Should you OWN a horse? - Page 13 - The Horse Forum
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post #121 of 241 Old 08-30-2010, 06:20 PM
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Great thread! I have several friends who rescue horses and retrain them and get them into good homes. In fact, I know my group of friends are people that are keeping 100s of horses out of slaughter every year. We are all a younger group (20-22), but we do our best to take care of our animals and they're all treated the best we can afford. I know all of us would go without dinner to make sure our horses have theirs. Luckily, we all know how to train and don't need to hire trainers, and if there's ever an issue that we don't know we talk to each other about it to help figure it out. This forum is just an extension of what we do. We don't train for Olympic jumping, reining horses, or anything like that, just good family trail horses, but we do our best to get these horses new homes where there ribs will no longer show, where they won't be headed to slaughter ever again, and where they will have a family that will truly take care of them. I know people on here have told me to call a vet for my mare acting studish and were upset when I said I won't be calling a vet, but there were also 30 other posters that agreed they'd seen the same thing from other mares. Had I thought there was a serious issue here, the vet would have been called out. But I saw some posts in here as well with people putting down others for asking if a farrier had done a good job, there should be no problem with questions like that on here!! We depend on professionals in this hobby, but sometimes professionals don't know what they're even doing. I.E. farriers in particular! I've had 3 farriers make horses go lame. I know of an instance as well where a friend of mine called out a vet and the vet said the horse was colicing and treated it as so...a few days later her mare's stomach had filled with blood and she had to be put down. It had nothing to do with Colic. But anyways, great post, and I completely agree with sooo much in here!
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post #122 of 241 Old 08-30-2010, 10:17 PM
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What a great OP....and additions to it throughout the thread.

I know that I am no where near ready to be a horse owner. Sure I have been around horses for a long time(in my short life), but I am nowhere near knowledgeable enough to take it on.

I work rotating, continental shift work, so how would the horse get worked enough times a week? Luckily, location is pretty good around here...lesson barn is 15 minutes away, but even for a lesson, it is at least 2.5 hours spent at the barn....20-30 mins to tack up depending on the day...1 hour lesson...cooldown for 20-30 minutes...brush, blanket/flysheet&mask horse and put away in/outside weather depending. 12 hour shifts dont allow for that amount of time if you actually want to sleep and not be a zombie or cranky witch with a b at work that day/night. Going to college next year(hopefully!) also is a big expense, and honestly comes first before owning a horse as that would be a better source of income.

I am a cheap "horse owner" by taking lessons. Those around me who dont know the costs involved always ask why I dont just get my own horse, and my response is always laughter. It costs twice as much to board and have lessons within a two month period then what just lessons are. I refuse to have a horse and not take lessons. Why take it on when there is so much more to learn? Plus then add in shoeing, vet bills, feed/supplements, tack, extra training, etc. etc. etc

*And just as an extra note, even though I am newish to this forum, I try to read any and all posts, under any topic, to try and learn new things or what someone else would do in a certain situation. You can not teach those who are not willing to learn!*

Last edited by VelvetsAB; 08-30-2010 at 10:19 PM.
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post #123 of 241 Old 08-30-2010, 10:46 PM
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I guess I'm safe. We spend a fortune at the vet, she eats good food and gets her feet done every six weeks. Heck, the vet knows me by voice on the phone since the snot started with Flicka.
I spend my life explaining to people that horses aren't cheap and they are a huge responsibility.
On the other hand, while leg stearing, stirrupless and reinless through the yard today while riding my Flicka, who everyone told me was green and 1/2 dead from neglect 6 months ago, it was **** sure worth all the money and effort.
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post #124 of 241 Old 08-31-2010, 09:18 AM
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I think the smart thing to do is ride horses at stables if you are into riding like every other week or once a month. If it is something you like to do every so often go and pay the 20-40 bucks to ride other peoples horses. Then when you leave the stable, you also leave the responsibility of ownership behind. I am not a wealthy person, I make a good living and so does my husband and this whole horse thing has been a stretch for our budget. I can't even imagine trying to make it without even a job. I am new to this forum and I have already started to see that their are people who don't even have jobs who own horses and I don't have any idea how that works out. I just love horses so much. I started the same way with the starry eyed fairy tale experience in mind. My horses are here at my house, and that bubble burst when I started to understand the amount of work, $$$ and time each one takes - EVERYDAY - even when you have a fever and it is 10 degrees outside and the LAST thing you want to do is leave your bed at 6:00 AM.

My husband made a comment last time the farrier was out that made me think. I pay 65 dollars every 5-6 weeks for her shoes to be done. He asked me when the last time I bought new shoes for myself was. I don't even spend that much on shoes for myself.

I can only afford to have two horses and keep them well. We have four here two are my sisters. I get so flippin frustrated by people, people I know, who can't afford to have one horse but keep getting more and more. Everytime you get another it cuts into the money in your budget for your horses, everyone pays the price for the new mouth to feed. Soon everyone gets less hay, soon you can't even grain them, soon if they get hurt they have to tough it out. The farrier gets cut out, the horses look like bone piles, I just get so FRUSTRATED and saddened by these types of people.The saddest part is these people are like oblivious to the condition of the animals...they like have special vision or something that makes the bones invisible to them. They see healthy horses where I see imancipated neglected animals. I have tried to be polite, say things to them, but they just don't get it....offending someone just shuts down thier ability to listen to you at all...I have bit my toungue in hopes something I would say would get through... It is so obvious to me but to them their is no problem...THAT IS WHAT IS FRUSTRATING -
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post #125 of 241 Old 08-31-2010, 06:47 PM
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I always see this topic when browsing the main forums and ever single time I skim it I do a mental "uhh YES!" to myself.

My horse was not in a good situation before he met me. My whole intention of getting back into riding and horses (my family owned horses but I hadn't since moving out) was to do the responsible thing and get back into it slowly. I found a horse to lease who was *supposed* to be as easy going as they come and just needed some extra attention.

Nothing I was told about him was true and it turned out that he was lame, unrideable and had been neglected for the past year. His under-saddle training was also very rocky at "best." His feet were in miserable shape and he had a terrible cough that the vet thought was heaves and no one would pay for treatment or medication or to have his feet done properly or x-rays or anything else he desperately needed. So I took him.

It was not what I was planning on doing and not even the sort of horse I saw myself one day buying but he *needed* me and I *needed* to be a horse owner because I saw how desperately this horse *needed* time and money and patience and love and a friend.

It is expensive and I'm not rich, I'm just a young single woman but I make it work because it is my priority. The day after I adopted him the vet was out to do x-rays on his foot, the farrier was out to clean up his unbalanced long toes and we created a plan for his rehabilitation. He has a strict shoeing schedule that I keep up diligently and receives wonderful food and a carefully planned daily supplement bucket.

He's seen vets and chiropractors and is absolutely flourishing... he's a completely different horse inside and out from when I met him and his personality has opened up and he's strong and happy and opinionated and wonderful.

I don't think I would ever be able to lease a horse or care for a horse that wasn't mine because I know enough to feel as though I need to call the shots and make the decisions and have the responsibility. I see my horse every single day without fail and I moved him to a barn where he and I can take lessons together and improve as a team - reminding me how to ride and teaching him the basics all at once.

I have absolutely no question in my mind that I am the best owner this horse has ever had and I wouldn't send him off to be with anyone else in a million years.

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post #126 of 241 Old 09-01-2010, 04:02 AM
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In modern times in the Western world a domesticated horse is one hundred percent dependent on its human owner handler for its well being. The horse needs a constant supply of water, a regular and routine supply of food, and a daily inspection for wounds or illness. These needs are fundamental and do not depend upon the additional training or exercising of the animal.

For any owner to take on the responsibility for the animal's well being they must be prepared to spend money,to allocate time and to acquire knowledge through experience. That calls for the owner to organise his/her day around the needs of the horse - for 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Some of this responsibility can be delegated to a knowledgeable third party but usually at a cost. It is sometimes possible to organise a sharing amongst friends of the routine chores involved.

Often the price of ownership is to give up other pleasures, so as to pay either in time and money for the responsibility of the horse. If the owner goes away for a weekend or for holiday, then some other human must come forward for whatever reason to fulfill the owner's obligations.

In return the horse becomes a foal point for attention and activity. The animal should be handled, groomed, trained and ridden as often as is possible.
But the actual use of the horse is secondary to the well being of the animal. The horse seeks primarily a daily routine which can only be created by the human companion.

If a human is unable to provide this TLC on a full time basis then the best option for both horse and human is for the human to support the work of a riding centre by using their horses. Go hire a horse and pay to ride as and when the desire arises. After the ride, walk away knowing that you have no further responsibility towards the animal.

But the difference in owning and hiring is that the prime reason for owning a horse is to take care of its needs - not necessarily to ride it. The owned horse becomes the focal point for affection and activity and routine.

It may well be possible to buy a horse for a relatively small amount but the cost of keeping that horse in both time and money is as costly as buying an expensive horse. The true cost lies in the daily maintenance of the horse.

Personally I can see a coming time in well ordered societies when a potential owner of a horse has to seek a license to own it. For a long time we had in Britain dog licences and I can see the need for them returning. Similarly, at some time in the future, a license to own a horse will be required. Increasingly domesticated animals have legal rights under animal welfare legislation and rightfully so.

There is one further obligation for the owner to fulfill and that is to have terminated the life of the horse as and when its time comes.

Sadly too many humans make the decision to buy a horse without taking into consideration the full consequences of taking ownership of a dependent animal which has a unique role in a human's lifestyle.

Owning a horse is a lifestyle not a sport.
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post #127 of 241 Old 09-01-2010, 08:20 AM
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First off, excellent thread with a lot of points that I fully agree with (and some I don't haha)... just thought I'd add my opinion/experience as well.

You can be broke and still do everything for your horse (you may just have to live on rice and water in the mean time). You can have limited experience and seek out every opportunity to learn from those around you.

Very true. I live in New Zealand. We are mainly a DIY kind of country (not trying to stereotype, but for the majority, its true), and only the more financially independent owners board at stables, and most stables in my area for example, are for race horses, not the ridden/pleasure kind. Most owners have their horses live outdoors 24/7, and range from basic care (feet/worm/fresh water/hay in winter/a cheap rug etc) to offering everything and anything to make their equine friends live a happy, healthy lifestyle. Here it is (although prices are going up), relatively easy for a person who has a little amount of money to own more than one horse, including people on government benefits. I'm a uni student, and I earn a little more than friends who have MORE horses than myself (I have two). I don't work due to an injury, and have owned three horses on much less in the past. There are times when things get tight that I may have been overdue by a month to get their feet done, or worming too. As mandatory services to give to our horses, sure there's been times where I've felt like a failure to my babies because it hasn't been on time. But they are fed and have water, and are never underweight (one is hard to keep weight on). Over winter they have at least two rugs on their backs for warmth depending on the weather, and whilst they may not get fed every single day of their lives if I can't make it down (I have an injury to my leg that locks it up and I can't move)... they are in my opinion well cared for. They don't have four star residence, they live on a property for better or worse was run down in the past and sometimes still suffers for it. The grass quality is decent, but its muddy and boggy as over winter so winter riding can sometimes be pretty much ruled out unless its a short plod. My horses have an old bathtub as a water trough, which another poster bolded and thought outrageous (not disrespecting at all). You make do with what you've got. You bet that my tubs are all clean (I do use big plastic bins for water also), and as for the mud I do my best to prevent thrush etc. There have been many times I've had to improvise, and stretch all my resources before turning to veterinary intervention. It's called common sense, and for anything out of my caliber, or anything I don't feel confident on, the vet is easily accessed on my mobile phone at any time I need her.
And I started out with the same stories as others here, I adopted a 4y.o mare when I was 16, who had attitude problems (buck/bolt/rear - she could do it all) and whilst I had ridden for years, I had not a clue on what I was expected to do other than worming/farrier. I made a lot of mistakes, I still do, but I make sure to educate myself, and learn from them. I am proud to say that I backed and started my own young mare in 2008 with little ongoing trainer assistance, and learnt a lot from that... but that came from previous mistakes and lots of support with horses over the years, and close supervision on backing and starting my gelding a year before Honey. I'm not afraid to ask for advice, even if its stupid. I make a point to read up on new ways and soak in information like a sponge. If I think it will work for my horses, I'll use it.

So whilst I do agree with a lot said here regarding the ignorance of horse owners, its not just down to not being able to afford the vet. I dunno if its the same overseas, but here in NZ you get the opportunity to have an account and as long as you pay regularly, then vet care can be achieved if needed, so not being able to afford it is a big excuse. I barely buy anything for myself, I still haven't got a couple of books for university because I needed to buy something for the horses instead. I've had notes left to my tack shed door saying I'm an useless horse owner, because I can't make it down everyday (and over here if you don't go, then no one is going to go for you and check/feed the horses unless you have a friend who can help - I'm lucky to have a friend as support over the winter months)... and in my eyes its something that I personally wish to improve. But as for their health needs, they are met, maybe not on time every time, but 90% for sure. Every time I'm there (normally every second day if I can't every day) I don't leave until I'm satisfied that everything is in place. I don't wrap my horses up in cotton wool. They don't have everything I'd want for them, but you know what? I couldn't care less. It's -me- who they happily cry out to when I arrive, its -me- who gets all the cuddles and affection from my happy horses, and there's nothing better than pulling off a winter rug to see a fat belly on a horse that's got a shine to its coat.

Some times you NEED to not know everything and make mistakes to be able to learn. Its when you don't use your COMMON SENSE and become ignorant that it becomes dangerous to your horse, not because you are not able to meet every need and want that beautiful animal out in that paddock desires/we think it needs. A lot of people do get hung up on making sure they can provide every single detail for their horses. I've learnt that having their love, and knowing they're healthy is FAR better than spending your last few dollars on an extra supplement, or matching polos/showing equipment/a session with some out of town trainer. It's important that owners don't get wrapped up in saying "I need this for my horse because they will benefit" ... a wise person once told me that horses, whilst they understand a lot more than the average person expects, they do not really care if they have that 300gram rug that's the latest fashion on their backs. Even if it does come in your horse's set colour

Most people who have posted in here seem like realists. They know their limits, but push the boundaries too. I like those kind of people as horse owners, rather than ignorant owners of all backgrounds. I've gone off on a tangent. But my whole point is, whilst there is ignorance about the needs and requirements for horses, there is also an ignorance in the opposite way of over doing it that can also frustrate most people. Perhaps though, as a person who has to make do with what I've got, I'm just bitter, haha!

Seoul Searchin' for the Lovebug

Last edited by ohmyitschelle; 09-01-2010 at 08:29 AM.
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post #128 of 241 Old 09-01-2010, 09:14 AM
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I read what you write. I do not have any disagreement with anything you have written.

What horse ownership is all about is: committment by the owner to the horse's wellbeing 24/7 x 52 a year.
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post #129 of 241 Old 09-01-2010, 01:14 PM
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"Owning a horse is a lifestyle not a sport."

Owning a horse is having another child in the family. The responsibilities are just as intense and time consuming. If your relationship with your children are or were stained and pressurized, then you need not own a horse. Children require our "time and patience" and so it is with the horse.

E. Allan Buck
"Ask and allow, do not demand and force"
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post #130 of 241 Old 09-01-2010, 02:27 PM
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One of the best quotes that I've heard is "The cheapest thing about a horse is the price you pay for it" which fits so well into this thread...
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