Everything You Need to Know About Being a Horse Owner
Dogs are man’s best friend, but horses are a close second. After all, we have been riding them for at least 5,000 years.
Even with the advent of automobiles and planes, people still choose to own horses for recreational reasons. Though our methods have improved with time, owning and caring for horses is very much like it was for our ancestors. For those who’ve never done it before, what is it like to be a horse owner?
Horse ownership is a big responsibility, but the advantages are well worth it. Let’s discuss, the things you need to know about before you buy a horse.
Being a Horse Owner Is Expensive
Horses already are not cheap. For a decent breed, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars on the low end. Purebred, costly racing horses can easily be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and sometimes even millions.
But that’s only discussing the initial purchase price. Once we get into the everyday expenses related to equine care, those costs keep rising.
Everyday Horse Care Expenses
First, you will need a place for the horse to stay, one it can’t escape from. You’ll need to build a barn with stalls and install a heating or cooling system depending on the climate you live in.
You’ll need to purchase horse feed and straw for the floor. While you can allow your horse to graze, you will need to keep a close watch over its diet. This is a big animal that needs a lot of feed to stay in optimal health.
Then there are all the horse care products, such as brushes, bridles, saddles, and other tack. You will need to shoe your horse on a regular basis – a process that requires a skilled farrier.
Then there will be medical expenses. Find a good equine veterinarian that can provide the necessary care. This may include regular check-ups, vaccines, and occasional treatments for injuries.
A lot of people treat horses just like any other pet. Most are aware that stray pets are often formerly unwanted furry companions. Those people purchase a pet on impulse, realize they don’t want it later, and then throw it out on the street.
Owning a horse is not like owning a dog or a parrot. This is going to consume a significant amount of your free time, even when you don’t feel like it. Think of horse ownership as a part-time job that you have to do rain or shine, sick or hale.
Time Commitments for Horse Ownership
First, there are regular feeding and cleaning responsibilities. You have to top up the feed and the watering troughs. You will need to regularly muck the stalls to keep things clear and sanitary.
Then there are the regular care requirements, such as brushing, trimming, and re-shoeing. Horses need affectionate care from a loving owner for their emotional well-being as a matter of course. Like a dog, they’ll suffer if you neglect them.
Then there is the time you will need to spend exercising your horse. Plan to go out on regular rides, or at the very least, lead it out to pasture so it can stretch its legs. Letting a horse out into the corral isn’t like letting a dog outside and leaving it be!
Chances are, you are going to go on vacation and need to ensure your horse is taken care of. You can’t just have the neighbor boy come over and fill the feed. Remember, all those regular tasks you perform on a daily basis will require someone who knows how to do them.
If you can’t find someone, you’ll need an equestrian, stall worker, or equine veterinarian. Horses can be dangerous animals, especially skittish or unbroken ones. Leaving your horse to someone who’s not up to the task could lead to disaster.
Moving and Transport
Moving a horse from place to place introduces a whole new world of responsibilities and costs. You’ll need a trailer, a truck with enough towing capacity, and the skill to move animals such as these around.
Depending on where you go – and why, such as a horse ride through the canyon – you’ll need to arrange for boarding. This includes not just the space where you keep the horse, but potential costs for care.
While horses are domesticated, docile animals, they will not submit to you from the beginning. Even horses born in captivity must be broken.
Breaking a horse effectively wears down its stubbornness and resistance until it submits completely to your commands and dominance. A broken horse will obey you no matter what. And by obedience, we mean that broken horses will quite literally ride themselves to death if their rider makes them.
Breaking a Horse and Training
Horse training is a discipline that takes many years of experience to master. Assuming you are entirely new to this world, you will need the help of an expert to train your steed.
Breaking alone is a difficult process that can take several days. It can be extremely dangerous, especially if you have a very spirited and stiff-necked animal. This won’t be cheap since, as you may have noticed, horse-related services are quite esoteric and limited in scale.
Training your horse for other things, such as navigating obstacles and clearing hurdles, will require additional training, costs, and time.
Emergencies are something you should prepare for, both financially and emotionally, with any animal. Especially horses. Horses can suffer attacks from wild animals, endure serious injuries, or get very sick.
While this will be expensive, it will obviously be much more expensive to replace an animal. Especially one you have invested so much in already.
Make sure you have an equine veterinarian on-call that you can trust in a jiffy. If they are not available at a moment’s notice, then make sure you have backup options just in case.
Learn More About Horse Ownership
Being a horse owner is not something you should become on a whim without considering the time commitment and costs. It will effectively be a part-time job with a significant financial investment. That said, you’ll be able to participate in one of humanity’s oldest and most beloved pastimes.
Follow our blog for more great articles.