If your child is begging for a horse, it can be hard to know what to do. Of course, you want to encourage their passion, but you don’t want to be stuck with a horse your child doesn’t really want.
As well as worrying about whether or not your child really wants a horse, you may also be worrying about the financial aspect of owning a pony. Can you afford to care for it and maintain it? Can you afford the stabling costs? These are all important things to consider before buying your child a horse or pony.
To help you decide what to do, we have put together some simple tips and advice below:
Is it just a passing phase?
Before you can even think about buying your child a horse, it is important to work out whether or not their love of horses is a passing phase. Perhaps they watched a horse movie or read a book and all of a sudden want their very own pony – if this is the case, wait it out. You never know, a new passion may take hold.
Does your child take riding lessons or are they just obsessed with horses? Before you even think about getting your child a horse, make sure that they have been taking riding lessons for at least six months.
Even if your child is old enough to take care of a horse themselves, there will still be times that they rely on you and your partner to help them. For example, if your child is too young to drive, it will probably fall on you or your partner to pick up the hay and food. It may also fall on you to take care of the horse while your child is at school, work or away on a trip.
Whether you child is obsessed with horses or not, you need to take into account whether you are ready for a horse as a family. If the rest of the family rides, then you will probably feel more comfortable with the idea of a horse, but if not, then you may not want the extra responsibility.
Can you afford it?
One of the most important things to consider when buying a horse is whether you can actually afford it. It isn’t just the cost of the horse to think about, but also everything you will need to feed it, care for it and keep it in good health.
If you don’t think you can afford the costs, but your child wants a horse more than anything, think about your options. If your child is old enough, perhaps you could suggest that they fund it themselves by getting a part-time job?
To cut the costs of buying a horse, think about how you can make things less expensive, such as by buying a used saddle. To find out what the difference is between buying a new vs. a used saddle, have a look online and do some research.
As well as buying a used saddle, think about the other things you could buy second hand, such as a riding hat, horse mats, feeding bowls, etc..
How old should your child be?
How old your child should be when they get their own horse depends on your personal opinions.
However, if your child will be looking after the horse mainly themselves, then they need to be old enough to know what they are doing. They also need to have enough knowledge to spot any potential health problems or illnesses in their horse.