An Introduction to Horse Management

Owning and managing a horse requires a lot of time, dollars and planning. This publication will review the basic needs of the horse and discuss the management considerations important to the horse’s comfort and health.

Colleen M. Brady, Department of 4-H Youth Development; K.S. Kanne, Department of 4-H Youth Development; and Mark Russell, Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University

Owning a horse can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, certain decisions must be made if you are going to be …

Winter Horse Care

Cold weather brings along extra responsibilities for horse owners. This article contains a few tips to ensure that horses’ needs are met during winter months.

Winter Horse Care Tips

ponies in snow

As we gear up for the arrival of Old Man Winter, we are reminded of the challenges that winter horse care brings. The cold, snow, ice, rain, wind and any combination thereof, complicates barn chores and limits our riding time. For these reasons, we typically do not spend as much time …

Health Care for Horses

A solid health-care program will help keep your horse free of disease and allow it to live a happier, longer life. This article will provide a brief overview of horse health care.

Health Care for Horses 

Thoughtful and planned care will allow your horse to live a longer and healthier life. Good equine husbandry is based upon the principle of preventive care — problem prevention rather than problem treatment. This requires embracing all aspects of horse care that affect its …

Horse Pasture Fertilization

A good fertilization program is necessary to produce high yields of quality forage and to maintain healthy stands of grasses and legumes. The rates and types of fertilizer required vary with different forage crops, management intensity and soil type. Soil testing is a valuable tool when developing a pasture fertilization program. Sample hay fields annually and sample grazed pastures at least every other year. Contact your county Extension office for more information on soil testing.

Soil pH is a measure …

Management Tips Related to Horse Behavior

Horses in Stalls

Horse owners who have a sound understanding of horse behavior can use their knowledge to help prevent behavioral problems. Listed below are a few management tips related to horse behavior.

  1. Design horse housing so that horses can see other horses.
  2. Feeding horses individually will reduce aggression and allow slow eaters to get their full ration.
  3. Whenever possible, the main portion of the horse’s diet should be made up of forages to reduce digestive and behavioral problems.
  4. Feed stalled horses small

Weed Control in Horse Pastures

An essential component of managing horse pastures involves the task of controlling weeds. Some weeds that can be found in horse pastures are poisonous to horses.

Controlling weeds is probably one of the most important decisions to think about when managing horse pastures. Weeds are generally less palatable, less nutritious, and are less dependable as a forage supply to horses than the desirable pasture species they replace. Some pasture weeds are poisonous to horses. From a control standpoint, grouping weeds …

Pasture Facilities for Equines


Horses should have some protection from the hot sun, wind and precipitation. This can vary from a good shelter belt, a three-sided shed in the corner of a pasture to a complete stable with box stalls.

Horses without shelter will require more feed and water to maintain their health.


Wood post and rail fencing

Fencing for horses can be the traditional board or rail fence to electric wire. Several newer products are now on the market such as:

  • Polymer vinyl
  • Polyethylene rails and

Grazing Systems for Horses

Grazing Horses

Grazing systems used in horse farms include pastures, fences and management techniques used to provide optimal forage for horses. Grazing systems should be flexible based on resources and goals and developed to meet the horses nutrient requirements. Two common types of grazing systems used in horse farms are continuous and rotational.

Continuous grazing

A continuous grazing system is one where horses are houses on a single pasture for an extended period of time. Advantage to this system is that reduced …

Planning a Horse Pasture

When planning your horse pasture, you should ask yourself the following question: will the pasture be a major feed source or just an exercise area?

Most horses benefit from being outside regularly for exercise. Free exercise reduces behavior and respiratory problems, promotes optimal growth and development of young horses, and improves overall horse health. However, if the pasture is to serve as a feed source, other factors need to be considered including its potential nutritional value, carrying capacity or stocking

Responsible Horse Care for Winter and Summer

Proper horse care year round is important to maintaining a healthy horse. This publication provides information on how you can keep your horse healthy throughout all seasons of the year.

Your horse depends upon you to provide all its basic needs for survival and good health. The enjoyment of horse ownership is dependent on your animal’s health and condition. A sick or poorly maintained animal cannot be pleasurable. Consistent maintenance of your horse’s health is much less expensive than the …