There are plenty of animals you can keep on a homestead, and horses are one of the most popular. In the past, families kept horses to help with some of the farming work. They were used to pull equipment and help plow fields.
Obviously, we now have more efficient ways of doing this, so most people keep horses for leisure purposes. They can be family pets, and you can ride them recreationally or get them ready to use in competitions.
Either way, if you’re keeping horses on your homestead, there are a few things you should and shouldn’t do:
Do: Create a Sheltered Place for Them to Stay
Your horses need a sheltered place to sleep so they’re kept out of the cold and wet. Thankfully, there are loads of horse stalls for sale nowadays, most of which can be built to your specifications. This means you can create one that’s the ideal size for your homestead, giving them ample room to sleep and relax inside.
Don’t: Keep Them Inside All the Time
While horses should ideally be kept indoors overnight – or when the weather is bad – you shouldn’t keep them inside all the time. Let them out of their stall during the day so they can roam around an open field and eat the grass.
That’s a key element of horse ownership; you need to have enough land for them to enjoy, or at least find a field you can rent to keep them in during the day.
Do: Maintain your Horses Daily
Horses require daily maintenance to avoid sickness and injuries. Most of this is basic stuff – like giving them water and feeding them every day.
But, you also need to muck out their stalls. You can use this as compost to help grow things on your homestead if you want. Checking your horse’s shoes is also a daily task, as is brushing their coat to check for any potential problems.
Don’t: Leave Them in a Muddy Field
While horses need open fields to be in during the day, you should avoid keeping yours in one that’s overly muddy. Living in mud is a problem for horses. Because mud is where a lot of bacteria and fungi like to live.
Plus, the wetness of the mud can soften hooves, meaning your horses are at risk of developing problems down there. Ideally, you need to keep your horses in a field with great irrigation so it doesn’t get waterlogged. Make sure it doesn’t become too muddy. This is why horses tend to thrive on homesteads in hot and dry environments.
Final Thoughts on Keeping Horses
Clearly, there are lots of other horse care tips you need to know about before you bring these animals to your homestead. However, these four tips are good starting points to help you know a few key things that you should and shouldn’t do.
As with all animals you have on your homestead, ask yourself why you want them and what purpose they will serve. You may discover that having horses isn’t actually a good idea for you. It may be because they’re too expensive or you don’t have the right conditions for horses to thrive.