Owning a Horse – A Beginners Guide
Friday, 20 November 2020

Buying your first horse is an exciting experience but shouldn’t be taken lightly. Owning a horse is a long-term commitment, time-consuming, and can cost a lot of money. Ensure you do as much research as you possibly can on the ins and outs of owning a horse before taking the plunge. 

 

Before You Buy

Don't buy a horse until you know you can commit the required time to look after it and the money needed to purchase and care for it. Horses cost a considerable amount of money over their lifetime on things such as vet bills, feeding, grazing, equipment, and insurance. 

Once you know that you have the finances and a willingness to commit full time to keep a horse, you can think about what would constitute the ideal equine for you. Ask yourself some questions – are you an experienced rider? Will other members of your family be riding the horse? Do you want an old or young animal? What size of horse do you require?
 
Where to Look
 
Look in local papers or livestock magazines for available horses. If you find a horse, you like the look of, phone or email the owner and find out more before you visit the buyer in person. Find out why they are selling the animal, what kind of temperament it has, and what it's capable of.  Find out if there is anything that spooks the horse or that it finds difficult such as entering horseboxes, getting shoed or clipped, or whether or not it is friendly with other horses.
 
When you visit a horse, ask the owner lots of questions and then approach the horse. Pay attention to your initial thoughts, as first impressions are important. Check the horse over physically like you would a car before having a turn at riding it.  You must be 100% at ease, happy, and satisfied before you commit to taking the horse home.
 
Equipment
 
Horses require a lot of equipment, such as grooming tools, tack, rugs, and transportation. 
 
A basic grooming kit should include a hoof pick, curry comb, body brush, mane and tail comb, clippers, and a dandy brush. Horses should be groomed every day to keep their coat and skin healthy and free from sores and abrasions. Grooming is also a time for you to bond with your horse and check it over for any physical injuries.
 
A tack kit is all of the equipment you need in order to ride the horse. A tack kit consists of saddles, English saddle pads, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, bits, and martingales. Even the tack needs looking after as you need to clean the leather with saddle soap to keep it supple.
 
Other equipment you may need to buy are rugs if you are going to keep the animal outside in winter, mucking out tools such as buckets, shovels, wheelbarrows, and pitchforks. If you need transportation to shows and suchlike you may have to look at buying a horse trailer.
 
It's not just the horse that needs equipment, but you do too. It is wise to buy a riding hat, jodhpurs, riding boots, and gloves for your own safety and comfort. If you plan on competing in shows such as dressage or show jumping, you will need appropriate apparel for that.
 
Housing Your Horse
 
Horses need shelter from adverse weather conditions such as extreme heat or snow and a dry place in which to eat their food and sleep.
 
Many factors need to be considered when it comes to housing your horse. You can board your horse at a local farm or established stable where you will pay a fee to have your horse provided with a stall and a grazing field. Doing this is advantageous if you do not have time to commit to cleaning out stables or feeding your horse, as this will be provided to you for an extra fee.
 
If you are lucky enough to have enough of your own land on which to house your horse, it means that your horse is right on your doorstep to see and ride whenever it suits you—having your horse close is bound to strengthen the bond between you. 
 
Ensure you have a modest shelter for your horse, access to pasture for grazing, and space to store all of the tack, grooming equipment, food such as hay and pellets, and horsebox. Check that the pasture is secure and that the horse cannot escape or catch its skin on loose or protruding wires.
 
 
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Quotation

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure."

Helen Keller
 

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