Thinking about horses

mystang89

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Thanks for all the valuable information.

Are there any books you all would recommend for reading up on this subject? Ones that help to form a well rounded knowledge of them - from behavior to trimming etc. Also, how hard is it to trim their hooves?I would imagine it couldn't be more difficult than trying to trim a full grown Rams. Oooh, how I dread those days.

That's is an excellent point about now wanting to have to catch the horse in 7 acres. You'd think I would have thought about that one after trying to catch sheep.

And yes @Baymule , you are more than likely absolutely correct in the amount of horses. In fact my wife and I were already thinking it would be nice to have another so we could both ride at the same time BUT things have to go well for this potential horse AND we have to feel we could successfully feed another without having to buy hay. That last is a sticking point as I really don't see 2 horses + a growing number of sheep, (who already to a number on the pasture) being able to live comfortably here without more acreage added. I don't want to run into the problem of us having these animals but them living in squalor. That wouldn't make me very happy nor my wife.
 

Baymule

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Not to be nosey, but how many acres do you have? How many in pasture, how many for hay? And wooded acres? How much does horse quality round bales of hay sell for in your area?

We have 8 acres, most of it was wooded, we had it forestry mulched, but still left a lot of trees. I will never have a lot of pasture. We love the trees and are trying to strike a balance. We accept that we will always have to keep hay in front of our sheep and horses.
 

Bunnylady

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Thank you for the reply. How do I know the horse is getting to that point? How long can a horse be ridden every day?

A lot of them can't be ridden every day. Even if they are doing very easy work that doesn't tax their bodies, they may need a break for the sake of their mental state. I've seen lesson ponies that were perfectly willing and sweet on Monday, but cranky and mean by the time Friday rolled around. I remember meeting one person who did trail rides in the mountains that let the horses decide if they wanted to work on a given day. Much of their pasture was dense woods; if a horse didn't want to be found in there, you'd never find him. So, the ones who came down to the barn were the animals that she saddled (I suspect they may have been the only ones that got grain that day too, which would be much more of an incentive than just alleviating the boredom of eating grass and swishing flies all day).

Horses are herd animals; they are happiest in groups. Unfortunately, you then often run into the issue of the buddy sour horse - separate him from his friend(s) for any reason at all, even for a moment, and he goes berserk. There are ways of dealing with that, but you need to know what you are doing . . . .

That, I guess, is the essence of the situation. Horses are complex creatures, and caring for them well can be a complex process. Horses never stop learning, and nor do good horsemen (horsewomen? horsepeople?). Anyone who is new to the species really needs a mentor, or two, or ten - though be warned, in the horse world, there's a saying; "ask four horsemen, and you'll get five opinions." Definitely not a one-size-fits-all situation.

Some horses are work partners; very essential tools in some sort of enterprise. Most, though, are very expensive toys. If you are already concerned about the dollars and cents of feeding one, you really need to study the subject a lot more before you get one, let alone two. You say you have a friend who raises them; my advice would be to camp out at her place as much as you can without getting arrested (joking!). You particularly want to be there during routine farrier and vet visits, if she'll have you then - and get a peek at the bill when they leave.:hide
 
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Mini Horses

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Agree with EVERYONE. And while it MAY seem as tho we are discouraging you, truly it is just opening your eyes to the needs & expense these animals can bring with them. Not all do but, you sure need to know & be prepared if they do.

I rode and had big horses for many years. The "spicy" animals are my favorites...Arabians just thrill me. BUT an old style quarter horse, well trained and calm, are great mounts IMO. The advice is good and comes from many angles. YES -- vet & farrier are not cheap. Most vets will check out teeth and most are not adept at "floating" them. You may need a dental specialist. Each animal has it's own personality, likes & dislikes, needs & eating care. During my life of ownership of riding size, I have had from one to six at a time All mentioned by others is so true!

Go to your friend and ask to experience the actual hands on care they require. No doubt in my mind she will be happy to let you lug hay, feed, water; shovel stalls, clean feet, brush/groom, let out & bring in, clean the saddlery, watch the farrier, vet, and even pay the bill!! :D Far more work than sheep. So ask to help her and see if you can even balance the time for having this type of love in your life right now.

Horses are a true LOVE of mine. The minis gave me the opportunity to actually raise and breed due to their small size. I was able to have stallions that could be handled, & mares and foals to adore. A herd of 30 adults was average. They had their own issues but, like the riding ones, needed vet, farrier, etc. They just needed less acreage, less feed and smaller stalls.:D I still have 12 old minis!! They are retired. I promised to care for them & do. Oh, I learned LONG ago to give shots, trim hooves, assist with labor....my vet helped train me. Needed to know things because you never know "when" you need to do. Back then we had an "emergency" area with tables, sutures, equipment to put one to sleep, operate & recover. Yep, a mini clinic with all needed to sustain them...ultra sound equipment and all. NOT what you do for a couple but, a business for me then.

I have considered bringing another riding horse into my life. Frankly, I can't give the time or funds right now. So if I am inclined to ride, I can go with a friend who has a couple & only her to ride. :old We can spend a few hours on trails. :love
 
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Bunnylady

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*sigh* Horses are an addiction. There's nothing horse addicts love more than shootin' the breeze with fellow addicts (especially if there is an actual horse around while we do it!!), but it's so, so easy to get in over your head, and we have all seen the heartbreak that can create. :hit

BTW, what they say about minis being like potato chips is true (you can't have just one). I have 3.:hide (and 2 "bigs"):hide:hide
 

Mini Horses

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@Bunnylady, yep...you got that right! Hey, over 15 years since breeding them, still have a lot of equipment. Oh, still have my riding saddles, too. :lol: Talk about "maybe" again...….:hide:hide:hide:hide My oldest mini is 34 this yr.

I still have a lot of fun talks -- while they nicker & nuzzle :D
 

mystang89

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Not to be nosey, but how many acres do you have? How many in pasture, how many for hay? And wooded acres? How much does horse quality round bales of hay sell for in your area?

We have 8 acres, most of it was wooded, we had it forestry mulched, but still left a lot of trees. I will never have a lot of pasture. We love the trees and are trying to strike a balance. We accept that we will always have to keep hay in front of our sheep and horses.

I have 7 acres total. About 6 1/2 pasture, 1/2 wooded. My hay generally comes from the main pasture area in the front which is about 4 acres but I have the options to switch it around to either the back or to a neighbors who's asked me to hay his 3 acres as well. I have access to plenty of horse quality round bales if I want it but if I can make my own here then that is what I will do. I'm honestly not sure how long the gentleman who has the horse hay will be around for.
 

Baymule

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One animal unit is considered to be a 1,000 pound horse or cow. Five sheep make one animal unit. So your horse will eat as much pasture or hay as 5 sheep. That may help you roughly put it into terms you can grasp, as you have sheep and know how much they eat, how much feed and hay you have to provide.
 

secuono

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I've found it really complicated to answer how much land, hay or grain any horse would need. I had a 15h mare and a 13h pony on less than 2acre, meh pasture and both kept fat on it, even though everyone said that it wasn't nearly enough to be true. That was early on in me owning horses, I wasn't going to grain them and definitely not gonna feed hay when there's grass underneath them.

Where you live, quality of pasture and the individual horse will say if it needs hay year round, grain or if it'll need nothing or even need to be in a dry pen.

Since hay and $ is an issue, I'd say to find a tall, strong pony, if you're size allows for it or to find a true easy keeper of a horse.

Some horses are okay living alone. I wouldn't buy one that currently lives in a herd to toss it alone in a field.

If you'll be riding a lot, which you need to build up to!!, then you probably need to shoe the horse. That's expensive. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see shoeing mentioned yet. Some horses do best barefoot, others chronically need shoes, so you can't just get one of them and toss on or rip off shoes without issues.


Buy the horse that currently does what you will be doing with it from the start and what it needs to be healthy by what you can afford to feed it. There's thousands of horses out there, no need to rush, and there will always be thousands more available in the future.

If your horse will live with sheep, make sure it even likes them. It could be terrified of them or aggressive and kill them. Either way, don't be surprised when a sheep comes up with a broken bone or dead at some point because of the horse.

If you're on FB, check out the groups for scammers. Tons of people, trainers, rescues that screw people over to be wary of.
 

mystang89

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Thank you. I had thought about shoes for the horse but was probably going to find someone to teach me how to if possible. That is something I can ask my friend who owns horses if she can point me in the right direction for my area.

I should have, but didn't, think about the horses getting along with the sheep. I just kinda figured it was a sheep, calm and gentle.....ish... So what could possible go wrong, even though I've seen many times animals who you'd think would get along with each other, end up not doing so in the end.

Many good thoughts too consider and questions which to ask especially when we feel comfortable getting a horse. Asking the people if the horse is good with children, the weight it needs to maintain, if it's always been around other horses, other sheep, how that person has cared for that horse and what it is used to.

You had said to find a tall, strong, "pony". Was the use of the word "pong" just colloquial for a horse or was it more meant to point towards a younger horse?

Building the horses up to the point we can ride often seems like that would go without saying and yet the thought never crossed my mind. If you think about it, this is something that is so basic. If you lift weights, you can't lift 200 lbs when you haven't even started out at 100 lbs.
 

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