Owning a horse can be a childhood dream for many. Whether you’re looking for a pet or an investment, owning a horse is not a decision to be taken lightly. It helps to have a lot of experience with these animals so that you know what you’re looking for. Here are a few of the main considerations to make when becoming a horse owner.
Knowing your purpose
First, you need to know what the purpose of owning a horse will be – will it be for personal use or more practical reasons?
If you’ve had a lot of experience with horses and are looking into starting a horse farm, you’ll have a lot of things to consider such as the land in which you’ll keep them and how you’ll train them. This horse farm buyer’s checklist is handy for choosing the right land and getting the resources you need.
If you’re looking to own a single horse, you may be better off renting a stable off someone else and keeping the animal there. The breed you choose and physical criteria will depend much on the purpose of the horse. If you’re a beginner looking a pet for everyday riding, a quarter horse may be all you need. If you’re looking for a sports horse for jumping, you may benefit more from a thoroughbred. If you’re looking to help with farm work, a big shire horse may be more up your alley.
The amount of training they’ve had is also important. If you’re a novice when it comes to horses, you’ll want one that’s well trained, perhaps even an older horse. For those that are skilled with horses and want to train their own specific skillset to that horse, a young horse may be better suited. Be sure to not get talked into buying the wrong type of horse from a seller.
You should always meet the horse for yourself before buying. There are some dishonest dealers that will provide incorrect descriptions. Buying meeting up with the dealer first, you can get to see the horse in action, see how they are to ride and form a bond of trust with the horse before buying. Make sure the animal has a recognised PIO passport and check their history to ensure they haven’t been passed on from owner to owner. You can look up the reputability of the dealer online through customer reviews, as well as getting an idea of how well established they are. Double check any contracts before signing and always get a receipt.
Checking their health
Try to find out when the horse was last vetted. You may want to bring a vet with you to do some checks there and then if you’re buying from an independent seller and want to be safe. A vet may also be able to thoroughly check a horse’s passport and silhouette to ensure that it’s the right horse.
Weighing up the costs
Horses aren’t cheap to buy, but it’s a small expense compared to the costs of looking after them. Food, shelter, insurance, vet fees and shoeing can all add up. Make sure that your financially ready for owning a horse and decide whether going through a school would be better. You may be able to take out a loan which can pay for the initial purchase cost. Maintenance costs also can be lowered by shopping smart and not always opting for top end equipment where budget equipment may do. This guide can help you to save money on horsecare and could be worth reading if you’re on a budget.
Understanding the commitment
Some horses can live up to 40 years. Consequently, buying a horse can be a lifetime investment. It’s important therefore to choose the right equine acquaintance for you. On top of gelling with the horse, it’s important to understand the commitments of caring for your horse – not just the financial commitments but tasks such as mucking out the horse’s stables, grooming and feeding. If you’re riding your horse, it will also need a lot of exercise to keep it ride-worthy. This could mean taking it out for regular rides whenever you can. Horses that don’t get enough exercise may end up suffering from laminitis. Horse sitters may be able to provide horsecare during holidays and when you are ill, but bear in mind that these are costly to employ, so you don’t want to be away from your horse too long.