Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service • West Lafayette IN, 47907
Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, West Lafayette, IN 47907
Introduction to Horse Management
C.M. Brady, Department of 4-H Youth Development; K.S. Kanne, Department of 4-H
Youth Development; and M.A. Russell, Department of Animal Sciences
Owning a horse can be an incredibly rewarding
experience. However, certain decisions must be made if
you are going to be prepared for this undertaking. This
publication will review the basic needs of the horse and
discuss the management considerations important to the
horse’s comfort and health. References providing more
detailed information are listed at the end of the article.
Before choosing housing for your horse, ask yourself the
Where will I keep the horse?
A horse owner can choose to either board the horse at
their home, or to board the horse at a professional
What are the horse’s needs?
The animal only needs shelter from the wind and
weather, and a dry place to eat. Don’t confuse what
will make you as the horse owner more comfortable
with the horse’s basic needs.
What do I intend to do with my horse?
If you want to show early in the year, you will need a
place to ride all year, and possibly an arena to fit and
condition the horse.
What can I afford?
You can spend as much as you want to on a horse
facility. Estimate $7 per square foot of floor space as
the absolute minimum cost to build an enclosed barn
for horses. Cost will increase as amenities are added.
Safe and adequate fencing is a vital part of a horse
facility, either your own, or the place you choose to board.
All horses should be allowed as much outside, free
exercise as possible. This will reduce the incidence of
stable vices, as well as contribute to the general overall
health of the horse. This is especially true in the case of
foals and young horses, who have fewer problems with
respiratory diseases and more normal bone de