Starting any hobby or interest often means buying or investing in some equipment or kit but when your new hobby involves horses, you might be surprised by the sheer volume of equipment you will need just to keep, feed, water, drive and get the very best from your horse.
Feeding and Watering
It might seem like stating the obvious but without access to food and water, your horse will suffer and without these being clean and accessible to him, he will also suffer so getting the right equipment for his food and water is absolutely essential.
He will need a feeding tub, a water trough or large buckets, and potentially a water heater if you or your stables expect any freezing temperatures.
Barn and Pasture
For his wellbeing and cleanliness, you will also need to tend to the barn and pasture and ensure that his bedding is clean, regularly changed and free of vermin or insects. For this, you will need a pitch fork, a broom and a wheelbarrow. It almost goes without saying but regular (twice daily) mucking out is a must to avoid disease and odour. You may also need premise spray, especially if insects are making your horse’s life a misery.
Handling and Grooming
The right equipment to handle and groom is also essential for his health, wellbeing and his appearance. Regular grooming not only leaves him looking the picture of health but also ensures that if he has any health or infestation problems, you’re able to spot and treat differences in his coat, mane and tail quickly and effectively. For this you’ll need a hoof pick, combs and brushes and a cloth. You should be prepared to wash him down regularly for hygiene and to cool him down after walking, especially in particularly temperate weather.
His comfort and your safety are the combined reason why proper riding equipment is so essential. To give him and you the best and most comfortable ride, you’re need a saddle with girth or cinch, a saddle pad or a blanket to act as a makeshift saddle pad, a bridle, a helmet (for you) and safety stirrups. In the event of a lack of stirrups then boots with a one inch heel which can grip onto footrest will suffice.
Your horse will still need fresh air and access to greenery even in the most extreme of weather conditions so buying a coat and socks for him will help protect and provide comfort in the winter. You should also ensure that he has adequate (and safe) warming facilities in his barn. Likewise, in the summer months, he may need a fan to cool him.
Although their use is often viewed unfavourably by those with little knowledge of horses, you may wish to invest in a whip for effective driving. This is of course your choice – only you know and decide how you wish to spur your horse on.
Investing in a few horse trailers is essential if you intend to transport him on a regular basis but if this is not your intention or may be an infrequent event then you may wish to borrow or hire one when the necessary time arises.
This is a guest post on behalf of Anna Wright who enjoys searching for ponies for sale, equestrian property and the outdoors.