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Horse Ownership for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know

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Horses can be a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. They are also a source of exercise, meaning you will look and feel better. This article is all about getting started with horses: from what they eat to how much space they need. Get ready to saddle up because I’m covering everything a horse owner needs to start their adventure.

Quick tips for the beginner horse owner:

  • Get a horse with a calm temperament and sound conformation.
  • Use proper fitting tack.
  • Wear the right riding clothes.
  • Have a suitable place to keep your horse.
  • Learn about feeding, health, and grooming of horses.

Horses have been a part of human culture for millennia; they have served as transportation, weapons, work animals, and companions. And through the years, we’ve learned there are basic things horse owners should know to keep them happy and healthy!

Picture of two children riding a horse,

Horse ownership Guide

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to ensure you’re taking care of your horse correctly. It can be challenging to know what type of feed to buy, when and if it needs shoes, or how often you should brush their manes and tails.

To help alleviate some of the stress involved with caring for your first horse, I’ve compiled tips guaranteed to give you confidence and peace so you can build a solid and healthy relationship with your new four-legged friend.

Once you are ready to take the next step in your horse ownership journey, I recommend reading my article on horse training for beginners. It’s a step-by-step guide that’s sure to provide you with a solid foundation to get you started training horses.

Tips for picking a good beginner horse breed.

If you are buying your first horse, you must choose a breed that fits your personality. There are so many breeds to choose from, and each has its unique attributes. For example, a quarter horse may be the best choice if you enjoy barrel racing and trail riding because they are athletic and surefooted.

If you plan on competing in dressage or showjumping, then a Thoroughbred or Irish Sport horse would be more appropriate. Whatever type of equine event you can think of, there is an ideal breed out there waiting to meet your needs.

But before you buy a horse, there are many important questions to answer: what size is the animal; how old are they; what’s their temperament, and medical history, and are there any conformation problems? But know that horses are individuals, and not all conform to breed standards.

I have owned quarter horses that would wreak havoc for beginners, and I’ve had some that would be a perfect beginner horse; the same can be said about many other breeds. Before you buy any animal- whether a dog or a racehorse- make sure to research the individual and how well they fit in with what you’re looking for.

Here is a list of good horse breeds for beginners:

When you start looking for your horse, you’ll find them in all shapes and sizes, from the miniature Shetland Pony to the massive Clydesdale. And, of course, there are many more breeds out there! But don’t worry, take your time, research the internet, question experienced horse people or contact organizations like The American Quarter Horse Association.

You can gain a lot of helpful information on what breed is best for your situation. That way, you’ll save yourself some trouble down the road.

Tack for beginners

Horse tack is a term for the equipment that you use to control and ride horses. What kind of tack do you need for a horse? Well, it varies from person to person and horse to horse.

For example, if you are riding in an endurance race, your gear will differ from just going on a trail ride with friends. The type of equipment needed is based on the purpose and duration of the event. Here is the basic tack you need to get started.

Saddles and saddle blankets

The most fundamental piece of equestrian equipment is a saddle (also called English or Western saddles). There are two main styles: English and western style. Most people prefer one better than the other, and some equine events require a specific saddle type.

What type of saddle will work best for you and your horse? Again, this will depend on the kind of horse you are riding. However, beginners should start with a Western saddle with plenty of padding and easy to put on or take off.

Your saddle has stirrups for your feet and a girth or cinches to secure it in place. Along with your saddle, you’ll need a saddle pad or blanket; they are placed on a horse’s back before the saddle is put on and are designed to protect its back.


Horse bridles are used to communicate with horses and are essential for most riders. A headstall fits on a horse’s head and holds a bit that fits in horses’ mouths. The combination of headstall and bit makes a bridal.

Reins attach to the bit and are held by a rider. The headstall is typically made of leather or synthetic strap. There are many styles of bits, each designed for specific purposes.

Picture of a two year old horse

Halters and lead ropes

Horse halters are a type of headgear that is used to control the horse. They are typically made from leather or nylon and have metal rings to attach a lead rope. Some halters have adjustable nosebands for sizing so that it fits comfortably around the horse’s muzzle and allows you to guide your horse without pulling on its mouth or neck.

Halters make it easier to lead the animal around, groom them, and even load them into a trailer or onto a truck. If you have horses, you need halters! A halter is also a good training tool for teaching horses how to behave around humans and other animals.

You will be using a lead rope often, it is the horse’s connection to the handler, so it’s important to choose one that is strong and comfortable for both the horse and the person using it.

There are many different types of lead ropes available, so it’s important to select one that is made from durable materials and has a comfortable grip. It should also be the right length for the horse so that the horse can move comfortably without being too restricted.

I use a 10ft lead rope with a chain that I place over the horse’s muzzle and snap to the opposite side of the halter. The chain puts pressure on its muzzle when you tug on the lead rope; this gives you better control of the animal. Check out the above picture.

Choosing a good lead rope can help ensure that both the horse and the handler are safe and comfortable.

Tips for choosing horse riding clothes.

Horseback riding is a fun and exciting activity for people of all ages. However, it also requires special clothing to protect you from injuries and keep you warm during cold weather.

There are many types of clothing that you may need for your horseback riding. Your gear can depend on what kind of riding you do, like tall boots for dressage or cowboy boots for trail riding, and more tailored clothes such as jodhpurs and tall boots so that your leg is protected by stirrups when riding.

But safety always comes first because it’s not worth risking an injury overlooking good! The proper clothing for horseback riding is essential because your clothes will protect you from getting hurt and make your ride more pleasant.

Whether you are an experienced rider or just learning, safety should always be your top priority when horseback riding, and there are certain pieces of equipment that all riders need.

Essential horse riding gear:

  • Closed-toe sturdy footwear with a heel, preferably horse riding boots.
  • Riding pants that cover your legs, long jeans, breeches, or jodhpurs.
  • Horse riding helmet.
  • A proper shirt that fits snugly. You don’t want any loose clothing flying in the wind that could get tangled.

8 Tips for feeding your horse.

You may wonder why you should even care about proper horse feeding; they are generally relatively healthy. However, if you want your horse to live the longest and happiest life possible, you must take good care of them.

Properly fed horses are usually healthier and happier than those who aren’t getting enough food or supplements. So without any further ado, let’s jump into the basics of horse feeding.

Horses are herbivores and need a lot of hay or other forage to digest their food correctly. As for what else goes into your horse’s mouth – make sure not to feed them too much grain (or any other rich foods) because this will cause digestive problems, such as colic, and always provide access to clean water.

So without any further ado, let’s jump into our list of 8 tips for proper horse feeding:

1) Horses need to eat about 2 percent of their body weight in hay or other forage daily. Hay is an essential part of their diet and will help keep their digestive system running smoothly throughout the day.

2) Make sure you are feeding your horse fresh hay; some horses won’t eat moldy hay, which can make them sick.

3) Feed your horses a mixture of hay, grains, and supplements if you are working and exercising them. Grain provides extra energy; when they work, they need more than just fresh hay to stay strong and well-nourished.

4) Do not overfeed your horse. Overfeeding grain can cause colic and laminitis, serious equine diseases that are sometimes fatal.

5) Do not make sudden changes to their diet. Horses have sensitive digestive systems, and quick dietary changes can lead to severe illness.

6)Feed your horse on a schedule; I suggest you feed it in the morning before doing anything else.

7) Pay attention to their feed bucket and periodically watch them eat to ensure they aren’t dropping feed. Dropping feed is a sign they need their teeth floated or could indicate other health problems.

8) Make sure there’s always fresh water available for your animal! Horses drink about 10 gallons of water per day, and although they can live a good while without food, a horse will die without water after two days.

Picture of a thoroughbred racehorse.

Tips for grooming your horse

Every horse owner should know the basics of grooming a horse. You may think it’s not important, too time-consuming or difficult, or that you don’t have time, but please take a moment to read the rest of this article and learn about your horse’s health.

Brushing your horse is a quick and easy way to check your horse for signs of illness and injuries. It’s also an excellent way to bond with your horses and keeps them looking good. Regular grooming will help maintain healthy skin, coat, hooves, and more – it will help your horse’s social skills.

A whole-body brushing with a curry comb is best done every few days to keep dirt from building up in the horse’s coat and also remove dead skin cells, which can lead to problems like rain rot or fungus/yeast infections if left unattended.

– – Hoof care is essential because having healthy feet helps your equine friend walk comfortably and keeps their hooves clean and free of debris which could lead to infections like thrush. Checking hooves daily is recommended – and look for cracks, chips, or other signs of wear.

– Horse teeth need to be checked regularly because an equine’s mouth is its only way to get food and water, so it needs to stay healthy. Some horses may also show signs that they are due for a dental if you notice the horse chewing on something nonstop (this could mean they have mouth discomfort).

Grooming summary: to maintain your horse’s health, check its hooves every day; groom the their coat regularly with a curry comb; care for a coat by brushing out debris once per week during winter months; check teeth at least once per month but ideally twice each month and

Signs your horse might be sick: what to check for and when to seek help.

In any animal, illness can manifest itself in many different ways. For horses, one of the most common signs of disease is a behavior change- from being sluggish to acting hyperactive. Other symptoms may include changes in eating and drinking habits and changes to their coat condition. Here are 10 key signs you should look for if you suspect your horse is sick.

Lethargy and decreased activity levels when horses start to get sick, they’ll typically stand quietly, hang their head a little lower than usual, and let their ears fall some, and you may notice their eyes not quite as wide and bright as usual.

Lack of appetite or increased thirst for water could be due to pain from being sick, which causes them not to want food, and other causes such as colic (abdominal pain), ulcers, etc…

Inability to urinate, excessive urination, or difficulty in passing urine. This may be accompanied by a bladder infection (cystitis), which can sometimes cause foamy urine and even blood to appear in the urine. You must contact your vet if this happens so they can prescribe some antibiotics.

Another possible symptom would be straining when trying to pass urine (dysuria). If either condition persists for more than a few days, you should seek veterinary care immediately because the excessive straining could lead to kidney damage over time without intervention from an animal doctor.

Changes in behavior such as irritable disposition and aggression against humans or other horses. Contact your vet if you notice a sudden change in your horse’s behavior. It could have a tumor or other serious health condition.

Diarrhea could be accompanied by excessive gas or loss of appetite. Diarrhea may contain mucus or blood in some cases (dysentery). As with any illness, you should contact your vet if this happens so they can identify the cause and determine a course of treatment. Sometimes the underlying issue is something as simple as an upset stomach from too much sugar consumption or eating spoiled food, but there are also many serious conditions such as parasites or colitis; for example, you should not ignore it.

Abnormal discharge coming from the eyes, nose, mouth, genitals, rectum, etc. This can be normal in some cases, but a discharge that is pus-like, green in color, or smells strong suggests the horse has an infection and require veterinary attention to diagnose them properly and prescribe a treatment.

Painful swellings, lumps, or bumps anywhere on the body. These might be cancerous tumors (skin), abscesses from a bite wound (underneath the skin), or cysts in organs.

Weight loss. This can indicate several things, including parasites, colitis (inflammation of the large intestine), or laminitis (inflammation of the hooves).

Hoof abscesses are infections that manifest themselves between the sole and frog of horses’ hoofs; if left untreated, they can cause lameness.

Constant Sneezing is often a symptom of bacterial or viral infections.

Picture of horses in a pasture

How much land does a horse need?

We’re lucky in that we have plenty of acreage with large pastures available for our horses. However, I know some horse owners that try to cram multiple horses on small parcels. But how much land do you need if you only have one horse?

After looking at many different statistics, it turns out that, on average, you would need about 3 acres of land for one horse. However, this number will vary depending on the breed and your specific needs. However, a person experienced with caring for horses could get away with a lot less.

For example, I have a friend who is a farrier; he lives on less than an acre but has three horses. Each day he provides them with plenty of hay and exercises them in a public area. He knows how to care for horses and can keep them with little land.

If you live in an urban area with limited space or are just starting out as a first-time owner, then this might be all the room you’ll have to get started. But if you’re going for quality over quantity, having more than five acres available can give your horses abundant exercise space.

The closer you are to a natural resource such as water or wooded areas, the more your horses will enjoy it and be able to exploit their most basic instincts while still being close enough for an owner’s supervision!

This is even more helpful if living in non-rural areas where there may not be a lot of pasture areas, but being near woods can help reduce stress levels.

If you plan to build a barn, there are many things to consider. You should ensure that local zoning authorities have approved any land you intend to use for horses before buying one; some cities require a certain distance between homes, outbuildings, and farm animals, so do your research beforehand!

Picture of a horse in a stall with a barn fan blowing.

Does your horse need a barn?

What does a horse need to survive? Is it a barn, hay, or oats? The answer is none of the above. Horses are domesticated animals that have lived with humans for centuries, and they don’t actually need any of these things to survive.

They only need shelter from the elements such as rain and snow, plenty of water, pastureland where they can graze, or an abundant supply of hay. But it’s recommended that horses kept in open pastures have a run-shelter to escape the hot sun in the summer or the frigid winds of the winter.

Once you’re ready to start riding your horse a little faster, I suggest you read my article on cantering horses for beginner riders.


In this article, we’ve discussed a range of topics, from finding the right horse for you and your family, what type of feed is best for different horses, and how to take care of their feet.

Hopefully, after reading this, you have some ideas about whether or not it might be time for you to start looking into owning a horse. If so, there are plenty more resources out there on where to get started with everything from beginner riding lessons and caring for younger horses up through beginner training tips.

Below is a YouTube video that provides new horse owners with some helpful tips.


What age horse is good for a beginner?

The right age horse for beginning riders can vary because, just like people, all horses aren’t the same and mature differently. But generally, a beginner should get a horse at least ten years old and well-trained.

How many times a week should I ride my horse?

You should be fine riding five times a week if the horse is fit. However, it depends on the horse’s age and condition and your riding goals. Keep an eye on your horse’s recovery time; he should return to normal breathing in less than 10 minutes after a vigorous workout.