When I became a horse owner for the first time, I’d spent time helping at the local riding school, I’d had riding lessons and I’d borrowed friend’s ponies. Even with all of this preparation there were things that I wasn’t completely prepared for as a first time horse owner:
Hidden costs – it’s so important to check the adverts when you’re looking to buy a horse as the majority aren’t sold with rugs or tack. The ones who do come with equipment are usually ponies who have been outgrown or horses who are being sold because their rider is giving up. This can lead to an added cost as you need to find all these items that you might not have. Even if your horse is sold with tack, make sure you check it as it may not fit or it may be damaged through years of use.
Horses are destructive – I wanted the best for my first pony and I saved up all my pocket money for weeks to be able to buy him a really warm heavyweight rug for the winter. Within two weeks he had ripped the back open and it was beyond repair. This taught me very quickly that there are certain things which you can’t be too precious about as horses have no concept of how much something has cost.
Things go wrong – as much as I love horses, they are walking disasters. With my first pony, once we had brought him home, within two weeks he had gone lame and was off work for the next 8 months. This was a very early lesson that sometimes things don’t always go to plan and even if you do everything you think is right, things might go wrong. The most important thing is that you are able to spend time with them away from ridden work and you can develop a bond with them. After following a rehab plan and making some adjustments to his care he recovered fully and continued working well into his 20’s.
A vetting isn’t full proof – I see so many people claiming that horses have passed a five stage vetting in adverts, or potential owners spending a lot of money on x-rays to check for anything that might go wrong. The thing is that a vetting is only a snapshot of what is seen on the day, it doesn’t mean that nothing will ever go wrong with the horse. Equally, just because something is highlighted in a vetting, it doesn’t mean that it will cause a problem further down the line. When you’re buying an animal you’re always taking a risk, no matter how much money you’re parting with.
How much I’d learn – being a horse owner has been an extremely rewarding journey, but I’ve learnt so much. Not just about how to care for horses (although that is something which interests me a lot), but about life and I’ve gained a sense of perspective that I don’t think I would have otherwise. This could be things like, an appreciation that things don’t always go to plan, there’s always another day, persistence and the commitment of getting up every day to look after another living creature.
If you’re just starting out on your journey as a horse owner, I’m running a course just for you. It is starting at the end of January and you can find out more by clicking HERE