Friday, December 19, 2008
People think horse ownership is glamorous. It's not. My day starts at 5:00 a.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. Why do I do it? Because I'm passionate about equines. I've spent at least 55 years working with horses. It's in my blood. What most folks don't understand is the commitment of time, energy, and money that goes into the care of a horse.
Owning a horse is a big responsibility. Be prepared to spend time grooming, exercising, and caring for the animal or assume the responsibility to see that the basic care will be performed daily. Unless the horse is kept on the owner's property, travel time to and from the stable where the horse is boarded must be considered. The costs of owning a horse can add up quickly as the owner provides shelter, feed, bedding, medical care, shoeing, and riding equipment.
Before buying a horse I suggest you start taking riding lessons from a reputable local stable to assess your commitment to the daily chores of horse ownership. Some people start taking lessons once a week only to find out that even that much time ends up being more of a commitment than they realize, especially when the weather gets cold.
Before purchasing a horse, decide where to keep the animal and how much it will cost. The purchase price is minimal compared to all the other expenses you'll incur. If you live on property that can support a horse, both legally and physically, be sure you have adequate stabling. If you live in a cold climate consider boarding the animal, at least during the winter months, at a stable with an indoor arena. Riding in freezing weather is unpleasant and can be dangerous for both horse and rider.
The main point is to become knowledgeable before you purchase a horse. It angers me when I see horses fall into the hands of people who have no clue what they are doing. It's always the horse that suffers at the hands of uneducated handlers.
It is your responsibility to become a knowledgeable horse person. Your safety and well being, along with your equine, is of utmost importance. There is nothing more rewarding than a spiritual connection between horse and rider. That can only happen with years of experience or with someone who can teach you how to do it the right way.