Owning a horse can be an enjoyable experience for parent and child alike; however,
many factors enter into the initial decision to get involved with horses. The purpose
of this publication is to acquaint prospective horse owners with considerations, costs,
and possible alternatives to owning a horse. It discusses such concerns as determining
your child’s real interest in horses, alternatives to buying a horse, how to decide what
kind of horse to buy, horse-related activities for your child, horse management practices
and costs, as well as the benefits your family can gain from horse ownership. Once you
decide to purchase a horse, there are numerous sources of more detailed information
concerning horse management.
How Can I Determine My Child’s Level of Interest?
Because you are reading this, your child has probably talked about getting a horse.
After you, the parent, become more knowledgeable about horse ownership, you
should have a serious, heart -to- heart talk with your child. Ask questions, including
* Why do you want a horse?
* Are there other ways to enjoy riding, especially to begin?
* What kind of horse do you want to get?
* What do you want to do with a horse?
* How much time do you have to spend with a horse? Could you sacrifice
time from other activities?
* Where would you keep a horse?
* What costs are involved, and how will you pay for the initial cost and
maintenance of your horse?
* What will you gain from owning a horse? How will the whole family benefit?
* Will you be willing to sell your horse in 1-4 years?
After having this talk and letting your child get some exposure to horses through
lessons, camps, or using someone else’s horse, you will have a better measure
of your child’s interest. Many youth want a horse because they know someone
who has one, so encourage spending time with this friend’s horse and see how
long the enthusiasm lasts. Don’t say “no” because you feel you don’t know enough
about keeping horses; rather, find a way to help your child learn more about horses.
Your child may decide he or she really doesn’t want all the work that goes along with