A Guide to owning your first Horse
Guide to Horses
This is a subject very close to my heart,as I have been involved with Horses all my life.My first pony I got when I was 4yrs old,my older brother was already riding and competing in showjumping events,and I couldn't wait to get going myself,then I started competing when I was approx 5yrs old.By now I compete on a regular basis,I compete up to the highest level Nationally and hopefully in the next couple of years I'll be able to compete at International level.There's a little insight into my knowledge with Horses just to prove i'm in a position to give guidance and help. Enough about me this hub is to inspire others into the Horse world, as it's rewarding and utterly fullfilling.
I will do my best to keep it as informative as possible covering all aspects without going into great detail also as short as possible without being to technical,so here we go.
The saying that "a dog is for life and not just for Christmas" is also true to some extent with Horses.Though you can leave a horse out,as long as you have enough grass for him/her to graze on,you'd still need to keep an eye on him/her,if it's only to give water.
The most important thing you have to remember before venturing into Horses,unlike other hobbies such as ,Biking,Classic Cars,Golf,Football,or Just Cars, these you can keep them in the garage,cupboard under the stairs,or the garden shed,lock the door and take a six month break,with Horses you cannot.Horses are there in your face nagging even if you kept one in livery you'd have to check on it, if it was only once a month,if it was grazing you'd keep an eye out,and give them water.I must admit that Horses are a massive commitment,but if you are prepared for the long haul,then,they will reward you no end,and you can enjoy them,and have fun like no other.First make sure you have adequate room,a large garden would suffice,or better a paddock,or you might stable your Horse,again just a small area for a stable 12ft/12ft internally and room for his/her food.An acre of land is sufficient to keep a Horse if needs be you can always supplement the grazing with hard feed and hay.And a quick simple way to determine how much space Horses living out require, is approx half an acre per extra Horse.
Though you have no experience my next piece of advice would be for you to buy your Horse, reason I say this,you'll be scared of them,you wont have a clue how to handle them,getting a Horse at this time will let you handle your horse,grooming cleaning its feet etc,this will give you confidence in handling,it makes you less scared of them and after a couple of weeks you'll have bags of confidence a great preparation for your riding.When buying I would advice that go to a good reputable dealer,do your best to get a reputable one.Why you should go and buy off a proper dealer is, you have up to 3 months,if the horse is not up to what you want,its lame,whatever you can return it and get another one,Or get a refund.And thats by law.The majority of good dealers will want to help and get it right so you'll go back to buy more.A dealer will sell a Horse that matches you in size,temperament,and in its behaviour,this is the time for you to get ahead spend time with your new best friend,believe me he/she will become your best friend.You can buy a Mare or Gelding,this day and age there's no difference.Trust your dealer,not a so called expert,its you who'll have to live with the horse.Once you get your horse home get yourself and your horse into a strict routine handling it grooming etc.
Tack you need for your horse, just ask people and trial and error,ask the dealer,or,ask in your local riding school.Since you've been handling your horse for 2 to 3 weeks maybe a little more, you'll be eager to get riding asap.
Locate 2 or 3 riding schools in your local area, in saying this, the ones with all the qualifications and are a member of every organisation under the sun are not necessarily the best ones,this doesn't mean that any riding school is good enough,maybe there is someone locally that teaches privately,they have experience and have competed in their chosen discipline with Horses.The dealer could help, trust your instinct and as long as your carefully you should be ok.Remember someone who has competed with Horses have a lot of experience and knowledge,and can teach you things you never knew possible with Horses.With riding you have to be patient it doesn't go as clockwork,and how long you take depends solely on your natural talent.One thing though,do not think that you will improve week after week,that won't happen.A few months in you might hit a sort of plateau,one day you'll ride and feel that it's all going wrong,you feel uncomfortable in the saddle,your Horse doesn't listen and all this can be frustrating but don't let it get to you,keep positive and in no time your riding will come back to you.Because you bought your horse first before starting to ride you'll have a big advantage you will have gained invaluable experience and it will show in the way you ride.It should take in the region of 8 to 12 months for somebody of average natural ability to ride,being competent on horse back,not to afraid to go hacking on your own,or in company with other people hacking out.
All I have done is to brush over the tip of owning your first horse,I have tried to keep it short and to the point and not being over technical.There is nothing like galloping on Horseback across a large open field,but,galloping on the beach is unparalleled for buzz and adrenalin surge.Hopefully in time you might decide to compete in a discipline whatever it might be from,Showjumping,Eventing,Dressage,or Showing whichever one you choose you wont regret it and hopefully be successful.Equestrian is a multi billion industry world wide,yet in this country people find it hard to accept it as a run of the mill sport,like Football,Rugby,Motor Racing etc,there really is a lot to the Equestrian World and it's a shame that it doesn't get the coverage that it deserves like the other sports mentioned,then it would be even better.