Are You Ready For The Responsibility of Horse Ownership

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For many of us that grew up with horses, the responsibilities that come with horse ownership are second nature. Early morning chores, scheduled grooming, medical care, and exercise are just a few of the tasks that come with the territory. When you own a horse, you will quickly realize that it becomes a way of life for better or worse.

If you have never owned a horse before and are considering buying one, there is plenty to consider. Important aspects like disposable income, available time, and property readiness are probably the most important things to think about.

  • Analyze all costs. The purchase price of your horse represents only a small fraction of what it will actually cost you. Do some research and estimate what it will cost per month to feed your horse and keep him properly nourished. You should also count on regular vet exams, worming, vaccinations, shoeing fees, and basic grooming supplies. Assuming you'd eventually like to ride your horse, also consider costs for saddles, pads, bits, reins, halters, and other tack. If you do not have property suitable for a horse, then you'll need to look at boarding fees. You should also have a slush fund, to cover unexpected expenses such as medical care.
  • Where will you keep the horse? If you do not have property suitable for sheltering a horse, than really you can lump this in with the first bullet point because we are talking about boarding fees. If you have some acreage and shelter to get your horse out of the elements than you are well on your way but not completely out of the woods. Pastures and fenced outdoor areas need to be kept free of dangerous terrain and obstacles that could potentially cause your horse harm. Fencing needs to be up to grade to protect your investment. Your indoor stable, barn, or shelter should also be structurally sound and be able to serve as a place of refuge for your horse. This means - the roof should not leak, drafts should be kept out, a fresh supply of water, dry flooring that is sufficiently padded, and heated if necessary.
  • Time demands. The single most overlooked aspect of horse ownership is the amount of time that is required. It goes without saying that your horses will need to be fed and watered multiple times per day. Be absolutely sure that your schedule allows you to provide for your horse's basic needs. Your will also need to regularly groom your horse. Working out your horse, allowing him opportunities to burn off some energy, stay in shape, and build muscle is also important. Horses are born to run. If you neglect a horse by leaving him in confined quarters for extended periods of time, the results will not be good. Socialize your horse. If you own only one horse, make it a point to meet up with other horse owners or even consider joining a riding club. A happy horse is one where all it's needs are being met. Lastly, make sure you have a support system around you to provide assistance in caring for your horse. There will be times when you have to leave town or are not around for whatever reason. Your horse's don't care about what is happening in your life - they still need to be cared for!

Sure horse ownership is demanding, but it is extremely rewarding as well. Like I said previously, after a few months of owning a horse you will fully acknowledge that it becomes a way of life. When buying your first horse take the time to set realistic expectations, it will make things a lot easier down the road!