Horse share: Everything you need to know
By Katherine Lord
Friday 07 September 2012
More and more people these days are looking for horse shares, whether it is for financial reasons, time, or both. Finding a horse to share is almost as tricky as finding a horse to buy, although there is much less choice.
Certain questions need to be considered: What is the right size horse for you? Location? What days can you do? How much of a financial commitment can you afford?
Do you want the opportunity to compete or just to have fun? Looking at websites such as Horsemart and checking out the notice board in your local tack shop are ideal and easy ways to find a horse to suit you in your area.
Sharing is a great way to move on from a riding school, or just to have the experience of having a horse without the full commitment. A trial period is key, for both you and the owner to trust each other and make sure it is going to work.
Picking a sharer is as important for the owner, if not more so, than it is for you picking a horse. They need to be able to know that they can leave their horse in your care and not worry. Going down to the yard with the owner for a few weeks is an ideal way to get to know them, the horse, and what they expect.
One question I frequently get asked is “why do you give a financial contribution as surely you are doing the owner a favour by looking after and riding their horse a few days a week?”
This is an interesting debate and is personal choice. Some see stable chores as enough, especially if you are experienced enough to school their horse well too.
Others need a financial contribution to keep their horse. We all know that horses are expensive to keep, so it does not seem unreasonable that a sharer should help with the cost as part of the privilege of having a certain amount of freedom with that horse, especially if the owner is giving up some of their riding. I have experienced both views while sharing.
The way I justified any contribution was that I got to ride more days for the cost or less than that of a lesson, and if I was the only one riding the horse then it seemed only fair that I paid for the shoes, for example. All of this depends on situation and personal preference, but it is rare that sharers don’t have to pay something towards the upkeep of the horse.
Although horse sharing can be fantastic, it can also be tricky. You have to be prepared to do things the owners’ way. If they allow you quite a bit of freedom, that’s great, but it is, after all, their horse and they will probably feel quite protective! If you don’t like to be told how to care for a horse, then perhaps sharing isn’t for you.
Most owners will be happy to let you get on with things on the days that you share, but a certain amount of respect for their opinions and way of doing things is necessary. It can be extremely rewarding when you and an owner can help each other, and enjoy loving and caring for the same horse. Sharing a horse can lead to great partnerships and friendships between both people and horses.
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