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The horse is a marvellous athlete and can make a delightful companion. Most Australians maintain a strong affection for all horses and it is the ambition of many people, especially young people, to own and ride their own horse.

It is best for anyone, particularly families, to make a conscious effort to accept the many responsibilities of horse ownership before deciding upon buying a horse or a pony.

Responsibilities of Buying a Horse
Owning a horse is a large responsibility. It means hard work and dirty chores for a long time, it also means quite a considerable expense.

It is very important for the prospective horse owner to understand that the initial purchase of a horse is only the first step in your new experience with horses.

Consideration needs to be given to whether the horse will be kept in a paddock, or whether it will be stabled.

Feedings costs should be discussed with a reputable feeding merchant. Paddock horses may need some supplementary feed when grass becomes eaten down and stable horses will need to be fed continuously on procured feed.

Basic necessities for your horse will include a bridle, saddle, saddle blanket, grooming brush, feed tin and water container.

It would be wise to enquire about these costs first as they can be very expensive items unless you take time and care in their selection.

Remember, a safe storage area for your equipment has to be provided somewhere when it is not being used on the horse or pony.

You will need to purchase your own riding outfit as well and this must include a suitable hard hat and good quality riding boots.

There will also be fees for shoeing and there is the chance you may have to seek veterinary attention for your horse's teeth, worm control, coughs and colds and for vaccinations against diseases such as strangles and tetanus.

Most young people buying their first horse or pony are strongly advised to join the local Pony Club where they will receive expert tuition on riding and advice on horse care.

Check with the local Club Secretary for the terms and conditions of membership and for agistment of your horse, if it is offered by the Club.

Choosing a Horse or Pony
It is recommended that you buy your horse from a reputable source.

Beware of purchasing a horse from markets, dealers, or persons who cannot provide a satisfactory history of the animal.

Make sure the vendor knows for what purpose you wish to use the horse. It is important that you and your horse are well matched so great care and no haste should be employed in its selection:

  • Find out all about it, age, background, vices, eg does it buck, kick bit, bolt.
  • Examine the horse and have an experienced friend ride it for you.
  • Ride it yourself. If it feels right ask for a one week trial, then ride and handle the horse daily.
  • Have your own veterinary surgeon check the horse for fitness and suitability prior to purchase. 

Responsibilities of Horse Ownership
All horses have certain basic needs irrespective of the husbandry system under which they are kept:

  • Readily accessible food and fresh water to maintain health and vigour.
  • Freedom of movement to stand, stretch and lie down.
  • Regular Exercise.
  • Social contact with other horses and people.
  • Accommodation that neither harms nor causes undue strain and provides adequate protection.
  • Protection from disease and regular inspection to assess the need for attention to feet, teeth and worm control.
  • Rapid identification and treatment of injury and disease.

All horse owners should purchase from the Department of Agriculture, Victoria, a copy of the current Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses and be fully aware of the general and special husbandry requirements of the horse.

Further Information
  RSPCA Victoria

RSPCA Victoria

Last Update: 06/02/07 18:50 Views: 1366

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