Choosing Your First Horse

Deciding to purchase your first horse is an exciting yet enormous decision that should not be taken lightly. Due to the high time, cost, and commitment demands of horse ownership, becoming a horse owner is similar to becoming a parent, and the decision should be taken just as seriously.
That being said, when you know you’re ready to own a horse, you’re ready to start meeting horses and learning how to choose the one that’s right for you. If you’re thinking about buying your first horse, consider the following tips.

7 Tips for Choosing Your First Horse

1. Lease First

Before you become the full owner of a horse, consider leasing a horse. Leases can be partial, where you have access to the horse on set days during the week, or full where you have access to the horse at all times. Generally, both come with some degree of financial responsibility for the horse, which should be outlined in a lease agreement.

2. Take Riding Lessons

If you’ve never had professional riding lessons, then you should definitely invest in them before purchasing a horse. Riding lessons will allow you to learn to handle, groom, tack, and ride a horse with a professional instructing you and helping you along the way.

3. Stay Cool and Keep Your Options Open

Horses are beautiful, graceful animals, and it’s easy to fall in love with every horse you meet. However, it’s important to take your time and meet several different horses before choosing the one that’s right for you and your family. If you have a relationship with an instructor from taking riding lessons, they can be a valuable resource in finding and choosing the correct horse.

4. Bring an Experienced Friend

When purchasing a horse, you should always bring along someone with plenty of knowledge and experience to help you identify any potential red flags. Riding instructors or other experienced horse professionals can help with these initial evaluations.

5. Ask About History

Ask about a horse’s history before purchasing. You can’t ask too many questions. Find out about previous owners, request a copy of the horse’s records and registration papers, and ask why the seller is selling.

6. Meet Slowly

When you meet a horse for the first time, ask the seller to lead the horse out to observe it being handled. You can also ask to observe the current owner riding the horse before you ride the horse yourself.

7. Schedule a Pre-Purchase Exam

When you think you’ve found the right horse, schedule a pre-purchase exam with a veterinarian before completing the transaction. A pre-purchase exam should include a full nose-to-tail evaluation of the overall health of the horse, an evaluation of conformation, and a ridden or in-hand lameness exam with flexion tests. This is a critical step before purchasing a horse and can bring to light issues that you will want to be aware of prior to owning the horse.
At Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, our equine veterinarians provide comprehensive pre-purchase exams to help prospective horse owners ensure they know exactly what to expect when it comes to their new horse’s health. If you’re thinking about purchasing a horse, we welcome you to contact us for guidance or additional information.

Taking Care of Horses on a Busy Schedule

Every horse owner knows that having a horse – and owning a horse responsibly – is more than a fun hobby; it’s a big commitment and an everyday job. When you have a full-time job, family, and other responsibilities in life on top of owning a horse, these daily chores can start to feel overwhelming. To ensure your horse’s needs always fit into your schedule and theirs, consider the following horse care tips.

5 Tips for Daily Horse Care and Your Busy Schedule
(What's Flexible and What's Not)

1. Feeding

Horses prefer to be fed at the same time each day. However, feeding a horse an hour late or early should be tolerable. Feeding a horse three to four hours off of schedule won’t be as easily tolerated – especially if your horses do not have hay available to them between meals.

2. Turnout Time

For their mental and physical health, you should always strive to allow your horses as much turnout time as you possibly can. However, on days when you’re particularly short on time, it is okay to shorten your horse’s daily turnout to a quick exploration of the area and social check-in with other nearby horses.

3. Stall Cleaning

A horse’s stall should be cleaned every day with no exception. It’s okay to remove only the obvious liquid and solid waste one day, but the next day, your horse’s stall will need a thorough and complete mucking out. Often it’s simpler and requires less time altogether if you don’t skip any days.

4. Water Supply

You absolutely must check your horse’s water supply every single day to make sure there’s an adequate, clean supply at an optimal temperature (50°F to 65°F). Check-in on troughs and ensure that all automatic water supplies are functioning properly.

5. Inspection

Each day, you should check in on your horse, assessing feces and urine and the amount of water and food consumed.

Minimize Your Horse's Needs With Comprehensive Wellness and Preventative Equine Care in Fishkill, NY

Minimize your horse’s ongoing care needs by providing them with comprehensive wellness and preventative care with an equine veterinarian. At Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, our veterinarians specialize in everything equine, and we can help you ensure your horse has all the necessary care to prevent diseases, minimize parasites, and ensure early diagnosis and management of chronic conditions, as they arise.
To learn more about our equine veterinary services or to schedule an exam for your horses, we welcome you to contact Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley today.