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How to Prepare Your Property for a New Horse


February 25, 2022

You are ready to join the world of horse owners! Whether you have taken extensive riding lessons or grown up around them, you are confident on and around horses. You have a passion for the equine world, and your pocketbook and heart tell you it is time to get a horse of your very own. Before you run out and buy your dream horse, key preparations need to be taken to ensure you bring your horse home to a thriving atmosphere.

Two horses on a farm

Choosing the Right Horse

The responsibility of buying a horse has been likened to owning a family dog to bringing home a baby. It is a big commitment! But what type of horse is right for you?

There are five types of horses:

  1. Draft horses– they are tall, strong, and heavy
  2. Light types– they are varied in weight, build, and color. They are bred for speed, agility, endurance, and riding.
  3. Gaited types– they are bred for riding but have a smoother ride compared to a light-type horse.
  4. Warmblood horses– they are tall, strong, and athletic. They are usually performance horses
  5. Pony– they are significantly smaller in size than other horses and measure less than five feet in height

All horses have the same basic needs that need to be met to ensure that you’re creating the best place for them to reside as the newest member(s) of your family.

Steps to Prepare Your Property for a New Horse

You may be ready for a horse, but is your property ready? There are numerous steps to take and consider before introducing your horse to its new home. Each step is vital in creating the best home for your horse to grow and thrive.

1. Space– Do you have enough space for your horse? Whether you live on a huge farm or are limited to a smaller location, you must have enough room for your horse and the necessities the horse will need. Horses need a barn and stall or a pasture with shelter. It is recommended that one acre of grazing land is needed per animal. Like children, horses need room to walk, run, play, and turn around during the day.

2. Fencing– It is important to ensure that your horse has a safe and secure place to run and play outside. You can accomplish this by installing the proper fencing around your horse’s entire turnout. Look for fencing that is:

  • Sturdy and durable and will not get damaged by natural elements
  • Free from hazards such as sharp corners or barbed wire
  • Strong enough to withstand a collision or kick from a horse

Never use barbed wire fencing or large, heavy-duty fences with large openings because horses can hurt themselves on these types of fences. Some top options for fencing are:

  • Wooden post and rail fencing– the best and most common type of fencing, although it can be expensive to maintain and repair. A traditional type of fencing material that has been used for hundreds of years.

5" Treated Blunt Wood Post 8 ft.

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6" Treated Blunt Wood Post 8 ft.

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  • Hot tape– the second best choice of fence. A type of electric fence that is more visible than other wire fencing so horses are less likely to bump into it when they get excited. It is also easily movable. Do not use this type of fence around or bordering riding arenas.

Gallagher Poly Tape, 660 ft.

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POWERFIELDS 660' POLY ELECTRIC HOT ROPE

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48-Inch Poly Step-In Fence Post

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POWERFIELDS WOOD/VINYL POST POLY TAPE INSULATOR

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3. Grazing– Just having enough pasture for your horse to graze on is not enough. Your horse needs quality grass to ingest. If you have a small amount of acreage, it will rarely provide all the nutritional value a horse needs. Grazing varies from horse to horse and should be timed accordingly. Before bringing your horse home:

    1. Plan ahead and check out the grass in the field where your horse will graze.
    2. Clear it of plants or trees that are poisonous to your horse.
    3. Purchase a mix of grass and legumes (be sure it is a mix suitable for a horse, not cattle), plant it, and give it time to grow before giving your horse free reign to munch.

Orchard Grass Hay Bale Two-String

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Eastern Oregon Alfalfa Hay Bale

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Purina Omega Match - 40lb

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4. Water– A clean water supply is a staple for all animals. Horses can consume up to ten gallons of water a day and therefore need a continuous supply. A lack of water can lead to dehydration, which can be deadly and cause colic and weight loss. Install a stock tank designed for horses, and be sure to keep the horse’s drinking water fresh. Be on the daily lookout for insects, leaves, and other debris that might fall into the water. Depending on the climate, you may need fans in the summer or water trough heaters in the winter to keep the water from completely freezing. A cost-saving winter tip is to purchase a child’s plastic ball and put it in the stock tank to keep the water from freezing.

Behlen 2 x 2 x 4 ft. Stock Tank 103 Gallon

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Behlen 4 ft. Round Galvanized Stock Tank

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5. Shelter– The type of shelter you need depends on the number of horses you own and their purpose. If you own a show horse or many horses, you will want a barn with stalls to house them in. Most show horses are kept indoors and stalled much of the day. On the other hand, you do not need a big barn to house only one or two horses.

  • A run-in shed – (a small three-sided building) is the easiest way to provide shelter from the elements year-round for your horse. These structures are simpler and less expensive to build than a large barn.
  • At pasture – a horse can be kept “at pasture” where they have an area to go inside or undercover on their own accord. If you still want a stall for your horse, an easy solution is to construct a run-in shed with a panel that can be placed across the entrance, serving as a stall. You can attach a tack room to the structure, so you do not have to carry saddles and gear around. Be sure there are no sharp edges, potential hazards, or exposed nails and screws, that could injure your horse.

6. Food– It is imperative that you provide the best quality food for your horse.

Two horses eating hay

  • Hay – the best choice and is highly nutritious, especially grass hay. Horses consume up to 1.5-2.5% of their body weight in hay and forage a day.
  • Grain and pellets – are good options to incorporate into your horse’s diet because they help them gain weight and develop muscle. And do not forget the treats.
  • Fruit – horses love fruit such as watermelon, apples, strawberries, and bananas.

Before purchasing hay, find a reliable hay supplier and keep your hay storage in a leak-proof building with adequate ventilation to ensure the hay does not get moldy. It is also important to remember that hay is highly flammable and should be stored a safe distance from the barn or shelter.

Purina Strategy Professional Formula GX 50 lb.

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Purina Equine Senior 50 lb.

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Albers Special 6 40 lb.

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Purina Apple & Oat Treats 3.5 lb.

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7. A companion– Horses are herd animals and very sociable. They enjoy having a companion to bond with, especially other horses. Fellow horses enjoy different activities like mutual grooming and playing. When horses are alone for extended periods of time, they may begin to exhibit unhealthy behaviors such as cribbing or stall pacing. If you do not have room for another horse, consider getting a goat or sheep to keep your equine friend company. Your horse will thank you for the extra social interaction.

There is a mountain of work and planning that goes into preparing your property for its newest occupant. Whether you are a potential buyer or a long-time horse owner, trust that Wilco Farm Stores will provide you with the highest quality equine products and equipment to keep your horse happy and healthy for many years to come.

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