Gateway Gazette

Really, Really Basic Stuff About Owning A Horse…

You might end up saying, “What have I gotten myself into???” Hopefully, we can help you avoid that sentiment. We’ve all been “first timers.” We know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by too much confusing information. We also know that if you ask ten horse people a question, you’ll probably get ten completely different answers. Here’s a secret; most of the answers you’re looking for are plain old common sense. If someone tells you to do something that just doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it.

If you are a first-time horse buyer, here are two questions to ask yourself:

Will I be keeping the horse on my own property? If the answer to that question is yes, click here.

Will I be boarding my horse at a public stable or with friends? If your answer is yes, click here.

Be sure that any tack you use is in good repair. Very nasty accidents happen (to horse and rider) when your girth breaks, your headstall snaps, or your reins come apart. Ask a knowledgeable person to help you make sure your saddle fits you and your horse. An ill-fitting saddle can cause your horse pain. It can cause him to buck or rear. It can cause muscle soreness. It can damage his back. A bit can be an instrument of torture if it is the wrong size or is used incorrectly.

Never, never, never tie your horse to a movable object. If your horse spooks and pulls back, the movable object then becomes a scary predator. Your horse will bolt and run away, but the scary predator will be right behind him, bouncing along and making all sorts of racket. If the predator comes apart, nails, broken pieces of wood, plastic or metal become lacerating fangs and claws. Don’t ask us how we know this.

As our good chum Beth said to us, “Horses are not bicycles.” If you find you can’t ride regularly, consider paying someone else to ride your horse for you. No matter how well-trained, a horse that sits around in a pasture for months on end will probably not be as willing to behave as it did when you got it. Perhaps the wisest thing ever said by our friend in reference to horses is this: A horse that has been abused or mishandled is a job for a professional, always.

If you’re buying a horse for a child, here is some wise advice sent to HTT from Joanne:
To those well-meaning and loving parents who want to buy a horse for their child, I would like to address you first. We have found that many, many times well-meaning parents have no idea of the effort and expense involved in taking care of a horse. Before plunging into horse ownership, we encourage parents as strongly as possible to FIRST have your child take AT LEAST six months of riding lessons at a reputable stable. Let the child discover whether or not he/she is truly a horse lover and is definitely willing to brush, feed, wash and care for the horse. At the same time, the parents have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about all the details about feeding and caring for a horse – the price of grain, boarding, vet fees, farrier visits, annual innoculations, and more. If, after being exposed to the dirty and expensive side of horse ownership, if the child is still wildly in love with the prospect of owning a horse, they will both at least have some idea of what they are getting into.

Source: Horse Trader Tricks

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