Tips on Adopting a Horse
Whether the decision to adopt a horse might be spontaneous and dictated by feelings of compassion for the situation of a specific animal, or it is dictated by an older plan of yours to make an equine friend, it is very useful to know all the implications of doing so since this has a crucial importance in providing the care and lifestyle that the horse needs.
First thing first, you should learn as much as possible about the previous condition of the horse to get an understanding of where it is coming from and how it was treated prior to meeting you. It is useful to know the animal?s character when interacting with people and other horses, its training, and health history. Even if the health history is available, it is a great idea to arrange for a complete examination by the veterinarian.
In case the horse is coming from a history of abuse, trauma, or in case it has a very difficult personality, you might need some pretty serious skills, knowledge, and the assistance of professionals to be able to handle it, so it is better to decide from the start if you would be able to face such challenges in terms of time, effort and finances (if not, you might want to consider adopting a horse with a better history, even if in such case the initial investments for the acquisition of the horse might be higher).
Be aware that even horses in perfect shape require costly care, and the resources spent on this will be much higher than the initial investment. You need to consider proper housing ? horses need to walk at least a dozen or two miles per day grazing here and there, and many horse health problems result from being confined in small spaces. In addition, being herd animals, they like to socialize with other horses and people. Be ready for behavior and training challenges and meet them with patience and determination. The animal might need some time to adapt to you, to its new house, and the surroundings.
Your horse will also need several vaccinations, de-worming cycles, and dental assistance (the constantly growing teeth can sharpen and cause cuts in the mouth if not supervised). Also, do not exclude the potential need for emergency assistance ? horse veterinarians are more expensive than cat or dog vets. Another type of assistance needed every two months is farrier care ? you horse?s hooves are constantly growing and need to be properly maintained ? sometimes, regular trimming will do, while sometimes, shoeing might be necessary. If proper care is not ensured, this can affect the gait and endanger the very life of the animal.
Last but not least, you will also have to invest in feed ? a horse eats about 3 tons of hay per year. While in the warm period of the year they can be grazing on the field, when this is not possible, they will need to be fed grains, alfalfa, hay, processed or combination feeds and sometimes also food supplements like vitamins and minerals.
Finally, horses can easily live up to 30 years and more, so it is a commitment hard to compare with acquiring any other pet, nevertheless it will most probably get more and more rewarding with each year.