Keeping an Icelandic horse is a great way to gain all the benefits that these wonderful creatures have to offer. In addition to being beautiful, strong and athletic, Icelandics are intelligent and trainable. They also have a sweet disposition, making them easy to handle on a daily basis. Keeping an Icelandic horse enables you to take advantage of all these benefits while reducing the difficulties of owning a purebred horse. An Icelandic can be kept as simply as having it board at your local stable or as elaborately as building your own private pasture and barn for it. Regardless of how you choose to keep your Icelandic, there are some things you should know before taking on the responsibility of caring for one day in and day out.
What is Required for Keeping an Icelandic?
As with any horse, there are many things you will need to be able to keep your Icelandic safe and healthy. If you will be keeping your horse in a barn or pasture, you will need to be sure that it is safe from predators such as coyotes and foxes. There are also many different diseases that can affect horses, so you will need to be sure you are regularly vaccinating your horse against common ailments such as tetanus and West Nile virus. You will also want to be sure your horse has plenty of water to keep itself hydrated, especially in times of high temperatures or if your horse will be doing strenuous work. When it comes to housing, you can keep your horse in a barn or in a pasture. However, if you choose to keep your horse in a pasture, you will need to be sure it is fenced in and that there is proper drainage in case of heavy rain. You will also need to have a system in place to keep your horse from becoming bored, such as regular exercise or an interactive feeding system.
Housings and Stables
Housing and stabling your horse are, as with most aspects of horse ownership, very dependent on the type of horse. You may have the choice between keeping your horse in a pasture or building a barn for it, but you may also need to choose between a concrete barn or a wooden stable. You will also have to consider the climate of your region, as horses kept outside will need to be protected from harsh winters, while horses kept inside will need to be protected from the hot summers.
-Wooden stables and barns: Wooden-built stables and barns are generally cheaper than concrete-built ones and can be built to suit your needs. However, they are more likely to contract bacteria and are not as strong as concrete-built barns.
-Concrete stables and barns: Concrete stables and barns are more expensive than wooden ones as they are more durable and more likely to resist the spread of disease.
Feeding an Icelandic Horse
When it comes to feeding an Icelandic horse, it is important to find a good balance between providing the horse with a sufficient amount of nutrients and keeping costs down. Feeding your horse primarily hay, grain and other forage will help to keep its nutritional needs at an affordable level. Making sure that you are feeding your horse the proper amount of feed is also a good way to keep costs down as well as make sure that your horse is getting the nutrients it needs. There are many different types of feeders available on the market that can help you feed your horse in a safe manner. With the right feeder, you can ensure that your horse gets its food without having to be handled at any point in the process.
Breeding and Genetics
Breeding Icelandic horses requires both know-how and money since purebred Icelandic horses are generally expensive animals. As such, it is generally recommended that novices keep non-purebred Icelandic horses, which are available for a much lower price and retain almost all the same traits and benefits of purebred Icelandic horses. However, non-purebred Icelandic horses may not be eligible for competitions such as the World Championships for Icelandic Horses. You should also be aware that breeding is not only limited to mares, Icelandic stallions can be used for breeding as well. When breeding horses, there are many things to keep in mind. You should make sure you are breeding for the best traits possible, meaning you should be aware of the genetics behind what traits your horse is likely to pass on to its offspring. You should also be aware of the different mating times and try to plan your breeding appropriately so that your mare is not pregnant during certain weather conditions.
Grooming and Exercising an Icelandic Horse
The horse is a very large animal, and you will need to groom it regularly. This can include bathing your horse periodically, clipping the horse in the spring and fall and brushing its coat daily. When it comes to exercising your horse, you will want to do so regularly and with intensity. The best way to exercise your horse while also helping it to build muscle is by using a longe line. A longe line can be used both indoors and out and is extremely versatile. When exercising your horse with a longe line, you will want to move with the horse and also exercise it at the same time.
Keeping an Icelandic horse can be a wonderful experience that brings health and joy to your life. It is important to keep in mind, however, that keeping an Icelandic horse is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are many factors to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to keep an Icelandic horse, such as cost and space requirements. You should also be aware of the responsibilities that come with keeping an Icelandic horse and make sure you are prepared for them before making your final decision.