Beginnings of Ownership

  So you've become a dedicated rider and have now decided to own a horse. Congratulations! You're about to enter a world of excitement and responsibility. It's quite an accomplishment to be a serious enough rider to be able to own a horse in the equine world.

  There are some things, though, that you should be aware of before you make that initial big purchase... 

  If you have read April's  Beginnings post, then you will know that I do think that leasing is a great step to take before owning your own horse. It lets you get your feet wet so that you'll have a better idea of what you are getting yourself into before you buy.

  Next, comes the fun part: horse shopping! I won't go into too much detail on things to do and look for when searching for the right horse as I have already written a post on this. So, check it out here to have a better idea about that whole process.

  The biggest advice I can give is to be as prepared as possible. If you're buying a horse with a contract that says he is sound, make sure that he is before you sign any papers and take him off the property. You don't want to be stuck with a horse that wasn't what you expected because you weren't prepared.

  Another aspect having to do with being prepared is finances. I think some people are still surprised to know that buying the horse is usually the cheapest part of horse ownership. There are vet bills, farrier bills, boarding fees, gas, competitions fees, insurance, food costs... the list goes on and on. My advice for preparing for this is to know what you can afford before you buy. When you are saving up, try opening another savings account where you'll keep your "saving for a horse" money. At the beginning or at the end of every month, transfer money into that account with the amount that will correspond to all of those additional fees (boarding, feed, etc.). Are you able to survive well enough with what is left from your paycheck? Horses are not cheap animals and they are also sensitive. It's quite possible you'll need to call your vet or farrier to come help your horse unexpectedly. You need to be prepared for that. You hear so many stories of people having to sell their beloved horses not because they want to, but because they can't afford them. Don't let that be you by being prepared.

  It comes as no surprise that when you buy a horse, he becomes your responsibility. Depending on where you keep your horse, the boarding services may help you out with that. They might feed, muck out and turn out your horse on a daily basis. Some will also schedule your routine vet and farrier appointments for you. There are also barns that will go above and beyond for you by brushing, tacking up and exercising your horse when you can't. Of course, the more they do, the more you pay so this also relates back to being prepared.

  Horse ownership isn't for everyone, but it is rewarding just as much as it is challenging. You're able to develop a stronger connection than anyone could with a riding school's lesson pony that you'll visit once or twice a week. With your own horse, you become a team. You learn each other's strengths and weaknesses and you work together. It's truly a unique experience.

  So, I wish you all the best of luck on the horse ownership road whether you are looking to buy, already own or are dreaming to own one day. Thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense and have a great weekend!

  Until next time, happy riding!

Festive Things With Horses

  So this will be the last post before Christmas. In celebration for the holiday, I thought it would be nice to talk about Christmassy things to do with horses.

  One of the first things that come to mind when you think of horses and Christmas is sleigh rides. I don't know about you but there's something so festive about getting in a sleigh and seeing the scenery while enjoying the diversity of the horse. If you don't have access to a sleigh or a sleigh riding service, trail rides in the snow are also really festive. Just make sure that you and your horse stay warm and be careful that you don't slip on any ice. 

  Sometimes you can get bored of riding in the indoor arena all winter long, so going on a trail ride is a nice change to your routine that both you and your horse will enjoy. You can even take your time walking along the trail and see all of the tracks from the wild animals. If you're adventurous, you might want to try to follow them to see if you can find the animal. Just make sure you aren't following any tracks of a dangerous animal and that you always know where you are so you don't end up getting lost.

  Another activity that doesn't take too much energy is to watch the horses playing out in the snow. You might want to take your camera with you and take some pictures. If there any that you are proud of, why not print them out? They can be added to your collection of horse pictures and could be framed on your wall. That way you'll be able to be reminded of the beautiful simple moments with your horses every year.

  The most obvious Christmas thing to most people is presents. Buying horse related things for a horse lover or for your horse for Christmas will usually be very much appreciated. Horse people always need new things since our passion and our sport can get pretty expensive. Buying things like browbands, blankets, boots or helmets is a wonderful gift. And if you don't know what to buy them, a gift card to a tack shop won't be a disappointment.

  One things that I wouldn't recommend buying is a horse or a pony. I think you might be surprised about how many of these animals (just like cats and dogs) are bought for someone as a present. The problem with this is that you're not just buying an animal, you're buying a partner. If the rider doesn't 'click' with the horse, there's just so much you can do. Also, the person who is buying the horse may not realise all the work and cost of keeping a horse that is involved. If you would like to learn more about the buying a horse process, you can click here.

  Another important part of Christmas is giving. So why not give to a local horse shelter. Maybe you have extra hay, grain or tack that you can give them. Maybe you can donate some money or maybe you can donate your time. I'm sure all would be appreciated. The great thing about giving is that, if you do it for the right reasons, you'll get something out of it too. You'll feel great and proud of yourself because you helped someone else out without wanting or expecting anything in return.

  So that is it for this week. Thank you for reading and I wish you all a wonderful, happy and safe Christmas this year. If you don't celebrate Christmas, I wish you a good happy holidays just the same.

  Until next time, happy riding!

Searching for Horses

  Some people may have the pleasure of owning a horse, others may be leasing and others may be looking for a horse. This week's blog post is all about what to look for in a horse when you finally have the chance to lease or buy one. Hopefully, at the end of this post, you'll have a better understanding of what to look for so you don't end up buying or leasing the wrong horse for you.

Leasing or Buying

  Depending on what type of commitment you are looking for, you may have different options in ownership. If you would like to have complete responsibility of your horse and are planning to keep him for a long time, buying a horse may be the best option for you.

  If you are new to the horse owning world and aren't sure if it is right for you, leasing a horse for a while may be a good option. That way, if anything were to happen where you are no longer able to take care of a horse, you don't have to worry about finding him a new owner.

  If you aren't sure you'll be able to take on the full responsibility of taking care of a horse, co-leasing or co-owning a horse may also be an option. This means that you are not the only person responsible for taking care of the horse. Often you will see two people leasing or owning a horse. You may also see a person leasing or owning a horse with their riding stable. The benefit of this is that you do not have to be at the stable everyday, you can take turns.

Cost

  The cost of buying or leasing a horse can be expensive. First, you'll need to determine a budget for purchasing a horse. Next, you'll have to factor in the cost for things like boarding, feed, bedding, farrier bills and vet bills. Once you have calculated all of these things, you'll be able to decide if you're able to afford a horse. It's not a good idea to try to save money by cutting corners with horses. If you try giving him low quality feed or skip out on routinely farrier visits, it may result in bigger vet bills later on.

Temperament

  When you finally go out to see a horse, make sure to see if his temperament will fit best with yours. Is he energetic or quiet? Is he more playful or more relaxed? All horses have different personalities. If a horse doesn't have the temperament right for you, you may become annoyed with him easily which will result in both of you not being too happy.

Know Your Stuff

  Many people may try to take advantage of you when you go to buy a horse. Make sure that you know enough about horses so that you aren't fooled and bring a trusted expert along with you. Horse owners may lie about a horse's age or his soundness. They may even drug a horse so that he looks more well behaved than he usually is. Make sure to look for these things when you are checking out a horse. Getting a horse is a big expense, you don't want to make the mistake by getting the wrong horse for you and then regretting your decisions.

  Make sure to get your vet and farrier to check the horse out before you get him as well. They'll be able to tell you if the horse is sound and if there should be any concerns.

Ask Questions

  The owner of the horse knows him better than you do. Ask them plenty of questions about temperament, how he is with other horses, if he is a quick learner, if he is good with children and pets, or if he has any vices. A good horse owner will be happily to answer all of your questions and it will also reassure them that their horse will be going to a good home.

  Another thing that may be good to ask is for them to show you what they are claiming. For example, if the owner is claiming that the horse trailers without a problem, ask them to show you. The owner has the best relationship with the horse, therefore he trusts his owner more than he will you at this point, so he will be more willing to do a task right if his owner is the one asking him to do it. Also, this will show you if the horse is really as good as the owner says he is with your own eyes so that you do not get any surprises when you get home.

Take Your Time

  There's no rush when it comes to buying a horse. Make sure you take the time to look at all the different horses before you get one. You shouldn't feel pressured into buying a horse on your first visit. In fact, I recommend that you go out to visit the horse about three times before you make the final decision. I would recommend that the second or third visit is "unannounced" to the owner. Tell them that you'll be in town sometime throughout a week and that you'll stop by again at that time. That way, the owner won't have the time to prepare the horse and you'll get to see him as he really is, giving you a better understanding of what you might be getting yourself into.

  When you take your time, you'll ensure that you will find the best horse for you. It may take a few weeks or a couple of years before you find that perfect horse for you, but in the end it will all be worth it. Remember that you need to find a horse that will fit your lifestyle best. You shouldn't expect the horse to change for you as this will only cause problems later on.

  So that's it for this week's blog post. I know that there are many other things that you can look for when buying or leasing a horse. Hopefully, this blog post has at least helped you get started on what to look for in a horse and has brought up some points that you might of not of realised before.

  If you like these types of blog posts, the first post I have ever written on Pure Horse Sense is about the things you should look for when choosing a new stable. If you would like to read that one, you can find it by looking through the

Blog Posts By Date

section on the left hand side of this page. Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best with your horses or with your horse searching.

  Until next time, happy riding!