Home' Smart Farmer : February 2012 Contents O you have made the big
decision to purchase your
first pony or horse.
It might be for yourself, your
child or perhaps even a grandchild
Regardless of who the rider will
be, the reason behind buying a
horse should be sound before a
final decision is made.
Have you worked out a budget?
If you have no experience with
owning or riding a horse who do
you plan on getting advice from?
The initial purchase price is often
the cheapest part of the deal when it
comes to owning a horse. It is all the
things you have to pay for afterwards
that make owning the animal very
A few of the regular costs include
agistment, feed, rugs, saddlery,
wormers, shoeing or trimming, den-
tists, chiropractors, instructors, com-
petition costs, membership fees for
pony club, or other horse groups with
which you may want to be involved.
If you keep a horse at home, you
also need to include the cost of fenc-
ing and paddock maintenance, such
as re-seeding, farrowing or spraying.
While it is simple to ride around a
paddock, you may instead want an
arena, a round-yard or stable and
yards in which to keep your pony,
and these also add up to the cost of
Other types of infrastructure, such
as a shed in which to store hay and
grain, are also important.
The cost of petrol should also be
included if you cannot keep your
horse at home because you will have
to regularly head to their place of
agistment, or if you plan to head out
and compete or ride your horse in a
different location to where you keep
it.It is also essential to have some
money put away in case your steed
injures itself and you need to get the
For such a large animal, horses can
be notorious for cutting themselves or
getting themselves into scrapes that
may require attention.
Once you have considered all these
extra costs and if you decide that you
still want a horse, the next step is to
decide what you need in a horse, then
start looking for one.
Local pony or horse clubs or other
organisations can be a good starting
Many good horses are often not
advertised, but instead sold via word-
Otherwise look in your local paper,
Stock Journal, online or in Horse Deals
(a huge monthly magazine that focus-
es on advertising horses for sale).
Do not expect to buy the first horse
You might have to visit and inspect
dozens of horses before you find the
As a beginner, you should also
make sure not to discount a horse just
because it might be a bit older, or per-
haps a bit plainer than you would
The saying that a good horse is
never a bad colour is also very true.
When trying out a horse, always ask
the owner to ride it first, and be wary
if they refuse or say they cannot ride
because of injury -- because the horse
could possibly be the cause of that!
Always try and take a more experi-
enced horseperson along with you.
Another set of eyes on the ground,
or to help try out the horse, never
hurts and could save you from mak-
ing a hasty purchase you could regret.
Try and ride the horse several times
on different days before making the
decision to buy.
While many sellers are genuine,
there are also people who are not, and
if they are lying about aspects of the
horse or even worse, drugging it to
make it quiet, visiting the horse sev-
eral times to ride it will hopefully
weed these rorts.
I remember one poor horse we vis-
ited, when trying to find a new mount
for my brother.
It was sweating and looked very
crook when we arrived - he had had a
bad reaction to a sedative given to
him before we got there.
We had a quick look but did not
ride him, despite the owner trying to
persuade us nothing was wrong.
Depending on how much you plan
on spending, it can also be very
worthwhile to get a vet check done on
the horse, to ensure it will be able to
perform the tasks or sports you wish
Buyers may have
to visit and
inspect dozens of
Horse ownership, part 2
Carefully consider first purchase
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