Almost any 8 year old girl will tell you that horses are her favorite animal. I was one of those 8 year old girls. I thought there couldn’t be anything better in life than owning a horse. I was only half right.
I’m 32 years old now and I’ve owned 5 horses now over the course of about 9 years. This is what I’ve learned.
1.) There’s something really special about owning your own horse. It gives you freedom in a way. An outlet for when life gets you down and you need to escape it for a little while.
2.) Horses teach you. A LOT. Whether it’s a lesson in patience, gentleness, firmness, or even bravery, you will learn things from a horse. A lot of those lessons will go beyond the horse world.
3.) Working with your horse can be a blast! It gives you a chance to build skills for both yourself and your horse that will add to your enjoyment of working with them.
4.) Horses can help build up your confidence. When you get to the place where your horse really truly trusts you and looks to you as it’s leader, you’ll have a great feeling of accomplishment.
5.) Working with horses can be a great form of exercise. Between riding, cleaning stalls, feeding, watering, blanketing, lunging, etc. you’ll feel the burn at some point!
1.) Horses are expensive. There’s just no way around it. Even if you get a horse for free, it’s not going to be free to take care of. There are board costs (or feed and water costs if they live on your property), vet bills, farrier costs, the list goes on.
2.) They can be dangerous. Horses are big, flight animals. This means that if you’re in the wrong place when they get scared by something, you can easily end up in a bad spot. No matter how well you prepare for them, accidents can still happen when working with such large animals. There’s a very true saying that goes, “It’s not a question of IF you’ll fall off a horse. It’s a question of WHEN and HOW BAD.” I’ve been bucked off, bailed off, fallen off, cold-cocked in the nose, been bitten and nearly kicked by horses over the last 10 years or so. It’s just part of the gig.
3.) Horses require your time. They’re high maintenance animals when cared for correctly. Even a retired horse has requirements that need to be met in order to give them a good life.
4.) They get hurt. Sometimes a lot and in ways that will leave you puzzled about how the hell they did it for months. This is why the vet is a very important person to have on speed dial. Our beloved equine companions are talented in the art of injury.
THE UGLY (truth)
1.) For as big and sturdy as they may seem, horses are fragile creatures. Things like colic can take them from us unexpectedly. Though they can live to be about 30 years old, many horses don’t live that long. Like all of our beloved pets, we have to cherish them for as long as we have them.