Horses are sociable herd animals and don’t like to be kept in isolation for long periods. Even one other horse makes a herd. If you can’t have another horse in the same paddock with yours, a horse in the paddock next door that he can see over the fence will help him. If there are absolutely no other horses in the area and you can’t have more than one horse, at least try to get your horse a companion such as a cow, goat or sheep.
If you plan to keep your horse on pasture only with no hard feed, then you will need to have a well grassed, and ideally pasture improved, area of approximately 2 acres or 1 hectare per horse. The paddock should have some shelter from heat, wind and rain and access to clean, fresh water – healthy horses drink a minimum of 20 litres of water per day.
The paddock should be properly fenced (not with barbed wire). It should be free from all rubbish and especially old wire. The paddock should be kept free of droppings in order to discourage flies and aid in worm control.
You need to be able to check on your horse at least once a day. If your horse is being cared for by other people, or if you are not able to visit it every day, make sure that a responsible person who sees your horse daily is able to contact you in an emergency, or summon veterinary assistance on your behalf.
If you are going to give your horse hard feed which would include good quality hay with a mixed feed, you will need to budget for approximately $40 plus per week depending what you actually feed and the cost of feed where you live. Allow extra for supplements.
Apart from feed, annual costs vary greatly depending on the breed of your horse. But to be on the safe side you will need to budget for approximately $1,200 for de-wormers, vaccinations, first aid products, equine dentist, farrier and veterinarian. This amount would not cover the cost of any accident or condition that might require specialised ongoing veterinary treatment.
In addition you will need to purchase saddlery, rugs, brushes etc., all of which again vary tremendously in price and can be very expensive. You will also need to allow a small budget for repairs. If you plan to transport your horse to shows or similar, the cost of a float and suitable vehicle to pull it will also require consideration.
For more information:
Common Horse Breeds
|American Quarter Horse||An American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less. The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States today with the American Quarter Horse Association being the largest breed registry in the world, with almost 3 million American Quarter Horses currently registered.|
|Andalusian||Also know as the Pure Spanish Horse, the breed is from the Iberian Peninsula where its ancestors have lived for thousands of years. The Andalusian has been recognised as an individual breed since the 15th century and its conformation has changed very little over the centuries. It is known for its prowess as a war horse and was prized by the nobility.|
|Appaloosa||The Appaloosa is a America horse breed best known for its colourful spotted coat pattern. There is a wide range of body types within the breed, stemming from the influence of multiple breeds of horses throughout its history. Appaloosas are prone to develop equine recurrent uveitis and congenital stationary night blindness.|
|Arabian||The Arabian or Arab Horse is a breed of horse that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognisable horse breeds in the world. It is also one of the oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses in the Middle East that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years.|
|Australian Stock Horse||Especially bred for Australian conditions, it is a hardy breed noted for endurance, agility and a good temperament. Its ancestry dated to the arrival of the first horses in Australia brought from Europe, Africa and Asia. It is used today in a wide variety of disciplines and is still valued as a working horse by stockmen throughout Australia.|
|Clydesdale||The Clydesdale is a breed of fraught horse from Scotland. The breed was originally developed from Flemish stallions imported to Scotland and crossed with local mares. They were used for agriculture and haulage. The Budweiser Clydesdales are some of the most famous Clydesdales. Other members of the breed are used as drum horses by the British Household Cavalry.|
|Dutch Warmblood||The Dutch Warmblood is a warmblood type of horse registered with the Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands (KWPN), which governs the breeding of competitive dressage and show jumping horses, as well as the show harness horse and Gelderlander, and a hunter studbook in North America. Developed through a breeding program that began in the 1960’s, the Dutch are some of the most successful horses developed in postwar Europe.|
|Friesian||The Friesian (also Frisian) originated in Friesland in the Netherlands. Although the conformation of the breed resembles that of a light draught horse, Friesians are graceful and nimble for their size. Through the Middle Ages their size enabled them to carry a knight in armour. At one time nearly extinct the modern day Friesian horse is growing in numbers and popularity used both in harness an under saddle and most recently being introduced to the field of dressage.|
|Hanoverian||The Hanoverian is a warmblood horse breed originating in Germany, which is often seen in the Olympic Games and other competitive English riding styles. It is one of the oldest, most numerous and most successful of the warmbloods. Originally a carriage horse, infusions of Thoroughbred blood lightened it to make it ore able and useful for competition The Hanoverian is known for a good temperament, athleticism beauty ad grace.|
|Holsteiner||The Holsteiner is a breed of horse originating in the northern region of Germany. It is thought to be the oldest of the warmblood breeds, tracing back to the 13th century. Though the population is not large, Holsteiners are a dominant force of international show jumping, and are found at the top levels of dressage, combined driving, show hunters and eventing.|
|Lipizzan||The Lipizzan or Lipizzaner is a breed of horse closely associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria where they demonstrate the haute école movements of classical dressage, including the highly controlled, stylised jumps and other movements known as the “airs above the ground.” Dating back to the 16th century the foals are usually born dark, bay or black, and become lighter easy year as the grading process takes place, with the process being complete at between 6 and 10 years of age.|
|Oldenburg||The Oldenburg is a warmblood horse from the north-western corner of Lower Saxony. The breed was built on a mare base of all-purpose farm and carriage horses. The modern Oldenburg breeding program is managed with strict selection of breeding stock to ensure that each generation is better than the last. They are tall sport horses with excellent gaits and jumping ability. The breeding of Oldenburg horses is characterised by very liberal pedigree requirements and the exclusive use of privately owned stallions.|
|Percheron||The Percheron is a breed of draft that originated in the Puisne river valley in western France. Usually gray or black in colour, they are well muscled and known for their intelligence and willingness to work. Although their exact origins are unknown, the ancestors of the breed were present in the valley by the 17th century. They were originally bred for use as war horses. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Arabian blood was added to the breed.|
|Shetland Pony||The Shetland Pony is a breed of pony originating in the Shetland Isles. They range in size from a minimum height of 7.0 hands (28 inches, 71 cm) to an official maximum height of 11 hands (44 inches, 112cm) at the withers. American Shetlands are slightly taller 11.2 hands (46 inches, 117cm). Shetland ponies have heavy coats, short legs and are considered quite intelligent. They are a very strong breed of pony used for riding, driving and pack purposes.|
|Standardbred||The Standardbred is an American horse breed best known for its ability in harness racing where members of the breed compete at either a trot or pace. Developed in North America, the breed can trace its bloodlines to 18th century England. The breed is recognised worldwide. They are solid, well-built horses with good dispositions. In addition to harness racing, the Standardbred is used for a variety of equestrian activities including horse shows and pleasure riding.|
|Thoroughbred||The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Thoroughbreds are considered “hot-blooded” horses, known for their agility, speed and spirit. The Thoroughbred as it is known today was developed in 17th and 18th century England when native mares were crossbred with imported Oriental stallion of Arabian, Barb and Turkoman breeding. Thoroughbred are used mainly for racing but are also show jumping, dressage, polo and fox hunting.|
|Trakehner||The Trakehner is a light warmblood breed, originally developed at the East Prussian state stud farm in the town of Trakehner. The state stud was established in 1731 and operated until 1944. The Trakehner can be any colour and is considered to the the lightest and most refined of the warmbloods. While Trakehneers compete in nearly all equestrian disciplines, they are particularly prized as dressage mounts, due to their sensitivity, intelligence and way of going.|