Prerequisites For Horse Ownership
I've got a friend who is suddenly "into" horses. She has never ridden before, and I'm trying to convince her that you must learn everything you can about horses before you can buy one. Of course, she pouted and said, "Like what?"
This brings me to my question: What do you think you must know and/or be able to do before owning a horse?
There is no break when it comes to horses. Horses always come first, because they cannot take care of themselves. You have no excuse to not take care of your horse. Christmas comes after feeding. Rain, cold, snow, storm... your horse has to eat, and you have to go out in the muck to feed him. You have a cold, you have the flu, you broke your ankle. Your horse still has to eat, hobble out or go out in your blanket, or get someone to take care of him. No matter what. Every single day, multiple times a day, you must be there to serve your horse. Being at a boarding barn would help that.
If stalled, the stall MUST be cleaned well and often.
Oh my, I could write pages and pages on this topic but I'll keep it very short :)
I think something you must know about horse ownership is the value of money. Owning a horse is not cheap. It isn't like owning a cat or a dog, you have full responsibility for a 900 pound animal. There are so many parts of horse ownership that require a whole lot a money and I used to take that for granted.
I think before you go out and purchase a horse, you should at least have some experience around horses. Thats just to make sure you totally like horses and won't give it up once you realise how much work it is. Being aware of what care is required for a horse is something that you should know.
You should also know how to tell when your horse is sick or lame. This can save you a whole lot of heart-ache and money if you can pick up early on when your horse is sick. She should most definately be familiar with signs of colic, and how to tell if a horse is lame. She should also know about worming, and regular paddock maintenance.
I think she should also have a rough idea about the different aspects of the horse world. She should know about all differents types of riding, so she can pick one that she likes and buy an appropriate horse.
Overall, just get this friend involved around horses and teach her what ownership is like. Horse ownership is not a walk in the parks, its more like wading through quicksand!
Well I don't know how old you are, but if you guys are under 18 I can't imagine any parent just letting/or simply buying their child a horse. Like I can't convince my parents to buy me one and I've had the bug since I was born.
In my opinion, before you buy your first horse you need;
- to be able to afford it and understand ALL the costs
- to be able to ride (atleast the basics)
- to know how to care and look after your horse (including grooming, tacking up, etc)
- to have someone that will help you out when your struggling with something (like an instructor)
I think that she should take a few lessons first, so that she can see whether she actually likes horse riding or not.
LadyDreamer, I think that is such an important point. It can be very hard to get up early when it is wet and cold to go feed your horse. Or when you have had a really late night and just want to sleep in.
**** it, just let her get a horse and when she doesn't want it anymore buy it from her for 1/4 the price. UH- DRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!
Ditto on what most have said.
-One must understand the cost of owning a horse and have the necessary funds. Feeding, vet care, farrier, boarding if doing that, training (especially since she's never ridden before) all the necessary equipment, cost of transportation, blahblah.
-One must be willing to get dirty.
-One must be educated. How much will the horse eat? What does it eat? can she recognise colic? Lameness? etc.etc. Is she willing to pick hooves, shovel crap, administer meds, flush wounds, all that good stuff...
-One must be willing to give the horse it's excersise.
-One must accept that the horse is a massive prey animal that doesn't usually think before it acts. So yeah, very vital to have that "horse sense", which can be achieved through volunteering, taking lessons, etc.. Does she know what pinned ears mean? Or that it is generally a bad idea to get between a horse and a hard place? Or the importance of knowing their blind spots when working about their rear. Stuff like that.
-that said, she should REALLY try spending some time around horses before running off and buying one. Some people are in love with the idea of horse ownership, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, they find the day-in day-out responsibility of taking care of such a huge and potentially lethal animal is not for them.
Definately all of the above, overall costs of a horse, feed, ect., but also learn about age. I have seen so many people these days going after the young horses, because of the idea that anything in its teens is too old to do anything, or because the idea of getting a young horse and working with it is cool, regardless of whether or not its a good fit. Some young horses can be very nice, and will be a good mount for someone that doesn't know much, but there are plenty who aren't, so don't let the number be the deciding factor. Also basic first aid, taking a temp, wrapping wounds, ect. And if and when she is actually ready to buy a horse, bring someone who KNOWS horses, and the horse world, to make sure that the eventual horse is a good fit, and that they aren't getting scammed because they are new to horses. I know that it saved my butt the first two horses I bought. I brought a friend who'd been doing horses for years when I was looking for my first horse, and there were several horses that she said don't even bother riding when we went to see them, because they were not what the ad said, or they had issues, ect., and again same thing when I looked for my second horse a few years later, I took my trainer, and ended up with an awesome horse that I may not have gotten if she hadn't been there.
All you really need is money lol. But knowing about them makes you responsible.
You dont need to know how to ride to own a horse. I know a few people who own and havent sat in a saddle.
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