Space and Grounds
Aside from time and attention, the one other major thing a horse needs is plenty of space and grounds. Horses are big animals and cannot be kept in a small garden. They need plenty of room to be able to wander around, so, if you do not have this kind of space at home, you are going to have to look at keeping a horse at a yard. This should always be sorted out before you buy the horse and not after – leaving you with nowhere to put your new friend.
The PaddockSome horse owners do keep their horses inside the majority of the time but it must be remembered that horses are used to living outdoors and this is best for them. If outdoors, they will be able to wander around freely, and should be able to graze as well, thus meaning you will not have to supplement their diet too much.
But remember that if you are just using the same piece of land as pasture the whole time, the grass will never recover. Ideally you will need two areas, so the horse can graze in one while the other is growing, then after a few months, swap them over. Unless you do this, the pasture will quickly become muddy or dusty depending on the weather.
As well as the pasture area, you will ideally need some kind of working and riding area. This could be a third space similar in size to the pasture but will not need to be grassy. It will just allow you to learn the basics of riding and, once you have mastered this, get ready to go out for a ride, put the horse in while mucking out and groom him in. You will not want to do this in the field, especially if it has been raining.
The StableBut, of course, the outdoor space is not enough for most horses. While horses never used to live indoors, because humans have domesticated them, they now need shelter from the elements, especially at night or in bad weather. Thus, most horse owners choose not to leave the horse outside but to keep him in a stable. Even if he is left outside at all times, he will need a horse shelter to protect him from the worst of the weather. But a stable should be plenty big enough for him to move around and stop him getting bored. Ideally there should be other horses in there too as horses are sociable animals and like company. This is another good reason for boarding your horse at a yard if you only have the one.
A horse is a huge commitment, and space is one of the biggest factors to consider. It is one of the reasons many people give up on their dream of owning a horse, as they do not have room for them at home or on their own land. But this should not deter you if you desperately want a horse and have considered all of the factors. There are many good yards in all parts of the country which will be able to take your horse as a boarder, and which will make him happy. Just make sure before you settle on any one yard, you have made sure it is the best possible place for you and your horse.