Owning your first horse is exciting, but you likely have a million questions. With this basic horse equipment list, you’ll have a better idea of what to purchase before you bring your new equine friend home.
Although horses have a reputation for being difficult, high-maintenance animals to care for, you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like. As long as your horse has clean and adequate shelter for warmth and to get out of the elements, access to basic hoof care, as well as daily food, water, and hay, he or she will do fine.
In this article, we’ll talk about basic necessities that should be on your horse equipment list to help you successfully navigate through your first few months of horse ownership. In addition to this horse equipment list, before purchasing a new horse, you should review this buying a horse checklist.
First and foremost on your horse equipment list should be housing for your new partner so he can get out of the elements. Nearly anything will suffice as long as it’s sturdy and truly lets him stay dry and warm.
Although a stable would be ideal, a shed that offers at least 144 square feet per horse and that boasts 3 sides and a roof that does not leak will work. The ground inside should be dry and kept clean. If it’s cold outside, providing some straw for warmth is a good idea.
Depending on the breed of your horse and how much land you have for a pasture, the next thing on your horse equipment list should be feed. Adult horses require at least 12% protein in their grain, and if your horse is under 3 years old, a 14% ration is best.
You will need to provide the grain in some sort of bucket or ground feeder. Although I have seen horses fed straight on the ground, I don’t recommend it. Sand colic is a common issue if your horse ingests too much dirt, and you might find yourself with an unnecessary vet bill or a horse with diarrhea.
Moreover, horses tend waste grain when it’s fed on the ground since they stomp it into the dirt. It can also get mushy if mixed with water, and you’ll save a bit of money by using buckets or ground feeders.
If you plan to feed your horse outside in a fenced pasture, you can add eye hooks and double-ended snaps to your horse equipment list. Using those two items, you can hang the bucket from a fence post so your horse doesn’t dump his feed everywhere.
Another part of owning a horse 101 is providing water. If you plan to keep your horse in a stall, then providing two 5-gallon buckets of water is a good idea.
On our farm, I provide each of my seven horses with a 25-gallon rubber tub. It costs only a bit more than two 5-gallon buckets, provides more than twice the amount of water, and I only have to fill it once a day (unless it’s very hot out). In the winter, there’s enough water that it typically doesn’t completely freeze, which makes breaking the surface ice easy. I can be reasonably assured my horses have continual access to fresh water, so this item should be high on your own horse equipment list.
Since hay should be on your horse equipment list as well, consider how you plan to give him hay. You can either provide a round bale or square bales of hay. Although putting the hay on the ground is perfectly fine, you might find it gets messy quickly, and your horse will likely waste some of it, costing you extra dollars.
For square bales, a hay net with a fairly close weave will keep him from strewing his hay everywhere (and pooping and peeing on it). The hay will last longer because he won’t be able to eat it all at once, and he will be kept occupied longer.
If you plan to provide round bales, consider putting a round bale feeder on your horse equipment list. Although historically used for cattle, these feeders keep horses from eating a round bale too quickly, and like a hay net, he won’t be able to get close enough to the hay to pee and poop all over it. If you’re able to prevent your horse from wasting too much hay, you’ll save money in the end.
Another item to consider for your horse equipment list is a hoof pick. You should clean your horse’s hooves often, even daily, if possible. Frequent cleaning means you’ll notice small problems before they become big, and you can avoid dramatic and costly horse hoof problems.
I’ve been able to detect laminitis before it became a full-blown problem by examining my horse’s feet. Hoof picks can be purchased for as little as $1 at almost any feed store. There are a ton out there to choose from in any color you can imagine and any of them will do the trick.
Pro-tip: Purchase a hoof pick with a magnet on the back (or add one to your favorite pick) for easy storage.
Blankets are another item I recommend for any horse equipment list, and although they’re not strictly necessary, I think they’re a nice thing to have if it gets very cold where you live. Horses require continual hay in the winter (and usually daily grain) in order to keep their body temperature up and not get too cold.
In the winter, providing all this extra hay can get quite costly. Allowing your horse to grow a winter coat is a good idea, but for very cold days, a blanket will help him keep his body heat up, which in turn will reduce the amount of hay he needs to eat to stay warm.
If your horse is older or has a hard time maintaining his weight, a blanket will help.
Some sort of pasture with fencing should also be on your basic horse equipment list before bringing your pony home. You have many choices for fencing, and I personally love electric fencing. You can read more about my recommendations for electric fences for horses.
I’ve also seen fences made from pallets, and of course the traditional wood. PVC fences work well also and tend to require less maintenance than a wood fence. If your horse is a chewer; however, electric fences are your best bet.
Without a doubt, once you bring your horse home, you’ll want to brush him at some point. If you plan to ride him, you should brush him before tacking him up to ensure he doesn’t get any abrasions or rubs from dirt, and it will protect your equipment.
You can purchase both a stiff-bristled brush to work dirt out of his coat, and a soft-bristled brush to wick away dirt that you’ve loosened.
The final item on this basic horse equipment list is a stall pick. These are shovels with tines like a fork that allow you to easily sort through shavings or straw to removed soiled bedding and manure from your horse’s living area.
Even if you keep your horse outside and allow him access to a shed, you will want to remove manure from any enclosed areas. This reduces chances your horse will pick up worms or inhale excess ammonia, which might affect his breathing. You can easily purchase a stall pick at most feed and farm stores.
Although this horse equipment list certainly isn’t all-inclusive, these are the basic necessities you should have on hand before bringing home your new horse.
Is there anything you would add to this list?