When you buy a horse, you’re not buying a pet. This is not the Labrador that’s going to curl up on the sofa next to you, the cat that’s going to go around the other houses in your neighborhood meowing for food. It’s certainly not the hamster that will occasionally get out of its hutch and need to be tracked down before it gets under the floorboards. A horse is truly unique, and it brings with it the kind of commitments and challenges you may never have had before. Before you commit to owning one of these magnificent animals, there are a few things that you need to know and that you need to prepare for.
Can You Afford To Own A Horse?
Now, don’t take this question personally; this is important. Buying a horse is not a one-time payment.
There is a legion of expenses to consider, many of which are absolutely essential.
The annual costs for keeping a horse on livery can range from about $1,000 a month to $14,000 depending on where you are and whether your horse is just going to be enjoying the occasional ramble around the fields or going out for regular competitions.
If you’re not lucky enough to own a property with its own stables, you are going to be paying for the board for your horse.
You can opt to do most of the work yourself, or you can find somewhere that does all the feeding, cleaning, and other duties for you.
Then there’s farrier care, as your horse’s hoofs will need attention at least every eight weeks.
You’re going to be looking at regular vets’ bills, as there are several health issues that horses are prone to depending on their age, from colic to arthritis.
Then, of course, there’s feed, bedding, equipment, and all the horse tack accouterments that are required to keep your horse happy and comfortable.
And let’s not forget…
You’re Going To Need Lessons
Even if you feel confident that you know how to handle a horse, unless you’ve been keeping it up constantly, you are going to need to brush up on your riding lessons.
This isn’t a case of jumping onto the back of a sleepy holiday pony for a gentle mosey down the beach.
This is your animal now, and you are going to need to be confident and capable if you’re going to have any hope of building a relationship with it.
Horses are tremendously intuitive and empathetic creatures.
They will be able to sense whether you know what you’re doing or not, and they will feed off your calm or your uncertainty.
This goes for every member of your family who is going to be riding your new horse.
You’re Going To Need To Get Yourself Kitted Out Too
If you’re serious about taking riding seriously, then you’re going to need to make sure you’ve got the right gear.
As we’re going to get into in just a minute, you’re going to be needing to spend a lot of time with your horse to establish a good relationship, so this isn’t a situation where you can just turn up in a t-shirt and trainers.
If you’re going out on roads, you’re going to need reflective clothing, not to mention a helmet.
You’re going to need to make sure you’re warm enough for long rides in cold weather (and to make sure that your horse is warm enough to), and you’re going to need proper boots.
Equi Supermarket has everything you could need when it comes to horse supplies and equestrian equipment, so if you’re not sure where to start on your shopping list, browsing their collection is an excellent place to start.
Make Sure You Have A Vet
Before you buy your horse, it’s very important that you have a vet take a look at it to check for any health issues.
Ideally, this vet will not have met this horse previously, and you and the seller should both be there while they are giving the animal the once-over.
You should be prepared for the potential expense of further checks (X-rays are not uncommon).
While this is another in the long lists of costs, it’s important to make sure that you avoid a terrible discovery shortly after taking ownership. But the vet’s duties don’t stop there.
You’re going to want to make sure that your horse goes for regular check-ups to identify any potential problem areas and advise on any exercise suggestions and additions to their feed.
It’s also crucial to employ the services of a farrier.
Your horse’s hooves will need regular attention, as they’re always growing and can alter depending on the season.
To avoid any discomfort or even injury to your horse, you should have a farrier, check them at least every six weeks in the summer and at least every eight weeks in the winter.
You’re Going To Need To Put The Time In
As we mentioned, if you want to build a real relationship with your horse, you’re going to need to take the time to put the work in.
A horse will remember how you treat it, and it’s been shown that they can remember people from ten years ago when they’ve had a good relationship, so remember that this is a real bond you are forming here. There are a few important things that you can do to establish a familiar, friendly routine.
First, make sure you’re not just showing up to ride.
Take the horse out for a graze, or to just spend time together.
Bring some treats with you, and while a tasty snack is a good way to show them that you’re a friendly face, grooming is just as important.
Brush the parts of their body that they might find it hard to reach, treat sore muscle areas with a massage, and make sure that you pay attention to their body language.
They can tell you a lot without speaking, and it’s a fact that horses communicate through facial expressions.