Es­sen­tials for Out­door Liv­ing

Practical Horseman - - The Ride of Your Life -

To stay happy and healthy out in the field, your horse needs these ba­sics:

Wa­ter. “Ac­cess to wa­ter is es­sen­tial, so we have au­to­matic wa­ter­ers,” Bis­cuit Hill’s Beth Man­ning says. If your prop­erty has a stream that flows year-round (and isn’t pol­luted) that may suf­fice; other­wise, you’ll need to pro­vide and main­tain stock tanks or wa­ter­ers in each field and pad­dock.

Shel­ter. Horses need ac­cess to shel­ter—pro­tec­tion from rain, win­ter wind and sum­mer sun—but it doesn’t have to be fancy, Dr. Karyn Mali­nowski says. Run-in sheds are great, but a line of trees can break the wind, pro­vide shade and also shel­ter from show­ers. Horses some­times use shel­ter less than you might think, she adds: “Our re­search horses will stand out in the rain even though they could go in the sheds if they chose.”

Munchies. Horses are graz­ers, and they need for­age to chew on pretty much all the time. For­age helps their di­ges­tive sys­tems func­tion prop­erly and it staves off boredom and rest­less­ness.

Main­te­nance. “The more horses are out, the more it’s im­por­tant to ro­tate pas­tures, mon­i­tor for par­a­site risks and stay on top of other man­age­ment chores,” Beth says. Pas­tures need to be mowed, dragged and oc­ca­sion­ally re­seeded. Ma­nure needs to be scooped from pad­docks. To make up for that, you’ll have less stall clean­ing.

If your horse lives out, he’ll need ac­cess to fresh wa­ter. Au­to­matic wa­ter­ers are a pop­u­lar choice, though they can be pricey and will need to be checked daily.

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