Horse Questions And Answers

So if you are here because you have a horse related question, to which you’re looking for an answer, you are in the right place. We want this page to be a horse forum where all possible equine questions are answered. So please send us your horse related questions using our contact form, and we’ll try to respond within a week.

Horse Q&A:

1. Would it be better to use a curb or a snaffle bit on rental trail horses?

Where there is no knowledge of rented horses it’s best to ask the owner/handler on any equipment that the renter uses. As bits is one item that the owner/handler knows if the rented horse will take or fight the bit. Too many horses have changed from their normal self to a horse with different moods or habits due to renters poor knowledge of handling. As most know there are a lot of problem horses and a lot of problem people.

2. Can a horse eat too much hay?

Horses are designed to forage very frequently. That said, in nature they would have to really work for food, and we have seen many ‘easy keepers’ that, even on timothy or not-to-rich grass hay will get obese, which is never healthy. We recommend using slow-feed hay bags to allow your horses to eat free choice without over-eating, especially those with metabolic issues.

3. Do you grip a horse with your legs when you ride?

Basically this comes down to the difference of “gripping” vs using leg and your seat. You only need enough leg to move the horse forward and shouldn’t be holding on with them for dear life. If your talking about wraping your legs around for balance then NO. You should be finding your seat and putting weight in your heels to balance. Definitely avoid squeezing with your knees, try to sit deeply, lean back, and absorb a lot of the bounce with your hips, and try to send the bounce down yours legs.

4. What is your opinion/advice about quidding in a horse?

Your horse is telling you that he can’t chew hay anymore and needs complete feed and chopped forage. We often see this in horses in their late 20s. Have an equine dentist evaluate your horse. An old horse I used to have required senior feed and soaked beet pulp because he couldn’t chew properly because of missing teeth. He quided and choked on hay.

5. I’m trying to find out how Western saddles compare in size to English ones?

A Western saddle would be generally 2 sizes smaller than an English. So if you ride a 16″ English saddle you would need a 14″ Western saddle, etc.

6. How many times should I deworm my horse per year?

Ideally get a fecal test twice a year and only deworm twice unless fecal shows otherwise (would not worm unless the count is more than 150), studies are showing that rotational wormer plans do more harm than good and create bacterial and parasitical resistance.

7. I’m going to mix rolled oats with my horse feed – do I need to soak the oats or can horses eat it dry?

No, you don’t need to soak the oats.

8. I ride western but am considering buying an Australian saddle. What are the pros and cons?

Aussie saddles provide the rider with a lot more security than most other saddles. You can still get out of them and fall out of them, but you are much less likely to pull your knees up and fold in half which will often dump you on the ground when your horse makes unscheduled moves. If you do fall off, the stirrup leathers disengage so that you don’t get dragged. The seats are suspended so that you aren’t sitting on a hard tree with some padding, and the twists aren’t so wide that you get sore hips (unless your stirrups are just too long, as with any saddle). If your horse has defined withers then the wool stuffed panels are ideal because after a break in period of maybe an hour or so the wool conforms to the horse’s back making a custom fit, as long as the tree isn’t too wide or narrow. During the break in period the saddle may want to roll and you have to check the girth a lot, but after that you’re good. If your horse has wide flat withers like most QHs, then be sure to get a felt or fleece paneled saddle instead of the wool or foam stuffed panels.

9. Do you have any tips for a pony who refuses to be lunged?

If he’s turning his butt away from the pressure, he just doesn’t know what you’re asking him to do. Start in a small circle with a lead and go with him. Make him yeild his rear to whoa. Then work both directions. Gradually lenghthen the lead as he starts to get it. If he understands and just being stubborn…. Ask… Tell… Make… Ask once, tell him with authority, then pop his ass if he still won’t listen. You’re the boss! Remember to reward at any effort or achievement and don’t make it a bad experience.

10. At what age do horses stop growing?

Most of them stop growing in height about the age of 5 years old and then they finish maturing out and getting liquor through the muscles by the time they’re 7 or 8 years old depending on the breed, e.g. Morgan horses completely mature by around the age of 7 or 8 years old.

11. Why is my horses face starting to get white patches everywhere, is it because of age?

Generally due to age, however I’ve seen it happen from a horse wearing an improperly fitted fly mask. It could also be vatiligo, or a cooper deficiancy. All horses are different. A friend of mine had a horse start graying out in the face at 16 and we had one that didn’t do it until he was 24.

12. Can my horse go barefoot?

Whether or not your horse can go barefoot depends on many factors, including:

  • The condition of your horse’s hooves.
  • The type of riding you do.
  • The skill of your farrier.

If your horse has strong, healthy hooves, you ride on natural surfaces and your farrier is skilled at a giving a barefoot trim, you may be fine going shoeless for light riding and using hoof boots for more challenging surfaces and long distances.

13. Can I bathe my horse in winter?

If your horse is stabled and there is a good indoor bathing facility and you have the ability to get the horse entirely dry before putting him up, it could be alright to bathe him in the winter. Generally speaking, though, it is not a good idea. You are better off keeping your horse clean with good, thorough brushing during the winter months. Even during the summer, frequent bathing is not recommended as it can dry the skin.

14. How long are horses pregnant for?

A horse’s gestation period is typically eleven months. In some instances, this may stretch to a full year, but this is rare.

15. How many teeth do horses have?

Adult male horses have forty permanent teeth. Adult female horses usually have thirty-six permanent teeth. Mares do not tend to grown canine teeth (aka: bridle teeth).

16. How long do horses live / how long can a horse live?

A well-cared for domestic horse can live to be 25-30 years old. Some may live longer. Ponies typically have a longer life span than full-sized horses. Donkeys and mules are especially long lived and may live to be over 40 years of age.

17. How long does colic last in horses?

This is a tricky question. Colic lasts until the horse dies of it (rather quickly) or for as long as it takes for you and your vet to work through it. Depending on the severity of the colic, your horse may need surgery right away. The horse may also need medication, special feed and lots of TLC on an ongoing basis.

18. Why do horses foam at the mouth?

With a properly fitted bit, a horse may foam at the mouth as he is being ridden. This is taken as a good sign by most equestrians. It indicates that the horse is relaxed and has accepted the bit.

19. Is Cushing’s disease contagious?

No, Cushing’s is a metabolic syndrome. It can be compared to diabetes in humans. It has to do with the horse’s ability to process proteins and sugar. There is no viral or bacterial component to the disease.

20. What do wild horses eat?

Basically, wild horses eat grass. They also eat some weeds, clover, tree leaves, naturally occurring fruits and grains. In some circumstances, horses may adapt to eating a particular type of plant that is available in their environment. For example, the horses of Salt River in Arizona eat the water grass that grows in the river. To do this, they must put their noses underwater. In wintertime, wild horses eat dried grasses and weeds. If these are covered by snow, the horses paw them free. If food is scarce in winter, wild horses may eat tree bark, twigs and wood. Of course, this is not desirable.

21. Can horses swim?

Most horses can swim, but some cannot. Be very careful about allowing or encouraging your horse to go into deep water if you do not know whether or not he can swim. Even horses who can swim cannot turn around in deep water where they cannot touch the bottom, so if they get far from shore, they have no way to return. It is difficult, if not impossible to save a horse who cannot swim from drowning in deep water.

22. What is the most important item of equipment for an equestrian?

It may surprise you to learn that your riding helmet is the most important part of your riding gear. Having a well-fitted, up-to-date, well-made riding helmet can mean the difference between life and death.

23. What is your opinion and why about letting your horse eat with a bit in their mouth?

Nothing bad has happened to our horses doing it but I don’t think it’s a smart idea to risk of choking and gross dirty bits. That’s why I always stop my mare when I know she’s going to do it.

24. Will English riding pants with silicone grip/ extra grippy seat areas help me stay on a rank horse? Does it really work? Have you tried it?

I have a pair that I just couldn’t live without until I bought them. I’ve only rode in them once. It stuck me down into the saddle. It may help you a little bit but if the horse is truly rank they probably won’t help. Only things that would help is to improve your core muscles and posture to get a better seat and to focus on groundwork and solving why the horse bucks in the first place.

25. What color or pattern of horse blanket is most effective against insects?

Insects have different reactions to different colors. In nature, the bright colors of flowers attract pollinators, and the natural striped markings of zebras confuse bloodsucking winged parasites. Having basic knowledge of this can help you to purchase a horse blanket in a color that will help keep your horse safe from flies.

Generally speaking, bright colors reflect a great deal of light and this attracts insects. This is especially true of bright colors that are similar to flowers (e.g. yellow or white). This doesn’t mean that your horse can’t wear an attractive color, though. Some lovely, darker colors make very nice looking horse blankets that hide dirt while deflecting insects. For example, many insects cannot see the color red.

On the downside of dark colors, remember that dark colors absorb more heat and light from the sun. This means that a dark-colored fly sheet might make your horse hotter in the summer time. In this case, go for pastels in shades of blue, cream or green. Choosing a fly sheet made of a mesh fabric will also help prevent overheating in the summer time.

Horses & Foals

6022 S Drexel Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Amazon Disclaimer

Horses & Foals is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Horses & Foals do not intend to provide veterinary advice. We try to help users better understand their horses; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our PRIVACY POLICY.