You have several options to keep your horse in a comfortable environment. But keeping the horse in a pasture is the most natural and efficient way. You must consider a number of man-made and natural factors to keep the horse safe and comfortable. In addition to providing the horse with proper vaccinations, worming medicine and fly mask with ear protectors, you also have to comply with the local county regulation.
Normally, the number of horses to be kept per acre varies from one location to another. So you must consult your local agriculture extension agent and implement his recommendation. However, you also concentrate on some key points to ensure that the horse is safe and getting adequate mineral and vitamin supplements.
Plenty of Fresh Water: Each horse needs plenty of fresh water when they are pastured. But many people forget to concentrate on maximizing the fresh water supply. Normally, a healthy horse will drink about 25 to 30 gallons of fresh water on a daily basis. There are also many horses that do not drink dirty water. So you must ensure that the horses are provided adequate amount of fresh and clean water.
Adequate Food Supply: When the horses are pastured, they can graze on their own. But there are always chances that they may not get sufficient food and nutrition. So you must supplement the pasture grass by adding concentrates and hay. Also, it becomes essential to supplement the grass during the winter months or at the time of draught. If the horse performs heavy work on a regular basis, the animal also needs to get sufficient mineral and vitamin supplements.
Veterinary And Medicinal Needs: While being pastured, the horses still have their veterinary needs. You must provide the pastured horse with proper vaccinations along with checking its teeth and trimming its hooves. It is also important to apply a daily wormer to protect the animal from worms and preventing the growth of larvae in its intestine. Similarly, flies and other insects must be prevented from swarming the horse’s eyes by using a fly mask with ear protectors. Also, the horse must be covered with a waterproof horse blanket during the wet and cold months.
Comfortable Shelter: Similar to different cattle corral designs, the shelter for a horse must be designed based on certain criterions. In comparison to the healthy horses, the ill horses, very young horses and older horses will require a higher level of protection and comfort. You can consider adding a lean-to or overhang to protect the horses from sunlight, rainwater and wind. However, based on the nature of the pasture, you may also be required to consider options to protect the horses from trees. While deciding the shelter for your horse, you also have to ensure that the horse is being pastured with other animals that he gets along with.
Safe Fencing: Often the design of corral panel, boards and fence may hurt your horse physically. So you must check the fence regularly to fine the protruding nails and boards. The fence also needs to be tightened regularly to keep the horse safe and comfortable. If you are using electric fence you must check it regularly to evaluate its performance. At the same time, you must get the barbed wires removed immediately as these can cause severe physical damage to the horses. If you are not able to remove the barbed wires completely, it is a good idea to install electric wire inside the fence to keep the horse away from the barbed wires.
In addition to taking proper care for the horses, you also need to check and maintain the pasture. The soil on your pasture must be checked at least once a year to decide if any additional fertilizers are needed. Similarly, you have to mow the pasture regularly to make it easier for the horses to graze.