How to Care for Horses Living Out

Most horses and ponies live outdoors for at least some of the year. Its cheaper than stabling, and more natural and comfortable for the horses. However, horses that live out still need care on a daily basis.


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    Provide suitable grazing. Keeping a horse in a field seems simple, but a good field needs regular care to provide enough grass to eat. Each horse or pony needs at least 1/2 a hectare ( one acre) to graze, or more if possible. The grass should be healthy, and free of poisonous plants such as ragwort or yew.
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    Provide water. A clean water supply is vital, as horses drink about 36 litres (8 gallons) a day. Ideally, there should be a trough which refills from the mains water supply automatically. If this isn't possible, fill the trough each day with buckets of clean water. If it becomes cloudy, the trough needs draining with a scrubbing brush which is clean, but with NO DETERGENT.
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    Be sure to provide Shelter. Horses need shelter to escape from flies, the sun and bad weather. A high dense hedge is enough for some ponies, but ideally they should have a three-sided shed. The open side has easy access to in and out of the shed and prevents one horse from getting trapped in the corner by the others.
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    Be sure to divide the field. Dividing the field- If horses live in one field for a long time, the field may become horse sick. This is where some areas are over grazed, and the grass become sparse, but around the horses droppings it becomes lush and infested with worms. To prevent this, fence the field off into 2 sections and graze one section at a time. The other left- section has been allowed a rest from grazing for a time to grow back more grass.
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    Know what to feed your horses. When a horse lives out for most of the year and no one is riding him, he doesn't need any extra food in the summer months and only needs hay in the winter. If a horse is being ridden regularly, he needs other food, such as horse cubes or nuts, grains or sugar beet, to keep his energy levels up. The amount he needs depends on how big he is, and how much work he is doing. Chaff is chopped up hay. It is a good addition to a horse's winter diet. Pony cubes are an excellent all round source of energy for a working horse.
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    Do a daily clean up droppings.
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    Examine the grass for holes or sharp bits of material.
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    Prevent loneliness. Being herd animals, Horses get lonely if they are kept in a big space on their own. If possible, a horse should be kept with at least one other horse for company. Even another animal such as a sheep will be better than nothing.


  • The shed outside should always have a basket hanging with hay inside and a wide opening.


  • Examine the grass for holes before your horse's leg gets trapped.

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Categories: Horses