If you’re considering bringing a horse into your life for the first time, it’s wise to create a checklist that will help you organize how you’ll be spending your resources in the years ahead. As you plan your venture, it’s important to take into account the horse’s age, breed, and future purpose as you list the necessities for maintaining it. The climate in which you live is equally important. These factors will help you determine special needs the horse will have. Remember that the previous owner may have records and documentation to pass on to you. This person may also be able to put you in contact with the horse’s previous vets, trainers, and farriers. When you do purchase your horse, you may want to negotiate for its tack and other accessories as part of the deal. With this in mind, it’s time to look at what preparations must be made.
Line Up the Experts
Choose your vet. You may or may not use the horse’s standing vet; yet, it is imperative that its medical history be released to your vet. If you need recommendations for vets and farriers, check with your friends and neighbors for professionals in your area. You may want to keep the horse’s regular trainer. It’s likely that you’ll need training too, so be comfortable with the person you choose. Speaking with the experts beforehand will help you estimate the costs of keeping the horse healthy.
Keep emergency contacts in mind here, as well. For some medical issues, such as Equine Colic, you may only have hours to intervene. Having a vet available 24/7 is a must.
Compare prices of hay, feed, and supplements in stores and online. While you’re making a shopping list of what you’ll buy frequently and occasionally, add to it storage containers, feeders, automatic waterers, and the like that you’ll need to have in place the first day your horse arrives.
Sheltering in Shared Stable or Solitude
Do you now have a stable ready on your property or is construction needed? Will the horse stay at its current boarding stable? Find out those costs, as well as what it will take for you to travel there. Wherever you decide to keep your horse, it is going to impact your current lifestyle. As you make this decision, take into account that you may need to transport the horse at some point. Figure this into your plan.
Exercise and Fitness
When you turn out your horse, it will need to be in a safe enclosure. Water containers are needed and add to your shopping list toys like an empty plastic barrel for kicking or a ball for your horse to toss. If your horse will be working in the field or riding along a trail, you’ll need the appropriate gear like leads, tack, and reins. You yourself may need riding attire, a helmet, gloves, and perhaps spurs.
Common Useful Accessories
You’ll probably find your shopping list has grown quickly as you start to realize all of the useful tools and accessories both you and your horse will need. Like your own toiletries and wardrobe, the horse needs many things to keep it looking and feeling great. Brushes are a must, and detangling spray may be helpful too. If you choose to put a raincoat on your horse or to blanket it, you’ll find many types varying in materials and insulative powers. You’ll find various eye protection for keeping out flies or UV rays, and leg wraps and boots come in handy for certain activities and will be useful if the horse must be transported in a trailer. Leg protection helps prevent scrapes that come easily when a horse isn’t used to being hauled. In case of accidents like this, put together a first aid kit for treating minor injuries you or the horse may encounter.
Assistance with Responsibilities
Times will come when you cannot be present to care for your horse. For instance, you may leave town on a family vacation and not be able to provide the daily attention your horse needs. Who will step in to take care of these responsibilities when you are away? Find this person and negotiate fees for services.
Rein in Your Budget
Horse ownership will take a great deal of time and money. Be sure you can afford the basic essentials your horse will need before you commit to any sale. Have your supplies ready before your horse arrives. Put the idea of horse ownership out to pasture until you are ready to give this kind of dedication to such a deserving creature.