Conformation, Top Ten Owner's Expenses, Tips for
Buying, Mileage... (on this page)
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Buying a horse or pony involves important decisions.
You need to consider carefully what you would like to do with it - whether it is just for fun or for competitions - you need
to know how much you are willing to spend and also where you are going to keep it. With all the excitement that comes with
buying a new horse, first time buyers often don't take into consideration how much it costs to keep a horse. Remember that
after you have paid for the horse, the expensive part of stabling it and caring for it is only just beginning.
Tips for buying a horse or pony for beginner or novice rider
Older horses and ponies with kind temperaments are more suitable for beginners
the horse/pony to the rider's ability
Bring someone experienced with you
Ask what mileage (experience) horse has
Try to get a trial period
Pay a vet to check out the animal
Pay less for windsucker, crib biter, weaver or sweet
itch or don't buy
The importance of conformation
The conformation of a horse is one of the most important considerations when buying. Conformation means how a horse
is put together and is vital to the way it moves. A horse that moves well is less prone to wear and tear and should have a
longer working life than one that moves badly. A good mover is also worth more money as a competition horse. Very few horses
have perfect conformation but the buyer should always aim high.
An uphill picture
When looking at a horse,
it should stand squarely on all four legs. It should present an ‘uphill' picture with withers higher than hindquarters.
An uphill horse finds it easier to lift its front legs for show jumping and dressage. The head should not be too big and the
neck should be long and well set into the shoulders, without appearing thick. The horse's body should have a well-rounded
look with good top-line. Imagine drawing a circle where the shoulders are and a circle where the hindquarters are. Ideally,
these two circles should be the same size for a balanced horse. The horse shouldn't have too narrow a chest when viewed
from the front and there should be plenty of room for its lungs to function properly, producing more stamina. The legs should
look the correct length for its body and its knees should be board and flat.
When examining a horse, always
ask the handler to walk the horse away from you and trot it back to you. Watch carefully to make sure that the horse moves
straight and that it doesn't swing any legs. Some horses brush their fetlocks together and this can cause damage as the years
go by. When walking, a horse's hind feet should step over the hoof prints left by the front feet. The walk should be active
and loose. If the horse has a good walk, it will normally have good trot and canter paces.
Training for beginners to advanced riders
Click photo to visit website www.annsfortequestrian.com
Dressage lessons on Medium Level horse
Show Jumping training
Beginners to advanced riders in all disciplines, including polocrosse
Trainer based in Co. Tipperary, Ireland
Patricia Lalor, BHSII. T
SM, Horse Sport Ireland Tutor
Tel. 00 353 52 61 21191 or Mobile
00 353 87 6828234
Take care when choosing a first pony
Ponies with mileage will be less likely to frighten a young rider
The term 'mileage' may not be an advantage with cars but it is definitely
a bonus when applied to horses and ponies. Mileage means experience and exposure to different types of riding events and it
is worth a lot
A horse or pony with mileage is good value
The term 'mileage' may not be an advantage with cars but it is definitely a bonus
when applied to horses and ponies. Mileage means experience and exposure to different types of riding events and it is worth
a lot. A horse with experience is one which has been taken on many outings, has competed at shows and, if a pony, has been
taken to the Pony Club and is used to many different little riders on his back. Horses and ponies with mileage are very useful
for beginners. This also applies on a competitive level. A good rider who is keen to compete at dressage is often advised
to buy an older horse with experience. School-masters are ideal to learn advanced dressage movements on as it is very difficult
to train a young horse when the rider doesn't know what to do either! In the hunting field, an experienced horse is a pleasure
to ride compared to an excitable young one who could give you a crashing fall at the next ditch.
Horses and ponies with mileage may cost more but it is money well spent as long as the animal is healthy and sound. Above
all, if you are buying a first pony for your child, you must consider what price you would pay to keep your child safe? I
have heard of far too many parents buying young and sometimes unbroken ponies for their children starting off. Some young
ponies may be sensible but is it really worth the risk?
(The prices quoted in this article are in euro and apply to Ireland).
1. The horse or pony itself –
Young horses and ponies with little experience usually cost less but it is not a good idea to buy an inexperienced horse or
pony unless the rider is able to cope with a lively young animal. Putting ‘mileage’ on a horse costs time and
money and, because of this, an average horse with experience and an ability to jump at least one metre in height will cost
between €2,000 and €6,000. An average pony with pony club experience or other good mileage will cost between €1,500
and €3,000. Obviously top competition horses and show ponies will cost a lot more.
2. Vet's examination – It’s safer to have your horse or pony vetted before you
pay for him. A vet’s examination to check heart, lungs, limbs and eyes should not cost you more than €150 unless
you also wish the vet to take blood samples to check for substances such as sedatives or painkillers.
3. Livery – There are three main types: (a) Full livery
– where the horse is stabled all the time but may also have grass turn-out. The horse is fed and mucked out for you.
This will cost between €70 and €150 per week depending on the facilities offered by the equestrian centre. (b)
DIY livery – where the horse is stabled and may also have turn-out but you do all the work, including supplying the
feed and bedding. This costs between €50 and €70. (c) Grass livery – where the horse is kept in a field all
the time and rugged up in the winter. This costs between €30 and €50 per week.
4. Bedding – A bale of dust-free, good quality shavings could cost as much as €8.50.
Other alternatives are straw and paper. Straw is cheaper than shavings but is harder to store unless you have a hay barn available.
5. Feed – A small square bale of hay is approximately €3.00.
A bag of average horse feed (called hard feed) is between €10 and €14 and how much the horse needs will depend on
his size. Ponies are much cheaper to keep at home as they don’t need as much food.
6. Vet’s bills – Allow
for at least one visit from the vet each year to vaccinate your horse and perhaps it is safer to budget for two visits. Just
to drive into your yard, the vet will charge you at least €35 and then add on whatever else has to be done. It is cheaper
to take the horse to the vet’s clinic but this involves loading the horse and driving there which may not always be
the easiest option.
7. Horse box – A new horse
box could cost around €5,000 and you can find second hand ones for €2,000 upwards.
– Bridles cost between €60 and €200 depending on the make and quality. A new saddle could cost between €550
and €1,500 while a second hand saddle could cost between €250 and €500. It is well worth getting advice from
an expert when purchasing a saddle. A good quality winter turn-out rug for a horse costs about €150.
9. Farrier – It is essential to have your horse’s
feet looked after regularly. You should budget for the farrier to come every four to six weeks. It costs at least €70
for a set of new shoes. Ponies under 128 cm don’t need shoes unless competing. Ponies which are prone to laminitis
are often better with front shoes as their feet can get sore. The farrier will need to pare the hooves of a horse or pony
without shoes so allow about €10 to €15 for this.
10. Riding lessons – A lesson shared
with others in an average riding school will cost about €20 and a private lesson at least €40.