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Owning a horse is more than just having a pet or a hobby, it is a lifestyle. When you decide to buy your first horse you are told lots of things, like it will be expensive and time consuming. But there are so many things no one tells you about owning a horse. This is my list of 15 things I have discovered since owning a horse I was never warned about.
1. Hay gets everywhere!
And I mean everywhere! Pants, socks, boots, bras, cars, washing machines, sofas, bedding. If you can think of it, there is probably hay there. It’s nearly as bad as glitter! For me, pockets are the worst. I feel like I can’t put my hand in one of my pockets without pulling out tiny bits of hay.
2. Eau De Horse Wee
I hate to break it to you, but you will be followed by the faint (sometimes strong) smell of horse wee. It gets stuck in your hair, clothes and boots. If you drive to the yard, it will probably linger in your car too. On the plus side, you will eventually stop being able to smell it… which is a blessing and a curse!
I now use EquiFresh to keep the ammonia levels in my stable down, which means there is less smell to stick to me.
3. What did you even do before horses?
I often wonder how I managed to fill my time before Scottie. Weekends I would sleep in late, wasting most if not all the morning. After that… I don’t even know. I think I read more… but I have no idea how I used to pass the time. I think I would struggle with that much free time now.
4. Golden ticket out of things
A bit like having children, having a horse is your ticket out of any social event you don’t really want to go to. Dinner with the in laws? Sorry, I can’t make that, I haven’t got anyone to finish the horse off. Boyfriend trying to get you to go to the football? I would love to, let me just check if [Insert Horse Friends Name] can finish off for me… oh no! They can’t!
Unfortunately, horses can also stop you going to social things you actually want to go to! You need to make plans in advance to make sure the horse is being looked after!
5. The worry will age you
It doesn’t matter how calm and unflustered you are, horses have a way of sending even the calmest person into full blown panic mode. Whether they are escape artists, accident prone or fussy eaters, they will always give you a reason to worry, often needlessly. Whether it’s the stress of an open wound, the full blown panic of a loose horse or the two weeks of sleepless nights obsessing about that tiny swelling in their fetlock or why they aren’t eating the same amount of hay, they find a way to get to us.
6. Never tell your horse your plans!
If you are planning an outing to a show, clinic or camp, never tell your horse. They seem to have an uncanny ability to understand and take themselves out of action just in time. Usually it’s something minor, like pulling a shoe off but some will decide to make sure it doesn’t happen and will injure themselves instead.
7. How hard it is when things go wrong
It never matters how serious it is, when things go wrong it can be heart breaking and so hard to move on from. Even a non life threatening injury can feel like the end of the world. Every set back through rehab feels like the whole world is against you and it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
8. Horses on the brain
You will start to find that every second thought is about them. If you aren’t worrying about them (see point 5) you be making plans, reliving shows and lessons and thinking about what rug/saddle pad they need next. (See point 11.)
9. Permanently Tired
You will be tired. On the rare occasion you do get a lay in, you will wake up at usual time and struggle to get back to sleep. This means that if you dare to have a late night, the only way you will catch up on that sleep is by utilising early nights and naps during the day.
10. Not being at the yard feels wrong
If you are away or someone else is doing the horse for you in the afternoon, you will start to get twitchy. You know you should be going to the yard then and it just feels wrong not to be. Or, back to point 5, you will start to worry that whoever is meant to be looking after them has forgotten!
11. Your horse always needs something new
You will always be able to find an excuse to buy your horse a new saddle pad/rug/bucket/set of boots/etc. Whether it’s their birthday, your birthday, Christmas, anniversary of the day you bought them, or for show/lesson/clinic coming up, you will always find a way to justify it.
Meanwhile, you are probably walking around with holes in your clothes and your yard boots are starting to leak…
12. You will realise just how little you actually know about horses!
There are some things you can only learn from owning a horse. Yes you can read all about it but some things you can only learn from experiencing it and knowing your horse. You will probably recognise a tiny amount of swelling or really minor changes in movement in your own horse you might not notice in another. You might know what type of food your horse should have, but you might need to try a few different combinations before you find the right one for your horse.
13. The right people are so important!
You spend so much time with your horse and at the yard that it is important that it works for you. Having a yard what doesn’t have the facilities or the right routine for your horse can make it hard to achieve what you want to do with your horse. Equally, having a yard full of people who you don’t get on with can stop you enjoying your time at the yard.
14. How much horses really cost!
Everyone tells you horses are expensive, but no one really tells you just how much it costs to own a horse. This is partly because there isn’t a set answer. Every horse and owner is different so of course they will cost different amounts. But for a rough guide you can check out our basic guide to the cost of owning a horse.
15. How incredible it is having that bond with your own horse
There is nothing quite like having your own horse. It is so hard to explain. I’ve grown up with dogs and dogs might be mans best friend, but the relationship between horse and owner is just a different level. It’s a working relationship where you have to put so much trust in each other.
Last Updated on 07/09/2021