Owning a horse is not as simple as throwing up some fence and turning the animal out. A responsible horse owner knows that there are several things to take into consideration before getting one! Here is a list of questions every potential horse owner should know before that purchase!
1. Do you have enough land for a horse? One horse generally requires 2 acres of good pasture land.
2. Do you have outside shelter for the horse so that he isn’t stuck in a stall all the time?
3. Do you have a dry place to store the hay he needs?
4. Is your property safely and securely fenced in?
5. Do you have a place to lock away any grain or horse chow so that he can’t get at it? Horses have been known to eat themselves to death because they managed to get into the horse chow or sweet grain
6. Will you have the time to ride your horse at least a few times a week?
7. Are you willing to go out in all kinds of weather to care for your horse?
8. Do you realize that horses like company and it would be a good idea to get a goat, donkey, or even a pony to keep him company? Horses that are alone all the time will probably spend all their time looking for a way to get out and be with other horses no matter how far away.
9. Do you have anyone who can care for your horse if you are called away or go on vacation?
10. Can you afford to keep a horse? They do require regular vet visits, farrier visits, hay, grain, medicine, de-worming, vaccinations, dental care, and more
11. If there is an emergency illness or accident can you afford to pay for it?
12. Can you afford the equipment you will need? Saddles, bridles, halters, blankets for winter, fly sheets, and all the tools you will need to keep his stall clean? That would be a wheelbarrow, rake, shovel, and a pitchfork, among other things.
13. Do you know that if he gets out and causes any damage to the property of others that you are responsible for those damages?
There are probably a lot more things I can add to this list, but offhand I think that covers the most important information that you need to know before you run out and buy a horse. As fun as it sounds, it is really a lot of hard work to be a horse owner. You have to be totally committed and willing to spend a lot of your free time taking care of this big animal. If you can’t do it, don’t do it! Owning a horse is a huge responsibility and not something to be jumped into on a whim.
If you are okay with what you need to do, then by all means buy yourself a horse. They make great companions, are beautiful, enable you to get a ton of exercise, and are just a pleasure to be around. I know I enjoyed every minute I spent with the horses I owned, and I never regretted for a minute the amount of care I had to provide! In fact, I missed the days of horse ownership very much and often wished I could do it all over again. Even cleaning out those stalls on freezing winter mornings was something I never dreaded. It was good, “clean” fun and one of the very best things about my childhood. Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat!