Your child is begging for a pony, and you’re beginning to give in under the constant pressure. Before you take that leap into horse ownership, there are a few things that need to be set in stone and researched before purchasing a horse or pony.
1. Where will you house your horse?
If you are lucky enough to live in the country with a few fenced acres, you are one step ahead. A horse in your backyard is much easier and cheaper than boarding at a stable. Depending on your location and level of care provided, prices for boarding range from a few hundred dollars a month to well over $1000 per month.
2. Who will be responsible for obtaining veterinarian and hoof care when needed?
Horses require annual vaccinations, routine deworming, and, in some areas, fall vaccinations are recommended. In many states, vaccinations can only be administered by a veterinarian. Veterinarians charge for the vaccines, including a farm call fee, which is similar to paying for a trip to the doctor. In addition to the vaccinations and deworming, horse hooves must be trimmed by a qualified farrier every 6 – 8 weeks to prevent overgrowth.
3. Do you own tack for your horse? What tack do you need?
Tack basics would be a halter, lead rope, bridle, saddle, and a saddle pad. These few items are the absolute bare minimum for horse tack and do not include all the items needed to properly outfit your horse and keep the rider safe. The saddle alone can set you back a few hundred to a few thousand for a quality, well-fitted saddle.
4. Who will teach your child to ride and care for the horse or pony?
If you are not an experienced horseperson, a trainer is an absolute necessity. Lessons from a certified trainer are not cheap, and this is one area that saving a buck is not recommended. A good trainer is worth their weight in gold.
Remember, the purchase price is the cheapest part of horse ownership, but the life lessons learned from caring for the horse are priceless.