Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, June 16, 2013

So You Think You Want to Buy a Horse

So you think you want to buy a horse? I have been in and out of the horse world for a long time and there are some serious pitfalls out there for newbies. So here are my tips to make buying a horse a pleasant experience. First, be real about your horse experience. If you don't have any get some. Read everything you can, talk to trainers, spend time at the local boarding stable, volunteer to muck stalls. I gathered some of my most valuable knowledge mucking out stalls just to be around the horses and trainers. Second what do you want to do with your horse? If you just want to trail ride then you don't need that high dollar (and high spirited) thoroughbred or warm blood. You need something that is sane and solid. The next question to ask yourself is if you can handle the financial end of taking care of a horse. They are large and eat 20-22 hours out of every 24 hour day. Some horses are easy keepers who will do just fine on a quality grass pasture, others need grain hay and pasture to keep on weight. They need routine vet care (vaccines and blood tests) and feet trimming. They need equipment which can get expensive especially bought all at once. They need housing even if just a run in shed and they need fencing. Can you manage that? Then there are the emergencies. One thing you can count on is that if you keep horses long enough there will be an emergency no matter how good the care. Having a herd of horses can be like having a herd of toddlers out looking for trouble. Next when you think you have found that horse of your dreams take someone knowledgeable in horses to look at it with you. This is oh so important as I can not emphasize enough that many(most) horse traders are worse than used car salesmen. I have seen it all in that arena. I have seen traders drug horses that were nut cases and sell them as children's mounts and never once blink an eye. I have seen them drug horses so that they are sound on the test ride knowing that horse was lame as the day is long. If it can be done I have seen it done. If someone is pressuring you to buy a horse don't walk away run away. If they have a quality animal then they don't need to pressure you into buying it. The pressure comes when they want to get it off the property before the drugs wear off. Buy your saddle after you buy the horse...not every saddle fits every horse. A bad fitting saddle usually leads to a bad tempered horse as riding is associated with pain. 1000 lbs of bad temper is not pleasant for anyone and those are the horses that wind up at auctions or just standing in a pasture eating money. Find a farrier and a vet as soon as possible. Knowing who to call before you need to call is much nicer than searching around and being stuck with what you can get. The farrier that I used when we first moved here was great, then he decided he didn't want to be a farrier anymore. The next one I got was awful and my horses hated him. I have been through the gamut of farriers that were cruel and abusive, scared of hyper horses, didn't know what they were doing and bad trim and shoeing jobs. I had a vet that killed my daughter's first pony because she was ill after a choking incident and he poured an entire gallon of an electrolyte and glucose solution into her lungs because he was too lazy to check and make sure that the tube was not in her lungs. She drowned as my daughter and I watched and he drove out my driveway. So doing some asking around and finding out the good bad and ugly can help you know who you are calling before you have an emergency. If you have covered all those bases then go get your horse, it's a buyers market out there right now and there are loads of horses looking for just the right home. Of course, there are ways to keep horse cost to a minimum and we will discuss that next time. Blessings, Kat

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