Pet Ownership: Buying a Horse

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

Buying a Horse

Horses are strong animals who have beautiful coats. Used for everything from war to work, horses have been loyal companions to the human race over the years. Are you considering buying a horse? Here are some particulars on going about the process.

They are great to watch in action. If you’ve never been to an equestrian show, then you are missing a treat. Horses learn to gracefully jump hurdles, perform fantastic feats and show off their individual character. These large animals are incredibly well behaved when trained.

But, is a horse right for you? Maybe your son or daughter is asking for one. Or, you think it would be nice to own one. The process is not like buying a cat or a dog. It is a bit more involved. Here are some points to consider first.

Horse Buying Tips

1. Learn as much as you can about horses – You will likely have questions like: What type of horse is best for me? How can I tell a healthy horse from a sick one? What does a horse need? Will I like riding them? Believe it or not, people will buy a horse when they don’t even know if they like riding it or not. That’s an expensive pet if you find that you don’t like the feel of the animal!

2. Take a horse for a test drive – Before purchasing any pet, find out how you will like it. Take horse riding lessons. Lease a horse and see if you like dealing with him on a full time basis. Through lessons, you will get a feel for what equipment is needed for riding a horse and how to care for him.

3. Talk to other horse owners – Join a horse club or an online community for horse owners. You can get information on the cost of feeding, the type of housing, transportation, veterinary requirements, exercise, training and the like. There is a lot involved with caring for such a large animal.

4. Take your time – It can take months or even longer to find just the right horse at the right price. During this time investigate if you have the money to maintain a horse and the right facility to house him. Some find ways to board at the farm of a friend or in stables for a fee.

5. Get a clean bill of health – You may find that buying a horse can be cheaper from a private owner instead of a breeder. But, be sure that you are getting what you pay for. Get a qualified medical assessment from a veterinarian who can examine the horse before you sign on the dotted line. Also, consult a trainer to check the horse’s temperament.

Do you want to buy a horse? Buying a horse is not a process that should be rushed into. Read the above tips to be sure you are ready.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week – The Quarter Horse

December 5, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Horses

Umbrella Cockatoo

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Quarter Horse!

Have you ever wanted a horse or marveled at what beautiful creatures they are? Chances are, you have! Quarter Horses are just one type that you might be interested in!

Quarter Horses are truly an American breed of horse. Everyone has heard of them, and many people consider them to be one of the best all around breeds of horses. I will start with some history. They are one of the oldest breeds in America – starting from the early 17th century in Virginia, when settlers got horses from the Chickasaw Indians. The Chickasaw Indians horses were descendants of horses brought by Spanish explorers. These horses were then bred with English running horses, which gave them a good solid horse which could do everything they needed, from pulling and hauling, to riding and herding horses. In fact, the Quarter Horse eventually got its name because it could sprint a quarter of a mile faster than any other horse! Today, Quarter Horse racing is still in effect in the western United States.

The American Quarter Horse Association was the first registry for these horses, being founded in 1940 by Robert Denhard. It is now the largest breed registry in the world with over 3 million registered horses! These horses are considered a stocky type of light horse breed. They usually weigh under 1,500 pounds and are used most often as leisure horses. They can be used for other tasks as well – such as racing, ranch working, and as show horses. The Quarter Horse can reach 15-16 hands and they are compact, stocky, and muscular horses.

Quarter Horse care is fairly easy as far as horse care goes. They keep weight on quite easily and only need a low amount of daily feed (compared to some other horses). Their diet should consist of grass and hay, with vitamin and mineral supplements provided on a minimum basis as needed. They can become overweight somewhat easily so you must make sure to not overfeed them! This may be because their ancestors were free-roaming plain horses, making it necessary to thrive on the simple foods that were available. These horses can be kept in either a pasture or a stall, and they should be provided with ample exercise.

Training of Quarter Horses includes many different activities and sports because of their speed and agility. They are excellent at cutting, reining and gymkhana. They are also great at ranch-type work, including driving cattle which makes them wonderful Western Pleasure Horses. They can also do well at jumping and English Pleasure activities. They are very good at stopping quickly and turning sharply. In general these horses are fairly attentive and responsive in temperament, making them great family horses, beginner horses, and trail riding horses.

In general, Quarter Horses are pretty hardy horses and they live some of the longest lives! It takes ongoing neglect of their basic maintenance to really cause them problems. However, one genetic disease to be on the look out for before purchasing a Quarter Horse is hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). This disease is not very common but it is passed down from the sire and should be tested for in any horse that you plan to obtain. The disease causes uncontrolled muscle twitching and/or muscle weakness and can sometimes cause collapse and death.

Quarter Horses are available just about everywhere in the United States and you should be able to locate one quite easily if you wish to obtain one. Look at Animal-World’s page on Quarter Horses for more information.

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Animal World’s Pet of The Week – The Friesian Horse

September 11, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Horses

Friesian Horse

The Animal World Featured Pet for this week is: The Friesian Horse!

When thinking of a Friesian Horse, most people immediately think of a beautiful and elegant black horse with manes and tails that are long, thick and flowing. Indeed, these horses are very beautiful and they actually are used as dressage and carriage horses in many places! Historically, these horses came from Friesland (hence its name), and is thought to have come from the old Forest Horse. Very interestingly, both German and Friesian knights rode these horses during the crusades! Also pretty neat are the other horse breeds that were influenced from the Friesian – such as the Shire horse, the Oldenburger, and the Fell and Dale ponies.

I, of course, have a love for horses. Growing up I had two horses. One was an Arabian named Orion who I had when I was younger and the other was an all-black horse named Leo. Leo was not a Friesian, but he was a wonderful horse all the same and I rode him at the end of my high school years and through most of college. I think that Leo was the horse who really gave me an awe of Friesians, just because he was all-black.

In general, Friesians have the reputation of being very gentle, willing to train, and pretty much wonderful horses. They are considered a light horse breed, which means that they usually weigh under 1500 pounds and are good horses for leisure riding, showing, and some light ranch work. They have long hair on their lower legs which is usually not trimmed and looks like “feathering.” They stand on average 15 hands high and are muscular and compact. Because of their thick manes and tails and the hair on their lower legs, they need quite a bit of regular grooming to keep them looking nice.

Recently Friesians have become more and more popular in the film industry. They became “famous” from the popular stallion Othello who first aired in the film Ladyhawke in 1985. More recently Friesians have been used in the moves The Mask of Zorro, 300 and Eragon. In other forms of entertainment, they are often shown off at horse shows and used in circus acts.

If you are looking into obtaining a Friesian, they are available pretty readily in both Europe and the United States. They can be quite expensive if they are trained, however you can purchase them for cheaper if you are willing and able to get them younger and train them yourself.

One disease you will want to keep an eye out for in your young and rapidly growing Friesian is a disease called Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). This can occur in horses that will mature to be over 15 hands and is basically occurs when cartilage at the end of growing bones breaks down rather than turning into bone. These pieces that break off can turn into painful bone cysts which will cause pain and inflammation in any joint that this occurs at. Treatments that can work to either fix or reduce symptoms include surgery, rest, and joint injections.

Another infection that Friesians can be prone to is a disease called Scratches. This is basically scabbing that occurs due to excess moisture in certain areas that don’t always get a chance to dry such as the pastern and fetlocks (around the horses hooves). The best solutions are to just dry out the area and possibly scrub the area with an iodine scrub for a few days if needed.

If you would like to learn more about the fascinating Friesians, their history and just general horse care, check out theFriesian page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

The Chincoteague Pony

July 30, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

Chincoteague PonyChincoteague Pony

"This Pony was first made famous by the book “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry in 1947!

Over 50,000 spectators show up at the Chincoteague Pony Penning Day every year!

These ponies originate hundreds of years ago from the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague, which are barrier islands off the mid Atlantic coastline. These modern ponies are gentle with lots of stamina and are very athletic. In fact, our first president, George Washington, is believed to have kept his own Chincoteague Pony which he would ride over 150 miles a day on! Read More

More about the Chincoteague Pony!

Haflinger

May 2, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

Haflinger - Equus caballusHaflinger
Equus caballus

"I am a powerful, hard-working horse!"

With a heritage traced to the Alpine mountain ponies, the Haflinger is very hardy and strong,

but also sweet tempered!

The Haflinger, also known as the Avelignese is a rather small but sturdy chestnut colored horse descended down from the Tyrolean ponies of Austria and northern Italy. These horses only stand between 13 to 15 hands high, however they are ponies… Read More

More about Haflingers!

Clydesdale

March 28, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

Clydesdale - Equus caballusClydesdale
Equus caballus

"I have a quiet and calm temperament, but I sure do eat a lot!"

As a draft/heavy horse, the Clydesdale is one of the most popular horses of its kind

in the world!

Clydesdales are heavy draft horses with high stepping gaits and beautiful coats. Most people immediately think of the Clydesdale as the primary symbol of the draft horses. In the past they became popular used as carriage horses because of their beauty, and still today they are used as fancy carriage horses and put in show rings. The Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales are the most-well known of this breed… Read More

More about the Clydesdale!

Mustang

March 1, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

MustangMustang
Equus caballus

"I often serve as a symbol of the American West!"

Mustangs have run as wild horses in North America for several hundred years,

and still do today!

The American Mustang is descended from the Spanish horses that were brought with the Conquistadors in the 16th Century. At one time over one million Mustangs roamed over most of North and Central America. A hardy animal, the Mustang has survived in the wild for several hundred years.

The Mustang is the embodiment of the spirit and freedom of the early development of the United States. It is often thought of as a symbol of the American West and is considered one of the native American horses… Read More

More about the Mustang!

Connemara Pony

February 9, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Horses

Connemara Pony - Equus caballusConnemara Pony
Equus caballus

"I’m a well-known sports pony, I love to jump and win all sorts of competitions!"

The Connemara Pony is Ireland’s only indigenous pony!

The Connemara Pony was bred, and gets its name from, the Connemara Region in the western part of Ireland. This is an area of rugged rocky and mountainous terrain. It’s pounded by the tide and the storms of the Atlantic. The Connemara is a hardy and tough pony breed, yet agile with a good jumping ability. These very durable ponies are easy keepers and known to be long-lived, easily living into their 30’s… Read More

More about the Connemara Pony!

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