New Year, new horse? Is this something you have been thinking about or yearning to achieve your dream? Horse ownership is a wonderful way of life. You meet lots of like-minded friends with the same equestrian passion. You also experience the outdoors with lots of fresh air (ok some inclement weather too) which is good for your health and wellbeing. There is also nothing like the relationship between horse and human. Ask any horse owner why they have these animals are in their lives and that bond would be foremost in their answer. If buying a horse seems too much of a commitment for your life (or your bank account), then loaning a horse is a brilliant way of giving you an introduction to horse ownership.
So if you are thinking about buying or loaning a horse this year, here are five good reasons to do so:
IT IS A GREAT LIFESTYLE AND GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
Owning a horse will create much change in your lifestyle, with the main factor being responsibility physically and financially. It will also give you excellent health benefits by looking after and riding a horse. Did you know that horse riding and activities associated with the hobby, such as mucking out, expend sufficient energy to be classed as moderate intensity exercise! Think of the calories you burn daily just by looking after your new horse. There are also brilliant psychological and social benefits of horse riding or ownership. When you ride a horse it stimulates mainly positive psychological feelings with a sense of wellbeing, especially when interacting with horses. Being outdoors and in contact with nature is an important motivation and life enhancing quality that most horse riders also feel.
MOTIVATION TO COMPETE IN EQUESTRIAN SPORTS
If you have been riding for a few years just hacking out, you may be yearning to actually compete in the many equestrian spheres of the sport. Perhaps the weekly lessons can inspire you to take up dressage, or canter through the fields has made you think that eventing may be the challenge you need this year? When it comes to competing, you do need the horse that is suitable for the job – that heavy cob may not take you through the three challenges of eventing. It is better to open minded about what horse to buy, sometimes the not so obvious choice of horse can be right for you.
For example, if you are looking for a horse to event, Penny Hill a professional event rider explains what to look for: ‘When I am looking for a new event horse, the temperament and ‘brain’ are the most important. For our sport, we need a horse that thinks and is sharp and reactive. If I like the horse’s attitude and it shows talent- then the breeding tends to be good enough. You can breed speed, jump and movement but not attitude! As for type? This doesn’t bother me either- my top two horses are a little powerhouse pocket rocket and a tall gangly leggy dinosaur! I adore both horses and believe they will go a long way’.
Finding the right horse for you is key and the search can be made so much easier through equestrian classified sites online. This gives you a much wider scope of where you can find the horse which is right for you.
TO CHANGE HORSES TO SUIT NEEDS
You may already be a horse owner but are finding it hard with the horse that you have. There are times when the horse and human relationship can be tested. This can be either the horse is too much for the owner in spirit and temperament or alternatively the horse is not gutsy enough for the riders ambitions or chosen sphere in the sport. To change horses is not a failure, in fact, it is a positive action for both horse and rider. If you are frightened of getting in the saddle with your current horse because they nap, spook or give you an unnerving ride, then perhaps it’s time to hold your hands up and find a home with a rider that can deal with these quirks. Being honest with your riding ability is sensible and will do you more justice for you and your horse. If you are finding your trusty old plod is just not willing to fly around a cross country course or in the show jumping arena, then perhaps it’s time for a change. Be honest when placing your “For Sale” advert being descriptive with the positive and negatives that the horse has. This is being courteous to your buyer and the horse, so you can rest easy your horse has gone to the right home.
IT’S TIME FOR A COMPANION
You could be needing an equine companion for yourself, or more so for the horse in your life. There are many horses for sale or for rehoming that are just required to be a friend! Some may not be suitable to ride for a variety of reasons but are great for keeping other horses company. Horses are herd animals and although many can live on their own, they are instinctively more content when they have equine company. Some yards have companion horses to do the job of keeping other working horses settled, which provides a happy and harmonious herd. There are many horses also that need to be retired and it vital to give these animals a contented retirement that they deserve, after the happy years they have given to many horse riders. So if your horse is on his own in the paddock, wouldn’t you make it their year to have a friend to play around with?
TO ACHIEVE YOUR HORSE OWNERSHIP DREAM
Many see owning a horse simply as a long distant dream. The hurdles of time and financial responsibility sometimes just outweigh the longing to own a horse. But don’t give up! There are many ways to own or experience owning a horse through loaning, sharing or being a little more realistic with what you can afford. We all might want the flashy warmblood on the yard but perhaps that hardy little pony would be better for your ability and your wallet! There are many horses that are out there that are cheap to run with livery prices to suit. Spend time looking at horses for sale and do your research. This will give you an idea of what is being suitably priced for the age and ability of the horse. Don’t be rushed into buying and if you can, have a knowledgeable friend that can help you with the search. There is the horse out there for you, it just might take a bit of time to find each other!
So say yes to New Year, New Horse and have a fun equestrian 2018!
By Samantha Hobden
Image Credit: Pixabay