Owning a horse is the dream of many riders. Horses are beautiful, intuitive animals, and when we spend a lot of time with them it is not uncommon for owners to develop incredibly close emotional attachments with their four-legged friend. But as fulfilling as it can be to own a horse, it is also a big responsibility, so how can you be certain you are ready to become a horse owner?
Learn to Ride
Horse owners don’t necessarily need to be able to ride. Older or sick animals might not be fit enough to be ridden, or you might be happy just to give a horse a loving home without expecting anything in return. However, if you plan on riding regularly, make sure you buy a horse you can cope with.
Inexperienced riders and flighty horses are a bad combination. Riding in an equestrian center under the watchful eye of an instructor is a very different experience to riding out on a trail, alone with your horse. Riding school horses are usually very laid back and used to novices. They are also likely to be bomb proof and not prone to spooking at strange sights and sounds. When you buy a horse, it can take a while to get to know each other and until you have established trust, riding out is likely to be a nerve wracking experience. For this reason, it is better to wait until you have enough riding experience before you buy your own horse.
The Expense of Owning Horses
Owning a horse can be expensive. There are all kinds of costs to consider, including the purchase of English horse tack and other equipment, livery costs, food, and veterinary bills. If you have land where your horse can live for free, this is a bonus, but for many people, their only option is to rent a place on a livery yard, which can be expensive. The cost of purchasing a horse may not be so high, but always make sure you can afford the upkeep of a horse before you bring it home.
Taking Care of Horses
Horses are complex animals to care for. They require specialist diets, care and attention, and if they get sick, it can be extremely expensive to cure their aliments. Horses are also prone to injuries so you may find that you have a beautiful animal eating you out of house and home that is not fit enough to ride. Such a situation can be extremely frustrating. Never buy a horse unless you are certain you can care for it properly. There are plenty of resources online to help novice horse owners care for their animals. Alternatively, volunteer at your local stables for a few months before you buy a horse of your own – this will give you a lot of valuable experience and help you decide whether owning a horse is right for you.
Don’t buy a horse unless you are confident you can afford the cost of English horse tack and other expenses associated with horse ownership. But if you can afford it, and you are an experienced rider, you can look forward to many happy years as a horse owner.