Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Time wise horses are a big commitment. They require daily supervision, and often daily feeding and rugging - so if you don't have the time for that you have to be able to pay someone to do it for you (like a boarding stable).
Also, you may need a fair few lessons before you can ride and handle a horse well enough to enjoy it. With English riding you are often looking at at least a year (riding once a week) before you are an adequate competency to ride without instruction, I would think Western riding would be similar but I don't know.
In addition to the time commitment horses can be quite expensive. Besides the initial cost you will need to buy tack, rugs and other gear which can easily cost $1000 and up. Also, depending on where you live you could spend between $5 and $100 a week on feeding. Agistment/boarding fees also vary. A farrier is required every 6 - 8 weeks, and a dentist yearly.
Lessons, followed by leasing, is a very good idea to get used to the costs and responsibilities of a horse. If you want to buy a horse its best to get an older, more experienced horse that you can learn on. A young one may be unpredictable, excitable or just not know what to do. When ridden by an inexperienced rider this can become dangerous.