Have you always dreamed of owning your own horse? Getting your own horse can be an exciting time, but requires commitment and a few challenges. Before you buy the horse of your dreams, do your homework. The following resources can help you determine if horse ownership is right for you.
Calculate your costs
What will you need for your new horse? What you use your horse for and where it lives will determine what other items you will need to factor into your budgeting. For instance, if you are caring for the horse on your own property you will be responsible for fencing and shelter (barn, run-in shed, etc.) as well as hay, bedding, feed, pails, riding equipment and much more.
While most boarding stables provide most of the essential items your horse will need, such as pails and feed, you will still need to budget for the cost of regular veterinary care, as well as potential emergencies. Regular farrier care to keep your horse’s hooves healthy is also an essential part of horse ownership that must be factored into your decisions.
While the following list can vary depending on your situation, you should expect the following costs:
- Farrier care (every 6-8 weeks)
- Veterinary care
- Riding equipment
- Riding lessons/training
- Transportation (truck/trailer), when needed
What you intend to use your horse for can also affect your costs. If you will be travelling off-site for shows or trail rides, those expenses need to be calculated into the cost of horse ownership.
Click here for more information on the real cost of horse ownership.
Even if you are ready to invest the time and money into owning your own horse, you must also have the necessary skills and knowledge to safely handle and properly care for it. While you might be an avid rider, horse ownership demands horse care knowledge and skills. Do you have an experienced horse person who can mentor you? If you don’t have the knowledge or skills necessary to own a horse, there are alternatives to horse ownership, including leasing or part-board.
Alternatives to owning a horse
If you’re a horse enthusiast who has always dreamed of owning a horse but aren’t sure it’s right for you, there are alternatives to give you a taste of horse ownership without the long-term commitment.
In a part-board arrangement, a rider typically enters into agreement with the horse owner to share the use of the horse for a specified time period each week. For instance, the rider may be entitled to ride the horse three days each week.
Another arrangement that more closely resembles horse ownership is leasing. Some horse owners will lease horses for a specified period of time, such as a year. During that time, the lessee will be responsible for the care and upkeep of that horse. While every lease agreement is different, that typically includes housing the horse, paying for its food and paying any associated veterinary costs.
If you think part-boarding or leasing is right for you, or if you think you are ready to own your own horse, it’s important to first consult with your riding instructor or coach. They will be able to access your abilities to determine if they think you are ready to take your riding to the next level.
Having a knowledgeable horse person you can trust is essential. They will ensure you are matched with a horse that fits your skills, goals and personality. They will also help you determine whether the horse is healthy and capable of what you will be asking it to do. They will also be able to serve as a mentor as you learn more about caring for a horse.
It’s important to remember, however, that owning your own horse isn’t necessary to be a good rider. Riding a variety of different horses will enable you to develop your skills and make you more adaptable. It will also give you an opportunity to meet different horses and discover what your ideal horse looks like.