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Top 5 Reasons NOT to Buy a Horse
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Top 5 Reasons NOT to Buy a Horse

Don’t buy a horse if… You have not been taking regular riding lessons with a reputable trainer for more than six months.

The investment of owning a horse goes beyond the purchase price. I understand it is a very expensive endeavor to take riding lessons, and it is easy to want to rush into horse ownership. However, horses are very expensive animals not only requiring food and shelter, but also grooming supplies, regular medical attention, tack, supplements, and shoes every 4-6 weeks; not to mention any riding lessons and horse shows.

Don’t buy a horse if… You do not have the time and dedication.

To be healthy and useful, horses need to be handled regularly and ridden often. Horses have a knack for throwing a shoe in the dead of winter or colicing during a thunderstorm. You should be prepared to venture out to take care of your horse weekly, if not more often, even in inclement weather. Horses can live on into their thirties, and if you are not able to commit to the thousands of hours in a horse’s lifetime in which they need care and attention, horse ownership might not be right for you.

Don’t buy a horse if… You are hoping your kids will “grow into it.”

My entire show career I have stood at the in-gate with 10-15 other competitors who lack the excitement and passion needed to succeed in this very difficult sport. This sport takes work from every party involved and as much as it pains me to say this, you cannot force your dream into the hearts of your children. Many children absolutely thrive in the horse world, but if your child has become bored with their lessons, purchasing a horse will not remedy the disinterest. Consider changing disciplines or even ask your trainer for a change of pace, but purchasing a horse will not only be a waste of time, but money as well.

Don’t buy a horse if… You do not have a sense of humility.

If I have learned anything in my years in the horse industry, it is that horses are unpredictable, ever changing, intuitive, and have minds of their own. There will be a number of difficult and frustrating days in owning a horse. While trial and error is inevitable, you must have the ability not to lay blame, not to get angry, and to get up and try again.

Don’t buy a horse if… You do not love them!

Making the decision to purchase a horse is making the decision to welcome it into your family. Each horse is an individual and needs unique amounts of time and care. Like noted above, they require a lot of effort and patience. Horse ownership is full of wonderful days, but it takes love to get through the bad.

There are many other options out there that give the freedom and experience of owning a horse, but protect against the majority of the responsibilities:

Full Lease – Full responsibility, but the ability to send the horse back home if things do not work out. Partial Lease – You share some of the expenses with the owner but often have the freedom to ride your lease horse more than any lesson horses available, in addition to the ability to send him back if things do not work out. Lessons – The ability to ride a variety of phenomenal lesson horses and better yourself as a rider, with the understanding that some lesson horses may be sold or leased to other riders. Ride Someone Else’s Horse – If you are lucky, you may have a friend who already owns a nice horse and will let you ride their horse. If this is an option, it is always smart to see your friend ride the horse first, as well as sign a liability protecting you and the owner from any discrepancies.

Good luck and happy riding!

-Anna Welch

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  1. shumes
    Great post, Anna. So many people like the idea of horses and then decide to buy one without realizing just how much work they are. Voted up. Could you visit my latest post and vote it up if you find it helpful? Thanks! http://www.ofhorse.com/view-post/Equestrian-Essential-Skills-How-to-Take-Your-Horse-s-Vitals
  2. jst4horses
    I love your post, BUT, having been the horse person called by the pound in several areas when they got complaints t go out and do something, and having taken hay, and helped horses, and helped owners find a new home for their horse, , I say this: If you do not water your plants regularly, don't get a horse. If you don't like washing the dog bowl once a day, don't get a horse. If you think you will know it all in six months of riding lessons, and I do not care if you took lessons from Monty, Pat, or one of the other top trainers in the world DO NOT BUY A HORSE. I had a student that had ridden since a small child, as a teen she wanted her own horse. Her mom got her a job at a stable, she had to go every single day, not miss one day, and this was the hardest, not ride one single horse that whole year, just take care of horses in the stable for the entire year. Not one whine, not one excuse. She did it, and she is an amazing horse owner, and now married and has children as well. I HATE seeing broken hearted horses, or abandoned horses. When I had a serious long term illness with brain injuries from the high fevers, my sons bought me two horses to help ME recover. I had been training horses since teenage with professional trainers and my younger son was becoming a trainer when they made that choice. One of those horses was a syndicated, "Kentucky Dream" horse from a very well known sports team.......he fell his last work before his first race. This horse cost over one million dolllars as a two year old just going in to training. He trained in a barn with shavings up to the horses knees, and where the stalls were kept clean by whoever was walking by, along with a complete turnover and clean out each day. The syndicate did not want to pay the medical bills for a horse that would never run again. My sons bought me the papers for that horse, the syndicate did not want to lose breeding rights, even though they did not want to pay for daily care for him which would have cost several hundred dollars a DAY. I do my own vet teching and my friends are the track vets.............it took two years for him to recover and become a therapy horse, and a top level jumper. I had to do all his heat therapy and walk him FIVE MILES, that is 20 times around the training track, every single morning before going to work to teach kindergarden. And after, work, back again. Three years later, He got bitten by ants out on the trail and died before the vet paged us back. That is a lot of harm for a little amazing foal that someone bred to sell for a lot of money to other people willing to spend that kind of money on a whimsy................but when the horse needed them, they got rid of him. Luckily my son was friends with the trainers son, who mentioned it, and my older son bought the horses' papers, the syndicate did not want to let him go without being paid for his breeding rights.....even though they were willing to put down a two year old horse that got injure don their dream whimsy........so I add, if you really love horses, YES, lease, half lease, ride horses. I was too injured to ride for several years, so I would go to clinics and help the riders do what the trainers were trying to teach them to do. I learned from a trainer who was still training horses late into his eighties, and had good solid horse sense rules.........and no major injures to himself, or his students, which is amazing. I would like to add, do not breed horses to do not buy horses..........unless you plan to let them spend their lives together.

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