How To Prepare Yourself For Horse Ownership?
Let me start by saying that I like the idea of having a horse.
However, there is a HUGE gap between wanting a horse and being fit for ownership.
I want to know how I can prepare myself for ownership and to find out if owning a horse is right for me.
What I would like to do is to have a horse for pleasure riding and perhaps for show.
I am establishing a homestead and I will have plenty of acreage. I also have the money to build to suit to my tastes. As such, this is my opportunity to finally achieve my dream of horse ownership.
I need to learn more about the requirements of horses, to learn how to care for them and to learn how to ride them and everything else that goes along with ownership. The good, the bad and especially the ugly because this is not something to be undertaken lightly. Horses are a lifelong responsibility and commitment.
I need to really understand what I would be getting myself into and I hope the knowledgeable persons here can help me in that regard.
I should also note that I will be establishing a hobby farm that includes ducks, geese, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, pigs and sheep. I have experience caring for these animals and I will be hiring persons to maintain these other creatures for me. While it sounds like a lot, I will be maintaining small heritage breeds and will not have so many animals that if something were to happen, I would not be able to care for all of these creatures by myself. I thought I should include this, as I do not know if there are disease issues or other unforeseen issues that could possibly arise that I have not even considered with having other animals on a farm. I intend for my horse or horses to have their own stable and run and whatever they need to be happy for the rest of their lives, but to do that, I need to understand their requirements and what they need before I can commit to ownership.
I am a firm believer in responsible animal ownership, which is why I am keen on finding out if horse ownership is something truly for me or if it is best left as a dream.
I like your attitude!
What you need to do is find a good local trainer, express your goals and work with him both on the ground and on the horse. I don't care how many books you read or YouTube videos you watch, nothing can replace experience with a real live animal.
Until then you may want to look up common medical problems, info on farriers/vets in the area, research feeds and horsemanship techniques, saddle fitting, etc.
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I can't speak for the other animals, but I can say that (kind of like having a kid, I assume xD) it's hard to truly prepare for horse ownership until it happens. Definitely make sure that you have plenty of experience before hand, and know what you're looking for. How long have you been riding? Will you have some sort of trainer working with you, if either you or your horse need a tune up, or if something starts to go south?
What type of riding are you planning on doing, and will you have an experienced horse person helping with the selection process? Don't forget vet checks: nothing like finding out you've purchased an unrideable horse.
Make sure that you have a vet and farrier lined up. Be prepared to spend more than you're expecting, and to have some sleepless nights.
You say that you have the money to build facilities to your taste: well, make sure you do plenty of research on that. What is the climate like where you live? Do you plan to have a barn, or just shelters in a paddock?
These are just some things off the top of my head... There is so much more to it xD It's good that you're taking things slow and doing your research!
Do you know a good place to search for a trainer and what I should be looking for in a trainer?
There is not likely to be any nearby Vets or Trainers. I'm building up a property in the forested mountains of Tennessee in a location so secluded that I am having to establish road access to even find a way to get to the spot I want to clear and build.
I need to find a way to hire a Vet to be on call for emergencies that will be willing and able to travel to me if needed, but that is a question for the future.
For now, I am confident I can find someone in my current area willing to teach me, as I reside in Utah.
Building is going to take at least a year and a half, so I can train here now and perhaps hire a trainer later for continued lessons at my new location when it is prepared and I am ready for ownership.
This is where I get bogged down in the whole fantasy VS reality issue.
I THINK I want a pretty white stallion that I can ride on occasion and groom and love like in a fairy tale. I THINK I want a horse that I could, I think the term is 'drive' with a carriage, as I have this vision of riding off from my wedding in a carriage pulled by a horse, but fantasy and reality are two totally different things.
What I think I want and what I need can be two totally separate things!
Horses can live for many years and my life will no doubt change between now and then. I need a horse that I can literally grow older with. I need a horse that is going to fit with my lifestyle goals and level of ability. My farm is for a pleasure hobby and I intend to enjoy it indefinitely. Even if the horse were to be injured or old or any of those things, I would still want to keep him or her around for manure and company purposes.
This is a HUGE commitment to make. Not just time and resources, but emotionally and I need to be sure that this is right for me and that I am prepared to grow old with this horse or horses, because there is no alternative. For better or worse, this horse or horses will be my partner or partners until the day they die an old and natural death.
An animal is for life.
I would like to look into the possibility of horse breeding as well, as like my hobby farm, I enjoy conserving rare breeds for future generations to enjoy.
This is a huge commitment and I need to examine all angles and gain a great deal of experience well before purchasing an animal, which may be an option in a year and a half to two years from now after I have an appropriate area and experience.
The climate at this location is cool, neither hot nor humid, just right. I will have a house and a barn and even a pasture, but I figure that a horse is going to need at least five acres, a nice track to trot along for riding, stables, all kinds of equipment, plenty of food and probably tons of other things that I do not yet even know I will need.
Price is not an issue. I come prepared and knowing full well that this is not a cheap 'hobby', but something that is going to run at least $100,000 to fix up the area alone, plus whatever the horse will need for care annually and the cost of the horse or horses themselves, as breeding quality, show quality and quality horses in general do not come cheap.
This is a decision made not for profit or fortune, but for the love and pleasure of doing it alone.
Though there are plenty of well behaved stallions out there that are impeccably trained, they aren't something that I would suggest for a first time horse owner. Young horses usually aren't the way to go for a first time horse owner, either. If you want something for light riding and something that you can enjoy in and out of the arena, it may not be bad to get something that is 10+ years old. That gives you at least 10 years of solid riding time (provided the unspeakable doesn't happen), and at that time you can revaluate your riding goals and abilities.
I'm not sure if this was mentioned somewhere, or if I missed it, but how long have you been riding, and what kind of experience with horses do you have presently?
I'm starting completely from scratch. All other manner of barnyard animals I have experience with, but nothing with horses.
This is why I believe that getting appropriate training from the get go is so vital. One can not reasonably go out one day and say "Hey, I think I want to go ahead and buy that dream horse, I can learn as I go!", it just does not work like that and is a good recipe for getting both me and a horse injured.
I need to prepare myself for eventual ownership in the future, only after I have the skills and experience required, not just because I feel like I want one right now.
This is a big commitment and I intend to treat it as such.
Once I put in the time and effort and figure out what will work for me and what my abilities are, then I can figure something out and not before then.
I will happily shell out for the needed training now and reevaluate my situation when the time comes and just save myself the heartache that would no doubt occur by just leaping head first into things without knowing what I am doing.
I realize that different horses are good at different things and that what I envision may not be what is right for me after all, but that is something I will know only after I put in the effort to make myself a good and responsible potential owner first and foremost.
Stallions are big balls of raging hormones. I wouldn't even recommend them for a knowledgable horse owner, and certainly not a beginner!
Regarding colors... The saying goes "you can't ride color" and "a good horse is never a bad color". Color will just be a bonus, if you can find it, but NEVER by a horse from color alone.
As for trainers, what style would you like to ride? English? Western? Jumping? Barrels? Reining? When you know find a trainer experience in that area go watch some of his lessons and see if you like what's going on. How does he handle the horse? How does he talk to the client? What's the clients response? Etc. if you like his (or her) style explain what your goals are and schedule some lessons with the trainer.
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While I rather like the look of Lipizzan and American Cream Draft horses, that doesn't mean that either of them are the right fit for me.
Much in the way that you would not expect a Siberian Husky to fair well in the hot and humid Southern United States, I would not leap to the conclusion that looks alone are what makes a horse.
Really, companionship and compatibility are the main qualities I would seek in a horse, as I intend to buy to keep them for their entire lives as companion animals. I mean if they become old and injured and no longer able to provide me with riding enjoyment and such, I still intend to keep them and love them like I would any of my other pets.
What is the difference between English and Western riding? I have not the faintest clue. I like the idea of dressage competition, but the whole show thing is secondary. I have no idea what barrels or reigning are either.
Like I said before, there is the nice fairy tale image that horses conjure and then there are the cold facts, which may well turn out to be that I do not possess the skills and talent necessary for competition.
I will have to look into all of that, but first and foremost, I would like a companion animal, that enjoys a light ride. No heavy work, just lots of love and attention.
I want a horse to spoil and a horse to spoil me in return.
I would like a happy horse, one that enjoys being brushed and talked to. A horse that is friendly, but is also hardy in terms of not only health, but when it comes to living in such a location. For example, would a horse be lonely by itself? Would it be ok being the only horse in the stable or is it like sheep where you always have to keep more than one for socialization purposes?
I'm just a bundle of questions, sorry about that.
i would say start reading horse books, go to a local riding stable and watch. (ask first if it's ok to watch, some don't like watchers)
watch everything, the way people are with their horses, some lessons, feeding time. etc.
Find some local horse shows to go watch.
Thats a good place to start, because if you don't like just watching and being around horses, you probably won't want to do anything more. (just my 2 cents)
from someone who has been around horses their whole life, i dont know what it would be like to not know anything about horses.
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