What to Expect Before Getting Your First Horse

By PetMD Editorial on Oct. 30, 2008

Have you been obsessed with horses ever since you saw Elizabeth Taylor try to win the Grand National race with her trusted steed “The Pie” in the 1940s film National Velvet? Perhaps you are more intrigued with the mysterious Arabian horse in the classic 1970s film Black Stallion. Whatever the case might be, loving horses and owning horses are two very different things. For one, owning a horse is a lot more time consuming and expensive than you may think.

Apart from vet bills, feed, equipment and other general care expenses, the cost of purchasing the actual horse is going to be more than Paris Hilton’s latest addition to her purebred dog collection. Boarding your horse at a stable can also get pretty expensive, costing you anywhere between $100 to $1,000 a month or more, depending on the quality of the stall and the care provided; i.e., cleaning, feeding, and watering. (Horse owners with a large tract of land or those who live on a farm need not worry about boarding fees.)


One way around the cost of boarding is to buy a horse as a group with a few other people and share in the upkeep of the animal. Or you can join a horse club and go riding til your heart's content.


If the general expenses are not an issue, there are a few things you need to know before purchasing a horse. Spend some time researching and learning about horses. Even if you think you know all there is to know about horses, a little more knowledge is not going to hurt. Consult a veterinarian that specializes in horses, an expert at the local equestrian club, or a friend who has a horse of their own. Any of these people should be knowledgeable on the matter and can help guide you in your decision.


Next, make a list of what you need or desire in a horse. Keep in mind your time limitations, as well as your level of expertise in riding while making the list. It should also only include horse breeds that are within your price range. There is no point looking at horses you can not afford, it will only depress you.


Once you have narrowed down the field of eligible horses, you may want to consider the animal's age and temperament. While a young horse might be more in line with your dreams, an older, more experienced horse is more practical. Upon inspecting the horses, you should also get a feel for their personality. Are they calm? Are they well-mannered? A horse with a difficult personality or unpredictable temperament is not going to suddenly morph into the horse of the year when you buy it. In addition, do not forget to check the animal's health. It is advisable to bring a veterinarian with you to inspect a horse thoroughly, which the seller should comply to.


Now that you have found your perfect horse and prepared for all the logistical issues, you are good to go. Happy riding!


Image via Shutterstock 

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health