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Basic Care of Your Horse

BE CAREFUL

I have heard of numerous people getting hurt by their new gift horse. So be aware that horses can and will hurt you, usually just by accident.

One horse I know about got away from the new owner the first day and ran wild for months. By the time it was caught, it had gone completely wild and the new owner got a broken arm just trying to get near the horse.

Someone told me that even Pat Parelli wouldn't go in with a rank horse. He worked with the horse from outside the pen until the horse trusted him enough not to try to kill him.

I had a young colt born wild on a large ranch. I was walking a friend's dog and went up to my colt on the other side of the fence. The colt and dog sniffed noses briefly, then the colt whirled around and kicked the dog through the barb wire fence. So you really have to be careful even on the other side of a fence.

I managed to halter break that colt on the other side of a gate. I hung a bucket on the gate and every time the colt touched his nose to the halter, i tossed a handful of grain into the bucket. Eventually I could rub the colt's head all over with the rope halter. Then slip it over his nose. Up to his ears. And knot it on. Then i looped a lead rope through the halter and gave a little tug, letting the rope slip out if the colt panicked. Eventually the colt trusted the lead rope. Having a hold of the colt's head he couldn't kick me.

But I don't recommend trying to handle a difficult horse if you are a novice. I know some people have an inborn knack with horses and can gentle a savage horse. But other people have more confidence than they have skill and get themselves hurt.

CONDITION OF HORSE

Bulging pockets of fat is too fat. Prominent ribs, backbone sticking up, hip bones stickling out, sunken in around the tail, is too skinny.

There are many things besides feeding that affect the condition of the horse. Intestinal parasites, teeth problems, disease, hoof problems, old age, overwork, poor environment and so forth.

Ideally the new owner should call a vet to check the horse.

FENCING

I have known people who bought a horse before they had a fenced in area and kept the horse in a stall for a month. The horse was no longer easy to handle and they had to get the trainer to come and help them. Horses need room to run around. A lot of stall kept horses have all kinds of stall vices. Cribbing, kicking, biting, pawing, weaving, wood chewing. Better to have a fenced in area. My horses will stay in a 4 foot fence with a hot wire or barb wire along the top. An all hot wire fence will work if it is kept hot. Walk it daily to make sure the wire is not grounded out.

SHELTER

An ideal shelter is the side of a building with an overhanging roof.

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