HORSE HOLIDAY CONNECTIONS 

Soft Touch Horsemanship The Mind Body Connection  

~~By God's Directions.  This is His Program--not ours!~~

 

 

 

 

 Your first (or new) horse...  

  Answer some important questions -before purchasing a horse

1.)  First!  Why do you want a horse?  Because they are pretty?  Because they are so spirited and beautiful?  Because you saw them in the movies, and it was such a great story?  Because you want to be a cowboy, or a jockey or a Pat Perrelli or a Liz Taylor?  Because you want to feel the wind in your hair when you gallop across the fields?  Because your neighbors have one, and you want to go riding with them?  What's the real reason behind your wanting a horse?  Will it make you feel important?  Will it make you have tons of friends?  Will your self esteem rise?  Will you not be so lonely because you will have tons of friends at the boarding stable?  Will you have something to show others when they visit you?  SEARCH YOUR SOUL!  Get to the REAL REASON, that you want a horse!  Is it because you just like the idea of having a horse?  What IS IT --Really?

2.)  What kind of a horse do you want?  Big?  Fat?  Long?  Big Eyes?  Arabian stallion?  Black stallion?  A white albino?  A hunter?  Jumper?  A race horse?  A cutting horse?  Cow horse?   Quarter horse?  Dressage horse?  Do you know what kind and why?  Can you ride a horse like that, or are you just learning to ride?  Have you considered a slow or quiet horse?  An older more experienced horse?  Or do you want a very young horse that will grow with you?  Do you have any experience with young horses. so you will not get hurt?  THINK!

3.)  What 'color' horse do you want?  A Dark bay?  Palomino?  Pinto?  Dun?  Black?  Chestnut?  Red with a white mane?  Tan with a black mane?  White?  Dapple Gray?  WHY must your horse be a certain color?  Is there a reason?  Did you see a horse that you liked before, and was that the color they were?  Why is color so important?  Isn't it better to find a horse that you can like first? 

4.)  What do you want to do with your horse?  Ride? What is more important --riding alone or making new friends?  Have the horse as a friend?  Have them pull a buggy or cart?  Jump fences?  Do you want to show your horse so you can become 'recognized as a great horseman, or to show people that you can control such a huge animal?  Do you want to show off your horse?  Why?  Is this necessary?  Again, why do you really want a horse?

5.)   Where will your horse live?   DO NOT ASSUME --that you have a friend or relative --that will just keep this horse for you!  You must take RESPONSIBILITY for your own horse!  Will they live at your own farm?  Do you have at least 2 acres for that horse?  For each horse?  Or will you have to pay board to keep them elsewhere?  How much will board cost in your area?  What will you get for your board money?  Where will your board money come from?  WHO pays for and supplies the hay and grain and bedding?  WHO will be feeding your horse?  Will you have to feed them daily yourself --even in the winter months, through ice and snow, and bitter cold weather?  Will you have to put them into their stall during winter months -at night, and turn them out in the morning yourself?   Or will you have a run in shed for protection from the wind and cold?  Is that shed facing the right direction?  (In the United States -the opening should face south, so that the horse are protected from the harsh wind and gets the morning sun that can warm the horse in the early morning, after a very cold night. HOW will the horses be fed --IF they live outside or in a shed?  What about other horses that may chase your horse from their feed?  Will your horse absolutely get what they should be getting?  Will the horse have to be brought in to be fed?

6.)  Stalls, and water!  Is there at least a 12' x 12' stall for a full size horse?  A 10' x 12' stall for a medium sized horse?  A 10' x 10' stall for a large pony or small horse?  An 8' x8' for a medium or small pony?  Is it a safe stall with a safe door?  Will their water freeze in the winter months?  Or can you supply them with a heated water system, so they will have continuous water as they need it?  Your horse can ONLY depend on YOU, and that is the way it should be -IF you have a horse.  It is also YOUR responsibility to see that those who board your horse for you -are also following through with what they are supposed to be doing.  Yes, it should be okay to stop in to see your horse at anytime!  Of course you would not make it a habit to be at the barn at night time, unless your horse is sick.  Please show respect for the property owners.  Tell them ahead of time --if you will be coming at night time.  Barn safety is a huge responsibility.  Appreciate the concern for night visitors!

7.)  Will you blanket your horse during the cold months?  Will you be able to see IF that horse gets caught in the straps when that horse rolls on the ground?  Is there someone that will keep an eye out for your horse's safety, and will they?  Do you know the proper fit of a blanket? Is it a safe blanket that will not get torn and fall off around their back feet to trap them or get them hurt?  Is that blanket water proof?  Or will it get rain soaked, and make your horse sick?  Will you leave the blanket on the horse when it gets warm or hot?  If so, do not blanket the horse!  Is your horse one that shivers in the wet cold?  If so --blanket them!

8.)  Is there a safe fence for the horses?  Or is that fence one that a horse could get caught in or cut on? Are there any nails that could put a horse's eye out or tear at their flesh?  Will that fence keep your horse safe, even if they spook and try to run through that fence?  Is it a fence made of wood boards?  Or is it made of electric wire, that must depend on electric to keep the horse in?  Does your horse have good vision -to see that fence, even at night time?  And do or will your horse respect that fence, or don't they even know what the electric fence is?

9.) Safe barn or shed?  Is the shed or barn protected from the weather, or heavy rain?  Or will there be tons of mud around the barn area or in the shed?  If you do not have a safe place for your horse to live -where you will have easy access to working with them in bad weather--do not get a horse!

  MAKE PLANS FIRST, then follow through on caring for your horse.  

10.)  Turn out or pasture area?  Also, will that horse be turned out with other horses?  Are those horses kind?  Or will they turn on your horse because they are new there?  This is normal, to be outcast at the beginning, however, can you possibly have your horse in a smaller pasture for about a week, so they can get acclimated to the others?  (This is best.)  Will your horse be alone all day while they are waiting for you?  I suggest that you have a big goat for companionship or a large pony.  Small ponies can get hurt, and they can get sick eating in the same pasture as your horse.  Be sure that your horse's companion can not get out of a fenced area, and that your horse can not hurt them, until they get to be friends.

11.)   Will they have a GOOD pasture, or will you need to supply them with hay?  Is the pasture provided only good for exercise?  Are their dangerous holes that your horse could break a leg in?  Are there huge rocks that the horse could fall onto? Are there cows in that pasture?  Is your horse afraid of Cows? Donkeys?  Are there dangerous corners that a bunch of horses or cows could corner your horse, so they would 'panic'.  Think!  Check the pasture that your horse will be living and playing in.  A good pasture has an overall grass of 6 inches.  IF there are 'patches' of 6 inch grass, that is NOT pasture.  That could be where they have wet or made droppings on.  IF there are bare spots in the pasture, that is your clue that there is too much acid.  Horses like 'sweet' grass, and they will not eat acidic grass.  The pasture may need to be 'limed' so the acid level decreases, and can become 'sweeter' so the horses will eat it from all over the pasture, not just in spots.  You can have the 'Agricultural Department' test the soil to tell you what it needs for it to become the better pasture for your horse.  It will pay for itself to have the pasture maintained yearly, or at least bi-annually.  Do not assume that you have no pasture , and it is gone.  It most likely 'CAN' be refurbished to become quite lush again!  Horses usually DO need Good Hay --at the very 'least' --in the winter time.  PREPARE and have good hay on stock ahead of time.  Do NOT get caught without hay when the supplies of hay are all sold.  Gone!  Remember --pasture maintenance, and mowing [to about 6 inches high] -to help keep weeds down --is very important.

12.)  What will you feed your horse? Hay?  Grain?  Supplements?  Worm medicine in their feed?  How much grain will you feed?  What is a 'scoop' of grain?  One pound?  Two pounds?  Three?  Four?  Do you make the mistake of feeding a (one pound) scoop of grain, when you actually should be feeding a four pound scoop?  A POUND of grain --IS A POUND OF GRAIN!  This is the better way to measure grain!  By WEIGHT --NOT Scoops!!  If your horse is on pasture during the spring, summer and fall, will they need grain?  Or is pasture plenty good enough for your horse for awhile?  Will you think that you MUST grain your horse --if they are on good pasture?  Will you put too much 'energy' into your horse so they get spooky or too quick or fast for your experience?  Will you like seeing a very plump horse that will now have trouble going out on trails because of their excess weight?  Is your horse healthy?  Can you and your horse afford (physically) to just have them on pasture?  Will you recognize that when a horse sweats a 'COLD SWEAT' that you need the vet ASAP?  Will you recognize that a horse can CHOKE on straight oats or plain pellets?  Do you realize that grain is very important to the horse, to be sure that they will slowly eat, and that they will not grab gobs of grain and swallow?  Do you know that you can place a three or four 6" rocks in the feed bin to slow down the horses eating habits?  Will you recognize when a horse is choking?  Can you notice if the gums are turning gray, and they have a funny look on their face/eyes, as if there is something wrong? Would you notice that they are gagging?  Get the vet ASAP!  If your horse has been known to CHOKE, you can help your horse by mixing their grain with some short hay in their feed bin, to slow their eating. Will you make excuses to not check on their feed (grain --if needed) or clean water (ALWAYS NEEDED) for your horse, or IF you blame someone else for not doing the feeding etc. for you, even IF you pay for that service, then --do not get a horse!  IF you find there are problems where you have your horse, find another 'better place' to keep them.  Know when your own particular horse needs grain etc --seasonally, by knowing the pasture etc.  Pastures should have yearly upkeep to be prime for your horse.  It may cost more monthly, however your overall cost will be less, with a good pasture.  Check with your veterinarian for the best possible suggestions on grain etc.

13.)  Is the pasture so rich that your horse can get into trouble?  You must check on the pasture.  If it IS in fact very lush, and your horse is not used to such a fine pasture, you must gradually introduce them to such lavish living.  IF you turn a horse out on great pasture and just forget them, you may come back to a dead horse.  You must keep a check on your horses.  Make sure that they do not founder [get really sick], by checking the heat in their hooves.  It is a very good idea to learn to check for heat.  Take your hand, and make a soft 'cup'.  Place your hand over the front of the horses leg.  DO NOT keep you hand in one place on the leg!  This will cause the heat from your own hand to warm the flesh and hair on the horse's leg.  When you first 'touch' the horses leg, you are to BE MOVING at the same time toward the ground and OFF the bottom of the hoof!  This is very important!  DO NOT STOP your hand at ANY TIME!  You are to just 'brush' your hand down the leg to gain necessary sensitivity --to find where there is ANY HEAT in the leg or hoof!  IF you find heat in a HOOF, there may be a problem, such as an abscess.  IF you find heat in two front hooves (feet) -take the horse off pasture and only give them hay for awhile.  Watch them for a day or so to see that the heat leaves.  You can put them into a baron paddock.  If they can stand in a stream --that is great.  It is VERY IMPORTANT to keep a solid check on the condition of your horse -IF they have great pasture.  Just regulate them so they do not get too much at a time.  You will be fine.  If the heat is HOT, get the vet ASAP, and hose their feet to help reduce the heat.  A horse can die from an extreme case of founder.  They can also become un-usable.  Look at feet!  You may see hard ridges around the hoof.  The feet can also have a very long toe from neglect and/or precious founder.  It could take a solid year for a horse's hoof to re-grow.  Check with a 'good' veterinarian for the best suggestions.  A quarterly check-up is a safe thing to do, unless you find a problem, like heat or gray gums under the lip, or cold sweat, lameness etc.  ANY question on health and horse care should be answered by a good vet.   ALSO--watch for DRULL or slobber!  DROOPY EYES!  Get the vet!  They could have gotten into something toxic.

14.)  Do you have a good 'clean flowing' stream, or will you have to supply their water?  A bath-tub is a good safe container --IF there is nothing they can be caught on, like a spigot. What will you do when that water freezes?  Is it possible that water tub can be near electric --so a water heater can prevent that freezing?  Check on them because they do stop working.  Keep the water clear of dirt, scum, etc.

15.)  Halters.  DO NOT use a complete nylon halter for turn out! 

A halter MUST break IF the horse gets caught on something.  Example:  A wonderful horse got an eye-ring in the hole at the side of his halter.  He pulled back, got caught, and strangled himself!  Again NO all-nylon halters -for turn-out --OR in the stalls --AT ALL!  NEVER!  Take those halters OFF!  NOW! 

There are many types of halters.  Find halters that have a leather strap, connected to two buckles at EACH side of the halter.  This way, you can even use old stirrup leathers to cut into straps.  You can use a hole punch to punch the holes needed.  This is an in-expensive way to keep cost down, and it is safe.  Use leather that can break --for turn-out.  It is better to loose a halter temporarily, than to loose your horse!

16.)  Male horses have 'special needs'.  They have a 'cleanliness' issue, that may need your help, or they may become very uncomfortable or even have a very 'painful' problem.  Have your vet show you how to check and or clean the penis (the male organ) for 'bean-like' clumps of yellow to gray gummy clumps, that can accumulate in the little slots at the end of that penis. Some horses get them, others do not.  Do not make a big deal of checking them weekly!  PLEASE!  Do not 'play' with a horse's organ!  PLEASE!!!  Anyone that 'plays with a horse's organ has a problem themselves!  TELL THEM SO!  Just check for 'beans' once or twice yearly! Thbeans could effect urination (wetting).  I once taught a young student the how-to.  She returned to tell me about a friend's horse, that she said their penis looked like cauliflower.  I went to see for myself.  That poor horse had 'beans' in the head of his penis that really looked painful.  I tried to loosen them, and it was a very delicate situation.  The skin around those beans was stretched to their maximum.  It was very difficult to be both helpful and kind.  There is a -'water soluble' jell that helps.  It is antibiotic, so it will help healing if there is any scratch mark etc.. It is called Furison or furizone.  It is usually yellow and melts away with 'water' so it works very well, as it washes away easily, with just water.  It is not oil or grease based that would attract and hold onto dirt or sand.  You could help a horse that gets really dirty, by taking about three tablespoons of 'Furison' and pushing this UP into the 'sheath' of the male horse.  This is the pouch that holds the penis that actually draws back behind this pouch of flesh.  There is a ring higher in that pouch that actually holds the penis 'in place' for comfort and also safety, so it just does not hang out and down. You can place those three tablespoons of Furison into the 'sheath' and try to push some of it behind and into the area behind that circular ring that holds the penis back and up.  When the horse urinates, he will drop their penis past this Furison, and lubricating all the accumulated 'stinky gunk', softening while helping to loosen that gunk.  It will help that gunk to fall out all by itself.  Leave this in the 'sheath' for about 3-4 days, and then just take a hose and flush out what is loose with water.  This can be done 'twice yearly', and is a safe process.  Check for 'beans' once or twice yearly.  Get the vet to take care of this if necessary.

17.)   Do you just want to save a horse?  This can be a costly expense!  And, you will need some experience or the guidance of a really good horseman and vet. It is unfortunate that so many horses must live a life of neglect and abuse.  To extend a hand to help others, horse OR human is a Godly thing to do.  May God 'Bless' you, if you can make a life a better one.

I hope these questions and thoughts give you food for thought, while helping you make better decisions. 

 'Rose at the Barn'

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