Friday 27th January, 2017
Owning a horse is at the top of the Christmas wish list for many, and if you are considering buying a horse in the New Year, there are a few things that you need to know. Horse ownership involves a great deal of hard work, however building a relationship with your equine friend is incredibly rewarding. Whether you are looking to buy a school master or a sports horse, you will need to pay close attention to the following tips to make sure that you and your horse get off to a great start.
Aside from the obvious knowledge and passion for horse husbandry, there are a number of practical factors to consider before you head off to the nearest horse dealer. Firstly, you need to decide where you are going to keep your horse, then you will need to look at the equipment that you will need and finally there is the financial consideration for your horse’s regular maintenance.
When looking at stables you need to consider the individual needs of your horse, his current stabling requirements and the environment he is coming from. Some hardier breeds do not require stabling, however they will need adequate field shelters to provide protection from the elements when turned out. Most horses need access to a good quality stable at some point during the year, particularly in winter, so confirm your horse’s care regime with the current owner and try to maintain his routine as much as possible.
If you are privileged enough to have land and/or stables of your own then you are good to go, however most new horse owners benefit from being part of a livery stable where they can meet other riders and gain valuable experience. You need to consider the location of the stables in relation to your home and place of work, thinking about accessibility in poor weather and also the proximity to local bridleways, fields or ménages. If you prefer to invest in your own stables rather than rent someone else’s, then you can work with specialists to design and build a bespoke stable block on your own land.
The basic tools needed to get started are a headcollar, lead rope, bridle, saddle, water and feed buckets, grooming equipment and preferably one waterproof rug. If you visit any tack shop you will be simply in awe of the sheer amount of equine equipment available to you, but before you buy, speak to the previous owner to find out what they use and what will come with your horse when he arrives.
Going forward, you will also need to think about feed, hay, supplements, bedding, farriery visits and veterinary fees, so draw up a budget to make sure that the ongoing costs are accounted for. Some horses such as competition horses will require specific diets, including supplements to improve and maintain their condition. Owners need to arrange for horses to be shod by a qualified farrier every 4-6 weeks, and you must keep up to date with your horse’s current worming and vaccination programme throughout the year.