You've been dreaming of owning your own horse and now you're ready to buy one. You would like to get a youngster so you can develop a bond and learn together. Or you want him to have very little or no training so you can start with a 'clean slate'.
And, of course, you're dreaming of having an amazing partnership with your horse, aren't you?
Unfortunately, that dream can become a night mare if you buy a horse that is the wrong match for you – particularly if you believe any of the myths commonly believed by first time horse buyers.
Here are 3 common myths about buying a young horse that get first time horse owners in trouble and, more importantly, a reality check for each one.
Myth # 1 – A young horse costs less than an older, more experienced one. You may be able to buy a young horse for less money, but any money saved will be spent on training (and then some!) It takes years to train a horse well and no time at all to teach him unwanted and unsafe behaviors. Riding lessons and horse training can cost thousands of dollars. And, there is no guarantee that you'll end up with the equine partner of your dreams.
Reality Check – Budget to purchase an older horse that already has training and experience doing the type of work you desire. You'll save money in the long run, you'll both be happier, and you'll have a better partnership.
Myth # 2 – You will learn together and develop a stronger bond. There is a well used saying in the horse world that "green on green equals black and blue". You cannot learn to ride or improve your own riding skills while working with a horse with no or very little training. Young horses deserve to have an experienced rider who has the knowledge and riding skill to train them correctly. Riding has inherent risk at all levels. This risk is exponentially increased when an inexperienced rider is on an inexperienced horse.
Reality Check – Riding is a partnership and one of the partners should know more than the other. Green riders learn more, faster and develop more confidence when partnered with a well-schooled, experienced horse with a patient, forgiving temperament for their first equine partner.
Myth # 3 – An older horse will cost more to maintain. While some older horses may need extra supplements and some TLC to keep their bodies healthy and comfortable, these are generally not expensive (and are certainly less expensive than the cost of training a young horse properly). Unexpected veterinary expenses happen with horses of all ages. Even youngsters get sick and injured through youthful exuberance, inquisitiveness and poor decisions.
Reality Check – Horses like people are living longer and staying healthier than they used to. Regardless of their age, they all require regular farrier and veterinary care, and proper nutrition appropriate for their stage of life. These regular expenses as well as unexpected veterinary expenses should be included in your horse keeping budget.
"Having a horse that can be your teacher, partner and friend – this is a dream come true."