Things to Consider Before Buying a Horse

horse

If you were to take a poll and ask adults what was one of the number one things they remember wanting the most when they were children, I’d be willing to bet that 50% or more would say that their childhood dream was to own a horse/pony.  In a child’s eyes there’s just something special about having a horse of their own to love, ride and care for but if you, as a parent, have been or have ever considered the possibility of giving in and buying your child a horse then there are a lot of things to consider.  Horses may seem like an easy pet to have around your house but horse ownership is so much more than tossing a saddle on the horses back and hitting the nearest trail.

The first thing you take into consideration when deciding whether or not a horse is for you and your family is space.  Generally speaking, if you have a small yard or live in suburbia then having a horse would be a unwise decision. Adequate room for housing and roaming is a must so if you have a small yard in the city you won’t have nearly enough room to accommodate a full grown horse and it’s many needs.

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Proper Fencing.  No matter where you live it’s very important to have the proper fencing to contain your horses.  Without secure fencing, horses will wander and as a result can make their way to main roads, into neighboring yards or even into wooded areas where they can come up against barbed wire or graze on potentially dangerous plants.  Ideal fencing should be between 4 1/2 to 5 feet tall, at minimum, to safely contain your horse(s) and should 6-8 inches off the ground to discourage them from sticking their heads under to graze.  There are several different options for fencing material to choose from when shopping for fencing: Wood, Wire, PVC, Pipe and Electric. Research the pros and cons before making the purchase and research into a good fencing contractor because each has their own set of ups and downs, gaining the knowledge of a professional is always a good idea as they will be able to suggest the best fencing and material for your needs.
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Food and water is another big factor when thinking about purchasing your horse.  A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that feeding their horses is as easy as buying the feed and putting it out for their horses but the truth is that not only is feed expensive but that horses are also creatures of habit so they need to be put on a strict feeding schedule.  Deterring from said schedule could result in your horse developing irritability and stall vices that can include: digging, pawing, kicking, chewing, etc.
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It’s also very important to supply your horse with a source of fresh, clean water.  The average horse will consume between 10-12 gallons of water each day or more.  You should check your water source/buckets once or twice a day to make sure they’re never empty.
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Sufficient maintenance is also key for owning a horse.  Along with making sure their feed and water buckets are clean every day, horses also need to be groomed daily to keep them looking clean and healthy.  A well groomed horse is a happy horse.
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Last but not least you should be aware of potential Vet bills that can quickly rack up when you become an owner of a horse.  While you can cut down on your monthly vet bills by learning to do shots, wormers, etc. yourself (I wouldn’t attempt unless shown by a professional) there are monthly expenses that you simply can’t escape.
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These can include:
  • Teeth Cleaning
  • Routine Farrier visits every 6-8 weeks for hoof cleaning/trimming
  • Vaccinations

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These are just a few of the many factors you should take into consideration if your child has worn away your resolve and you’ve found yourself considering giving in to their dreams of having their own horse.  Horses are magnificent, gentle creatures who bring joy to many people but horse ownership isn’t something you can just jump into on a whim.  As with anything you should always research, research, research before making any big decisions.

1 thought on “Things to Consider Before Buying a Horse”

  1. Alright, I was one of the 50%, and I’ve been lucky enough to actually fulfill my dream of having horses. Now I’ve been chatting with other people who want to get them, and I think you’re right in saying that people often neglect thinking about fences. My horses are pretty gentle on their fence and never try to escape, but I’ve seen plenty of horses that lean against them and need something sturdier. It’s important to find out what’s best going to meet the needs of you and your horse. Thanks for the all the great advice here!

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