Worldwide, horses and other equids usually live outside with access to shelter from the elements. In some cases, animals are kept in a barn or stable, or may have access to a shed or shelter. Horses require both shelter from wind and precipitation, as well as room to exercise and run. They must have access to clean fresh water at all times, and access to adequate forage such as grass or hay. In the winter, horses grow a heavy hair coat to keep warm and usually stay warm if well-fed and allowed access to shelter.
But if kept artificially clipped for show, or if under stress from age, sickness or injury, a horse blanket may need to be added to protect the horse from cold weather. In the summer, access to shade is well-advised. For horse owners who do not own their own land, fields and barns can be rented from a private land owner or space for an individual horse may be rented from a boarding farm. Unless an animal can be fully maintained on pasture with a natural open water source, horses must be fed daily. As horses evolved as continuous grazers, it is better to feed small amounts of grain throughout the day than to feed a large amount of grain at one time. If a horse cannot be fed by its owner every day, it is usually kept at a boarding stable, where the staff will care for the horse for a fee. As equines are herd animals, most have better mental behavior when in proximity to other equine company. However, this is not always possible, and it has been known for companionship bonds to develop between horses and cats, goats and other species. There are exceptions. Some horses, particularly stallions may need to live on their own as they may fight with other animals. Horses that are not on full-time turnout in a field or pasture normally require some form of regular exercise, whether it is being ridden, longed or turned out for free time. However, if a horse is ill or injured it may need to be confined to a stable, usually in a box stall.
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a horse is kept in a pasture, the amount of land needed for basic maintenance varies with climate, an animal needs more land for grazing in a dry climate than in a moist one. However, an average of between one and 3 acres (12,000 m2) of land per horse will provide adequate forage in much of the world, though feed may have to be supplemented in winter or during periods of drought. To lower the risk of laminitis, horses also may need to be removed from lush, rapidly changing grass for short periods in the spring and fall (autumn), when the grass is particularly high in non-structural carbohydrates such as fructans. If the terrain does not provide natural shelter in the form of heavy trees or other windbreaks, an artificial shelter must be provided; a horse’s insulating hair coat works less efficiently when wet or when subjected to wind, horses that cannot get away from wind and precipitation put unnecessary energy into maintaining core body warmth and may become susceptible to illness. Some horses are turned out in a natural setting during the winter or when retired from work.
Photo @coryrichards On assignment for @natgeo with @intotheokavango Meet Tim Gargan (@tim.gargan) a de-miner with the HALO Trust (@thehalotrust) an organization working to remove the left-over land mines from Angola's decades-long civil war. Tim grew up in Scarborough North Yorkshire, the son of a Police officer and nurse. When he was 18, he joined the Army Reserve and at 22, joined the British Military. In 2004, he did his first tour in Iraq. In 2007 he was deployed to Afghanistan and joined the Royal Engineers in 2009. His job there saw him return to Afghanistan in 2011 to clear roads of IEDs. Two years later, he left the military to do something "unambiguously good", joining HALO and employing his work with the Royal Engineers working to clear land mines. As with all work, even de-mining has unforeseen impacts. While HALOs work has cleared countless acres and saved hundreds of lives, the newly opened lands are quickly occupied…often within days, and sometimes hours. As areas become safe, the land is often quickly deforested for agriculture and charcoal…both subsistence industries in most cases. The deforestation destroys root infrastructure in the soil leading to flood/drought cycles brought on by the soils inability to hold water. It's a true catch 22…through undeniable good, some bad also occurs and has deep environmental impacts. It is clear that safety of individuals and communities is of utmost importance. But what does it mean for the future of Angola's environment and water? For more images from the trip follow @coryrichards and @intotheokavango Posted from the field #okavango15 @thephotosociety @eddiebauer @natgeocreative
However, even in these cases, animals need to be checked frequently for evidence of injury, parasites, sickness or weight loss. Horses cannot live for more than a few days without water. Therefore even in a natural, semi-feral setting, a check every day is recommended; a stream or irrigation source can dry up, ponds may become stagnant or develop toxic blue-green algae, a fence can break and allow escape, poisonous plants can take root and grow; windstorms, precipitation, or even human vandalism can create unsafe conditions. The pasture used to graze any horse or pony should be rotated when it has been used for some months. Horses will not eat grass that contains too much of their own manure. This is known as sour grass and further decomposition of the manure needs to be allowed while the horses are kept in an alternative paddock.