Are You Ready to Own Your First Horse?
Here are some very important #horse facts for you.
The most exciting moment in any horse lover’s life is to look into the Bambi eyes of a horse she can call her very own. No matter how old you are when you buy your first horse, it’s hard to match the thrill of climbing onto his back and taking that first ride on a woodsy trail or dusty road that winds through open fields. A well-trained mount will give you a special friendship and years of pleasure as you learn to work with him and become a confident, fun-loving equestrian team.
But owning a horse involves much more than hopping on his back, racing him into a lather of sweat, and putting him back in his stall until you’re ready to ride him again.
If you have your own horse now, you’ve already realized that caring for a horse takes a great amount of time and money. Besides feeding him twice a day, you must also groom him, clean his stall, pick his hooves, and have a farrier and veterinarian make regular visits.
If you don’t own a horse and you are begging your parents to buy one, please realize that you can’t keep the horse in your garage and just feed him grass cuttings left over from a mowed lawn. It’s a sad fact that too many neglected horses have ended up in rescue shelters after well-meaning families did not know how to properly care for their steeds.
If you feel that you are ready to have your own horse, please take time to answer the following short questions. If you say yes to all of them, then you are well on your way to being the proud owner of your very own mount:
1. Do you have the money to purchase:
the horse (A good grade horse can start at $800. Registered breeds can run into the thousands.)
a saddle, pad, bridle, and winter blanket or raincoat ($300+ brand new)
a hardhat (helmet) and riding boots ($150+)
essentials such as coat and hoof conditioner, bug repellent, electric clipper and grooming kit, saddle soap, First Aid kit, and vitamins ($150+)
2. Does your family own at least a one-stall shed or barn and at least two acres of grass (enough pasture for one horse) to provide adequate grazing for your horse during warm months? If not, do you have the money to regularly purchase quality oats and alfalfa/timothy hay, and do you have the place to store the hay? Oh, and let’s not forget the constant supply of sawdust or straw you need for stall bedding!
3. Are you ready to get up early enough every day to give your horse a bucket of fresh water, feed him a coffee can of oats and one or two sections of clean dry hay (if you have no pasture) and muck out the manure from the barn?
4. Every evening, are you again ready to water and feed your horse, clean the barn, and groom him and pick his hooves?
5. Will you ride him at least twice a week, weather permitting?
6. If the answer to any of the above questions is no, then does your family have the money to purchase a horse and board him at a nearby stable? (Boarding fees can run as high as a car payment. Ask your parents how much that is.)
So, there you have the bare facts about owning and caring for a horse. If you don’t have your own horse yet, perhaps you’ll do as I did when I was young. I read all the books I could about horses. I analyzed all the facts about the money and care needed to make the horse happy. Sad as it made me feel, I finally realized that I would have to wait until I was much older to assume such a great responsibility. And now years later, I can look back and say, For the horse’s sake, I’m very glad I did wait.
I hope you’ve made the decision to give your horse the best possible TLC that you can. That might mean improving his care now or waiting until you’re older to get a horse of your own. Whatever you and your parents decide, please remember that the result of your efforts should be a happy horse. If that’s the case, you will be happy too.