Some of us are lucky enough to have been born into it, some of us may not, but either way owning your own horse for millions of us is a dream come true, and even if some people have to work a darn site harder than others to achieve that dream, they manage it, and thoroughly enjoy it!
Are you thinking of buying your first horse?
Well have a look at some of these light hearted, no offence meant, comical, but true top tips, that may help you in your search.
Starting off seriously:
Finances - can you afford one?
As usual, it’s all about the money folks!
Horses cost money, we all know that, but have you really jotted up the pennies?
It is hugely important to consider how much your new best friend will dip into your purse or wallet after you've purchased him/her. Just some of the things to research and consider are:
* Feed - they eat lots!
* Vet bills
* Stable equipment
* Rugs - they can get through those like we can a packet of hobnobs...
* Saddles and Bridles
* Shoeing - some horses can loose them like we do important football games!
Of course, if you have your own land, stables or your horse can live out all year round, go bare foot etc, the cost is drastically reduced, but some experts estimate, depending on the area in which you live, that the cost can be around £300 per month, can you afford this?
So say the answer to that is yes, have you got the time?!?
As well as money eating machines, our hairy friends are also rather time consuming.
Again, if you are lucky enough to have your own land and stables, where if need be you can leave your four legged friend to frolic around in the free open space of his lush field, then your on to a winner!
If you cannot, and you will require livery, and say its a DIY livery at that, which is cheaper... you may not be quite so chirpy at shovelling your friends poop out at 6 or 7am on a dark wet cold winters morning before work!
And then when you've finished work, going back to shovel it again... and that’s not even including riding in the rain!
Indeed, quite a grim picture perhaps...but on the plus side, the summers can be glorious ambling about on your noble steed getting a fabulous tan.
Pros and cons my dears, and although I’m trying to put a comical take on things, they really are things to seriously consider.
Okay, your are minted, and can’t wait to get covered in mud and get wet in the winters because that beats being stuck in the house anyway.
So you are going to buy a horse...
BE HONEST - Buy a horse to suit your abilities and not your fantasies!
Yes we'd all like to look like we were born in the saddle, some of us nearly were, but thinking you could ride Valegro, and actually being able to ride Valegro are two very different things!
There is absolutely no point in lying to yourself or someone else at being over horsed! You will likely lose money, dignity and your confidence!
Viewing your Horse:
Again - be honest! Do you really know what you are looking for...if you hesitated for a split second then take someone with you who does!
Your instructor, or if you've not got one, ask one to come with you, a friend, your mum, your dad, anyone that has good experience. Unfortunately, with anything in this world there are on times, unsavoury characters out there who would gladly sell spectacles to a blind man if they could. So having an experienced eye to help you, even if your experienced yourself, someone else might spot something you've missed.
Here are my top tips - and they have truth in them:
- Ask as many questions as possible before going to view a horse. Is it good to shoe, load, ride alone, ride in company, get on, get off, will it jump, will it kick, has it bronked, does it rear, can you clip it, has it any previous injuries... it has… how did it do it? Does it cause a problem?
- Will it suit the job I want it for... tell the seller what you want it for!
- Be honest about how good or bad a rider you are, are you nervy, tell them! Are you as bold as brass but useless, tell them! Are you mint, tell them that too but only if you really are and put it more modestly!
- Ask for as much history on the horse as possible; ask to see pictures and videos, past competition results etc.
- If you want a horse with no stable vices, make sure you ask if it has any.
- If you will be keeping the horse by itself, ask if it's ever been by itself before, in the fields and stables...some horses do not like being by themselves.
When you see it:
- If it’s lame don’t buy it!
- If it’s lip is hanging and its asleep – don’t buy it, its probably doped!
- If it’s napping to go out of the yard - hell why would you buy it!!
- Tack it up yourself
- Ask them to ride it first, ask them to jump it first, if they go one way out of the yard, ask them to turn round and go the other way out of the yard!
- If you know you will be wanting to travel your horse to competitions or rides etc, ask to see it being loaded onto a trailer or lorry.
- If you will be riding by yourself mostly, don’t try it riding in company, not to start with anyway.
- If you want to jump no higher than 3 foot ever, don’t ask to see the horse jump a foxhunter track, why bother, there is no need, and if it does you best dip into your pocket a lot further.
- Go quietly with the horse, he knows you as little as you know him, so don’t ask him to do unreasonable things from the get go...you wouldn’t on a first date would you!?
Remember folks, nothing and no one is perfect!
Just because Dave has a splint does not mean you shouldn’t buy him, unless you want to show at HOYS of course, in which case, he probably wont be called Dave anyway!
So he's a bit scruffy, you can tidy him up!
He's a bit steady, lets face it, you’re cracking on into your twilight years yourself and you only want to plod round the village anyway...you may well appreciate him in a year or two.
He's not that pretty, he's got a splint and a head like a bucket and he's grey (you wanted black)... yea but he's for your 10yr kiddie, he's as safe as houses, and jumps like a stag round a show jumping course blindfolded!
Don’t get above your station, everything has flaws, and a few of them do not make a bad horse.
In saying that.... don’t be one of those people that are determined to buy the first horse they see whatever!
He's the most gorgeous steed you've ever set eyes on, you've pictures of him on your fantasy wall.
TRUTH - he naps like nobodies business when you ask him to do anything he doesn’t want to, you failed to get him out of the yard but he went lovely in the school, you want to ride by yourself 4 days a week - SERIOUSLY don’t be so dull, Dave would be by far the safer option!
You are looking for something to enjoy your retirement on, fun rides, low level RC which you want to do next week!! He looks exactly like a horse you owned 60 years ago when you were 14,
TRUTH - is a stunning ex-race horse fresh off the track, nothing wrong with him but he still remembers his previous job and needs re-schooling and time - IT WAS 60 YEARS AGO! - Are you being sensible?? Why not try Dave!
You’re looking for a project, to do a bit of everything within time. No rush, your experienced and confident, now then, Dave probably isn’t for you but that ex-racer might just be the ticket!
I hope some of my thoughts have been useful. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below. Good luck with your search.