What to Buy Before Bringing a Horse Home
I am so excited to start my Horse Ownership 101 series with this first post about what you need to buy before bringing a horse home! This series will cover a wide range of topics all about horse ownership. Want me to cover a specific topic? Just let me know!
A big part of owning a horse is being prepared, so start a checklist and get organized!
Let's start with infrastructure. Before anything else, you will need to make sure your pasture is properly fenced in and that your horse has shelter.
There a many different types of horse fencing you can choose from, and I will go over the options in more detail in a later post, but setting up proper fencing is an absolute necessity before bringing your horse home. We decided to build a 4-board wood fence for a few different reasons. 1. It's more attractive. Our driveway wraps around our horse pasture, so it was important we put in a fence that would give a good first impression! 2. Wood fencing doesn't need repairs as often as some of the alternative types of fencing do. 3. Wood fencing is much safer for horses.
In addition to fencing, you will need to build or purchase a shelter for your horse. There are many different types of barns and run-ins, but at minimum, you need a shelter with at least 3 sides and a roof. Whether it's blazing hot in the summer or freezing cold in the winter, your horse will need a place to escape from the elements.
Moving on to other items your horse will need:
Water trough - I recommend purchasing a 100-gallon water trough to leave in the pasture. Horses drink between 5-10 gallons of water a day and can easily get dehydrated, so it is imperative that they have access to clean, fresh water at all times. If you have mini horses or donkeys that cannot reach a large trough, you can purchase a smaller, more shallow 15-gallon water trough for them.
Extra buckets - I highly recommend that you have a handful of extra buckets laying around. I like to keep 5-gallon buckets filled with water in our stalls so our animals always have fresh water nearby. These buckets are also helpful when bathing your horse or if your horse gets injured. *a quick note about buckets - the flat back buckets are best used for hanging up or placing against a wall, whereas the round back buckets are good for feeding in the pasture or on the ground.
Feed buckets- If you are going to feed your horse grain, then you need to buy a feed bucket. There are a handful of different types: hanging feed buckets, 8-quart round back buckets, and feed pans. I prefer the hanging buckets and feed pans when it comes to feeding, but having a couple of 8-quart buckets around is not a bad idea!
Hay nets- Hay nets are great for when you feed your horse hay in their stall or run-in. You can purchase a net or a more permanent hay feeder that will mount in the stall or run-in.
Hay feeder- Hay feeders are not a necessity, but you will quickly realize how much hay is wasted when you just throw hay on the ground. We have an adjustable hay feeder from Tractor Supply that we love. We ended up removing the feed trough, but this specific hay feeder can be used for both feeding hay and grain.
Pitchfork, shovel, and muck bucket- You will need these items to clean out your horse's stall or run-in. I prefer a wheelbarrow over a muck bucket/cart because it holds more manure and is much easier to use and dump out.
Halter & lead rope- This is an obvious must! A halter and lead rope are how you will lead your horse around. I suggest that you have at least 2 of each at all times in case one breaks. There is a wide range in price when it comes to halters, but for everyday use, I recommend getting a strong nylon halter with a throat snap hook. I also really like using rope halters, especially for training.
Cross ties- cross ties are not a must-have, but I included them because they are definitely nice to have! Cross ties can be hung in your stall, run-in, or barn aisle. They attach to either side of your horse's halter and are great for grooming, bathing, and tacking up, really any time you are doing something to your horse! If you do decide to purchase cross ties, I recommend you buy the velcro breakaway ones. They are the safest option if your horse gets spooked, or if he isn't used to being in cross ties and resists. If your horse pulls too hard on them or takes off running, the velcro ties will detach, but your horse won't break his halter and you will still have a way to catch him.
Feed bin- you will need a dry, secure place to store your grain. I love the feed bin we have from Schneider's- it is a great size, and very heavy duty with an easy-to-open lid and lockable latch. You can also get a large Rubbermaid bin that is made for storing feed.
Hay storage- You will need a dry place to store your hay. If hay gets wet, it will get moldy, which will make your horse sick, so whether you build a separate storage area for hay, or store it in your barn, keep this in mind when working through your layout. We are about to build a hay storage barn, but until then, we have been storing hay in our horse trailer and bringing a couple of bales of hay up to the barn at a time. I have a large heavy-duty Tupperware bin that I leave hay in after I bring it up to the barn.
Grooming kit- last but not least, you will need a good grooming kit. Grooming kits are not horse-specific, so you can purchase this well before you bring your horse home. Grooming brushes can be purchased separately, but I have found it is more cost-effective to purchase a full grooming kit. Your standard grooming kit should come with a curry comb, hard brush, soft brush, mane and tail brush/comb, and a hoof pick.
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While this is not an all-inclusive list of supplies you will need for your horse, this is a great place to start to get you one step closer to bringing your horse home! A lot of the other supplies you will need are horse specific, like tack, blankets, fly masks, supplements, etc., so if you are in the process of buying a horse, hold off on these items until you know which horse you will be getting!
Another big thing that is not included on this list is basic medical supplies and a first-aid kit. Keep an eye out for my next post that will include a full medical supplies checklist!
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