If you were a pony-mad kid, learned to ride and spent every available minute at the barn, but never owned a pony, you’re probably excited at the thought of buying one now. You might have been bought ponies by your parents and are now ready to invest in a horse all on your own or maybe you’ve always wanted one but had to wait to become financially stable before you could afford the expensive hobby that is horse ownership. Time and experience is what’s needed when horses are involved but once you understand their characters, the risks, expense and commitment associated with them you’re ready for an equine of your own.
Preparing For Your Horse
Buying an animal such as a horse should be something that is thought over and prepared for, not a spur of the moment decision. Horses and ponies can live for 40 years, it’s a long term commitment and it can’t be something you’re going to change your mind about! If you’re not lucky enough to have a barn and paddocks at home finding a stall to rent in a local boarding stable is the best idea. You should meet the owners, check out all the facilities and talk to other horse owners who keep their equine there. The price will depend on your location and the facilities the barn can offer. If you’re planning on competing in horse shows then an indoor and outdoor ring with some jumps will be ideal, if you’re more interested in trail riding then look out for a place with plenty of off road trails. A large stall, paddocks for turnout and a good feeding routine are also important factors for your horse. Consider carefully how much time you have to dedicate to your new friend as some barns can take care of your horse completely; feeding, mucking stalls, turnout and grooming, while others just offer the facilities with you completing all the work. Make sure you sit down with the owner of the barn and discuss these points in detail. You’ll then have a good idea of monthly cost for your horse but remember there will be unexpected vets bills and farrier costs sometimes and the best way to prepare for this is to find a reputable company to insure your horse with. Accidents happen, horses get sick and veterinarian costs can run into thousands of dollars. Picking an adequate cover plan is vital to horse ownership. Normally a small vet check will take place then you’ll just pay a monthly fee, in return getting peace of mind that if the worst happens you won’t be left with a huge debt to pay.
Choosing Your Horse
Your level of riding and confidence around horses will impact the decision of which horse to buy. Young horses and inexperienced owners are not a good mix, if you don’t know the ropes buy an older horse that does! It’s a really good idea to take the advice of a professional when choosing a horse; your riding instructor will know what will suit you best. Make sure you take them along when you go to meet and try a new horse, they should ride it and then watch you ride it to assess its temperament and potential. For an amateur a horse’s character is so important so go and try him on a number of occasions. Meet him in the barn, go in the stall with him and handle him to see how well you get on. Then ride him in a few different situations, in the ring, on a grass paddock if you can and out on a trail. Many horses go perfectly in one place, like the sand ring and then become a completely different animal out on a trail. A horse isn’t a pair of shoes; it’s not so easy to just take them back to the store so be sure that this is the one for you.
Bringing Your New Horse Home
Hopefully you’ve been patient, weighed up all the options and are well prepared for your new buddy. This is when dreams come true! You can make arrangements with the previous owner or a transport company if you don’t have a trailer to bring your horse to his new barn. Bringing a new horse home is the day you’ve been waiting for but don’t expect to necessarily hit it off right away. Horses are like any living creature and need time to adjust to a new environment. They’re not quite the same as dogs in that they’re attached to one person but they do form bonds of trust and they’ll need time to trust a new person. Just like the horse itself you shouldn’t rush out and buy all the equipment you’re going to need for your new purchase without thought. Ask the experts and talk to friends about what works and what doesn’t. When it comes to tack get a professional out to fit a saddle and bridle, ill-fitting tack is not only uncomfortable for you but your horse too. It can lead to problems later on and more expense so get it right the first time and you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of horseback riding with your own horse right away. Owning a horse will be one of the greatest experiences of your life, the companionship and hours of fun you’ll spend together are priceless so whatever decision you make let it be ruled by the head but come from the heart.