1.) Horses are expensive.There is no such thing as a cheap horse. No matter how low the asking price for your future loveable beast is, they are not cheap. Even the easiest keeper has vet bills, farrier fees and etc. And if you board, there are boarding fees monthly and depending on where you board, additional costs. If you keep them at home, you have to pay and work hard to keep your farm safe for them and make sure it's a good place for your furry babies because, after all, we equestrians know that our horses are babies in our minds. Duh.
Red is a very easy keeper. He's on very cheap grain (no starch for ze chubby ponykinz) and I've bought almost all of my tack used/on clearance. He stays fat on air. He doesn't get into trouble which means he doesn't get fun trips to the vet all the time. He doesn't have any interest in jumping fences or causing problems but these are the things he needs and these are the things he must get if I expect my horse to be, well, in the land of the happy and living.
- Arthritis supplements. I use Dumor brand, which is around $30 at Tractor Supply. He gets this monthly.
- Trims every 6-8 weeks (depending on time of the year) my farrier is fantastic and charges $25 for trims.
- Shots/coggins, gotta keep them ponies updated. Cost depends on if the vet is already coming out (sometimes we split the cost for the vet with the other boarders if they need her too since we use the same vet as everyone)
- Board. We pay $125 for Red (which is VERY cheap) and BM supplies feed/hay and takes care of his sweet ponyface when I'm not around.
- Of course, you have to change tack sometimes. Replace old things with new, fix things and etc. This doesn't happen often but it does happen and this could be a cheap thing or expensive.
- Sweet Itch medicine. Oh geeze, I don't even know how much we've spent on this. But yeah, it's pricey.
- And of course, odds and ends like Bute, SWAT, Fly Spray ingredients (I make my own since Redman's allergic to like everything under the sun) and more.
2.) Know that here's no such thing as an 100% safe/dead-broke horse.I'll be the first to say that I probably have one of the safest horses in the world.
|We all know that my horse is adorable.|
With that being said, Red, the most forgiving, beginner safe, lovely, good horse I've met has his moments. Take the parade, for instance. I over-measured him one time and I pushed him too hard because everyone thought he'd be fine because, um, when is Red not fine? And he got terrified. He flipped out. He tried his hardest to contain himself and keep me safe and it actually reassured me more, kind of in a "woah this horse really is going to try his best to make sure we're safe" kind of way, but it proved to me that no horse is completely bomb-proof. I don't care if your horse is 25 years old, been trained so well and been a lesson horse for years - every single horse has it's quirk and every single horse has the potential to spook, just like any human. Does that mean we should all be afraid of them and stay away? No. But it does prove that just like any living creature, horses have brains and hearts and they can get frightened.
3.) Know that horses are not "one size fits all."Take your time when horse shopping if you are shopping. Please. Just because a horse is listed as a good horse and seems perfect doesn't mean that it's time to write off a check before getting to know the horse. If there is any way that you could trial the horse or something (ALWAYS RIDE IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT) then do. it. Just because a horse is perfect for someone else doesn't mean it's perfect for you. Having a connection with a horse is important. I'm not saying it's going to be some kind of magical moment and the horse starts following you and hugging you that very second, but take your time and find your heart horse. Only fools rush in.
|Old pictures because why not?|
4.) Know not to be stubborn.One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are stubborn when they are trying to find a horse to buy. Don't be so set in your dreams and ways that you walk right past your heart horse. Don't limit yourself and your expectations. If you love a certain breed, yes, you can try to find that breed, but don't be so stubborn that you only allow yourself to look at certain breeds and colors and etc. You should obviously make sure the horse is built well for your discipline, but don't force yourself to only look at fancy Warmbloods when there's a nice Thoroughbred that you fit perfectly with just for the sake of, "well I love warmbloods." Don't be stubborn and limit yourself. Lord knows that Red was nothing like what I wanted, but you know what? When I met him, I knew that he is everything I needed and with time, he transformed into my dream horse. And then, there's the age thing. Obviously you need to make sure the horse can keep up with you, but hey, what's wrong with a horse ever-so-slightly older than what you want? Realize the potential that those seasoned horses have. They can teach you a whole lot if you let them. (And so can the young ones.)
5.) Know that you're ready.The biggest one, honestly. The biggest question - are you ready for a horse? Do you really love them enough to endure the pain and stress and happiness and grief that they put us through?
Owning a horse, even such a good and calm one like mine, is the most stressful thing I've done. It's also the most rewarding. I've learned so much in the past almost-two-years that I've had Red and I absolutely adore him. He's taught me how to be responsible, to be patient, to be calm and to really love something. But he's also taught me how stressful a lame horse is, how awful it is to go through months of wondering what's wrong with your horse and why he's stiff sometimes, wishing a vet could give you a solid reason and then crying with such happiness because you finally found out was wrong. I learned not to judge a book by it's cover (sweet itch ruins a horse's appearance sometimes, lol) and so many other life lessons that are tough to get through sometimes but worth it in the end.
Are you prepared? Mentally, physically, financially, for a horse? Are you ready to cry tears for your horse that is hurting? Are you selfless enough to know when it's time to end a partnership? Are you patient enough to work a horse through countless amount of issues?
It's a big job. It's amazing, but it's hard. It's worth it, but you have to be ready. If you don't think you are, please, don't buy a horse. Maybe take lessons or lease or something. Just make sure you are ready.