Understanding Basic Horse Care

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Basic horse care | Horses | Livestock | Agriculture | Agriculture Victoria

George H. Morris Foreword.

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Jacqueline Duke Editor. This informative guide focuses on the day-to-day interaction between owners and their horses, and covers various topics of basic husbandry, such as handling, grooming, housing, and stable vices. Understanding Basic Horse Care also discusses in detail the major body systems, ailments and diseases that affect them, and treatment options. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title.

Horse Care 101

Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Understanding Basic Horse Care , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Understanding Basic Horse Care. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Furthermore, any potential for a positive relationship between a horse and human depends on our understanding of them as a prey creature.


As a prey animal, whose very life can depend on each decision made, the horse has a highly developed set of self-preservation skills. Whereas a predator has the luxury of making decisions based off of other needs, a prey animal's decisions are driven solely by the primal need to stay alive. We have all experienced a horse becoming highly agitated by seemingly to the human-predator mind mundane things: walking through a puddle, getting in a trailer, tolerating a piece of blowing plastic or a sudden movement in the vicinity.

The reason for this is rooted deep in evolutionary experience as a prey animal. The horse is not concerned that those things will hurt him, but rather that he will likely be attacked and killed. We must take into consideration the horse's intrinsic fear of death in relation to how we ask things of them.

The horse's primary method of defense is that of flight. While a horse will fight bite, strike, kick, etc. When a horse encounters a questionable situation, his intuition tells him to escape first and analyze second.

In this way the horse is similar to other prey animals such as deer, rabbits, squirrels and mice, which flee from the unknown in order to survive. Contrast this to a predator who may have the leisure of being able to mentally access a situation prior to making their decision for fight or flight. A horse believes that too much confidence or curiosity about something new could lead to its demise.

Horses are natural born skeptics, lacking self-assurance and appearing cowardly when faced with novel things. Yet it is this same innate skepticism that speaks of great intelligence and a tremendous species-preserving propensity to survive. Fortunately, these patterns of fear and diffidence can be altered. A once timid, fearful horse can become a confident, playful and curious partner through understanding, appreciation and proper leadership.

I encourage you to implement this new way of considering the horse in upcoming endeavors. In upcoming columns, I will provide you with detailed ways to interpret your horse's body language, but for now, here is a beginning primer of how you can relate to a horse in a way they'll both appreciate and understand. Relationship comes first: As soon as your horse suspects you have an agenda their skepticism will rise. Prey animals are programmed to avoid predators with an agenda, particularly when that agenda involves them.

Your horse must believe that your care and commitment to his needs surmounts whatever task you are asking him to do. Act as if the thing tarp, trailer, bridge, etc. Retreat, retreat, retreat: Predators typically travel in straight lines and approach what they want directly - consider a lion stalking its prey. When we walk directly up to whatever we are wanting our horse to be curious about, their confidence and trust in us gets squelched.

How can a prey animal trust actions that speak of a predatory nature? Instead of approaching the object you desire your horse to interact with, retreat from it instead. This will increase your horse's confidence and give rise to his curiosity. For example, rather than walking directly up to a tarp on the ground, walk by it, around it, and away from it many times, until your horse begins to show signs of curiosity.

Kissya Alves

You may then allow the horse to smell the tarp or interact with it as he pleases, but do not stay too long, rather, retreat again. Your commitment to repeated retreats from the object, in this case, the tarp, will assure your horse that you are there to support him and not to make him do something. Patience is the key: Underneath their initial skepticism, the horse truly is a curious and gregarious creature, but those qualities may only be exhibited when the horse feels confident.

The true test of partnership with a horse is not when we can make our horse do something, but when, out of trust and respect, they want to do things for us and with us. This requires patience and the willingness to slow down and simply observe. Resist your predatory temptation to always be doing, and instead try just being alongside your horse.

You will be amazed at the curious and confident horse that is then able to shine through. It is a praiseworthy gift to the horse that you would take the time to learn how to speak their language. We will continue our study of horse psychology and behavior in the following weeks. I can assure you that every moment you spend delving into a deeper understanding of the horse, will lead to moments of great reward and deep connection with the magnificent animals. About the author: Emily Johnson, owner of Mountain Rose Horsemanship Training, LLC, located in Broomfield, Colorado, is an accomplished horse professional with a passion for bringing horses and humans together through credible and approachable instruction.

Emily studied Equine Science at Colorado State University before spending the following years traveling, mentoring under many accomplished trainers nationwide, as she developed her own natural horsemanship style. Her training methods utilize a direct approach the horse naturally understands, which she combines with her knowledge of human learning to create the most effective environment for both.

Emily specializes in areas that include young or troubled horses, as well as horsemanship that emphasize the mind and behavior of the horse. Her instruction reflects her passion for equipping both horses and humans for success on their journey toward partnership. She may be contacted at mountainrosetraining gmail. As a predatory species, humans do not have to be on constant vigilance with regard to our continuance, whereas the horse must consider their mortality in all they do, such as crossing the puddle illustrated in the story above.

We must not perceive the horses' persistent acuity and initial dubiousness as foolish or stubborn behavior, as it is the foundation of their survival. Rather, these innate characteristics should be considered the mark of a finely tuned intuition and intelligence. Understanding Sensitization vs. The course is designed to be highly accessible, and you do not need to have prior experience of horse care and management to benefit from the education provided.

This course provides a comprehensive, in-depth education for those seeking to improve their knowledge of equine care. Areas covered by the course include…. The Horse Care, Behaviour and Welfare Diploma Course is conducted entirely online, making it a flexible choice that can be studied at your own pace as is compatible with your lifestyle. Should you decide to embark on this kind of course, you will benefit from enhanced knowledge relating to a breadth of equine-related concerns.

The course seeks to be comprehensive by covering areas such as the behavioural, physiological and psychological sides of equine care, but never threatens to overwhelm the student.

Your Guide to Horse Health Care and Management

Whether you choose to use this knowledge in a professional capacity, or to enhance your ability to care for your own horse's welfare, the information is inherently valuable - and will enhance the life and well-being of horses under your care. Learn all about the importance of regular health checks. This module includes information about common diseases, parasites and health disorders that affect horses.

Gain an understanding of the basic anatomy and function of horse. Learn about the musculoskeletal, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, urinary, reproductive, nervous, lymphatic and integumentary systems of the horse.

Learn about the instinctive behaviour of the horse, the factors affecting behaviour, and how horses communicate. Gain an understanding about problem behaviour; what it is, common causes, strategies to deal with it and preventing it. This module explores horse nutrition including how to ensure that horses receive the right foods and the correct quantities.