The cost of buying a horse varies depending on the particular horse or pony. Factors include their age, experience, purpose, breeding, potential, height and even colour, but the price can range anywhere from a few hundred to several hundred thousand pounds. It is important to look through many horses and ponies who fit the profile of what you require so you can gain an understanding of what your budget should be.
Please remember that in addition to the purchase price, there are ongoing costs associated with keeping a horse, such as stabling fees, veterinary care, farrier services, feed, rugs, tack and so on.
Are horses easy to train?
Horses possess an incredibly trainable attitude, depending on the individual animal and the type of training employed. To achieve successful results, it is essential to approach a horse's training with patience and respect - understanding their needs, abilities and limitations.
Even though horses and ponies can be trained to do many jobs, it is important to consider that each individual has their own personality and set of attributes that build up a profile of what discipline(s) they might be suitable for. Understanding this is the first step on the journey into moulding your horse or pony.
The most important aspect is the quality and experience of the person responsible for training the horse or pony. You cannot expect a horse to learn any skill if the person teaching doesn’t have a complete understanding of what they are asking, how they are asking, and why they are asking that of the horse. If you are planning to train a horse or pony yourself, you have to be honest about your own limitations and when you need the help of a more qualified trainer.
As much as the quality of training is more important than the time spent, it is still vital that whoever is training the horse or pony is willing to commit ample time to teach the horse what you want them to learn. Be it halter training or ground manners, to more complex dressage or showjumping techniques. Horses might be animals that are eager to please, yet you need to remember they are unbelievably sensitive flight creatures who need time to build trust and a bond with you. Horses and ponies respond superbly to positive reinforcement because of their high intelligence.
Simply, the answer to whether horses are easy to train comes from what skillset and experience you and the horse bring to the table and the chemistry you form as a partnership.
How long do horses live?
Horses and ponies typically have a lifespan of around 25-30 years, although this is dependent on the breed and lifestyle. Various factors come into play when considering a horse's life expectancy - for instance, smaller horses and ponies tend to live longer than larger breeds, and those living in captivity generally have longer lifespans than those still in the wild
Nutrition is a significant factor too since horses with poor diets will not reach their full potential longevity. Regular visits from the farrier, dentist, and vet to maintain your horse or pony’s feet, teeth, and overall health, respectively, will also play a big factor in life expectancy Other good health practices involved are keeping up to date with vaccinations and regular exercise.
According to the Guinness World Record, the maximum recorded age of a horse was "Old Billy," who lived to be 62 years old!
Will a horse be OK alone?
This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on a variety of factors.
Horses and ponies are herd animals who are naturally social animals and enjoy the company of others. Studies have shown that they develop relationships with one another, create hierarchies among themselves, and seek companionship when possible.
If your horse must stay alone, it’s important to take measures to reduce boredom by providing them with plenty of activities – things like puzzles and toys filled with treats can help keep their minds engaged while also providing enrichment opportunities too. If you are able to give the horse exercise, this is another huge plus both mentally and physically.
If your horse or pony is in a field or stable by itself but has lots of other horses around that they can see and communicate with, this is much better than being by themself and not even being able to see others of their own kind.
Horses or ponies who are left in complete isolation are likely to experience both psychological and physical problems. The increased levels of stress and anxiety that being alone can cause may lead to issues such as colic or weight loss due to poor appetite.
Can you ride a 1 year old horse?
The short answer is no. A 1 year old horse is not physically developed enough to carry the weight of a rider. Doing so would lead to physical problems later on in the horse or pony’s life.
How do I buy my first horse?
Purchasing a horse is a major commitment and responsibility that should not be taken lightly. If you're looking to buy your first horse, there are a few key things to consider before making this important purchase. Firstly, it is paramount that you ask yourself what type of horse will best suit your needs and lifestyle - leisure horses, competition horses or racing horses can all vary in terms of their cost and upkeep.
Before identifying the type of horse or pony you want, you should assess your riding ability and experience level in order to determine which type of animal will best suit your needs. Different horses have different temperaments and physical qualities that must match up with the rider’s abilities in order for them to work together and build a partnership. Many owners opt for choosing an older “schoolmaster” as their first mount – these animals are generally more experienced under saddle and less unpredictable than younger equines.
The next step is to start looking, you can use a website like Horsemart to browse over 1,000 horses and ponies for sale! Once you’ve browsed horses or ponies that fit your criteria, you can start to enquire and view the identified candidates. When viewing a horse, you should take someone more experienced with you. It is very common for people to take their instructor with them for a second opinion. You should always view a horse as buying unseen poses a much greater risk.
Now you’ve identified what you believe to be your new best friend, it’s time to get a vetting. Having a vet examine your horse to either a 2* or 5* standard will give you the peace of mind that the horse or pony is physically ready to do the job you require.
If the horse passes, congratulations! You’ve just bought your first horse. Make sure you have transport lined up to drop the horse off at either your equestrian property or chosen livery yard.
What age horse should I buy?
This depends on your level of experience as a horseman and what you’re looking for from the horse.
0 - 2 years
Either a foal or a very young horse or pony that is not yet ready to start their ridden education, so don’t be expecting to be riding this horse any time soon! Once the foal is weaned at 6 - 8 months old, you can then start to look at halter breaking them. Patience will be key with a horse or pony of this age.
3 - 4 years
At this age, the horse will be ready to start being backed and continue their education. If you don’t have experience with backing or producing a young horse, this isn’t the best age horse to buy. Again, patience is key with a young horse or pony.
5 - 8 years
Most likely broken and going forward. A good age to buy if you’re looking for a horse that understands all of the basic aids but will still be a bit green and need bringing on to be moulded into the horse or pony you want.
9 - 12 years
An ideal age to buy if you’re wanting a horse or pony that has a good balance of experience and number of years ahead of them. This horse or pony will have been produced to be either what they’re most suitable for or what the previous owner(s) wanted.
13 - 16 years
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt! A horse or pony in their more ‘mature’ years who will hopefully be more suitable for you if you’re looking for a horse that is well-schooled in their best discipline.
17 years +
A horse or pony coming toward the end of their career, if you’re looking for a horse that can teach you a little bit more and help you progress as a rider, there’s a good chance a veteran of the game is what you’re after and will be the most suitable for you.
Is owning a horse stressful?
Owning a horse can be an incredibly rewarding experience and one that many people have cherished for generations, however, it’s important to consider the potential stressors of such a responsibility. Horses are highly intelligent and emotionally sensitive animals, so their care must be managed in a thoughtful, gentle manner.
Day-to-day stresses - From being up at the crack of dawn and getting morning chores done before work, to late-night trips to the yard in typically British weather, horses are not always the easiest animals to love and enjoy because of the never-ending cycle. Sometimes, owning horses doesn’t seem as fun as you dreamt it would be but it is definitely worth it.
Emotional investment - horses and ponies don’t take too long to become part of the family and it can become just like having a big dog, lots of cuddles, days out, grooming, treats and more. Therefore, when something unexpected happens that puts your horse at risk, it will be tough emotionally.
Financial stresses - the taboo of what horses cost. Ultimately, horses are an investment you won’t see a return on financially. Between the regular outgoings of rent and feed, you’ve also got the potential risk of large vet bills. If your horse or pony is not insured, you’ll need to have a backup fund just in case.
What do I need to own a horse?
Owning a horse is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's also one of the most expensive hobbies you can have. Before taking on the responsibility of caring for a horse, there are several things that need to be taken into account.
Before the horse is even with you, it is essential that you have:
Somewhere to keep the horse, be it at home with the necessary facilities or at a livery yard.
Transport to bring your horse or pony from their current address to their new home, be that with or own horsebox or trailer or via a professional transporter.
The basics for day-to-day care - hay, rugs, a headcollar & leadrope and a grooming kit. If stabled, you’ll also need bedding, a shavings fork and a wheelbarrow.
It is also advisable that you get insurance. Once you’ve handed over the money to the vendor the risk is all on you. You may never need it but it’s better to be safe than sorry.