What are the downfalls to owning a horse?
This of course, if you have the means and the room to have one.
Life is never the same once you become a horse owner, horsey bore amongst your friends and the man/woman in your life gets used to having their dinner late on the table.
Gone are the days that you smell sweetly and don't have broken finger nails, gone are the days that you can go out in the wind and still return with a decorum of dignity. Or you can answer the phone when it immediately rings. Shopping becomes an even more mammoth visit, as you take in the equestrian warehouse too, and your car groins with the weight of hard feed sacks, bales of haylage and so many supplements that you can store in your boot.
Sunday morning lie in? Certainly not, as you hear the melodious neigh telling you that breakfast is required, after which pyjamas need changing for an outdoor coat and the ice needs breaking from the water supply. Then there is the endless supply of manure that needs picking up, the bales of shavings feel heavier as the day goes on, and as for the steaming muck heap at the bottom of the field almost out of site, but always needs managed or else your lovely green pasture grows nothing but dandelions and nettles. The fencing needs to be kept in good repair, the ragwort has to be removed before it takes seed again, and the horse box if you own one costs a fortune to keep on the road with tax and PSV.
Do you know what, none of this matter when you see the face of your horse light up when you walk into his field, or the fact that he runs straight to you almost knocking you over? Or the companionship and forgiveness he offers even when you get out of bed with two heads. Horse ownership is what you make of it and I truly wish someone could copy the smell of manure as a perfume, it would be a best seller to all of us silly, but happy horse owners.
First of all, horses are extremely expensive. My trainer pays $200 a month, per head, just to feed them.
Horses need the farrier every 6-8 weeks, even if not shod. They need to see the vet twice a year for shots. Most horses need dental care every 1-2 years, but this can be highly variable. Riding horses also benefit from the attention of a chiropractor.
Some horses need supplements to stay in good physical and mental health and older horses may require routine medication - just like older people.
Being creatures of routine, horses like to be fed at the same time every day...regardless of whether that's convenient for you or not. (I've known horses who will wait at the gate for their owner at the time he or she normally shows up..and get mad if they don't).
Horses are not particularly clean animals, and neither are horse owners.
I was raised with horses. I owned one or two till I was 17. I miss being around them a lot. Once you own a horse, and you fall in love with that way of life, you gladly make the sacrifices. They are expensive to keep up. When I had horses in Florida, the biggest pain in the neck was the bugs (mosquitoes and horseflies). Up north seemed to be better surroundings for horses. There were also more interesting places to ride up north than were I currently live now. But If I had the money, I would definitely own a horse again. Once it is in your blood, you can't get it out of your system. Even when I did not own horses, I helped out a local ranch when I got off of work every day, just so I could be around them again.
We have the room and the initial funds but a horse in Montana would be a lot of work. In the valley here, it is difficult to get hay, much less good hay. We do not have a large animal vet in town, or a horseshoer, and during the winter we would have to get a warmer for water, or chip ice daily for their water to be free flowing. Also tromping through the snow to feed would get old.
We used to raise horses but we were in Calif. and the weather was conducive to have them.
Plus they seem to be accidents waiting to happen!!
It really depends on where you live and how much money you have to spend per month on the things needed to care for a horse. Depending on what kind of horse you want, the cost of the animal is the least of your expenses. You have to take into account if you have a place for the horse, like a pasture, pen or corral, a barn for shelter and to keep hay and feed. What will you feed the horse - is there enough grass where you live or will you need to buy feed and hay on a regular basis? What type of tack will you need? A bridle, pad and saddle are a must. Will the horse have to be shod? You will need to find a farrier for that. Owning a horse is a big responsibility, there are many aspects to it.
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