Having your own horse is the dream of every rider who is passionate about riding and especially about horses. However, it is not a trivial act, because it commits the owner on the long term morally, but also in terms of the price of the horse and the equipment.
Owning a horse : the right questions to ask
If you want to own your own horse, take some time to think about finding the right horse for you. But before you do, ask yourself these 4 simple questions :
- Do I have the time to look after a horse ?
- Do I have the budget to buy a horse, but also to maintain it ?
- veterinary expenses (occasional or not)
- Riding lessons.
- Do I have the essential knowledge to look after my horse ?
- Do I have the level to ride and train my horse well ?
Then, think further :
The horse is a sensitive being and not a moped that you put away in a corner and take out when you have some time to spare :
- You must therefore be available, even very available, to give him the care and affection he needs.
- He takes up a lot of your family life, your work and your other leisure activities.
- Whether your horse is staying at home or in a riding school, you will have to look after him and ride him regularly, even if you are tired or in cold or wet weather.
- A crucial point is the very high financial burden in the very long term :
- Will you have the necessary budget during all this time, knowing that life can bring hard times (cost of children's studies, separation, redundancy, change of life) ?
- The bill can also quickly become very expensive if your partner has complications or falls ill.
Your balance, your happiness and that of your horse depend on all these questions.
Finding the right horse for you
There is an old saying in horse riding : "Young horses are old riders, young riders are old horses. It is important to take this into account when choosing your horse in order to avoid problems :
- Let's not forget that this beautiful animal weighs about 1100 pounds ! It is therefore preferable to master it and to show technique in the arena, in the riding school, but also outside.
- The objective is to obtain a rider/horse pair that trusts each other and is reliable. The rider must learn from the horse and vice versa. One of the two must also be more experienced. If neither of them has the skills to ride or help the other to progress, you are heading for disaster and a lot of disappointment.
Good to know : a young horse requires much more experience and patience to break in and train.
Having a horse : 4 criteria for choosing a horse
Taking stock of your expectations
Some breeds are more suited to certain equestrian disciplines than others. It is therefore wise to take stock of your needs and expectations, even if many horse breeds are versatile. Which discipline would you like to work on with your future companion: dressage, outdoor riding ? This is an important point because you will not practice the art of dressage with a quarter horse that is more associated with western riding. It is also difficult to do jumping with a Breton horse that is more suited to driving.
Male or female ?
The choice of the sex of the horse is also to be taken into account. For a male horse, there is a choice between a gelding (neutered horse) and a stallion :
- A gelding that has been neutered has a quieter temperament.
- The gelding, having been neutered, has a calmer temperament, whereas the stallion is much more spirited :
- It is more difficult to work near a mare, especially if the latter is in heat.
- The same applies to his housing: he cannot be placed in the pasture with mares and even less with geldings that he will want to dominate or even attack.
- Finally, the stallion is rather reserved for breeding.
As for a mare, she shows a lot of character when she is in heat.
The size and weight of the horse
The horse is adapted to the rider's height and build :
- A large, heavy horse is perfectly suited to a tall, corpulent person.
- On the other hand, for a child or a small person, a Camargue or a Fjord is preferred.
The cost of insurance
Of course, a horse must be insured, because accidents can happen. Let's not forget that horse riding is a risky sport. The cost of an appropriate insurance policy should therefore also be taken into account.
Horses : a passion that requires an investment
Having a horse is an accessible dream once you have taken all these parameters into account. But even once you have taken the plunge, the investment is still complete. Keep in mind that :
- Your beautiful companion requires constant attention.
- This beautiful, gentle-looking 1100 pounds pet can't sleep on your sofa, so you have to find a home for it.
- Your whole life is turned upside down and you have to make many sacrifices.
However, if you don't jump in on a whim, and if you fully appreciate all that is involved, it is truly wonderful to have your horse to share this complicity and love that only you can understand.