8 feet high. This would prevent causing any harm to your horse if they get a bit excited and try move about too much.

Equipment needed

So now you’ve got your horse and you’re ready to hop on its back and ride like the wind? Not so fast cowboy, there is a considerable amount of basic equipment you’ll need to have in hand before proceeding to riding your horse. Some stuff we advice buying before hand and setting them up prior to bringing down the horse and some, just hold on until you get the horse into your arms.

If you are going to be raising the horse in your home stable itself, it is very important that you get an opinion from an expert prior to bringing in the animal. Your barn may not be the best place for the horse. If you do get the green light to proceed with bringing the horse to your home, you’ll need a number of equipment from your local tack shop.

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• Feeding and nurturing

Feeding tubs – if you do not own a meadow or have the ability to regularly take your horse to a meadow for grazing, we’d advice you to buy a large tub for feeding. But do occasionally take your horse to a nearby land for some relaxation and grazing.

Water tubs – horses usually consume up to 15 gallons of water every single day. Make sure to buy tubs that can be cleaned easily. Check for any harmful coating as well.

Halter – make sure to buy the halter after trying it out on your horse. It should not be too tight, nor should it be well loosened up. Your veterinarian will be able to help you out with picking the perfect halter based on your horse’s gender, breed and age.

Curry comb – this tool is used for daily rubbing down your horse to clean off any accumulated dirt and loosen up the hair. Brush gently in a circular motion and avoid using it on the horse’s legs or head. Daily brushing down your horse will help the skin produce natural oils to keep its coat lubricated

Face brush and body brush – this is a soft bristled brush used for cleaning out tiny dirt particles and to add a shine to its coat. It is also very soothing to the horse and can be used on the head as well.

Grooming rag – usually used for wiping down the sweat after riding.

Hoof pick – a small metal tool used to clean the hooves of the horse. Some picks include brushes as well. Make sure to thoroughly clean all 4 hooves before and after taking the horse for a ride

Sponges – sponges are recommended to use for cleaning the horse’s eyes, lips, nose and ears.

Fly repellent – very important to use on your horse under prescribed methods. Diseases such as swamp fever can be avoided with proper use of fly repellent.

• Riding

Saddle – buy your saddle after thoroughly testing it on the horse. Get a profession to try it out. Make sure it fits perfect and does not cause any harm to your horse.

Saddle blanket – place this on the back of the horse before placing the saddle

Bridle – this is attached to the horses head and mouth in order to assist in directing the horse while riding. There are many different types of bridles available, so make sure to get the opinion of your veterinarian and buy the one that fits your horse without causing it any harm.

Helmet – a helmet is a must and for obvious reasons. It’s best to have a helmet on at all times when you first come in contact with your horse. No matter how trained it may be, horses are bound to change behavior according to the human.

• Barn maintenance

Make sure to buy these tools to make the lengthy barn work as easy as possible.

– Pitchforks

– Stable brooms

– Wheelbarrows

– Manure forks

Make sure to have a first aid kit in hand for any emergencies that may occur. It’s best to have a list of emergency phone numbers with you at all times as well.

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