Horse ownership is a huge commitment. While many people dream of having their own horse, many don’t understand the enormous responsibility that goes with it. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at everything you will need for your equine pet. Make sure you give it a read before making your decision.
Horses need a lot of outdoor space to keep in shape and stay healthy – but they need an indoor retreat, too. You will need a grassy field to use as a paddock, which you should fence off securely, just in case your equine friend decides to wander off. If you don’t have a lot of space on your land, you could opt to keep your horse at a livery.
There are many different types of arrangements that you can make, depending on how much responsibility you want for yourself. For example, you could have the livery take care of your horse’s daily needs, or you could just pay them for lodging. Livery costs can be anything up to and around £400 per week, depending on the services you use.
One major problem that comes with buying a horse is that one is not often enough. Horses are herd animals by nature and crave company. If you purchase a horse and keep them alone, it can have a dramatic effect on them. They are easily depressed, and once their moods start to drop, it can have grave consequences for their health. So, unless you intend to buy two horses, I would suggest that you use a livery. Your horse will have a much better life there with other horses and animals.
Choose a livery, and you will have a ready-made shelter. However, if you are keeping horses in your field, you are going to have to arrange something. When horses spend too long in a field, it can have a detrimental effect on their health. They can put on weight and can be exposed to many conditions such as laminitis. So, make sure you give them a nice shelter or stable that can protect them from the elements. The cost can vary, and the cheapest method is to build your own.
Horses need to eat a lot of food and tend to prefer it in little amounts, often. As a rough guide, you can expect to spend around £20-25 on bags of baileys, the same on high-fibre cubes, and a few bundles of hay. You’ll also want to consider something like Topspec Calmer if your horse suffers from anxiety issues. Overall, you can easily spend over £100 per month on feed alone.
Your barn needs a lot of equipment to keep it clean. If you let things slip, it will affect your horse’s health. You will need pitchforks and shovels for mucking out, a broom, and lots of buckets and containers for food and water. If you want to save some money, look into the second-hand market.
Make sure you have a wheelbarrow, too. A lot of the clearing up you do will be bulky, so it will save you time – and your back.
Bales of hay are also recommended – horses will use them to eat and sleep on. However, there are also rubber floor mats that you can pick up for around £30 if you want a more permanent solution. Finally, don’t forget a horse coat. Your equine friend will need one during the colder winter months.
Horses need a lot of looking after to stay healthy, and a large part of that comes from their grooming. You will need a broad range of ‘beauty’ products such as a body brush, a comb for their mane, and a hoof pick. A halter and rope are going to be handy for leading them out to clean.
If you have your horse shoed, you will need to have regular checkups – anything from once every four to six weeks is typical. Also, don’t forget about internal grooming. Horses can have serious problems with worms, so make sure they are having tests on a regular basis.
They may also need to go on a course of medication – use Equest Wormer or something similar. These types of medicines come in gel or tablet form, so settle on something your horse feels comfortable with.
Traveling with any pet can be awkward, but even more so when it’s bigger than you. You will need to invest in some equipment so that you can transport your horse. Even if you don’t envisage taking it for a ride, you have to prepare for any eventuality.
A horse trailer can cost anything from £2,000 upwards, although you may find something cheaper second-hand. If you are planning on moving your horse a lot, then it might be wise to invest in a proper horse box. They are more expensive than trailers but will provide a far higher level of comfort for your horse.
For most people, there is little point in owning a horse unless you plan on riding it. With this in mind, you are going to need to stock up on plenty of equipment for your horse – and yourself. Make sure you have a saddle – including jumping saddle pads, all-use saddle pads, or a gel half pad for your horse, depending on the purpose you’re training your pet. You’ll also need a girth and cinch, a Martingale strap, some stirrups, and a bridle.
Most importantly, though, you will need a reliable set of reins to make sure you can control your horse. You will need a good pair of riding boots and a pair of comfortable breeches. You could get away with wearing regular trousers or jeans if pushed, but you can expect some discomfort. A riding hat is essential to protect against head injuries from falls, and it might be a good idea to get a body protector, too.
Ok, so that’s all we have for you today. As you can see, there are plenty of costs involved – and a lot of equipment to buy. Of course, we haven’t even taken into account one of the other expenses – your time. Unless you are intending to place your horse into a livery, looking after it will take up a lot of your time. However, if you have the time and money, owning a horse – or preferably at least two – is a wonderful experience.