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Planning on becoming a first time horse owner


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#1 Just_Keep_Swimming

Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:50 AM

Hi everyone,

DH and I are planning on moving to acreage and would love to get horses.

We are experienced riders, however we do not know a lot about keeping a horse or what to look for when buying a horse (breed, temperament etc.) as we have only ever gone on tour rides.

If you own horses or have owned a horse before, could you please provide me with all the knowledge you know. That would be greatly appreciated.

Also what do you feed it, are there special foods and vitamins they need, how often do you need to change their shoes, do you need to get a blacksmith in or can you learn to do this yourself. I understand the upkeep of a horse can be quite expensive also.

I am really frazzled and would love to know all that is involved prior to making the decision about getting horses.

Thanks heaps :-)

#2 lishermide

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

Firstly, I'd suggest finding someone knowledgeable who can help you with horse selection. There's lots to check for when buying a horse. With tour riding experience only, I'd suggest something quiet, a little older (over 10 yrs). Perhaps a quarter horse, stock horse type.

Feeding will depend on what your paddocks are like and what amount of riding you plan to do. Our horses are on a mixture of Lucerne hay and hard feed, twice daily for average use (a few rides per week).it really will depend on the horse.

Farrier, about every 6 weeks. You can learnto trim them yourself if you're not planning on them being shod. Worming paste every 6 weeks too.

There is an awful lot involved with owning horses, but its worth every bit original.gif



#3 Chief Pancake Make

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:10 AM

It depends what you want to do with the horse.  
Do you want to compete with it, do dressage/showjumping/campdrafting or just ttrail rides or around your farm?

How much acreage are you planning on getting on what quality of land, in a high/low rainfall area?  this will determine if you will need to feed it extra.  Also if you are doing a large amount of work/competing you may need extra food.

If you are just riding around ther paddock on weekends you would probably get away with not having it shod as long as its feet were regularly trimmed (which is easy to do yourself) if you are competing or riding on hard road it would need to be shod - best left to the proffessionals  - if you stuff it up you can permanently damage the horse.

What sort of horse you get ultimately depends on your budget - you could get a quiet horse for just riding around your farm for $1500 or my brother sells his especially bred/trained campdraft horses for $15000.

If you do decide to buy a horse take some one experienced with you - make sure you get to ride it for a good length of time and you can handle it, ideally you should take it on trial for 1-2 weeks (thats what we always did)

#4 JRA

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:20 AM

QUOTE (Son_LightOfMyLife @ 10/01/2013, 08:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi everyone,

DH and I are planning on moving to acreage and would love to get horses.

We are experienced riders, however we do not know a lot about keeping a horse or what to look for when buying a horse (breed, temperament etc.) as we have only ever gone on tour rides.

If you own horses or have owned a horse before, could you please provide me with all the knowledge you know. That would be greatly appreciated.

Also what do you feed it, are there special foods and vitamins they need, how often do you need to change their shoes, do you need to get a blacksmith in or can you learn to do this yourself. I understand the upkeep of a horse can be quite expensive also.

I am really frazzled and would love to know all that is involved prior to making the decision about getting horses.

Thanks heaps :-)

Firstly, I am not sure about being experienced riders, if you have only been on tour rides. That seems odd.

Buying and managing a horse is a huge thing, and not something you can learn from a couple of posts on a forum, and to provide "all the knowledge" is unrealistic, and to be fair worries me that you think it is that simple. I have seen to many people move to "acreage" and buy a horse or two and then have no idea and just leave them.

As others have said there are so many things to think about. First, how experienced rider are you really? What do you want to do with the horse/s? How much time have you got to spend with the horse/s? How much acreage are you really buying? Five acres or fifty acres. The amount of space, the quality of grass they are on, what you are doing with them, their breed will affect if you need to give them any hard feed.

Your level of experience will affect what you should buy. If you have only ridden on tour rides, that is unlikely to put you in an experienced category. So you would need something quiet, and fairly bomb proof.

Good luck.

#5 countrychic29

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

Hi OP,

How exciting, owning a horse is such a pleasure.
A great place to start might be a horse forum, not sure where you are but www.vichorse.com is victorias one.
As PP's there is a lot to consider when owning a horse, will you have enough acreage to rotate paddocks with enough feed? in winter you will more than likely need to supplement their diet with hard feed.
Also farrier and dentist (once yearly) are a must (unless you trim their feet yourself), if you plan on riding on roads add the cost of horse shoes.
Up to you but you may choose to rug your horse depending on where you live, more $$
Keep in mind that if you are going away on holidays you will need someone to check on horse with feed and water.
There are some great secondhand stores or deals you can get on saddles/bridles etc
Also be aware that vet bills are expensive ... you may not need the vet but callout rates might be $75 before the vet even gets to your place. We often pay upwards of $200 by the time he has left.


More often than not when you start out the horse is the cheapest item original.gif (my first pony 20 yrs ago was $350 - the saddle we got was $900)
Oh and take someone experienced with you to look at horse, most sellers are honest, but i have come across a few dealers and also drugged horses in my time.
Also if you can get involved with your local Adult riding club, as they will be able to teach as much about riding as also caring for you horse
Good luck and happy riding.

#6 Just_Keep_Swimming

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:38 AM

QUOTE (lishermide @ 10/01/2013, 10:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Firstly, I'd suggest finding someone knowledgeable who can help you with horse selection. There's lots to check for when buying a horse. With tour riding experience only, I'd suggest something quiet, a little older (over 10 yrs). Perhaps a quarter horse, stock horse type.

Feeding will depend on what your paddocks are like and what amount of riding you plan to do. Our horses are on a mixture of Lucerne hay and hard feed, twice daily for average use (a few rides per week).it really will depend on the horse.

Farrier, about every 6 weeks. You can learnto trim them yourself if you're not planning on them being shod. Worming paste every 6 weeks too.

There is an awful lot involved with owning horses, but its worth every bit original.gif


Thanks heaps :-)

QUOTE (Chief Pancake Make @ 10/01/2013, 10:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It depends what you want to do with the horse.  
Do you want to compete with it, do dressage/showjumping/campdrafting or just ttrail rides or around your farm?

How much acreage are you planning on getting on what quality of land, in a high/low rainfall area?  this will determine if you will need to feed it extra.  Also if you are doing a large amount of work/competing you may need extra food.

If you are just riding around ther paddock on weekends you would probably get away with not having it shod as long as its feet were regularly trimmed (which is easy to do yourself) if you are competing or riding on hard road it would need to be shod - best left to the proffessionals  - if you stuff it up you can permanently damage the horse.

What sort of horse you get ultimately depends on your budget - you could get a quiet horse for just riding around your farm for $1500 or my brother sells his especially bred/trained campdraft horses for $15000.

If you do decide to buy a horse take some one experienced with you - make sure you get to ride it for a good length of time and you can handle it, ideally you should take it on trial for 1-2 weeks (thats what we always did)


We just want the horses for riding around the farm we are planning on getting about 200 acres. Riding is so peaceful. Thanks for the info


QUOTE (JRA @ 10/01/2013, 10:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Firstly, I am not sure about being experienced riders, if you have only been on tour rides. That seems odd.

Buying and managing a horse is a huge thing, and not something you can learn from a couple of posts on a forum, and to provide "all the knowledge" is unrealistic, and to be fair worries me that you think it is that simple. I have seen to many people move to "acreage" and buy a horse or two and then have no idea and just leave them.

As others have said there are so many things to think about. First, how experienced rider are you really? What do you want to do with the horse/s? How much time have you got to spend with the horse/s? How much acreage are you really buying? Five acres or fifty acres. The amount of space, the quality of grass they are on, what you are doing with them, their breed will affect if you need to give them any hard feed.

Your level of experience will affect what you should buy. If you have only ridden on tour rides, that is unlikely to put you in an experienced category. So you would need something quiet, and fairly bomb proof.

Good luck.


DH has only every been on tour rides. Growing up I went on weekly riding tours with my family. My Uncle also had a farm where he had horses and I would go out there a few times a year. So compared to other people I do have experience.
I am not trying to get all the advice from EB. I am just trying to obtain people's experiences with horses to give me a fair idea prior to finding a professional to get advice from. I don't see how this needs to worry you.
I have experience in all other aspects of farming more with cattle, sheep and wheat but not so much horses so I understand the amount of hard work and effort needed and I am up for it. There is absolutely no way I would leave my animals once I have them whether it would be a horse or a guinea pig. And quite frankly I am offended you had to quote that in your post.



#7 Just_Keep_Swimming

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

QUOTE (countrychic29 @ 10/01/2013, 10:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi OP,

How exciting, owning a horse is such a pleasure.
A great place to start might be a horse forum, not sure where you are but www.vichorse.com is victorias one.
As PP's there is a lot to consider when owning a horse, will you have enough acreage to rotate paddocks with enough feed? in winter you will more than likely need to supplement their diet with hard feed.
Also farrier and dentist (once yearly) are a must (unless you trim their feet yourself), if you plan on riding on roads add the cost of horse shoes.
Up to you but you may choose to rug your horse depending on where you live, more $$
Keep in mind that if you are going away on holidays you will need someone to check on horse with feed and water.
There are some great secondhand stores or deals you can get on saddles/bridles etc
Also be aware that vet bills are expensive ... you may not need the vet but callout rates might be $75 before the vet even gets to your place. We often pay upwards of $200 by the time he has left.


More often than not when you start out the horse is the cheapest item original.gif (my first pony 20 yrs ago was $350 - the saddle we got was $900)
Oh and take someone experienced with you to look at horse, most sellers are honest, but i have come across a few dealers and also drugged horses in my time.
Also if you can get involved with your local Adult riding club, as they will be able to teach as much about riding as also caring for you horse
Good luck and happy riding.


Thanks heaps, that is really helpful. I might check out some adult riding clubs in my area :-)


#8 walkingFish

Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:18 AM

Hi OP,

There has been some good advice by previous posters and I would second the idea of joining a club in the area. It would give you access to invaluable knowledge and support. If you don't know anyone that could assist with finding the perfect horse then it might be worth considering checking out a local club first. They may be able to give you some leads on possible horses etc that would be suitable.

I would also be careful as categorising yourselves as experienced riders when enquiring about horses to buy etc. I don't say this to try and cause offense - just that within horse circles the term generally used to mean someone with a very high level of experience in most/all aspects of horsemanship and could lead to inappropriate horses getting suggested.

It sounds like you are taking a sensible approach by finding out exactly what is required day to day prior to getting the horses. Talking to the local vet could also give you a good idea of the regular maintenance costs to expect (worming etc) too.

I would plan at least initially to get a farrier even if you decide they only need trimming. That way you can get a chance to see how it is done etc before trying it yourself. As said previously, I would get a farrier in all cases for shoes.

In short my advice would be to get background info (as you are doing) on the expected cost and time commitment to make sure owning horses is for you. Then make sure you find some people who can provide support to find suitable mounts and help you fill in any gaps on how to care for them once you have them. And finally, don't be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about anything.

I hope you have many happy rides to come  original.gif



#9 JRA

Posted 10 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

QUOTE (Son_LightOfMyLife @ 10/01/2013, 09:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks heaps :-)



We just want the horses for riding around the farm we are planning on getting about 200 acres. Riding is so peaceful. Thanks for the info




DH has only every been on tour rides. Growing up I went on weekly riding tours with my family. My Uncle also had a farm where he had horses and I would go out there a few times a year. So compared to other people I do have experience.
I am not trying to get all the advice from EB. I am just trying to obtain people's experiences with horses to give me a fair idea prior to finding a professional to get advice from. I don't see how this needs to worry you.
I have experience in all other aspects of farming more with cattle, sheep and wheat but not so much horses so I understand the amount of hard work and effort needed and I am up for it. There is absolutely no way I would leave my animals once I have them whether it would be a horse or a guinea pig. And quite frankly I am offended you had to quote that in your post.


I did not mean to insult you, but as walking fish said, from what you have said on no way would you be classed as experienced, and classing yourself as such may lead to some very bad results

As for not sure why it worry me, if you had seen what I have seen from
People buying "acreage" and talking about 5 acres and what they do, you would understand.

You have now said you have had experience running a farm with big animals, that makes it very different.



#10 Just_Keep_Swimming

Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:59 PM

QUOTE (walkingFish @ 10/01/2013, 11:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi OP,

There has been some good advice by previous posters and I would second the idea of joining a club in the area. It would give you access to invaluable knowledge and support. If you don't know anyone that could assist with finding the perfect horse then it might be worth considering checking out a local club first. They may be able to give you some leads on possible horses etc that would be suitable.

I would also be careful as categorising yourselves as experienced riders when enquiring about horses to buy etc. I don't say this to try and cause offense - just that within horse circles the term generally used to mean someone with a very high level of experience in most/all aspects of horsemanship and could lead to inappropriate horses getting suggested.

It sounds like you are taking a sensible approach by finding out exactly what is required day to day prior to getting the horses. Talking to the local vet could also give you a good idea of the regular maintenance costs to expect (worming etc) too.

I would plan at least initially to get a farrier even if you decide they only need trimming. That way you can get a chance to see how it is done etc before trying it yourself. As said previously, I would get a farrier in all cases for shoes.

In short my advice would be to get background info (as you are doing) on the expected cost and time commitment to make sure owning horses is for you. Then make sure you find some people who can provide support to find suitable mounts and help you fill in any gaps on how to care for them once you have them. And finally, don't be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about anything.

I hope you have many happy rides to come  original.gif


Great advice, thanks. I think I will go for an older horse that has been used to train people to ride. As I hope to one day in the future be able to teach my DS to ride. Do you have any suggestions on breed or age?


QUOTE (JRA @ 10/01/2013, 12:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I did not mean to insult you, but as walking fish said, from what you have said on no way would you be classed as experienced, and classing yourself as such may lead to some very bad results

As for not sure why it worry me, if you had seen what I have seen from
People buying "acreage" and talking about 5 acres and what they do, you would understand.

You have now said you have had experience running a farm with big animals, that makes it very different.


You see I did not know that there were different types of experiences when it comes to horse riding and that is one thing that I have learnt from EB. I would be confident enough to get on a young fast horse but perhaps according to experts my experience "from a safety" point of view is not adequate enough. And I accept that.
However regardless of my experience I want a gentle horse preferably a horse that was used for training first time riders as I would like to eventually teach my DS to ride. Plus my sister loves horse riding and has almost no experience and I would love for her to be able to go for a ride when she visits.
I get what you are saying, there are people like that who love the fantasy of a horse but when it comes to the reality of owning one they cannot handle it and they give up by abandoning the poor things. I have seen plenty of that through the RSPCA. But I can assure you that is not me and definitely not my DH.


#11 The Old Feral

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:52 PM

It's also really important to learn to handle horses on the ground before you get one. I learned this the hard way as a teenager!

Being a competent rider is one thing but are you comfortable walking up to a horse in a paddock, leading them in and safely tying them up, grooming, tacking up, checking feet for stones? Do you know how to make a horse back up if it stands on your foot? (yep, voice of experience there again! tongue.gif)

And you want a horse that is happy to stand quietly and have all that stuff done to it... that's probably even more important than how easy they are to ride.

As for breed and size, I wouldn't worry too much about breed, most horses in the starter price range will not be purebred or even recognisable half bred. I would steer clear of thoroughbreds as they are more likely to be skittish. Size wise 15 - 16hh, if you are smaller people it'd be worth looking out for a stockier type with some pony blood at the bottom of that height range, more likely to be physically hardy (less supplementary feeding and rugging in winter) and better for your DS down the track. As a pp said, quarter and stock horses are lovely too, moderate size and generally a nice temper if they've been kept well.

But as others have said, there are a lot of potential pitfalls for the newbie and you would be best to find yourself a mentor to take you through this. I would suggest always under, rather than overstating your ability and experience, if you have only ridden dependable farm and trail animals you perhaps don't realise just how full on an 'experienced rider only' horse can be.... it would be disastrous for you.

Best of luck original.gif

ETA I saw you asked about age too. Horses are considered young until they're 8 or so, so I suggest you consider that your minimum. If you want an ex riding school horse, well most wouldn't retire until their late teens.

Edited by The Old Bag, 10 January 2013 - 10:02 PM.





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