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!