Water must be clean and readily available at all times. A 5-gallon bucket of water is not nearly enough for a whole day.  

An average horse drinks 10-15 gallons of water a day...up to 20 gallons in hot weather.

Tubs or tanks should be emptied and scrubbed as needed to keep them clean.

In winter, make sure the horse's water is not frozen.  

In summer, water needs to be freshened daily and free of algae and debris.



 The basic food for a horse is grass, but only certain kinds.  

Horses cannot eat weeds or grasses typically used as lawns (sod).

Suitable grasses are Bermuda, Bahia,

Fescue, and mixed grasses.

 A lush pasture that is regularly fertilized, limed and kept mowed may give the horse all the nutrients he needs.  

Generally, about two acres per horse is required to provide his total grazing needs.

When nutritious pasture grasses are not available, hay must be provided.  

Horses produce a great deal of manure on a daily basis.  Excess waste should be removed from feeding and sleeping areas daily.

Learn more about Pasture Management.


Hay is simply grass that has been dried and cured and then baled or chopped.  

The most common hay in South Carolina is Coastal Bermuda.  The hay should be greenish or yellow in color and should smell fresh.  Brown, moldy or foul smelling hay will make your horse "colic."   

Hay should be fed on a clean surface, not on bare dirt or in mud.  Racks or troughs work well to keep hay off of the ground.

At L.E.A.R.N. we exclusively use Timothy or Lucerne Brand Bagged Timothy.

Keep in mind that horses will eat spoiled hay when nothing else is available.  So called "cow hay" is not suitable for horses.

Learn more about Understanding and Avoiding Colic.


Oats, corn, mixed grain, sweet feed, or pelleted feed can be fed in addition to hay, but they must never be used INSTEAD of hay.  Mother Nature designed a horse to graze most of the day.  The horse's digestive tract is built to handle small amounts of grass or hay continuously.  A large amount of feed or grain will overload his stomach and cause colic.

Feed or Grain should be divided into two feedings a day, and feeding times should be consistent from day to day.  

At L.E.A.R.N. we exclusively use Triple Crown Senior or Southern States Solutions.


Shed or Barn

Adequate shelter for a horse means that the horse can find relief from cold wind, freezing rain, hot sun and biting insects.  Simply having a couple of trees in your pasture is not adequate shelter.  A "run-in" shed is suitable, but it must be at least 8 feet tall to provide ventilation.  If it has walls, the opening should face south or east to protect the horse from harsh northern winds and to keep the summer sun out.  Low roofed sheds facing west will trap the afternoon sun inside, making the shelter incredibly hot and uncomfortable.


Horses are grazing animals, which means they are designed to be consistently on the move throughout the day. Pastures and turn-out areas should have good, sturdy fences so that the horse can not get out of the pasture or be injured by the fence itself.  

Barbed wire, tensile wire and electric wire are not appropriate choices for fencing.  

The most desired fencing design would be constructed of 3-board, rough cut lumber, reinforced with Electra Braid poly-rope fencing.  This design provides optimum safety.


Good to know...A horse under the age of 20 is not considered "old."  One year in a horse's life is roughly equal to three human years.  A well cared for, healthy horse can live to be 30 or more years old.

Dental Care

Horses' teeth never stop growing!  Your vet should check your horse's teeth at least once a year.  Sometimes the teeth need to be filed or "floated" to smooth out sharp edges.  Sharp teeth left un-filed can cut the inside of the horse's mouth and make it so he can not chew properly.

Learn more aboutCaring For Your Horse's Teeth.


Just like his teeth, a horse's hooves grow continuously, similar to a human's fingernails. They need to be trimmed by a farrier every couple of months.  Overgrown hooves can make a horse lame.  

Learn more about Caring For Your Horse's Hooves.


Horses need annual shots to keep them protected against certain diseases just like dogs and cats.  Vaccinations should be administered by a licensed veterinarian.  Some vets recommend giving vaccinations twice yearly.  

Learn more about Protecting Your Horse with Vaccinations.

Parasite Control

Horses pick up worm eggs when they graze.  These worms grow inside the horse and keep him from properly digesting his food.  Horses should be de-wormed at least four times a year.

At L.E.A.R.N., we de-worm our Rescues every 6 weeks and rotate the type/brand of wormer used.

Learn more about Equine Parasite Control.


It is easy to imagine yourself adopting or purchasing a horse and galloping off into the sunset.  The reality is that owning a horse is expensive.  Far too many of our Rescues come to L.E.A.R.N. because their previous owners weren't prepared for the basic costs involved with horse care.

So let's break it down....

The costs outlined below are based on a average sized (15 hands) sound horse with no

pre-exisiting medical conditions requiring out of the ordinary medical attention.   

It is assumed that the horse is homed on the horse owner's personal pasture that has adequate existing shelter and fencing. 

Costs are average per year estimates.

                                                          FEED & HAY                                  $1500  

Based on 9 months of good pasture available for grazing per year and 3 months of no grazing.      

                                                          PASTURE MAINTENANCE             $200

Fertilization, liming, mowing, periodic waste removal.   

                                                          ROUTINE VETERINARY CARE      $300

Annual vaccinations and examination.

                                                          ROUTINE FARRIER CARE             $400

Based on a median cost of $50 per visit (trim only) every 6 weeks.

                                                          ROUTINE DENTAL CARE               $100 

                                                          REGULAR DE-WORMING              $120

 Based on $15 per every 6 week de-worming occurance. 

                                                     POTENTIAL ANNUAL COST:        $2620                     




*Information provide on this page provided in part by:

The SC Farm Bureau

The SC Horseman's Council

The SC Department of Agriculture

Before you Adopt...

*A Basic Guide to Horse Ownership*