With Great Riding Comes Great Responsibility: What You Need to Consider About Owning a Horse

March 30, 2022 6 min read

With Great Riding Comes Great Responsibility: What You Need to Consider About Owning a Horse

Owning a horse is a big and exciting step to take for any equine lover. You have perhaps done extensive research on the four-legged pal you want to call your own, and your heart is set on a particular breed that will match your needs perfectly.

Before you go any further, horse ownership is not just a milestone for every equestrian, but it is also a great responsibility. If you have been riding for a while, the reason behind your serious thought on horse ownership may be because of your genuine love for your riding partners—but there’s so much going on “under the saddle” that you need to consider. Even if you employ help, rent lodging, and know of a reputable veterinarian, the responsibilities of owning a horse don’t end simply after you hand over the reins to the stable hand or groom. Here are a few factors to consider before making the commitment to owning a horse:

Breed and pedigree matter in owning a horse

The reasons behind the price tag of each equine vary, but the main reasons would be the breed and lineage of each horse. An American Quarter Horse would be much easier to come by than an Akhal-Teke. Some breeds are indigenous to certain parts of the world, so if you’re lucky to find the breed you’ve always wanted, there will be extra precautions and care necessary for particular breeds that each owner must be prepared for.

When it comes to lineage or pedigree, if the riding partner you’re eyeing is a thoroughbred with two champion racers as their parents, then buying a horse like that would be astronomical compared to a yearling with no famous or champion parents. Expensive horses usually have excellent lineage or breeding. For winners, Olympians, and the sort, their value does go up with every win because they will be bought in the hopes of creating little winners, as well.

If you’re seeking to own your first horse, especially if you’re a few years into riding, finding a yearling or a full-grown horse that will suit your needs and riding style is the best way to go, not the number of ribbons or parentage.

Does age matter?

Yes, the age of your equine partner matters because the level of care and attention to the horse changes depending on several factors, including age. The care you have to give to a yearling will be different from that of a 7-year old riding pal. Usually, by a certain age, a four-legged buddy would have already received specific training or work, or perhaps will have entered horse shows or undergone childbirth, injuries, or other life altering experiences, which all add up to their possible price.

Before owning a horse, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you have the means to sustain a horse well?

Let’s face it: riding is not a hobby that many can afford. In fact, it is downright expensive. From the horse riding lessons to having someone braid your equine partner’s mane, there are costs connected to everything related to horses.

But, if you are already thinking of owning a horse of your own, you perhaps have the means and the disposable income necessary to provide for your four-legged friend’s needs and wants. If you are wondering how much it would cost to own a horse, check out this comprehensive guide: The Ultimate Expense Guide To Horse Ownership

2. Do you have the time to spend with your equine partner?

It’s one thing to have an hour or two to ride your four-legged pal on weekends, but it’s completely different when you’re their proud owner. Would you have more time to spare for them, from tacking them up yourself to bringing them to the vet? Horses value the time you spend with them and they remember those who treat them with kindness and respect. If you will be purchasing a horse but then end up paying for others to care for them and spend more time with your equine than you do, then perhaps you should rethink buying a horse of your own.

3. Do you have the appropriate horse boarding or stable for your horse to call their home?

If you have your own farm, then having a dedicated stable hand or groom, among other necessities, will come in handy for your newly owned equine.However, if these are not available, do some research on the different types of horse boarding or lodging. Rates would depend on the type of boarding service you will choose for your horse, which range from full-care boarding to self-care boarding.

4. Are you equipped to properly address their health, nutritional, and grooming needs?

Having a dedicated veterinarian that you and your equine partner are both comfortable with is very important. Vaccinations, consultations, medicines and other medical concerns are vitalin not just keeping your four-legged friend in tiptop shape, but also adding years to your equine’s life. A horse veterinarian can help prevent life-threatening conditions from worsening or from even happening.

A daily feeding plan is usually created by your horse’s nutritionist, with the approval of your equine’s vet and implementation of your stable hand or of yourself. This feeding plan will depend on your equine’s needs as a balance of feeds and what they get from the pasture, if available.

Also read: Your Horse Is What It Eats: A Comprehensive Guide To Healthy Nutrition For Equines

When it comes to grooming, have a farrier on call to care for your four-legged pal’s hooves. It’s much more complicated than cutting nails; there are correct ways to shape, size, and place the nails on your horse’s hooves. As for braiding your horse’s mane, while this isn’t a prerequisite, it helps your equine partner look neat, keeps them from excessively sweating, and is a requirement in some horse shows. You can also learn to do it yourself—it’s a wonderful bonding experience for you and your four-legged bestie!

5. Do you have a fully-stocked tack box or tack room?

An online tack store, tack shop, or a riding warehouse is every equestrian’s version of Disneyland, but it’s just not feasible to make a store-run every time your equine urgently needs something. What’s more, there will always be a waiting period between delivery of quality tack to your doorstep. When you are the proud owner of a horse, you may have an existing, fully-stocked tack box, but this will definitely need to turn into a tack room. All your four-legged friend’s supplies need to be in one place, with enough space for you and your stable hands to move and find what you’re looking for. Click here if you need to equip or build your tack room with quality tack. 

Also read: An Extensive Guide To Investing In High Quality Horse Tack 

6. What is the reason behind needing to own a horse?

All riders love equines, but it does not follow that all equestrians have the capacity to be horse owners. While it may seem like the logical next step after riding for a few years, and perhaps you have the means and ability to provide for the needs and wants of your four-legged friend, you have to first ask yourself: “Why do I want to become a horse owner in the first place?”

As mentioned earlier, breeding and pedigree affect the pricing of an equine. Your horse can be considered as a long term investment, but some horse owners—as you will probably get to relate to—treat their four-legged pals as part of their family, making it difficult to eventually sell them or treat them like assets to liquidate.

If you want to own a horse to be able to have a dedicated training partner or show partner, there are other things to consider, such as their age, breed, and any previous training or lessons. The training of an equine will also be factored into their price.

Also read: The Show Must Go On: What To Expect In Your First Riding Competition 

While love and passion for equines and everything about the horse world will greatly help, being rational about your reasons behind being a horse owner is still the wiser thing to do. Is it because there is a particular horse you want to adopt? Have you been riding or training with that one equine so much that you have developed a special, indescribable bond? A good, solid reason behind becoming a proud horse owner will help get you through the difficulties you will face.

Horse ownership is a milestone to celebrate. It’s a big step that needs to be taken with both your head and heart. Taking another living, breathing being under your wing must never be taken lightly, and being as prepared as possible is key to treating your equine right. There will be mistakes and surprises along the way for sure, but when you approach equine ownership with as much knowledge, experience, and practice, you will be better equipped to handle both the smooth and the bumpy rides ahead.

If you’re ready to prepare for the arrival of your new horse, tap the button below for the tack essentials they will need!