All About Horses
Loved by many, horses and humans have enjoyed a strong bond which dates back to ancient times. At first horses were hunted, but humans learned to tame and ride them. From there the horse helped transform how people got around and worked, being one of the primary forms of land transportation until the car came into popularity.
Many people still enjoy horse ownership today. Magnificent creatures, riding a horse can be relaxing and challenging. Various equestrian competitions encourage riders to showcase their skills on the back of their beast.
With their popularity increasing, the following resources will help anyone get up to speed on horses.
Just like with dogs, pretty much everyone has a favorite breed of horse. What many don’t realize is different horse breed registries have strict guidelines which don’t always line up with the others. If you’re going to breed horses and sell the offspring, you’ll need to adhere to these guidelines, including confirming the bloodline.
While there is a huge array of horse breeds, here are overviews on the five most common:
American Paint Horse
Despite their name, this horse breed actually dates clear back to the Roman Empire. The most distinct characteristic is the markings which look like splashed paint on their bodies, featuring overo, sabino, and tobiano coloring. American Paint Horses are diverse, working well in English and Western riding styles, and can be used for roping cattle as well as leisurely rides.
Highly athletic, you’ll immediately recognize Thoroughbreds as the horses used for racing, although they’re also used elsewhere. The British started this breed back in the 1600s specifically to create fast horses. Solid in color, Thoroughbreds are usually black, chestnut, or bay, although they can be pinto or palomino.
One of the oldest horse breeds, Arabians are quite popular today. They’re easy to point out, thanks to the concave face and pointy ears, plus a high tail set. The claim to fame for Arabians is endurance races, which they often win handily. Arabians are usually solid in color and might have some white markings on their legs.
American Quarter Horse
The name comes from this breed, which is popular in America, winning races that measured a quarter mile. These horses are quite muscular in their build. Because of their versatile nature, American Quarter Horses are used for a while range of activities, including trail riding, herding cattle, racing, and even for shows. Solid in color, these horses might have white markings on their head and/or legs.
You can quickly pick out this breed, thanks to the spotted coat, which can come in a range of color combinations and patterns, such as blanket, snow, marble, and leopard. If you look closely, Appaloosas might have striped hooves, white sclera around their eyes, plus mottled skin on their nose, and around their mouth.
While owning a horse can be amazing and highly rewarding, you need to be aware of basic care items before getting one. Just like with any animal, proper care of your horse is key to avoiding problems later.
Among the basics a horse needs is:
– Durable fencing that and won’t cause injury
– Open pasture for running, free of holes and hazards
– Daily checkups for signs of injuries or sickness
– High-quality hay or access to grass for grazing
– Proper shelter from the elements all year long
– Somewhere clean and dry to lie down for resting
– Other animals for companionship
This might seem like a lot to keep straight, but it’s necessary for you to be a responsible horse owner.
Daily grooming of your horse will keep it looking presentable and give you the perfect opportunity to monitor for worrying signs. Any debris in your horse’s coat can cause irritation if underneath the saddle or a strap, possibly even leading to sores.
You can buy complete grooming kits or get the various tools and supplies individually. You’ll need to maintain not only your horse’s coat, but also its mane, tail, and hooves.
One of the most vexing problems for horse owners can be arranging for stable space. If you don’t live on horse property, or if you don’t have the ability to care for your horse on a daily basis, there are boarding stables in your area that can house and care for your horse. You pay a monthly fee and enjoy access to your horse during set hours.
Not all boarding stables are created equal. Some will care for your horse meticulously and with expertise, while others simply won’t. In general, the more expensive boarding stables provide more exacting care, like climate-controlled facilities, but that alone isn’t a guarantee.
You’ll also need to consider how far away your horse is kept. If the boarding stable is too far from your house, using your horse requires more time and travel. Frequent visits to the stable will help you monitor your horse’s health and temperament. If you notice anything troubling, talk with the staff at the facility or consider switching to a different stable.
Horse Clubs and Associations
Belonging to a horse club or association does come with benefits. Not only can you interact with other horse owners and pool information, you’ll enjoy access to resources you might not otherwise even know exist.
There are far too many horse clubs and associations to list here, but these are some of the larger ones you might want to check out:
United Professional Horsemen’s Association – Professional group of people who ride horses, namely at large shows.
American Saddlebred Horse Association
All Breed Pedigree – Find the pedigree of any horse in one convenient spot
Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association
Jumping Owners Club
The Jockey Club
AQHA – American Quarter Horse Association
Palomino Horse Breeders of America
Arabian Horse Association
APHA – American Paint Horse Association
ASHA – American Stock Horse Association