So, You Want to Own a Horse?
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU
SHOP AROUND AND FALL IN LOVE…
Responsible horse ownership does not mean a weekend trip to the barn, a few laps around the ring and a quick grooming. Horse ownership is a 365 day a year commitment.
Before you purchase a horse, consider the following facts:
- Horse care is costly and on going.
You must consider much more than the initial outlay to get “set up”. Estimating actual future monthly/annual expenses and factoring them into your horse ownership budget is your crucial first step---something you must do before you ever sign your contract and purchase your first horse. Consider food, vet visits, farrier services and other routine expenses which can easily cost $1,000 or more per month—and that’s if you have your own barn.
If you intend to board your horse at someone else’s barn or farm, add another $500 to $1,000 per month at minimum. In other words, be realistic about your ability to financially properly care for your new companion.
- Horses need exercise.
No horse should spend all day confined to a stall unless under a veterinarian’s order. Horses should have access to a paddock or pasture where they can stroll or relax. The pasture should be bordered by safe, sturdy fencing that will keep the horse safe and secure. Whether you intend to keep your horse on your own property or at someone else’s barn or farm, make sure the facility has adequate exercise space.
- Horses need hoof maintenance.
The cost of a farrier (or blacksmith) is one thing, but it is your responsibility as the caretaker of your horse to make sure that your horse’s hooves are properly trimmed and/or shod. This requires that your farrier look at your horse’s feet every six to eight weeks on average.
- Horses need veterinary care.
As you might imagine, veterinary care for a horse can be costly. Nevertheless, a responsible horse owner will make sure that at least once a year, his horse or horses, are examined, vaccinated and have their teeth inspected. Of course, any unusual or unexpected injury can be very expensive–and you should be prepared for such a scenario.
- You need Purchase/Sale Agreements and Boarding contracts.
If you have read all of the above information and you still want to own a horse you should contact an equine attorney to help you with any contracts the seller may want you to sign or that you may want to have drawn up to protect yourself in the event that post-purchase issues arise…i.e., undisclosed health issues or that the the horse’s condition or abilities had been overstated.
If you intend to board your horse, be sure to have a legal contract with the barn or farm stating the many terms of the agreement.
Legal representation spells out what is expected from both sides and protects everyone involved.