Are you thinking about getting a horse? After all, they’re such fantastic, fun loving animals. But like any pet, there’s a lot that goes into owning one. As thus, we’ve put together a list of 5 things you may not have thought about before making a purchase.
Like humans, horses have a need to “make friends.” This doesn’t mean they need a social network of animals to exchange “gossip” with; it means you’re their companion as much as their caregiver. They look to you for emotional needs, and when unfulfilled may mentally deteriorate and express this through anxious behavior. If you’re planning to keep the horse in a stable, consider getting another animal to accompany him, such as a cat. This will reduce her stress when left alone.
Horses are born with temperaments. This may be a positive or negative set of qualities. For example, Quarter Horses are easy-going and nice, while Arabians are stubborn and hard-headed. While it’s true you can train disobedient animals to behave, it’s not so easy to alter their underlying attitudes. Therefore, it’s very important to find one that matches your level of experience. Bear in mind some owners may drug their horses when selling (particularly at auctions), thus making the animals appear more obedient than they are.
Horses require more care than many think. Beyond grooming, foot trims and daily exercise, they need regular vaccinations and dental care. In addition, it’s particularly important to check for intestinal parasites (such as tapeworms). As a new owner, you may want to have your veterinarian drench the horses stomach upon purchase to help manage this. On top of that, ensure clean, cool water is available and quality food is at his disposal.
You may know horses need horseshoes, saddles and grooming equipment. But it’s all the little things that often slip our mind. For example, making sure we have a head collar, lead rope, saddle blanket and mouth-bit at hand. The mouth-bit is very important as a horses mouth is quite sensitive, so make sure you find one that fits well. To find the perfect fit, ensure the bit doesn’t put too much pressure on her tongue, lips or roof of her mouth.
Before buying a horse, it’s very important to make sure he’s healthy. There’s many things to look for, and there’s many dishonest sellers that will try to mask it. The best course of action is to have the animal examined by a veterinarian. Think of it as buying a car: It might drive good, until two weeks when its in the shop. So having him taken in for inspection will avoid this potential risk.
Just make sure you have the time and affection to care for your horse and you’ll make a great owner, and him a great companion. And don’t worry– it’s not as complicated as it all sounds. You’ll do fantastically!