Is Your Farm Equipped For Equines?

When you have land and are farming, it doesn't take long for the mind to wander to the idea of keeping horses. After all, for many of us growing up the idea of our own pony is the epitome of the dream. So if you've got the space and it's something you have always wanted, then why not go for it?

Of course, nothing is ever that simple. If we all occupied a world where wanting something made it a good idea to have it, there's no doubt that chaos would swiftly follow. There's a simple checklist you have to go through to see if your ideas can become a reality.

1. You Have The Space

To keep horses, you need two lots of space. The first is for grazing, which should be a large enough area for a horse to occupy. One horse per acre is considered to be sufficient. This paddock needs to be enclosed and free from any weeds that might be poisonous if consumed.

The second area is the stable area. While some climates might allow horses to live out, there is still going to be a need for some stabling. You need someone to shoe, groom, and care for them that just isn't possible in an open field. Make sure you research various providers for stabling such as Vale Stables and others in the field to see if you can find something to suit the space you have available.

2. You Have The Time

Horse management is no easy thing in terms of how it can drain your time. If you are stabling, then you have the morning chores (feeding, turning out) and then the evening (bringing back in, feed, grooming etc.). This needs to happen every single day of the year. Do you have the time for that kind of commitment?

This doesn't even factor in the time that you might wish to spend riding. Horses are a great way of travelling through your farmland to inspect crops and areas otherwise inaccessible by vehicle. That's one of the major attractions of keeping them on a farm, but it does increase the time you have to give over to the pursuit.

3. You Have The Knowledge

Caring for horses is a unique area of animal specialism and one you need to be prepared for.

In a sense, it all depends on your previous experience. Have you had horse riding lessons and are a competent rider? That doesn't mean you know enough to care for a horse full-time.

There are ways and means of getting the experience you need. Many riding stables will offer stable management courses which can help you improve your knowledge. Of course, you can also research for yourself.

You also need to ensure you have a good equine vet you can contact if problems occur.

Bring the three things above together, and you will know better if do it yourself horse ownership is for you. Done right, it is a wonderful addition to any agricultural life that harks back to the dawn of civilisation - but it takes time, effort and work. Be ready, be prepared, and then you're off to the races.

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