So, you’ve always dreamt of owning a pet horse, but before you gallop into the world of equine companionship, there are several essential factors to consider. Horses are magnificent animals, but they come with unique challenges and responsibilities. This guide will take you through everything you need to know before bringing a horse into your life.

Before Buying a Horse

Owning a pet horse is a dream come true for many, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Here’s what you should consider before making that giant leap into horse ownership.

 

Preparing for Horse Ownership
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Preparing for Horse Ownership

So, you’ve decided to get a horse. Congratulations, you’re about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. But before you saddle up, you need to prepare yourself for the responsibilities that come with horse ownership.

If you have the luxury of owning property, you can keep your horse at home. It’s a 24/7 job, which means sourcing feed, daily care, and everything in between will be your responsibility. On the flip side, boarding your horse at a stable ensures there’s always someone around to care for your equine friend, but it comes at a higher cost.

Cost Considerations

How much does a pet horse cost? Well, that’s a loaded question. The initial purchase price can range from free to the price of a small car. But here’s the kicker: the real expenses come later. Feeding, vet bills, and accommodations add up quickly.

New Owner Shopping List: What To Buy

Before bringing your horse home, make a checklist. You don’t want to spend your first days frantically gathering essential items.

  1. Halter: It’s like a horse’s collar, and it’s crucial for your safety and your horse’s.
  2. Lead Rope: A soft, round lead rope is gentle on your hands and easy to handle.
  3. Hoof Pick: Clean those hooves daily to keep them healthy.
  4. Grooming Kit: The basics include brushes, but additional items depend on your location and the season.
  5. A Place to Stay: Whether at home or a stable, sort out the details before bringing your horse home.

And, you might be surprised, but you don’t need a saddle and bridle just yet. These should be tailored to your horse’s unique conformation, and it’s better to wait until after bringing your horse home.

Ongoing Needs: What You Need To Care for Your Pet

The journey has just begun. After bringing your horse home, there are ongoing expenses you need to be prepared for.

Housing and Farrier Care

  • Housing: If you board your horse, monthly fees are part of the package.
  • Farrier: Your horse’s feet need regular care. No skimping on this one.

Vet Care and Replacement Items

  • Vet Care: Routine exams, vaccinations, and a deworming program should be on your radar.
  • Replacement Items: Halters, lead ropes, and grooming kit contents should be replaced every few years.

Exercise and Ongoing Care

Your horse’s exercise needs depend on their access to turnout. If they’re mostly confined to a stall, daily rides or hand walks are crucial for physical and mental health. Bad weather is a concern, so spending time with your horse during such days is equally important.

Feeding Your Pet Horse
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Feeding Your Pet Horse

Horses are picky eaters and have a sensitive digestive system. Avoid sudden dietary changes, and be mindful of overeating and rich foods that can lead to colic or laminitis. Gradual dietary adjustments are your best bet.

How Long Will Your Pet Horse Live?

The average lifespan of a horse is around 25 years. That’s a long-term commitment!

Common Health Issues for Pet Horses

Your horse might face health issues like parasites, colic, and laminitis. Parasites are manageable with regular vet check-ups and deworming. If you notice signs of colic or laminitis, contact the vet pronto.

Where to Buy Your Pet Horse

You can find horses online, at auctions, or through word of mouth. If you’re taking riding lessons, your instructor can be a valuable resource. Beware of free or cheap horses; they might come with hidden problems.

Special Considerations With Pet Horses

Remember, horses are not your average pets. They are large, expensive, and come with significant responsibilities. Vet care, housing, and potential injuries can hit your wallet hard. Rehoming a horse isn’t always easy, so responsible ownership is crucial.

Benefits of Owning a Horse

Now that we’ve covered the nitty-gritty of horse ownership, let’s talk about the many rewards of having a horse as a pet.

Social Benefits

Owning a horse isn’t just about the horse; it’s about the community too. You’ll meet new people through local clubs and social media groups. The horse community is vibrant and inclusive, offering a space to share your passion.

Great Companionship

Horses are more than their size. They have personalities that are easy to fall in love with. They make fantastic companions, encouraging you to spend time in nature and away from stress. They can also be therapeutic.

Long Lifespan

Unlike typical household pets, horses live longer. Depending on the breed, they can live between 25 and 30 years. They have lots of life to share with you.

Animal Care Basics for Owning a Horse
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Animal Care Basics for Owning a Horse

Now that you’re considering all the benefits, let’s not forget the basics of caring for your equine friend.

Council Regulations

Check your local regulations for keeping horses, and ensure your property is suitable for these majestic creatures.

Environment

Provide shelter with shade, protect from rain and wind, and prevent flooding. Horses need space to move, so offer at least an acre of hazard-free pasture.

Food and Water

Grass or hay is the primary diet, but some horses may need special nutrition. Fresh water is a must, and self-filling water troughs are recommended.

Social Interaction & Exercise

Horses are social animals, and they thrive on companionship. Prevent loneliness by having equine friends and engaging in activities.

Basic Items You’ll Need When Owning a Horse

You’ll need grooming tools, a hoof pick, a halter, a lead rope, fly masks, rugs, and more.

Veterinary Care

Keep an emergency vet on speed dial, as horses can have health issues. Regular check-ups and vaccinations are crucial.

With these basics in mind, you’re well on your way to becoming a responsible and fulfilled horse owner. Enjoy the ride!

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