Owning a horse or pony is a lot of hard work. The owner must care for the horse, keeping it clean and well-fed, and exercising it regularly. Most horses and ponies live outside in a fenced-off area of field known as a paddock. When it is cold or wet, or when a horse is not well, it may stay inside in a stable. Some competition horses spend every night in a stable. Warm night rugs are put on horses and ponies during cold weather.
After clipping and grooming, a horse’s mane – the hair on its neck – can be plaited, especially if it is going to a show. This makes it neat and tidy. A horse’s tail can be plaited as well.
Horses kept in a stable, a building made to house horses, have to be fed at least twice a day. Daily tasks include grooming, exercising the horses, mucking out, and filling haynets and water buckets. An adult horse can eat 10kg of hay a day.
Keeping a horse’s stable clean is called mucking out. An adult horse can produce 20kg of manure a day. Old bedding is removed with a garden fork and replaced with fresh bedding daily.
The saddle is the rider’s seat and the bridle is the horse’s headgear. Together these items are called tack. Putting them on a horse is called tacking up.
Many tools are used to keep a horse’s skin and coat clean and healthy. Most horses enjoy grooming. A rubber or plastic curry comb removes dried mud. A damp sponge cleans around a horse’s eyes.
Hay and grass are called bulk feed and make up most of a horse’s diet. Hay is hung in a haynet so the horse can eat when it likes. Horses can only eat a small amount of grains such as bran, oats and barley. These are short feeds.
A cloth called a stable rubber is used at the end of grooming to remove any dust. It is also used to massage the horse’s muscles.