Buying a Horse - Do you know what it takes to buy (and keep) a horse?
If you are buying a horse, then take a look at this guest post by horse person Kim Wende of The Intentional Horse and save time, money and heartaches when looking for your horse!
By Kim Wende – Passionate Horsemanship
Are you thinking of buying a horse? Or get back into horses?
Did you watch a movie about a horse that inspired you? Did you read an article about how horses can be great companions? Maybe you wanted a horse as a little girl and your parents said “no” and now that your kids are grown you want to get a horse.
Whatever your reasons – there are many things to consider before buying a horse. Horses are a huge responsibility. And, tragically, many horses live lives of desperate boredom, or are passed from owner to owner because their owners weren’t prepared. Before buying a horse do your homework.
First Time Horse Owners
Did you know that 80% of first time horse owners sell their horse within two years or less? They become overwhelmed, frightened or unprepared for what happens or do not know how to work with their horse safely!
Buying the horse may be the cheap part:
What will the initial investment be to purchase your horse? Beware of cheap or free horses as this may mean that they have behavior or health problems.
Several years ago a friend of mine purchased a beautiful miniature horse stallion for $200.00. She was so happy that she got a bargain.
This little stallion had been running in the pasture for 3 years with a couple of other horses and had not been handled much. A couple of days after getting him home he started charging her with his teeth bared, rearing up striking at her and trying kick her. She was totally unprepared for this danger!
My friend had to send this horse to a trainer as she did not know how to stop him from all of the bad behavior. The moral of the story is that she did not get a cheap horse. He cost her over $2,000.00 before she could even work with him.
Another person may have simply given this horse away or abandoned him in a pen.
Feeding Your Horse
At the very least your horse will need hay. From 8 – 12 bales of hay each month. Hay can cost from $8.00 a bale to $24.00 depending on where you live. Hay alone does not cover all of a horse’s nutritional needs. Be sure to research a good supplement and mineral program. This can save you money in the long run.
Failing to plan for the cost of properly feeding and caring for your horse can result in heartache!
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How much time do you have to spend with your horse?
If keeping the horse on your property you will need tme each morning to feed and water your horse. In the evening you will need a couple of hours to feed, water, clean the stall and exercise your horse.
Horses have to be fed at least twice a day – everyday, hot or cold, rain or shine, even when you are sick. Are you ready for that time committment? When you go on vacation, who will take care of your horse?
Tack and Supplies
Buying your horse isn’t your only out of pocket expense. At the very least, you will need a saddle, saddle pad, bridle, brushes, buckets, halter, and a lead rope. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars to get started with basic equipment.
Do you have the finances to support your horse if they get sick or injured? Veterinarian costs can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Is there a even a veterinarian in your area that treats horses? Do you have a way to transport your horse to the vet?
Do you have a safe place to keep a horse on your property? Do you have the time to do all of the care yourself? If your answer is no to either question, boarding may be the right decision for you.
Check out the boarding stables in your area before you buy a horse. What type of board do they offer? Get a copy of the facilities boarding contract to make sure of what they truly provide.
- Full board – all mucking, blanketing, feeding, supplements, etc
- Feeding only – you do the grunt work
- Pasture Board – how often are the horses checked?
- Stall with Turnout? How much time does your horse get in turnout?
- Stall only – will your horse thrive in a small pen or stall?
Talk to the boarders to see why they chose that facility. Are their horses happy? Does the facility feed the horses right? Do other people boarding there share in the style of riding that you prefer? Sharing your horse time with friends with similar interests can make things much more rewarding.
It may seem overwhelming to look at all these factors when the decision to buy a horse is really about wanting a heart connection with an equine partner. However, taking all of these into account can save a horse from being improperly cared for, or you from overloading your life. A life in balance – emotionally, financially and physically is what it is all about – for you and your horse!
Once you have looked at the inital investment in time and money, and STILL want a horse, you are ready to think about what horse to get. More about that in another article…
Kim Wende is the owner of Passionate Horsemanship in Merkel, TX. She has been working with horses for over 30 years and loves teaching women how to work safely with their horses gaining confidence from the ground up. Kim teaches clicker training combined with Natural Horsemanship. For more information about lessons or online courses visit her website.