“Horse ownership is a lifestyle that will change everything that you know,” writes Jade Evans in an article that’s a must-read for anyone who ever wanted to buy a horse.
By Jade Evans
I’m not sure I can remember the first time I saw a horse. I imagine it was probably at the racetrack with my grandmother. We’d stand there with the crowds, watching them parade from the paddock to the gate, with their flowing manes and shining coats. In my awe I’m pretty sure I said the same words that every child says at some point in their lives: “I want a horse.”
As a suburban family of moderate means, a horse was never in the cards for us. But fortunately, I distracted easily and my attention soon turned to cats and other much more reasonable pets. But that’s not the case for everyone.
For some people the desire to own a horse is rooted in something much deeper and is much more compelling. I would meet some of these people later in my life and they taught me about what it really means to own a horse.
Means and Resources
Let’s start with brass tacks, shall we? Owning a horse is not cheap. A horse itself can cost anywhere from a thousand to tens of thousands of dollars depending on where you go and what kind of horse you want. In some cases, cheaper horses may wind up being more expensive if they have defects or other health problems, so sometimes it may be better in the long run to pay a little more for the animal itself to avoid issues later one.
Beyond that, there are costs to consider for stabling, food, vets, farriers, shoeing, grooming, horse transport and other various kinds of toys and equipment. The costs can add up to almost as much of an annual expense as having a new child in the house. That doesn’t mean that only the rich can have horses, but if you don’t have significant amounts of disposable income then horse ownership will inevitably mean sacrifices in other areas of life.
Aside from money, you need access to other kinds of resources for a horse; you need a place for it to live. Some people may have the space and structures to house a horse on their own property, but most people will need to find a stable.
Locating a stable with availability and quality near where you live can sometimes be a challenge. The people working at the stable will be responsible for the day-to-day care, interaction, exercise, and some times emergency medical care.
It’s important to get as much information as possible on a stable before writing a cheque. Talk to other horse owners who have animals there, look at the condition of the other boarded horses; do they look strong and healthy? Try to meet the stable’s veterinarian if you can, or ask if they will allow you to use your own. Your stable and its entire staff will become extensions of your family in the same way your horse will, so the choice of where to board a horse is almost important as choosing the horse itself.
Ok, leaving behind dollar signs and calculations, the most important part of owning a horse is passion. Like I said, I was a child with a short attention span, not the kind who is meant to be a horse owner. Getting a horse means a huge commitment and it’s something that can become a burden if you don’t have the passion for it from the beginning.
If a child begins to show an interest or pre-occupation with horses, then the next step is not a pony in a red bow for their next birthday. First, start with riding lessons and regular exposure to horses. Whether it’s for a child or an adult who wants a horse, time and experience is the most important preparatory step.
If possible, try volunteering at a local stable. Working with all kinds of horses and doing various kinds of horse maintenance activities will help you gain experience and a real sense of what horse ownership can mean.
The fact is, owning a horse can be something that defines you. It will take a lot of time and dedication to truly enjoy life with a horse. You must hope that you find a stable nearby, because you should go there at least a few times a week to visit your horse, and work on training. If you intend to compete in equestrian events, that time spent at the stable increases significantly.
If you begin riding a horse at an early age, it may, in many ways shape your life. The afternoons you spend riding or at the stables, exercising and bonding with your horse. The hours of training and weekends spent in competition. These many moments can shape an existence.
Horse ownership is a lifestyle that will change everything that you know. That means it’s not an easy decision — and it’s not a relationship to enter into lightly. The costs and realities of owning a horse make it a substantial challenge, even when your heart is entirely in it.
So if there is any doubt, or if you have concerns about a busy schedule or financial hardship, perhaps it’s a dream you’d best prolong. Even with enough money to make it feasible, only true passion, dedication and patience can make owning a horse truly rewarding.
About Jade Evans
Jade is a writer for Uship, a transport company featuring specialties like horse transport. She has been a freelance writer and blogger for many years and an animal lover for a lifetime.