Buying Your First Horse
Looking to take on your first horse can be a very exciting time but it can be a roller coaster of other emotions too. Before you take the leap of faith there are a lot of things to take into consideration, including costs, suitability, compromises and the big responsibility. I have just taken on my first horse so here I have put together a guide to help you out, this includes all my thought processes and some extra things to consider…there was more to it than I realised!
There is more of an upfront cost to buying a horse than just the horse itself so here are some questions you need to ask yourself;
-Does your horse come with tack?
-Does he/she come with rugs?
-Do you own the yard essentials? (grooming kit, wheelbarrow, mucking out tools)
If the answer to all the questions above is NO then you need to take these extra costs into consideration concerning your budget…Take your maximum budget and minus the cost of all your extras and this will give you’re your budget for your horse.
Keeping a horse is very expensive! When weighing up the running costs for my horse I put together a word document with all the total costs per month.
-Work out your monthly income on average
-If you have to keep your horse on livery then research local livery fees
-Bedding and hay (not always included in the livery fee)
-Farrier cost (Averagely £70 every 6-8 weeks)
-Hard feed (likely to need extra in winter due to lack of grazing)
Looking for your perfect horse can be a very lengthy process, finding the right horse to suit you and your ability is crucial so here are some of my top tips;
-Think about what you’d like to do with your first horse e.g. Hacking, hunting, show jumping etc.
-Be realistic about your ability, DO NOT overstate it! Over horsing yourself is setting you up to ruin your confidence and to fight a losing battle
-Don’t expect the first horse you view to be ‘the one’, it’s always possible but highly unlikely
-View lots of different horse, you’ll get a better feel for what you do and don’t like. A bad viewing is a good experience!
The likelihood of finding a horse that matches ALL of your ‘wish list’ is slim so be prepared to compromise on certain things, but also think about the things that you won’t compromise on;
-Sex-Some yards will only take mares or geldings and not mix or maybe you don’t fancy a ‘moody mare’
-Age-Taking on a youngster as your first horse may not be suitable
-Breed-Different breeds are better suited to different activities
-Height-Think about your own height and weight and what you’re comfortable with
-Temperament-Are you looking for a dope on a rope or something fun and fizzy?
-Quirks/Vices-Be realistic with what you hate and what you can cope or work with e.g. bucking, rearing, napping, kicking, biting, loading issues etc.
Before making the payment straight away there are some other things to consider;
-Second viewing-Take someone else with you (who knows your riding ability and that you trust) and get their opinion
-Vetting-No vetting, 2 stage or 5 stage? This is a personal preference and I feel it also depends on the horse’s price.
-Negotiating the price-A good owner will always say ‘Home is more important than price’ so if they think you’re good enough to take on their horse then the price is likely to be up for negotiation
-Go with your gut feeling! Don’t be afraid to say no, even at the last minute, if you’ve not got a good feeling about it all
My first horse
Never in a million years did I think that I’d have bought a 17.1hh thoroughbred ex racer, I compromised on his height and breed when everything else was pretty much spot on and now I couldn’t be happier! To follow my journey with ‘Blues and Twos’ aka Blue, then follow my Instagram @georgie.tucker.eq