Owning a horse can be a rather enjoyable experience, but it's important to remember that it is also a long-term responsibility.
The RSPCA says "Owning a horse or pony is a very big commitment and a lot of thought should go into deciding whether to take that step."
An editorial piece in the Jimboomba Times in 2017 said "Surely, anyone looking to own a horse would know and understand that caring for the animal takes more than just placing it in a grassy yard. Considering the size and quality of a property should be a must before introducing a new member to the family, as well the cost of dental care, hoof maintenance and daily feed for the animal."
It also said "Owners must then take note of the amount of time they can spend with the animal - providing appropriate love, care and affection, which is also necessary. Just like children, if an animal does not receive enough care or attention, it will act out and misbehave. The animal's health will then decline and the owner will end up with a larger problem - and bill - than initially thought."
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Agriculture Victoria Services says "As a horse owner, it is your legal responsibility to make sure that your horse is provided with the basic requirements to keep it healthy and happy."
Reiterating the point in the aforementioned editorial, "The basic requirements include adequate and appropriate feed, water, shelter, space and exercise, company, health care, and treatment of illness or injury," AVS continued.
AVS says feed should be good quality roughage - pasture, hay or chaff - "to keep them in good body condition."
They must always have clean water available. "A dam or self-filling trough is best."
Through the year "Horses need shelter from extremes of sun, wind and rain," and they need either adequate space to move or to be taken for daily exercise.
"Fences must be kept in good repair to prevent injury and escape," and be sure to "prevent threats such as loose wire or attractions such as a neighbouring horse that can cause a horse to be injured by a fence."
General health care is also important. "Have a farrier trim the hooves every 6-8 weeks to prevent them chipping or becoming too long and uncomfortable for the horse. Shoes are only needed if the horse is to be ridden on hard or rocky ground."
Mature teeth should be checked by a professional at least annually, or 3-6 months for horses under 5 years or if they're fed with grain.
Regular worming is important, and "A veterinarian should vaccinate your horse for diseases such as tetanus, viral respiratory disease and strangles. Your vet will advise what your horse should be vaccinated for and how often."