When deciding to buy a horse, you need to consider your decision carefully. Purchasing a horse is a serious commitment, with the average horse living anywhere between 20-30 years. There are a number of factors you need to consider, but above all ensure that you have the time and energy to give to your new friend.What to Consider
Make sure that you have enough free time for your new horse. Grooming, feeding, cleaning and medical care all take up a lot of time and energy. You need to be sure that you have enough time to dedicate to your animal. Make sure that the horse will have a good home, which you should organise before purchasing the animal. The easiest place for most people to keep their horses is in a livery yard – unless you are lucky enough to have your own stables!
It’s vitally important that you think of all the expenses associated with owning a horse. Traditionally owned by the upper classes only, there is a reason why horses are associated with the genteel side of society – they are not a cheap animal to own and maintain and represent a huge financial commitment; so do your research!
Budgeting for your Horse’s Needs
Some of the things you will need to budget for include:
- Livery charges for keeping your horse at a livery yard. These can range from £80 to £320 and upwards.
- Hay, bedding and food. Expect to pay around £50 a month for good quality hay for your horse and factor in an additional £50-60 for feed. For bedding, it is best to purchase a rubber mat for around £40 but you will also need hemp or shavings, which cost anywhere from £8-12 a bale.
- Horses need new shoes fitted on average every 6 weeks at a cost of around £90.
- Never underestimate the expense of medical care for your horse. Vets bills can run into the thousands of pounds and equine insurance is vital.
Horses are just like us humans, they need to see the dentist around once every six months, whether they like it or not! Visiting the vet for their annual equine flu and tetanus shots is also a mandatory event.
You should take out third part liability insurance in case your horse damages buildings, land or equipment belonging to someone else. The easiest way to ensure you are covered is to join the British Horse Society for £42 a month as they will provide you with insurance for liability and personal accidents, as well as helplines for legal, tax and VAT implications.
Your horse will need regular worming and it is important to tailor your annual worming program to the individual requirements of your horse. Not only will you need to test for worms regularly, you will also need to manage your horse’s pasture to minimize the risk of re-infection and plan a worm control program, remembering to administer the horse wormers on time. Horse worming advice can be gained from your vet or from the internet; most sites which sell animal wormers should be able to help.
Buying your horse wormers in bulk is a great idea, and purchasing an Equest Pramox Year Pack offers substantial savings on buying each month’s wormer singly (which will cost around £17 a syringe). Horse wormers are available in different formulations and flavours to suit your horse and cheap wormers can often be found online, although always buy from a reputable site! Equimax horse wormer is a popular choice, with scrumptious apple flavoured tablets that your horse will enjoy munching. Or why not try Panacur, a well-known brand now offering equine wormers in an apple and cinnamon flavoured oral paste.
It’s important that you consider all of the above things before you even decide to go and view a horse. Committing to any animal is a big decision, but when buying a horse, you really need to be sure that you can afford to invest the time, energy and love that is required to keep your new friend happy, safe and healthy!
Aimee Coppock, a Freelance Equestrian Writer, has owned horses since the age of 6, when she learned to ride. She has first-hand experience of the commitment required to own a horse and the role that Horse Wormers play in keeping horses happy and healthy.