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promoting your horses well being- and your own

(13 Posts)
booksinbed Thu 11-Oct-12 09:28:20

Hi ALL- you have all been so supportive during my first few weeks of pony ownership.thankyou.

i have started to read more and to develop as much confidence as i can muster,but i am struggling.to be confidenct.have always wanted my own horse and when i actualy got one after the honeymoon period i started to think i cant manage her. i need to sell her... so got stressed.. and therefore wasnt getting much pleasure.. and thought i may have to sell her as it wasnt worth the stress my dh was saying its a money pit and what is the point..!!which i was struggling to see myself.and i got into a negative loop.

.Ive managed to steady myself a bit as i realise ive not given myself or her time.It hasnt helped as prev owner has asked to buy her back and is offering to take her this week.


So, in the bid to raise my confidence, i would really love to hear re two catagories of things things if anyone has the time.

1.is it usuall to feel really stressed when you ist get a horse even tho its a dream.ive felt similar feelings to when i ist got a baby.cant think about anything else.!!also ive been ridicloulsly upset if she has tried to nip me .what the hell is that about.i was thinking she does nt like me and feeling all wounded.blush- sorry what a wimp.I undestand she may pick up on those feelings and i try to hid em when at stable.!!Also im struggling to justify the cost- ie my family coul have a good holiday ,more security if i didnt have her blah blah.freaking myself out over money- guilt trip.


2.how to promote a horses well being. I really want to look after her properly

.By this i mean firstly basic care needs.....do they suffer with certian things or dislike them - some perople have told me they dont like bring out in combo of rain wind cold - and said would you like it inthose conditions??-im unsure if all horses are differnt and some mind those sconditions and some dont for eg.i must admit my pony seems to love to come instable at night - i dont know how to tell if its her hailage she wants ,its the routine she understands or simply she does like it for eg.how do you tell these things??my pony does stand by gate at end of a turn out day-is it routine or does she not like it...etc.
second -how to spot problems.- i wd imagine this wd mean changes in behevoir ?.i have picked up that heat in leg or hoof bad.noticed her lying in field y day was biting at one foot like she had an itch.then she got up and fine.im trying to learn to watch her and look for changes.however i wdnt know what to do about what i observed - ie the chewing of foot - just an itch or a problem?? how can i tell the difference.?
3 promotion of good health.how do i know if i should do anything for the hoof,supplement her food etc.presume - if she looks well ,has good coat,eyes look clear.??
4 emotional well being- i wnat to promote emotional well being- what things do this for a horse- again is it generic things or spefic to each horse.She has to be stabled 24 every other day - is there anything i can do to make it less boring.??Why do they always want to come home froma hack- if they are flight animals it feels that im stressing her to take out on hack away from"saftey"- Icant believe it s crossed my mind to feel guilty about going on a hack. she has to be in every other day and turn out every other day.in my human mind i see the turn out as relaxing for a horse as well as physically beneficial.is this true.
Also my mare is out with amother mare- mine is submissive toher .the othr mare appropaches her with ears down and shows her back legs toher several times .i prsume this is normal pack behevoir - is this the case- i dont want to stress my mare.is it is normal then can i put them together in the small turn out area we use on non turn out days together or wd it stress my mare as the dominant mare still does this but my mare cant move too far away- wd it stress her to be in close proximity.the dominant mare has followed her round wih ears down but has not kicked.
I wd really appriciate advice or thoughts- i totally admit im on a learing curve but i do not want to cause any problems for my mare as i learn!! as i wd hate to harm her thro ignorance- but have to start somewere.Thankyou all so much for your support -and if i make it- sev years down the line, maybe i can retun the favour to others x


. ps am buying kelly marks perfect confidecne and perfect partners

Spons Thu 11-Oct-12 09:51:46

Hiya, haven't seen your other posts, how long have you had your mare? The doubts over money / time / bonding you have are perfectly normal!!! Sounds to me as you are still getting used to each other. I have two horses, one of which I've had for 17 years, and I STILL worry if my routine is the best for her, is she happy etc etc! But, as you get to know your horse you will know if she's happy or not!

Wouldn't worry about the dominant mare, there's always one, horses have a pecking order in the wild, and any field with more than one horse a pecking order will be established. Sounds like your mare is happy to come in at night, what was her routine before you had her? Turnout is v important to me, as it allows horse to relax and 'be horses'. Does everyone's have to stay in all day ever other day?

Don't feel bad about hacking, most horses love it! Could you go out with others also?

Re the biting leg, horses normally do this when they've got an itch. However, if she has feathers and theres is s lot if bitung and stamping, there's a chance it could be feather mites, although I' think we have passed the time of year when they are around..?

I'm not sure this makes sense really! Also have you looked in horse and hound forums? People ask all sorts if questions, having a look might make you feel better about your own worries / give you some ideas?

Good luck anyway, you'll look back at this in a few months and forget you even had these thoughts!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 11-Oct-12 10:15:20

Riding in a riding school 80% fun 20% crap
Riding your own horse 20% 80% crap!
Your horse will test every boundary you have, will try every trick in the book, and basically attempt to get the better of you. As you go along, and get used to her, learn her ways, and generally get her under control, the ratio improves greatly. smile
Herd behaviour is very important. It is natural for a horse. Mine all live out together, have a pecking order and look after each other.
You could try feeding Codlivine for general health and wellbeing, its cod liver oil based, has lots of vitamins in, and is great for coat and feet. Also, Biocare from Falcon Feeds is excellent. It has the highest oil content of all the feeds we researched, is non heating, and very ecomical to feed, you really dont need to give a lot. Id say oil is very important, as I said for coat and feet, but also for mental health. You can put all sorts of entertainments in the stable, lickits, turnips on a string, treat balls, mirrors...

dappleton Thu 11-Oct-12 10:24:49

This is going to sound awful, but i'm on my lunch break and haven't really read your post v. thoroughly (sorry and I apologise therefore if my answer seems a bit vague but I hope it helps)

1) Yes stress is normal because you are worrying for her as you are not sure you are doing the right thing, this will go once you get into a routine. In answer to your financial question - A horse is going to be a huge financial burden on your family, so you really need your family to back you. On the up side owning a horse is wonderful and IMO worth every penny - even if it's a choice of horse or holiday. Perhaps try to get your family more involved, if it's a family activity then the cost will seem more justified.
2) You have so many questions about looking after her, I have a feeling that it's not that you don't know what you are doing so much as a lack of confidence.
You would perhaps benefit from doing the BHS horse owners certificate - its a short study course that would get you up to date with the correct way to do the basics and I think will give you loads of confidence. The problem with having other people answer you horse related questions is unless you have a certain amount of confidence in your own knowledge you are going to get even more confused as everyone has differing opinions.
In brief - don't let hacking bother you, most horses enjoy it so don't get stressed that it's the wrong thing for your horse, she's just getting used to her new surroundings, other horses, to you... so is probably a bit stressed herself. She'll settle. The field situation - one mare will be dominant over the other, they will settle down as they get to know each but i'd avoid putting them together in a small area until they know each other better. On non-turn out days i'd recommend lots of exercise and hand-grazing (put a head collar on and walk her about to nibble grass).

Hope that helps a bit

Alameda Thu 11-Oct-12 12:02:04

I agree with whoever said do a horse care course - learning the signs of health and ill health will be a big help. I don't know the bhs owner course but I did the nvq 2 and bhs stages 1 and 2 and am still pretty clueless. This is where other liveries, farrier, vet come in if you are seriously concerned.

Mainly relax though, it's supposed to be fun! It's a bit unsupportive of your husband to suggest selling her instead of plugging the gaps in your knowledge. I wonder if putting her in working livery somewhere would take the strain off while you ease your way in to horse ownership?

N0tinmylife Thu 11-Oct-12 17:22:31

Hi books,

Sorry to hear you are struggling at the moment, stick with it, it should improve with time!

Why does his previous owner say she wants to buy him back? How do you get on with her? Could you ask her for some advice and assistance while you are getting to know your mare, as she should know all her likes and dislikes, and what is likely to cause her problems.

I think most horses do benefit from some time outside, but they are all different, and some will prefer to be out whatever the weather, and some hate the cold and the wind.

In relation to hacking, I don't think its something a horse would choose to do, left to its own devices, but you spend huge amounts of time and effort making their life comfortable and pleasant, that hour or whatever a day is not a lot to ask in return! It does them no harm at all, and she will gradually get more confident with the new area as she becomes familiar with the rides, as will you.

I hope that is some help. You will never stop worrying about her, and agonising over what is the right thing to do, but hopefully as time goes on you will get to know her better, and feel more confident in your decisions. The main thing is to keep on asking when you are not sure, no one knows everything!

Floralnomad Thu 11-Oct-12 18:24:06

Hi yes a lack of confidence is normal , it's the same as your first time doing anything ,you are learning . It doesn't matter how long you have ridden for no amount of riding schools or books prepares you for the responsibility of being left to it . Horses are a money pit and you do need your OH on side or you will end up with loads of stress . My OH supported my horses and hence that lifestyle because I had them before I met him , we now have one pony on full livery and I would not commit to another horse because I know that our life now would not support it ( we have never sold a horse so they stay for life if I buy one ) . In a few months you will prob look back and wonder what you were worrying about but only you can decide if your horse is worth the added stress in your life .

booksinbed Thu 11-Oct-12 18:35:24

Hi all thanks for all the support - again x

Not in my life- i think she wants to buy pony back as she said that some stables are comming free and she didnt have one before an d that was why she sold her .initially contacted me just to say that if i ever wnated to sell her please let her know and then when stable came available.i get on well with her they live locally ish.She said that she lived out all year until nov then came in 24 hr.At our stable the owners say that they cannot go out daily due to land avaliabliity and we need to take it in turn for turn out.we get mon wed fri and then we go out as much as poss at weekend and i put then in a small sand paddock for half hr on non turn out day which they look bored in .thanks for telling me i wont stop agonising it helps - its just a huge adjustment.



dapple and saggy ,spons -spons i have had her a cple months, - thanks for normalising my stress - felt isolated and thought some thing wrong with me !!will look up courses.and dapple yes i total lack confidence .please tell me re the upside of having a horse - i want to stick it out.thankyou all so much

. ps i noticed today when she kept trying to retun to theyard - stopped walking trying to turn round and go back...she cd hear her pal whinnying-its dd pony - she at school at the time..i spun her and she walked on with voice leg and a then a tap every time she moved forward she did a blow - anyone aware what that may mean...

AllPastYears Thu 11-Oct-12 18:59:14

"1.is it usuall to feel really stressed when you ist get a horse even tho its a dream"

I was so stressed that I broke out in head-to-toe psoriasis that it took months to get rid of. Haven't had that for years.

"o they suffer with certian things or dislike them - some perople have told me they dont like bring out in combo of rain wind cold - and said would you like it inthose conditions??-im unsure if all horses are differnt"

Yes they're all different. A couple of people have told me they hate it when their horses shiver... well I've had mine over two years, he was unrugged all last winter with a bib clip, and I've never seen him shiver. You need to get to know your horse.

Where do you keep your horse? Are there other people around? Some horse-owners don't like others butting in giving their opinions but personally I've been really grateful for advice. Sometimes different people give conflicting advice (makes things difficult) but you'll come to find your own way.

Floralnomad Thu 11-Oct-12 19:51:35

The upside of having a horse is that you have probably the best friend you will ever have . I got my first horse ( ex race mare) when I was 13 and she was 10 , she sadly had to be PTS at 27 . That was many years ago and I still miss her , she taught me loads and I loved her , infact I think I'm now going to go and cry.

rogersmellyonthetelly Thu 11-Oct-12 20:51:24

Best thing you can do for your horses well being is to get to know her. That means observing her body language. Horses are very eloquent even without words, and a snort, ear flick, stamp, tail swish etc can speak volumes. Most horse owners will be able to read their own horse like a book, even if they don't realise they are doing it!
In the field they also use body language to communicate status, mood and danger, ears back and swinging bum in her direction is the other horse telling her to back off, not necessarily a status thing, that normally happens near the gate/water but just indicating that the other horse isn't feeling comfortable with her being where she is. They normally manage to sort out their differences with nothing more than the odd boot or bite.
Also, read up on the common illnesses and try the bhs horse owners certificate which I found very useful for general day to day health and care, although ignore the daily routine for a stabled horse, it's hilarious and assumes you have nothing better to do than check the stable in case your horse has done a pile and skip it out quick in case it's legs melt!
Things you really really need to know the signs of and act on - colic, laminitis, nose bleeds (can indicate serious and deadly infection) strangles, severe lameness from a small puncture or seemingly insignificant injury. . Things you need to know about but they won't die of it: Foot abcess, ringworm, mites (in hairy legged horses) mud fever.
That covers most things you will see unless you are really unlucky. Basic first aid for minor cuts and scrapes is clean it, spray it with antibacterial and see what it looks like in the morning!

booksinbed Fri 12-Oct-12 08:50:48

Oh flora - i do understand.much hugs to you.
i too had the most lovely cob when i was a child/teen - it wasnt mine but i was only one who rode him and i loved him so much i still get a tear to my eye when i think of him.i think it was the joy without the resonssibility - i didnt feel the responsibility as a young un- which i feel too keenly now perhaps.its just occured to me that i may be having trouble bonding with my pony as my heart is still somehow with the other. it was sold and i didnt want him to go - broke my heart.
Think aboout all the happy times you had together - im sure that you gave him a lovely lovely life and he wd have chose you.

frostyfingers Fri 12-Oct-12 13:41:14

There is a fantastic book by the Pony Club - the Manual of Horsemanship - which should become your bedside bible and best friend.

www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=manuaof+horsemanship

It is no nonsense, clearly written and really helpful. I would however second the idea of a horse care course as well, as there is nothing like hands on advice. Ask anyone who has a horse too, they will be only too happy to share their wisdom, although you will get differing opinions on how to do things. Most importantly spend as much time as you can with your horse - off the ground is just as important as riding - so that you learn what is normal for her. I have been around horses for 30+ years (since I was 3), and each horse I've ridden or owned is so different, you learn as you go and you never stop learning.

Don't panic if you have moments of doubt, I have them regularly but a lovely few hours spent cleaning up, grooming or riding shoo them all away.

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