by Hailey Lawson 

OF OUR AMERICAN CULTURE, a horse can be a great way to get outside in the fresh air and get some exercise. Owning a horse can be an enjoyable experience if you make an informed decision. Take your time and consider all the requirements of horse ownership, from what they eat to how much space they need. The truth is, too many first-time horse owners select a horse that isn’t quite right for them. They eventually get frustrated, give up
on horses altogether, and completely miss out on the joy of horse ownership. Horses are a huge time commitment, as well as
a substantial financial commitment. But don’t worry; we are here to help start your adventure. So, get ready to saddle up! Here is a little advice to consider before buying a horse for the first time.

The Right Horse: Your personal safety is the number one priority. You want to buy a well-trained, well-mannered horse with a calm temperament. Your first horse should be one that almost anyone can ride. If not, horse ownership won’t be much fun and just might be dangerous. Before buying a horse, take a few riding lessons. Understanding your riding abilities and limitations will make it so much easier to choose a horse with the right temperament and training. Finally, always have the horse vet checked prior to making a purchase. A pre-purchase exam can reveal health problems that could affect the horse’s performance and quality of life. The exam consists of a thorough physical examination and evaluation. Additionally, the vet will evaluate the horse’s motion for soundness and any evidence of lameness. 

Type of Horse: Horses have been selectively bred for generations to develop breeds with certain characteristics. Some breeds, such as Quarter Horses and Paints, tend to be quieter and more docile. Other


horse breeds tend to be more spirited, such as Thoroughbreds and Arabians. horse breeds tend to be more spirited, such as Thoroughbreds and Arabians. Also, you should know that a stallion is never a good choice for a first-time horse owner. 

For the first-time owner, there tends to be a slight bias in favor of geldings over mares because, as a general rule, they tend to be more reliable and less moody than mares.

Horse Ownership Costs: The costs of owning a horse can add up very quickly. Often, the initial cost of the horse is less than the annual boarding and maintenance costs. Some items that should be budgeted monthly include expenses such as feed and hay, boarding, veterinary care, and hoof care. Additionally, it would be best if you were prepared to pay costs associated with unexpected injury or disease. Other expenses include the cost of tack, such as a saddle, saddle blankets, bridle, and halter, as well as equipment associated with grooming, feeding, and cleaning
(buckets, brushes, forks, etc.). Just know this, when it comes to owning a horse, there always seems to be an unexpected expense–it’s just part of owning a horse!

Horses are definitely a lot of fun, but they also require a lot of work! With an average lifespan of up to 25-30 years, a horse can be a long-time companion but also require a long-term commitment. When you become a horse owner, you accept responsibility for their health and well-being for life. A horse will be part of your life for many years. Invest the time and effort necessary to make your years together rewarding. Do the research, choose your first horse wisely, and enjoy one of life’s most enjoyable experiences. Giddy-up!