One of the best thing about living on a farm is that you have so much land to enjoy. Most homesteads have numerous fields which have been in the family for generations. Some of them are used for farming crops, others have livestock, but you still might have some wasted land lingering around.
In which case, you may consider getting a few new animals for your family. Regular readers will know we discussed alpacas a few weeks ago, but what about horses? Is your family ready to have a horse? Let’s find out, by looking at a few key points:
The cost of owning a horse
Firstly, horses cost money – just like any other animal. You can’t adopt a horse, and they usually cost a pretty penny. Then, you must consider all the other elements of horse ownership. Thankfully, you already have a field to provide them with constant food and exercise. However, you still need to think about horse equipment – not to mention all the clothing for you and your kids. You need helmets for everyone that rides the horse, along with saddles – and who can forget the riding boots. As it mentions on the Bareback Footwear website, you might need high and small riding boots depending on the conditions. It all adds up to some pretty substantial costs of owning a horse. It’s up to you to run the numbers and see if your family can handle it.
The added responsibility
Looking after a horse isn’t an easy task. While they can become relaxed creatures, they may be less than happy to comply when first seeing you. Their sheer size also makes it quite daunting to change horseshoes, groom them, and so on. Now, you have to realise that all of this happens regularly. Your horse will need looking after all the time, so someone has to go out and see that they’re okay. Let’s be honest, your kids can’t do this on their own; they’re far too small. So, you have to ensure that one of the adults can commit to the added responsibility of having a horse. If you’re already busy, this might not be the best move to make. They need mucking out at least once a day and this happens 365 days a year. So think in the freezing, dark mornings and evenings of winter will be spent outside in a stable.
The reason for getting the horse
Why do you want a horse? Will your children learn how to ride and enter competitions? Is it just a pet? Horses aren’t like other pets where you can get one and enjoy their company all the time. If you don’t intend to ride your horse – even casually – then what’s the point in having it? Your kids can’t spend much time around them unsupervised, so you basically just waste money on a poor animal that stays in a field. Even if you do get a horse for riding purposes, be sure that people are actually going to stick to it. Too many families buy a horse, enjoy it for a year or so, then get bored with the hobby. It’s not fair on the horse to put them through this. On the other hand, horse ownership is usually a social thing if you keep your horse on a yard. Looking after them keeps you fit and, for those teenage years, they certainly take up enough time for keeping older children out of trouble.
Think about these three points before deciding if a horse is right for your family. It could be an amazing idea that everyone will enjoy, or it might be a massive mistake. The key is figuring this out before you make a commitment. It might even be worth loaning a horse before you commit to buy.
*This is a collaborative post