How to Take Care of a Horse (Care Sheet & Guide 2023)

Horses are extremely versatile pets that can be befriended, ridden, and even perform a variety of tasks on them. Weighing more than 1,000 pounds and often exceeding a meter at the withers, horses are among the largest pets you can own. Similarly, they bear veritably different care than utmost faves, similar to tykes, pussycats, catcalls, lizards, or fish  Horses require much more space, food, exercise, and everything else. Despite this, caring for horses can be quite simple. In this article, we’ll go through all the basics and prepare you to properly care for your horse


Horse Facts


Horses, along with dogs and cats, have evolved alongside humans as domesticated partners for thousands of years. Although horse populations declined at the end of the last ice age, nearly 10,000 years ago, many remained in Asia and Europe, where they have first domesticated about 5,000 years ago, according to scientists.

The domestication of horses was an important event in human history. Previously, we could only travel short distances; it took us far too long to cover long distances. Horses enabled us to travel much farther and faster and to carry much more weight than was possible before.

Today, horses are found in almost every region of the world. They can live more than 30 years in captivity, but there are also numerous packs of wild horses on Earth.

In total, there are more than 350 different breeds of horses. These range from large, heavy draft horses, to sleek and fast horses often used for racing, to smaller horses known as ponies. Interestingly, scientists have discovered that all modern horse breeds are descended from only two major bloodlines.

Of all existing horse breeds, the American Quarter Horse is the most popular. They are also the fastest over short distances and can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour!

Do Horses Make Good Pets?

Horses are excellent pets, but they also require a lot of work. Because of their huge size, horses need more of everything than any other pet. Take dogs and cats, for example. While a large dog can drink a whole liter of water a day, a horse can drink 10 times as much!

The same is true for food. An adult horse can easily eat 20 pounds of hay a day! This requires a lot of trips to pick up bales of hay, a lot of space to store it, and you have to leave the house every day to bring hay to the horse’s stable.

Of course, as a horse owner, you have to invest a lot more time. Your horse’s stable fills up with manure pretty quickly. After all, 20 kg of hay is quite a waste! To prevent the accumulation of this waste, you need to dispose of it regularly.

Horses can be just as affectionate as other animals. Your horse, however, is not as affectionate as a dog or cat, which could be called cuddling. A horse will never be able to cuddle with you or even enter your home!

Where Can I Get a Horse?


If you have decided that you are capable of taking care of a horse at a high level, there are many ways to get a horse. Horses can be purchased from private individuals or dealers. Of course, prices are usually higher if you buy a horse from a dealer, such as a rancher or cattle dealer. But in return y, you usually get a better selection and guarantees of the horse’s health.

This doesn’t mean that buying a horse from a private individual is bad, it just involves a bit more risk. You can’t research as much about the horse’s previous care or the person’s reputation. Still, prices can be much lower when you buy a horse from a private individual. You can often find listings for horses on sites like, which are markets specifically for buying and selling horses. You can also search classified ad sites like Craigslist or your local newspaper for horse listings for sale.

Sometimes you may get lucky and find someone who is giving away a horse because they can no longer care for it for some reason, financial, physical o,r otherwise. However, if you have to pay out of pocket, you can spend from $500 to $10,000 or more, depending on what you are looking for.

Of course, there are other alternatives. For example, you can lease a horse. With such an agreement, you pay a monthly amount and have access to the horse according to a certain schedule. This way, you have to spend less time, money, and effort on the horse, since the care of the animal is shared among several people.

How Much Does It Cost To Own a Horse?

Caring for a horse requires a lot of space, time, and money. If you can keep your horse on your property, you will save a lot of money on boarding. If you have to board your horse, you should expect a monthly cost of $100 to $1,000. For $100 a month, your horse will be kept in a pasture and won’t need stabling. At the other end of the spectrum, if you spend $1,000 a month on onboarding your horse will get all the amenities, such as its towable, access to an arena and pasture, and perhaps more.

However, boarding is only part of the total cost of caring for a horse. Feed is another major expense. Since horses can eat more than 20 pounds a day, you’ll have to spend quite a bit on hay and grain. Standard bales of hay usually weigh about 40 pounds, which means your horse can eat half a bale a day. Depending on where you live, this can cost $3 or $10 per day. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of grains, supplements,  and salt blocks!

You should also consider the cost of health care for your horse. Dental care for a horse costs just over $100 per horse per year. For routine vaccinations and deworming, you can expect to pay another $100 per year. A farrier will also need to be paid for shoeing, which is likely to cost $200 to $300 per year.

What Kind of Home Does My Horse Need?

man standing in front of horse

Your horse needs a stable and a large pasture to graze on. For one horse, you need about 1.5 to 2 acres of pasture, provided it is well-managed however, this only applies if you assume that your horse seeks most of its food in the pasture. If you provide enough hay, your horse can get by with less space. However, the minimum required space for an adult horse is 4,500 square feet.

Your horse also needs a stable where it can take shelter from the elements. The stable should provide shade from the sun and protection from wind and rain. It should be dry and warm and provide a comfortable and safe place for your horse to lie down.

Your horse’s stable should have a large grain bucket. Your horse can put the hay on the ground to eat it, as this resembles a horse’s natural grazing.

Lighting for horses is simple. Light for your horse should follow the natural cycle of sunlight. If the stable lets in light from the outside, no additional lighting is needed, although it may be useful to be in the stable in the late evening or early morning.

The pasture where your horse will graze and train should be securely fenced. Do not underestimate the strength of the horse when setting up the fence. Many horses arcana through thick fence beams. Remember that these horses were used to pull heavy carts for a long time. So make sure your fence is strong enough to support the weight of the horse!

What Should I Feed My Horse?

brown horse

Horses need to eat a mix of forage and grain. You can offer your horse hay as feed or a spacious pasture where he can slowly take care of his needs throughout the day. If your horse must graze exclusively on pasture, you should provide 1.5 to 2 acres of well-maintained pasture for one horse. If you feed hay instead, your horse will likely need 15 to 20 pounds per day, which is about half the normal size of a bale.

If you feed grain, your horse will eat almost the same amount. As a general guideline, you shouldn’t feed your horse more than 11 pounds of grain per day, otherwise the risk of colic increases. It is best to feed grain in several smaller portions. Remember that not all horses need grain. If your horse doesn’t work too hard and is sufficiently fed, he should be able to meet all his caloric needs with hay and pasture.

Of course, your horse should have constant access to clean drinking water. Horses can easily consume 10 liters of water per day, so use a very large drinking bowl or bucket to ensure enough water throughout the day.

Supplements can help fill in the gaps in your horse’s diet but is not necessary for all horses. However, supplements such as vitamins and minerals can support your horse’s health, improve his coat and fill in any gaps in his diet.

How Do I Take Care of My Horse?

We’ve talked a lot about taking care of your horse, but in this section w,e discuss how to take care of your horse.


brown horse in middle of green grass field

There are different ways to feed a horse. Most of the food intake should be in the form of feed. This feed can be given to your horse in the pasture, or it can be hay that you provide. On average, your horse should eat 15-20 pounds of feed per day. For one horse, this equates to 1.2 acres of pasture, r about half of a standard bale of hay.

Horses that use a lot of energy can also benefit from feeding grain. Grain should be fed twice a day, no more than five pounds per feeding.


Grooming is quite simple and mainly consists of brushing the horse’s entire body. This should be done quite frequently. For example, you should brush your horse before and after every ride. For horses that are not ridden regularly, daily grooming is still recommended, but three times a week is the minimum. Grooming helps monitor your horse’s health and strengthens the bond between you.


Horses need plenty of exeexerciseshis can be achieved simply by giving the horse enough space to run at will. But many people also want to ride a horse. Your horse can be ridden six days a week without hesitation, as long as you introduce him to this frequency of riding and provide adequate nutrition and recovery time.


A peculiarity of the horse world is the need to shoe or trim hooves. While dogs and cats need their nails trimmed, horses don’t need shoes or foot trimming! You will need professional help for this, so keep the number for a farrier handy. Your horse’s hooves should be groomed every six to eight weeks, and if you neglect this, you could cause serious problems for your horse.

Divide this section into topics such as feeding, riding/handling, grooming/bathing, temperature, exercise, socialization, hoof care (if necessary),d stable cleaning.

Image credit: Pixabay

How Do I Know If My Horse Is Sick?

Horse flu – Horse flu is related to but distinctly different from, the human influenza virus. It is a highly contagious disease that affects the horse’s respiratory system. Outbreaks of the disease usually occur during large gatherings of horses, such as races, shows,d other events. The incubation period is short, only one to three days, and a horse’s cough can spread the disease 150 meters. The most recognizable symptoms are cough, fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, weakness,d nasal discharge.

Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) – There are several diseases in the equine herpesvirus family, with EHV 1, 3,d 4 considered the most common and dangerous to domestic horses. EHV is a DNA virus found in most horses, although it is mild in most horses. For unknown reasons, it develops into a serious and sometimes fatal disease in some horses and not in others. The disease can be transmitted through contaminated utensils such as brushes, saddles, and other equipment, as well as through contaminated feed buckets, trailers or, or clothing. The most common symptoms are nasal discharge, swollen lymph nodes, fever, loss of coordination, lethargy, hind limb weakness,d loss of urine.

Equine encephalomyelitis – Also known as sleeping sickness, equine encephalomyelitis is a collection of mosquito-borne viruses. There are eastern, Venezuelan, West Nile,d western forms of this virus. The virus shuts down the horse’s nervous system and has a high mortality rate. Unfortunately, in rare cases, the virus can also be transmitted to humans. The most common symptoms are aimless wandering, weakness, visual disturbances, irregular gait, paralysis, convulsions, difficulty swallowing,d death.


Caring for horses consumes a lot of time and money. You have to provide adequate space, food, time,d more. But don’t let that stop you from owning a horse. Owning a horse is a very rewarding experience and you will get more out of it than you put into it. Horses are wonderful companions, work hard,d is the best pets if you understand their needs and are willing and able to meet them.

Scroll to Top