What are 'the basics' in your opinion?

Pearlsasinger

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Following on from AA's thread (hope she doesn't mind), what do you consider to be 'the basics' that every-one should know before they acquire a horse, whether that is loan, share or buy, but find that many people either don't know or ignore?

Actually I could probably fill a whole thread myself but one that is really bugging me atm, is that when you put hay out, there should be more piles than horses, to discourage fighting.

Which one would you pick?
 

Beausmate

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That's a tough one! I can think of loads, but the first thing that comes to mind, is condition scoring - how to do it and what it means.
 

Sukistokes2

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I could write a book about it, but if I can only pick one.........

Lack of thought and feeling about the animal that is meant to be in your care. This is shown though lack of understanding of tack, often ill fitting or over used, strapping young horses mouths shut rather then allowing them time to settle and learn to seek the contact. Leaving horses in stables to all hours without foo, like my livery who feels that 1.20 in the afternoon is a good time to turn out because she doesn't want to get up on a Sunday....grrrrrrrr
 

JFTDWS

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That's a tough one! I can think of loads, but the first thing that comes to mind, is condition scoring - how to do it and what it means.
That too fat is just as bad - if not worse - than too thin... And no, just because it's a cob / native / highland doesn't mean it should be obese...
 

AdorableAlice

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Following on from AA's thread (hope she doesn't mind), what do you consider to be 'the basics' that every-one should know before they acquire a horse, whether that is loan, share or buy, but find that many people either don't know or ignore?

Actually I could probably fill a whole thread myself but one that is really bugging me atm, is that when you put hay out, there should be more piles than horses, to discourage fighting.

Which one would you pick?
Not at all, the most basic in my mind is to be aware that keeping horses cannot be judged as a hobby. It is a commitment.
 

YorksG

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That when you buy or loan a horse/pony for you or your child (anyone under 18) YOU are responsible for it and any and all expenses: vets, farriers, dentists, physio's, saddlers, forage merchants etc are earning a living, they should not be expected to subsidise YOUR animal. I could add a lot more, but could fill the thread.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Oh yes, AA. I really do think that some people would be better off buying a bike -or at least their horses would be!

If I were writing a list, instead of choosing one, all the others mentioned would be in my list. I was appalled at the weight of my Draft horse when I got her, she was massive and had been fed on haylage and coarse mix. She is now a perfect weight, even if she didn't appreciate the oat straw chaff that I gave her to eat when her hay ran out!
 

milliepops

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I could write a book about it, but if I can only pick one.........
haha, I have to say my immediate reaction was 'the entire contents of the BHS manual of horsemanship, 1976' :D
Would need some updates by now I suppose, but that's what I devoured before I was allowed my first pony. Stood me in good stead I think!

But yes, rules of feeding, fundamentals of horse psychological & physiological needs, basic understanding of the seriousness of your commitment, respect for the animal. There are lots of things that make me cringe but are down to personal choice really, but those would be my essentials :)
 

rascal

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condition scoring is very important, but the one that makes me mad is a lack of feel for the horse/pony.
A girl (very novice but THEY thought they knew it all!) used to ride one of our ponies, the mother used to go with her, thought one bucket of water was enough for a pony for 24hours, filling and cleaning the trough we provided was way to much effort!
The haynet with small holes the VET recommended for the pony was left in a heap in the yard (girl wouldn't fill it!).
Our horses were left for many hours in the stables, with no hay or water.
Our old horse who they shouldn't have touched, was left tied up for hours and became stiff.
My daughters youngster became stroppy and started to bite as he expected treats all the time.
They were supposed to be learning about horses, but when we tried to tell them where they were going wrong refused to listen!!
When we got fed up and told them to go, they refused to hand over the ponys tack or the field keys.
 

Cinnamontoast

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Everyone should know that horses don't understand Christmas Day. I chuckle every time a non-owner asks me incredulously if I even go up on Christmas Day. :)
 

TGM

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I think people should have a basic understanding of horse physiology and psychology. That sounds a bit fancy, but it needn't be too technical. A horse owner/loaner/carer should understand that horses are prey animals (with flight instincts) that have evolved to be grazing over large tracts of land, almost constantly on the move. They should understand that the horse's digestion is very different from ours, and how important fibre is in the diet and why. They should understand that horses are naturally nervous animals, ready to flee from predators and find security in a herd environment. I think if people have a background understanding of these things, then it is easier to see why they should abide by certain management routines/methods. So many people I know have frightening gaps in their knowledge and have picked up little bits and pieces of information over the years, which are often misunderstood and misapplied, because they don't have a full understanding of the wider picture.
 

FestiveFuzz

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Everyone should know that horses don't understand Christmas Day. I chuckle every time a non-owner asks me incredulously if I even go up on Christmas Day. :)
I thought this was going to be a complaint about those that give their horses presents etc and just chuckled to myself as I always take H a Christmas carrot to give him before turning out.
 

MotherOfChickens

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That when you buy or loan a horse/pony for you or your child (anyone under 18) YOU are responsible for it and any and all expenses: vets, farriers, dentists, physio's, saddlers, forage merchants etc are earning a living, they should not be expected to subsidise YOUR animal. I could add a lot more, but could fill the thread.
Oh god yes! No one else needs to subsidise your luxury hobby. Tbf a lot of adult horse owners need to remember that as well.
 

Goldenstar

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The very rigid training in the basics that was popular when I was starting out is often ridiculed and much of it is unfashionable now .
Of course science is in a different place now and things have moved on but the basics instilled in me have stood me in good stead .
My first horsey book was a little yellow pony club one , keeping a pony a grass , I still have it some where but I knew it by heart .
My parents used it when we first got a pony .
The riding school where I started where always there to mentor me those type of traditional riding schools are a huge huge loss .
Many adults mentored me and developed me in the village I grew up in many of these had experience of horses from the army and from the very end of horses working on farms and such like they had a depth of knowledge on how to use quietly to get horses to do what they needed to do no fuss no botheration just calm confident repetition .
I think I was lucky it not easy now to get that sort of start if you had non horsey parents .
 

Jo1987

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All of the above of course, but someone buying their first pony/horse should really be made aware that the sweet 4 year old that has never even heard of a bad habit could quite easily become unruly if not trained/handled properly.
 

rowan666

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This
I think people should have a basic understanding of horse physiology and psychology. That sounds a bit fancy, but it needn't be too technical. A horse owner/loaner/carer should understand that horses are prey animals (with flight instincts) that have evolved to be grazing over large tracts of land, almost constantly on the move. They should understand that the horse's digestion is very different from ours, and how important fibre is in the diet and why. They should understand that horses are naturally nervous animals, ready to flee from predators and find security in a herd environment. I think if people have a background understanding of these things, then it is easier to see why they should abide by certain management routines/methods. So many people I know have frightening gaps in their knowledge and have picked up little bits and pieces of information over the years, which are often misunderstood and misapplied, because they don't have a full understanding of the wider picture.
 

Bernster

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In hindsight I def didn't know as much as I shouldmhave with my first horse but luckily she was a saint. And I had a knowledgeable share to help. I'd go for the bus horse owners course but agree, the main thing would be realising the degree of commitments.

And being open to learning constantly, it never ends, but that's part of the fun. Shame you don't always see that on this forum ��
 

DabDab

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Feeding would have to be one of the main ones - I may have tried fancy new feeds over the years by ultimately my horse is still fed on chaff, beet, oil and oats (ok granted, the beet and chaff are now unmollassed and it is not cod liver oil anymore). The array of mixes on the market make learning feeding basics even more important than 30 years ago.

Then the basic handling bits - putting on tack correctly and checking that it fits, picking out feet, rugging, worming principles, regularity of injections, dentist checks, shoeing etc., grooming brushes and how they should be used, cleaning water buckets, filling haynets, mucking out, tying up correctly......
 

SO1

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1) Horses are often time consuming and expensive to keep
I know there will be people on here who say that they work a 50 hour week, care for a family, and multiple horses and it only costs them a £100 a month and they never have any help from anyone, but in reality this is not the case for most people.

2) It can be hard to find a suitable place to keep your horse
Finding the right place to keep your horses is very important for the welfare of the horse and your own peace of mind and happiness. This is not always easy, the place nearest to home, or the cheapest option may not always be the best option. If you find somewhere you like the management can change or yards can shut, or your horses requirements change or your circumstances can change this can be all quite stressful. I would also add that different yards suit different people/horses so what may be great for one person may not for someone else and just because a yard does not suit you or your friend does not mean it is not someone else's perfect place so I think you do need to be a bit open minded sometimes.
 

sychnant

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That a horse is a living, feeling being who will react differently depending on a huge number of things, including where it's kept, who handles/rides it and how, what it's fed etc.

That "perfect" horse you tried out may only be "perfect" because of the above, and when it comes to live with you and everything changes - SO MIGHT THE HORSE. Learn what works for that horse, and WORK to make everything right. Don't just assume the seller lied.
 

Kat

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That nobody ever knows everything about horses and you never stop learning. The day you stop learning is the day you should give up horses.
 

Polos Mum

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The best thing to know is that you know nothing and that you'll have to pay for good quality support.

I'm fine with total novices buying horses - if they keep them on livery where someone who does know what they are doing, does 100% of the care and they have lessons why not.
 

oldie48

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If you are a beginner/novicey rider do not buy a young horse unless you are prepared to pay for proper professional help in bringing it on correctly or have someone experienced who is willing to support you at every stage.
 
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Your horse's needs always come before your own. I've been rather shocked getting back into loaning/owning after years of riding school hacking and lessons, to see how many people seem to jump off the horse at a show or after a hack and leave it tied up, tacked up, no water, so they can go for a wee and get a drink and change their boots first. It was always drilled into me at Pony Club and at home that you make your horse comfortable before yourself. The number of times I've filled a water bucket with my legs crossed because the horse has to have a drink before I can go to the loo!

As for going up to the horse at Christmas, its really quiet first thing on Christmas morning... I go for a hack!

Absolute rock-bottom basics for me would also include suitable foot-wear, hats, and wearing hi-viz when hacking, and understanding that there is no point at which you have finished learning.
 

muckypony

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My first horsey book was a little yellow pony club one , keeping a pony a grass , I still have it some where but I knew it by heart .
I have this! I bought it for my mum as a birthday present when we got my first pony about 10 years ago, I found it again a few weeks back and thought 'if only some of the people at me yard had read this!'

Along with what others have said, I was horrified at the lack of knowledge of what is poisonous to horses. Last summer I kicked up a fuss about ragwort being in the field, and please could others be vigilant, and I was asked why!!! WHAT!! That to me should be first on the list of things to learn surely!

Another real bug bear is those that leave horses tied up on yards before or after riding, whilst they go and have a chit chat, fag, or an obviously important phone call.... Have some thought for the poor pony! I did this once as a child and got a serious b*llocking.

What irritates me is when people think I don't know what I'm talking about, because I look too young.. I was brought up around horses by a very experienced horsewoman, stable management came before riding, and most of all I wanted to learn, and still do. It horrifies me what someone people deem acceptable behaviour around horses nowadays :(
 

Pigeon

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I agree. It's more about attitude as well. Common sense and wanting to learn. As others have said, commitment and respect for the animal too.

Even as a young kid I knew the PC manual cover to cover. I had very little practical experience admittedly ;) but knew everything there was to know about windgalls and spavins and wobblers and how to bandage correctly and all sorts of obscure bitting set-ups.

I just think since the internet, and easy accessibility of so many books, there's no excuse for not knowing the basics. If you don't know how to put on a certain piece of tack, for example, google it!!

That bugs me as well, people who give up too easily. Growing up, it was hammered into us that if we got a horse, it was on us. Selling was not an option - If we had a problem, it was our problem, and we had to sort it out ourselves! We would certainly have won more rosettes and probably got out more if we bought 'better' horses every couple of years, but I think learning how to make your own horse the best it can be taught us a more valuable lesson.
 
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skint1

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There are a lot of good, insightful posts on this thread.

For me I think the main things is understanding that you don't know everything and appreciating that a horse (especially on DIY) is a HUGE 24/7/365 commitment on your time. You'll need to ensure your horse's basic needs are met regardless of whether it's convenient that day, or you feel ill, or your car is broken down, or the weather is rubbish, leaving aside the financial side of things.

Also understanding what those basic needs are, access to fresh clean water and forage/grazing and the company of other horses.
 

fburton

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That too fat is just as bad - if not worse - than too thin... And no, just because it's a cob / native / highland doesn't mean it should be obese...
This.

I think people should have a basic understanding of horse physiology and psychology. [...] So many people I know have frightening gaps in their knowledge and have picked up little bits and pieces of information over the years, which are often misunderstood and misapplied, because they don't have a full understanding of the wider picture.
And this.

Everyone should know the basics of how horses learn, because we are teaching them - for better or worse - every moment we are with them. This is fundamental stuff, yet gaps in knowledge can been seen amongst otherwise quite competent and experienced horse people. For example, it amazes me that some people still believe that punishing a horse a long time (i.e. more than 10 seconds) after the offending behaviour is going to be effective. Or that horses can apparently understand English. Or that they are mentally capable of deliberately showing up a rider/handler or "taking the p*ss".
 
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