The Horse Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know, a broad question that's been asked a million times. But I'd really like to make it a bit more specific. I've been googling and researching this until I feel like my head is about to explode. But I came across this nifty list that'd been posted a few years ago on a different website, and I thought this was a wonderful jumping off point. So I thought I'd post it here and see if there's anything you'd like to add to it.

I know the ability to care for a horse goes way beyond your riding skill, and I thought that working my way through this list any any other points ya'll bring up would help give me more focus on what specifically I need to study before thinking about ownership. So if you have anything to add, please comment away!

  1. Do you know what the symptoms/causes/first aid of : colic, founder, intestinal diseases , stomach ulcers ? How would you minimize the likelihood of these ?
  2. Do you know what causes thrush, scratches ? What does it mean to have a horse cast in it’s stall ? How would you prepare the stall to minimize the chance of casting ?
  3. Can you properly lead a horse ? Can you load a horse in a trailer ? Can you properly lunge a horse ?
  4. Do you know type of feed / hay is fed at the barn you ride at ? Can you describe the difference between alfalfa and coastal hay ? Is more protein always better ? Is it better to feed more at a lower frequency, or less quantity more often ?
  5. What will your worming strategy be ? What can be done for pasture maintenance to minimize your horse getting worms ?
  6. In the winter will you blanket , clip, trace clip ? What is your reasoning here ? ( no one right answer, but you’ll have what works for your horse)
  7. Do you know what normal pulse rate, temperature and capillary refill time are ?
  8. What are your hoof care options ? When does a horse need shoes, and when can just front shoes or trim (no shoes) work ? How quickly should hoof angles be adjusted (all at once, or over a few months ?)
  9. Can you afford a horse without putting anyone’s education or retirement at risk ? As a reference, basic horse ownership at a boarding stables in the middle part (near a metroplex) of US is $8–10K/year. Double that on the coasts. This does not include fancy clinics or rated shows.
  10. How often will you go to the barn each week ? Does your schedule allow for 3–5 times per week - without sacrificing school / work / family obligations ?
  11. Do you know enough to help around the barn if needed ? Can you clean a stall, strip a stall , level a stall ? Can you wrap a horses legs properly ? Are you a good horse citizen ?
  12. Why would or wouldn’t you tie a horse to a gate or chair ? Can you just move a horse with halter only, no lead rope ?
  13. When socializing around horses, do you always keep at least 50% of your attention on the horses around you ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,857 Posts
I like the list as a starting point. The answer to a lot of those questions, of course, is that it depends. It depends on the individual horse, it depends on your goals, it depends on if your horse is boarded or at home, and it depends on your overall philosophy about animals in general, and horses specifically. But asking the questions is good. I particularly like the explicit way the question about finances (#9) is asked- too many people seem to fall for the fantasy of the horse and then agonize over things they can't do or provide when needed because the money's just not there. They are an expensive luxury, no doubt, and its hard to see people making decisions that put their future or their family's future at risk to have a horse. (Not talking about you OP. But can think of several real life and online examples.)

I think I'd add a few other questions:
1. Who will you be surrounded by that can help you? Professionals, trusted friends, mentors? Why are they the right people? How does their philosophy on horse keeping, training, riding, and competing match yours?
2. We all have to make tradeoffs- what are non-negotiables to you, and what things would you compromise on?
3. Do you have access to a knowledgeable vet and farrier/trimmer who will take you on as a new client seen on a regular schedule? What will you do in a medical or hoof care emergency?
4. What happens to the horse if you have to move, become sick, or die?

PS- you'll learn the answers to some of the things in the list as you go, depending on the horse in front of you. For example, I never thought I'd need to know so much about sugar, starch, and protein content of various kinds of hay. And then I found myself with an insulin resistant horse and had to teach myself how to read and interpret a hay analysis. There are plenty of resources on nearly any topic if you know where to look and who to trust.

PPS- I don't know what it means to "level a stall" or how to do it. My horses live happily outside all day every day, so that isn't relevant to us 🤷‍♀️
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,428 Posts
Well, when I got my first horse, I knew #5 and #10 and that's it. We had what we had and we hoped it would work. Luckily for me, it did. As @egrogan said, you learn as you go. It's not all THAT difficult. I joined 4-H, read everything I could get my hands on, and listened to everything that was told to me.

One I would add is: # Do you know what you want to do with your horse? Is the horse you are considering buying the kind of horse that would want to do that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,538 Posts
In an ideal world, yes, all of those things. And I really like what @knightrider asked. I recently posted about an ex-champion reiner that was put in a lesson with my daughter and her horse, and it just could not handle ground poles. So if you wanted to do that sort of work with it, you'd have to do some retraining.

I am a person who plans, plans, and plans some more, but I bought my first two horses after two months of twice a week lessons and no other real experience (it was a rare case of me going with my heart rather than my head). It was a super steep learning curve; the first year was brutal. If it hadn't been for (1) I was boarding them so had other people around to help and (2) horseforum, I am pretty sure I would have failed. I didn't even know better than to not buy a green horse.

I guess what I'm trying to say is yes, gather your info and learn what you can, but if you wait until you know everything about horses to get a horse, well, you'll never get a horse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone for your additional questions! And also thank you for the reminders that owning a horse needn't necessarily be SO difficult. I think the reason I'm so worried is because as I research, I keep seeing folks saying over and over again that it's so much work, it takes so much time and it's so stressful and expensive and not everyone should own a horse, etc. etc. And I feel like I've gotten it into my head there must be something I'm just not grasping about horse ownership. Like maybe it's WAY harder than I think it'd be and that's why I need to prepare myself so much. So that's definitely adding to all my anxiety.

I know I've only been back to riding for a few months, but I've had experience with them on and off since I was kid, learning things like grooming, bathing, mucking out stalls, cleaning tack and lunging. I know it's not a ton, but I thought I'd had some basics of horse care under my belt (plus the understanding of when to bring in a vet, farrier and dentist). Yet I'm constantly second-guessing myself and my own abilities, and I'd never want to do anything to put an animal in a bad situation. So it really makes me feel better that even if I'm not some horse guru, I can still make a good owner.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,538 Posts
It IS a lot of work! But there's a sliding scale. I'm at a boarding barn, but I currently manage my horse's care, to the point where I order hay for them, feed them, stall them when needed, clean up after them, schedule the vet, etc. I have even started doing their feet myself. It is a lot of work, but also I have three horses so I'm sure that's part of it LOL.

There are boarders out there who leave everything to the barn owner. I mean, they don't even know the name of the farrier (she does tend to change farriers a lot so I can't really blame them for that). All they do is come out and ride. She takes care of everything else. And a lot of them like it that way. I don't think THEY are putting in that much work. So you could take that approach if you wanted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,857 Posts
^^Yes, full board vs. self care or having at home really is different. I've done both and there are pros and cons. Having at home is a ton of work though, and at this time of year (winter in New England) I feel like I'm barely keeping up with manure management. Some days, honestly, I'm falling behind. The rest of the year, it's still work, but manageable. Last night my husband asked me if it was all worth it, and my honest answer was, "for now." If money was no limit, my ideal situation would be having them at home and having someone to pay for help with manure management- though I'm not really sure who'd want to sign up for that glorious job ;) I like the feeding, blanketing, grooming, and riding. But I dread skating frozen manure across a frozen pasture in sub-zero temps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,464 Posts
OP, people like you who ask and worry are just fine when it comes to owning a horse. When you have questions come up, you'll find the answer. Something else I'll add is it can be helpful knowing about different kinds of tack, and what you might want to use on your own horse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,055 Posts
There are really two essential things you need for owning a horse.

1. Money. lots of money
2. Good advice on tap

With those two things, all you need to do is learn everything there is to learn. But you will make fewer costly mistakes because of #2, and should you make one of those, you'll be able to handle it via #1.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,597 Posts
There are really two essential things you need for owning a horse.

1. Money. lots of money
2. Good advice on tap

With those two things, all you need to do is learn everything there is to learn. But you will make fewer costly mistakes because of #2, and should you make one of those, you'll be able to handle it via #1.
3. Common sense:)

I know people who have had horses for years and have no business having them because they “don’t have the good sense God gave a goose”, as my SSH neighbor would say:)

Then there are those new horse owners who should have had horses in their life 20 years ago because they THINK with logic and forethought:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
If money was no limit, my ideal situation would be having them at home and having someone to pay for help with manure management- though I'm not really sure who'd want to sign up for that glorious job ;) I like the feeding, blanketing, grooming, and riding. But I dread skating frozen manure across a frozen pasture in sub-zero temps.
Me if I lived in your area (although I am not sure about the sub-zero temps). I quite like doing paddocks (not so much stalls). As a non-horse owner, it's a good break from having my kids demanding things of me and bickering at home, and exercise out in the fresh air. I do also like grooming and riding though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
I think the combined common sense, money, and a ready source of good advice from @Avna and @walkinthewalk sum it up. I don't own a horse because I have common sense, and a source for good advice, but not the money to do it currently without sacrificing in other areas that need it more.

@PinkPrancer I am a researcher by nature too, and I think its great that you are investigating things so much, but don't let it overwhelm you. Personally, I would find it to hard to learn the majority of those things on the original list without actually doing them over and over again, and I would not have a chance to do that without owning a horse because the need would not really arise in lessons/trail riding situations. Theory does not really cement for me until I put it into practice for an actual need (and it has to be an actual need; I have done science laboratory fire extinguisher training and practiced on setup situations to then forget it all later that week when I had an actual fire).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
I was so overwhelmed when I got Angelina that I actually considered giving her back to her former owners. (Part of that was the fact that my longtime antidepressant decided to stop working for me about that time.) But I bucked up, reminded myself that it was my lifelong dream to own my own horse, and plowed ahead.
I’d been around horses and ridden my entire life and thought I knew a lot about them until I got one. The first year Angelina got scratches, sweet itch and girth itch. But as another poster said, you learn as you go. I learned how to deal with, and prevent, these and other issues. I have always loved doing the “chores”; grooming, feeding, even picking up manure. These things are such a part of my life now I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I hadn’t them to do.
We’re not wealthy by any means. My husband receives a pension and we both get SS so we are not rolling in it, but I’ve never had any problems financially with owning a horse. Luckily she’s pretty sound; doesn’t need shoes, and best of all I get free hay from my dear friend down the road (I help him bale and take care of his own horse.)
So horse ownership is not out of reach even if you’re not rich and are ambivalent about your ability to care for one. If I can do it, you can too!🙂
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top