So many children fall in love with horses from a young age and often dream of owning a horse or pony of their own. But with the high costs and time-consuming needs that come with owning a horse, it’s not always a likely reality for every family.Aside from the added expenses, owning a horse is a huge commitment that no person should ever rush into, especially before ensuring that your child is properly prepared. Before making any drastic decisions, take a look at these top tips for parents of budding equestrians to keep in mind!
EDUCATE THEM ON HORSE CARE
Your child may beg and beg for a horse without having any idea of the kind of work and care that goes into owning one. Before you make any decisions, make sure your child knows all about how to care for a horse so that they’re prepared for later life. Teach your child about the type of food and nutrition every individual horse needs, such as the requirements of feeding youngstock compared to older horses, and the right kind of footwear and clothing to wear while riding. It’s also important that both you and your child can come to understand horse behaviour, so as to avoid accidents and recognise the horse’s needs.
GIVE THEM AN INSIGHT INTO RIDING
Before making any commitments, it’s best to give your child as much riding practice and exposure to horses as possible. Book your child into a riding school to give them a chance to try out and develop their equestrian skills. Another option could be to consider taking your child on a riding holiday for your next family vacation. Riding holidays can be found all over the UK, and offer lessons for beginner and experienced riders, with some beautiful scenic locations. You may come to realise that your child’s horse obsession was just a phase – in which case you’ll be glad not to have forked out a couple of grand on a horse of your own!
WEIGH UP YOUR OPTIONS
It goes without saying that with the costs of insurance, feed and general care, owning a horse is expensive. If your little one is desperate to own a horse, but you just can’t justify the costs, consider some cheaper options such as horse sharing. The basis behind this is that you as the ‘sharer’ are able to visit the horse at its current owner’s location and ride it for a certain amount of days a week, in exchange for a contribution towards finances or help with the horses care. This is a great way to give your children an insight into some of the responsibilities of owning a horse without having to fully commit, and could also be a way for you and your child to make friends with the same interests!