We often talk about how popular a particular breed is and how many thousands of registered horses that breed has but this means that some of the rarer breeds, despite still being popular in their own right are often overlooked. You may have heard of long-extinct breeds such as the Norfolk Trotter and the Narragansett Pacer but did you know that breeds such as the American Cream Draft and Akhal-Teke are both on the Equus Survival Trust’s (EST) conservation list of breeds facing possible extinction?
As the Equus Survival Trust says ‘extinction is forever’, which is why I decided to highlight some of the most popular breeds on the list. Breeds such as the Irish Draught and the Canadian Horse whose popularity makes their inclusion on this list even more shocking and sad.
As with all animals, the rarity of a horse breed is classified by the number of breeding mares there are, along with the number of foals born every year. This, however, means that the exact number of horses isn’t known for sure but it does give a rough idea.
There are a number of different classification systems but they all generally follow the IUCN‘s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species. That said the EST has a slight variation of their classification, due to the fact that they deal with domesticated breeds rather than wild or feral ones.
|Number of breeding mares (estimated)||Number of foals per year (estimated)||IUCN equivalent|
|Nearly Extinct||< 100||< 75||Critically endangered|
|Critical||100 – 600||25 – 150||Endangered|
|Threatened||600 – 900||125 – 225||Vulnerable|
|Vulnerable||900 – 2000||225 – 500||Near Threatened|
Nearly extinct breeds
While the exact number of stallions and non-breeding mares is unknown (as is the number of unregistered horses), horses on the nearly extinct list are in serious danger of becoming extinct within 10 years or three generations.
American Cream Draft
Height: Most horses stand between 15hh (60 inches) and 16hh (64 inches) although stallions can be a little taller at 16.3hh (67 inches).
Color: All horses have a white mane and tail with a cream coloured coat that can range from pale cream to golden cream and pink skin. Foals are often born with white eyes that change to amber by the time they reach maturity.
Character: Being draft horses they’re known for their calm and gentle temperament along with their willingness to learn. Like most other heavy horse breeds they’re often easy to handle.
Country of Origin: USA
EST Status: Critical/Nearly extinct
Originally known as the American Cream, the breed was developed in the early 1900s by an Iowan stock dealer called Harry Lakin who began breeding his mare, Old Granny, with Belgian and Percheron stallions. The majority of the resulting foals had cream coats along with white manes and tails and amber colored eyes, characteristics that were later established as the breed standard.
Following blood testing which proved the breed had nothing but draft blood in its ancestry the name was changed to American Cream Draft in 1991.
During the mid-20th century, with many farms becoming mechanized, the popularity of the breed started to dwindle. This sadly has led to the number of horses being reduced dramatically with less than 400 horses left in total today.
Interesting facts about the American Cream Draft
- Despite their striking coloring, all American Cream Drafts are either chestnut or sorrel. Their golden coloring is due to the presence of the rare champagne gene which lightens the basic chestnut color.
- Foals that are born without the champagne gene, or that are too dark for the main registry can still be registered as American Cream Drafts but only in their appendix registry.
- Until the creation of the Harlequin Sugarbush, the American Cream Draft was the only native draft breed in existence in the United States.
Keen to know more? Check out the American Cream Draft Association.
Height: Some horses have been known to reach 16hh (64 inches) but most will stand between 14.2hh (58 inches) and 15.2hh (62 inches)
Color: Most horses are bay, chestnut, or black although any dark color is allowed, typically with white leg and face markings.
Character: Mainly being used as a carriage horse, the Hackney Horse has a sensible nature with a gentle and calm temperament. They’re extremely hardy horses that are known for their soundness.
Country of Origin: England
EST Status: Critical/Nearly extinct
Originally bred as a general riding horse rather than as a carriage horse, the Hackney Horse was developed in 1729 when a Norfolk Trotter and a Yorkshire Hackney were crossed with Arabians and Thoroughbreds to produce the elegant breed we have today.
It wasn’t until the English roads were improved that people started to use the Hackney Horse in a harness. Its elegant trotting action meant that the breed very quickly became popular as a versatile riding and driving horse.
Interesting facts about the Hackney Horse
- You might be surprised to know that the Hackney Horse’s famous high-stepping knee action is actually an inherited characteristic.
- Just as a Ferrari or Porsche is today, the Hackney Horse was once a symbol of status, wealth and success. This encouraged competition between owners which lead to the breed’s popularity during the 19th century.
- While the breed wasn’t officially recognised until 1883, it can trace its ancestry back to the 14th century when King Edward II of England wanted a powerful but elegant trotting horse for riding.
While the future of critical breeds may be slightly brighter than those that are considered nearly extinct they certainly aren’t out of the woods yet and have at least a 20% chance of becoming completely extinct within 20 years (or 5 generations). That might sound like a long time but when you look back at what happened two decades ago you’ll realize that it’s not as long as you might think it is.
Height: Anything up to 16hh (64 inches) is allowed but most horses range between 15hh (60 inches) and 16hh (64 inches), although horses can be as little as 14hh (56 inches).
Color: Most horses have a solid colored coat with a metallic appearance (caused by the unique structure of their hairs refracting the light).
Character: Akhal-Tekes are probably the most loyal of all horse breeds and are extremely protective of their owners. They’re also highly intelligent horses and have gentle natures.
Country of Origin: Turkmenistan
EST Status: Critical
Having been bred originally by the nomadic tribesmen of the Kara Kum desert in Turkmenistan, the Akhal-Teke is one of the oldest breeds in the world with most domesticated horses being able to trace their roots back to them in some way or another. Research has even shown that one of the founding sires of the Thoroughbred, Byerley Turk, was actually a purebred Akhal-Teke.
The breed owes its hardy nature and endurance to the harsh conditions of its homeland, even today the region sees extreme ranges in temperature and provides little food or water to its inhabitants. This climate has meant that the Akhal-Teke has evolved to depend on the tribesmen of the area for its survival, something that is evident today with the breed’s extreme loyalty to its owner. A characteristic that sees it often being labeled as a ‘one person horse’.
Interesting facts about the Akhal-Teke
- The breed takes it’s name from the Akhal oasis in the Kara Kum desert where it was first bred, while the Teke part comes from the Teke tribe who were the first people to begin selectively breeding them.
- As well as being one of the rarest (and oldest) breeds, the Akhal-Teke is also one of the most expensive with purebred horses routinely selling for $100,000.
- Thought to have been the horse of choice of Alexandra the Great, the Akhal-Teke is the national emblem of Turkmenistan. It can be found on their stamps, banknotes and even on the country’s coat of arms.
Keen to know more? Check out the Akhal-Teke Association of America.
Height: Most Caspians stand at 11.2hh (46 inches) but they can be as small as 10hh (40 inches) but mustn’t exceed 12.2hh (50 inches).
Color: Any color except for pinto is allowed, although darker colors are more common. Gray horses will lighten as they get older until their coat appears to be almost completely white.
Character: The Caspian is a spirited horse but still has a kind, gentle nature. They’re calm and easy to handle, even by children.
Country of Origin: Iran
EST Status: Critical
The Caspian’s exact origins are unknown but it’s believed that it was first bred over 5000 years ago by the ancient Persian Empire. Something that has been backed up by a recent archaeological excavation that discovered the remains of small, fine-boned desert horses with the same anatomical structure of the Caspian.
It was once thought that the Caspian was extinct, that was until 1965 when Louise Firouz (an American living in Iran) came across a herd living on the shores of the Caspian Sea. She immediately set about breeding them and successfully managed to save these beautiful horses from extinction. Sadly though, after her death in 2008, the breed has once again found itself in danger of being lost forever.
Interesting facts about the Caspian
- The royal seal of Darius the Great (the third king of Persia) depicted Caspian horses pulling a lion hunting chariot. These horses were also carved into the walls of his official residence in Persepolis.
- While the height of the Caspian puts them well and truly in the category of a pony, its bone structure means that they are in fact horses.
- The Caspian has a remarkable coat that is extremely soft and thin (like the Arabian’s) during the summer, but coarse, thick and long (like that of many mountain and moorland breeds) during the winter.
Keen to know more? Check out the Caspian Horse Society of the Americas.
Height: Exmoor Ponies can stand anywhere from 11.2hh (46 inches) to 13.2hh (54 inches) but most ponies tend to be around 12hh (48 inches).
Color: All ponies are brown with primitive markings such as pale colored hair around the eyes, muzzle, flanks, and underbelly. These markings are known as pangaré.
Character: The Exmoor is a very friendly breed that is known for its good nature. They’re highly intelligent and can easily be trained.
Country of Origin: England
EST Status: Critical
The Exmoor Pony is the oldest mountain and moorland breed in the UK and is thought to have descended from ancient ponies that lived in Alaska well over a million years ago. This theory is backed up by the breed’s primitive appearance and close similarity to the ancient Przewalski’s Horse.
Having lived in a semi-feral state on England Exmoor for thousands of years the breed is extremely hardy and has a special waterproof coat that helps to keep them dry in the most torrential of downpours. Their coats also have a shorter insulating layer that helps to keep them warm and protect the ponies again the harsh winds.
Interesting facts about the Exmoor
- During the Second World War the breed was facing extinction with a total of 800 ponies in the world, but while their numbers did recover for a while they’re now at serious risk of being lost forever.
- Every fall the wild herds on Exmoor are driven down to local farms where the foals are examined by the Exmoor Breed Society. Those that meet their strict requirements are then entered into the studbook.
- Unlike a lot of other breeds the Exmoor can bite straight through main tough plants such as gorse and thistles. This means that they’re often used to manage conservation areas.
Keen to know more? Check out the Exmoor Pony Society.
Height: All horses should stand between 15.2hh (62 inches) and 16.3hh (67 inches).
Color: Any solid color is allowed but dun, chestnut, bay, brown, and gray are more commonly found. Excessive white markings (particularly above the knee) are discouraged though.
Character: The Irish Draught is an intelligent horse that’s very easy going. They’re known for their willingness to please and how quickly they learn.
Country of Origin: Ireland
EST Status: Critical
During the early 18th century many Irish farms only had the space to keep one horse so needed a horse that was a ‘do everything’ horse, from pulling a plow to fox hunting. As the whole family often worked on the farm they need to be gentle enough to be handled by children. These requirements helped to turn the Irish Draught into the strong, athletic, and versatile breed it is today.
In recent years the Irish Draught has been crossed with the Thoroughbred to create the Irish Sports Horse, a breed that has inherited the best of both breeds and now excels in many disciplines. Sadly though this has also meant that the Irish Draught’s popularity has dwindled somewhat.
Interesting facts about the Irish Draught
- The Irish Draught is sadly no stranger to being on the endangered list, having been considered as rare since the Irish Potato Famine of 1847. The First World War also saw the number drop severely with many horses being sent to the front line.
- Unlike a lot of other breeds the Irish Draught has extremely tough hooves that can easily withstand the impact of landing on hard ground. This makes them a popular choice with many show jumpers.
- Their relaxed, unflappable natures and hardworking personalities means that they’re used by all mounted police forces in the UK and Ireland.
Keen to know more? Check out the Irish Draught Horse Society of North America.
Height: Generally horses range from 13.2hh (54 inches) to 15.2hh (62 inches).
Color: Gray, chestnut, bay, and black are the most common but any color is allowed.
Character: Having been allowed to develop naturally the Florida Cracker is an independent horse that has a friendly nature.
Country of Origin: USA
EST Status: Critical
The Florida Cracker can trace its ancestry back to the Spanish horses that were introduced into Florida during the early 1500s. These horses were largely left to roam freely which enabled them to evolve into strong and sturdy horses with good instincts and a natural cow sense. It was this ability to work cattle that made them so popular with local ranchers.
The breed’s demise though began back in the 1930s when the Great Depression forced many ranchers to drive their cattle south from the Dust Bowl in search of better grazing. The new cattle carried a parasite known as screwworm that meant they needed to be roped for inspection. While the Florida Cracker was very good at working the cattle it didn’t have the strength to hold them so found itself being replaced with the Quarter Horse.
Interesting facts about the Florida Cracker
- The Florida Cracker was very popular with Florida cowboys and it’s believed that the name comes from the cracking sound their whips made. It’s also thought that the Cracker was a small horse used to work cattle back in Spain.
- Over the years they’ve been known by a variety of other names such as the Chickasaw Pony, Grass Gut, March Tackie and even the Prairie Pony.
- The Florida Cracker is a gaited horse that can perform the running walk as well as a unique single-foot gait known at the coon rack. Both gaits are known for their comfortable ride as well as their speed.
Keen to know more? Check out the Florida Cracker Horse Association.
With around 600 to 900 breeding mares in the world, you might think that threatened breeds are heading out of danger but the problem can sometimes be that while people are trying to save the rarer breeds, those that are classed as threatened are sometimes overlooked. Sadly often resulting in them slipping further towards the critical classification.
Height: While some horses may be smaller most stand between 14hh (56 inches) and 16.2hh (66 inches).
Color: Black is by far the most common, but bay and brown can also be found. Some horses may be chestnut with flaxen manes and tails although this is due to one stallion’s influence.
Character: The Canadian Horse is known for its high intellect as well as the ease with which they can be trained. They’re also very people-oriented and love to please.
Country of Origin: Canada
EST Status: Threatened
The Canadian Horse is a direct descendant of the very first horses to arrive in Canada from France. With a mixture of Arabians, Bretons, and Norman blood, these horses (which were hand-picked by King Louis XIV of France’s best aide) arrived in Quebec in 1665. Over time these horses began breeding which resulted in the foundation of today’s hardy Canadian Horse.
During the American Civil War thousands of Canadian Horses were sent across the border to be used as cavalry horses. This, sadly meant that the breed’s numbers dropped drastically, putting their future in serious jeopardy. In an effort to stop the breed’s decline the government stepped in and established a breeding program but, while this did help, the Canadian Horse is still an endangered breed.
Interesting facts about the Canadian Horse
- The Canadian Horse’s ability to pull more (pound for pound) than any other horse has earned it the title of ‘Le petit chevalier de fer’ which translates to mean little iron horse.
- Often considered part of Canada’s living history, the breed was officially (and legally) recognised as the National Horse of Canada in April 2002.
- Canadian Horses are very tough animals and can happily live outdoors all year round without ever needing a blanket. On top of this their feet are extremely tough which means they rarely need shoes.
Keen to know more? Check out the Canadian Horse Heritage & Preservation Society.
Height: Most horses stand between 17hh (68 inches) and 18hh (72 inches).
Color: Bay is by far the most common color but black, gray, and chestnut can also be found. Horses generally have white markings too.
Character: Like a lot of heavy horses, Clydesdales are known for their calm, gentle nature as well as for their desire to please. They’re also intelligent horses that are more than capable of doing anything (literally).
Country of Origin: Scotland
EST Status: Threatened
During the 18th century, Flemish stallions were brought to Scotland in a deliberate attempt to improve local horses and create a strong breed that was hardy enough to work long hours on remote farms. The horses were bred with local mares and the resulting horses were immediately taller and stronger than the local horses.
The breed’s strength grow and its popularity meant that it was widely used as an agricultural and draught horse through Scotland and Northern England but this changed with the onset of the First World War. Thousands of horses were conscripted and sent to the front line to help with the war effort and sadly many of them never returned while those that did had an uncertain future as more and more farms turned to machines instead.
Interesting facts about the Clydesdale
- Ever since 1933 Clydesdales have been used to pull the Budweiser’s turn of the century beer wagons. They were originally a gift to the then CEO to celebrate the repeal of prohibition and have been a popular site ever since.
- While most Clydesdales range between 17hh (68 inches) and 18hh (72 inches) it’s not uncommon for them to exceed that. The tallest ever Clydesdale stood at 20.2hh (82 inches) while the tallest living Clydesdale is a horse called Remington. Standing at 20hh (80 inches) he lives in Frisco, Texas.
- You might think that the Clydesdale is only good for pulling things (which it does phenomenally well) but they make surprisingly good riding horses too and can do pretty much everything, from show jumping to barrel racing.
Keen to know more? Check out the Clydesdale Breeders of the USA.
Height: Typically most Dartmoors stand at around 12hh (48 inches) but they can be anything between 11.1h (45 inches) and 12.2hh (50 inches).
Color: Ponies can be either black, brown, bay, chestnut, gray, or roan with a minimal amount of white markings.
Character: The Dartmoor Pony is famous for its tough, hardy nature but they also have a calm, gentle temperament. They’re easy to handle which is one of the reasons why they’re so good for children.
Country of Origin: England
EST Status: Threatened
You might not be familiar with these tough little ponies but they’ve been around for centuries, if not millennia. The first-ever mention of them was by a Saxon bishop, Awlfold of Crediton, who wrote about them in 1012 AD, although prehistoric horse bones (dating from around 3500BC) have in found in and around Dartmoor.
The Dartmoor Pony was once used in local tin mines, but when those mines closed they were turned loose onto Dartmoor where they were allowed to roam freely. This allowed the Dartmoor Pony to evolve itself which is one of the reasons why it’s such a hardy breed that can live happily in the harshest of conditions.
Interesting facts about the Dartmoor
- You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Dartmoor Pony was only able to carry children, in fact they were, up until the late 1960’s, still used to carry prisoners to and from Dartmoor’s high security prison.
- Until recently it was believed that the Dartmoor Pony and Exmoor Pony where different variants of the same breed, but genetic testing has found that they are actually two very separate breeds, despite their physical similarities.
- The colored ponies you might have seen running free on the moors technically aren’t Dartmoor Ponies. They’re classed as Dartmoor Hill Ponies which means that they were born on Dartmoor, but aren’t purebreds, nor are they registered.
Keen to know more? Check out the Dartmoor Pony Society of America.
Height: Most horses stand between 14.2hh (58 inches) and 15.2hh (62 inches) although it’s not unheard of for horses to reach 16.2hh (66 inches), especially if they have an older pedigree.
Color: Black and bay are occasionally seen in adult horses but gray is by far the most common color. Foals are normally born either black or brown and mature to gray by the time they reach six.
Character: Lipizzaners are known for their intelligence and their trainability but they can also be stubborn. That said though they are generally very friendly.
Country of Origin: Austria
EST Status: Threatened
While the Lipizzaner can trace its origins back to the original Barb horses that were introduced into Spain in 800AD, it wasn’t until the 16th century, when Maximillian II brought the Spanish descendants of the Barb to Austria that the breed really began to develop. In 1562 he established a stud at Kladrub to create an elegant carriage horse. Less than twenty years later his brother, Archduke Charles II, set up a similar stud in Lipizza, this proved so successful that it gave the breed its name. It wasn’t until 1920 though that the now famous Piber farm was established as the main breeding stud.
In 1572 the Austrian Empire established a Spanish riding hall to train these elegant horses, this was the first incarnation of the now famous Spanish Riding School where Lipizzaners are still trained. Having moved to its current home in 1729, the school offers daily performances and displays.
Interesting facts about the Lipizzaner
- The Lipizzaner may be famous for it’s gray color but that wasn’t always the case. Before the 18th century they could also be found in dun, chestnut, and even with pinto coloring. It’s only because gray was the preferred color of royalty that they were selectively bred for their gray coloring.
- In 1983 the main stud at Piber suffered a devastating viral epidemic which took the life of over 40 horses. While their numbers did recover they never returned to their pre 1980 numbers.
- All Lipizzaners descend from one of eight founding sires, six (Pluto, Conversano, Maestoso, Favory, Neapolitano and Siglavy) of which can be directly traced back to horses that where bred in Lipizza while the other two (Tulipan and Incitato) weren’t.
Keen to know more? Check out the Lipizzan Association of North America.
Thankfully the future of those horses on the vulnerable list is looking much better and, with a little bit of assistance, may well be out of the endangered list completely. That’s not to say though that, if nothing is done to help them, they won’t move up the list.
Height: Stallions must be at least 17hh (68 inches) while mares can’t be smaller than 16hh (64 inches). Geldings on the other hand can be a minimum of 16.2hh (66 inches). There’s no maximum height although horses rarely exceed 19hh (76 inches).
Color: Black, bay, brown, and gray are all allowed, white markings are permitted but excessive markings aren’t.
Character: Shire Horses aren’t called gentle giants for nothing, they have really earned the title. They’re extremely docile and willing to please.
Country of Origin: England
EST Status: Vulnerable
The exact origins of the Shire Horse have been lost in time, some people argue that it descends from the horses that William The Conqueror brought to England in 1066 while others suggest they derived from the ‘Great Horses’ of the Middle Ages. While neither of these claims can be substantiated there is evidence to suggest there is some truth in both. It’s known that in 1154 Henry II began breeding horses from France and Holland with the Great Horses in an attempt to increase their height. It’s likely that some of these horses descended from the horses William the Conqueror brought over.
The breed’s popularity was ensured when Heavy VIII introduced a law in 1535 (followed by another on in 1541) banning the breeding and exportation of horses under 15hh. While you might wonder how this affected their popularity what it meant was that, in order to comply with demands, many farmers began breeding Shire Horses.
Interesting facts about the Shire Horse
- The tallest (and heaviest) horse ever documented was a Shire Horse by the name of Sampson. Later renamed Mammoth he stood at an incredible 21.2hh (85 inches) and weighed an massive 1,524Kg (3,359 lb).
- The Shire Horse takes it’s name from ‘The Shires’ in the mid-lands of England (now collectively know as the Midlands) where it was first bred.
- Originally bred to carry Medieval knights into battle, the Shire Horse has also been bred for strength and stamina. With the invention of firepower the Shire Horse’s roll as a warhorse changed, no longer needed as a charger they were used to pull the heavy cannons instead.
Keen to know more? Check out the American Shire Horse Association.
Endangered wild breeds
While the Equus Survival Trust’s conversation list deals with domesticated breeds I did think any list of endangered horses was complete without including wild horses.
Height: Being a wild horse rather than a breed there are no official guidelines for their height but most horses stand between 13hh (52 inches) and 15hh (60 inches).
Color: All horses are dun in color (ranging from a yellow dun to a light red dun) with a dark mane and tail, dorsal stripe, and occasionally zebra markings.
Character: Przewalski Horses arę wild and have never been successfully domesticated so it’s difficult to say what their character is like. That said though, like most wild animals they’re intelligent and more than capable of surviving on their instincts.
Country of Origin: Mongolia
IUCN Status: Endangered
Number of horses: 100 (wild), 1900 (in captivity).
I know that the Przewalski Horse isn’t on the EST list but when you consider that there are less than 2000 horses (mares, stallions, and foals) left in the world I had to include them. Despite never having been domesticated (and therefore never suffering a loss in popularity) they have seen their natural habitat disappear as we not so slowly build more horses and take more land for farming.
Despite our obvious effect on the breed’s population, we have also played a massive role in saving the breed from extinction. There are over a thousand horses in various breeding programs around the world with many of them being reintroduced back into the wild.
Interesting facts about the Przewalski’s Horse
- In 1998 10 stallions and 18 females were introduced into the Exclusion Zone in Chernobyl, once there they were left to roam freely. Heavily protected, these horses are allowed to live there safely and without interference and as a result their numbers have increased to over 150.
- The name Przewalski comes from the Russian explorer and naturalist, Colonel Nikolai Przewalski, who first observed them the wild.
- While horses looking remarkable similar to Przewalski Horses have been found in 20,000 year old caring paintings, archaeological studies have indicated the Przewalski Horse dates from around 3000BC .
Keen to know more? Check out the Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski Horse.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you did I’d be grateful if you could share it please as it would really help me.
Over the years I have tried hundreds of different horsey products, from various blankets and halters to different treats. Some I’ve loved, others I’ve hated but I thought I’d share with you my top all-time favorite products, the ones I never leave the yard without. I’ve included links to the products (which are in no particular order) that I really think are great.
- Mane ’n Tail Detangler – Even if you never show your horse you’ll need to detangle his tail from time to time (and possibly his mane too) which is always a challenging chore! I’ve found that if I run a little bit of detangler through my horse’s tails every few days it stops them from getting matted up and makes combing them easy, even if they’re coated in mud. I don’t know if I should admit to this or not but it also works wonders on my hair.
- TAKEKIT Pro clippers – Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different clippers and while some were obviously better than others I found these to be by far the best. They are heavier than a lot of other clippers but for me, that’s a good thing, it makes them feel more sturdy and hardwearing. On top of that they have a range of speeds so are just as good for clipping your horse’s back as they are his face. I also like the fact that they come in a handy carry case but that’s not for everybody. The company that makes them is super good and incredibly helpful too, a real bonus these days. The only thing I wasn’t keen on was the fact that it doesn’t come with any oil, but that’s not a major problem as it’s not difficult to buy lubricant.
- Shire’s ball feeder – There are so many boredom buster toys out there but I like to use these every day, regardless of whether or not my horses are bored. I find that it helps to encourage my horses to problem solve by rewarding them with treats (or pieces of fruit) but it also mimics their natural grazing behavior which helps to keep them calm and de-stressed.
- Horse safe mirror – This is a strange one that many people are surprised about but I like to put horse safe mirrors in the trailers as well as in the quarantine stalls. It helps to prevent the feeling of isolation by giving the impression of other horses being around. Being herd animals horses can get extremely stressed when they feel that they’re on their own but with these stick-on mirrors, they believe that at least one other horse is with them.
- Rectal thermometer – I know this isn’t glamourous at all but it’s vital for your horse’s well-being to be able to check their temperature and a rectal thermometer is the easiest way of doing this which is why I’ve added it to the list.
I’ve also put together a few shopping lists of essential items that I’ve found helpful over the years. I’ve broken the lists down into different categories rather than put everything in one massive list 😉