I love my horse. I’m a relatively good horse mom these days, and I was a relatively good horse mom in the past… but there have been times where I had no business thinking about or even doing a lease to own on a horse. It’s hard to see when you’re in the middle of the situation and want a pony oh so badly, but really there are a lot of reasons not to buy a horse and a lot of people who shouldn’t own one.
I’m not saying don’t lease or don’t ride, but ownership is a whole ‘nother ballgame. It’s not for everyone, and some days I question if it’s for me! Some of my “rules” (I use the term rule very loosely here) apply more to someone wanting a show horse as opposed to a pet horse.
Who Shouldn’t Buy A Horse
Someone who has X amount of money saved up and finds a horse for sale for the exact same amount – thus leaving no cushion and nothing ready for outside of the normal monthly expenses. The purchase, no matter how large or small, is just a drop in the bucket.
You can’t ride/go out to the barn more than a 2 days a week… on a good week, and can’t/don’t want to pay for training rides. We all know that we aim to go out to the barn as much as possible, but life often gets in the way. If a good week is 2 rides, then that means that there are plenty weeks where you only get out once or at all. Horses that you expect to show and behave need to be ridden. Sure, every horse is different but you can’t expect the average creature to get one or two rides a week and then prance around in the show ring like a pro. If your horse does this, hug them and dip them in gold because they are one of the good ones 🙂 If I couldn’t ride as much as I luckily can right now, I’d be half leasing for sure.
You have absolutely 0 idea what discipline or kind of horse showing/training you want to participate in. Before I get flamed about how versatile certain horses are, relax. I’m not talking about “I might want to do low level dressage or maybe some eventing!” but someone who is like “I’ll do jumpers! No, western pleasure. Saddleseat looks cool. You know, I’ve always wanted to try cutting!” I am all for cross discipline training and think it benefits any breed of horse, but if you have no idea where your heart wants to go with horses there is a good chance you may buy a sweet horse and then ask it to do a job it’s not made for at all. There’s no problem with waffling around, but do that with lessons or some different short term leases.
You resent the time/money that you spend on horses. I am not rich, and I do not have a ton of free time. I spend all my extra time and money on my horse, but I really make a point to not be all, “Man, if I didn’t have my stupid ass horse I could afford that nice dress… or that new kitchen counter top… or a jet ski.” Horse ownership is a sacrifice for most of us, but if you find yourself resenting the horse for what you can’t have… it’s probably time to sell him.
You are an advanced beginner/intermediate rider, don’t have a trainer, and don’t really take lessons at the barn you board at. This is probably pretty self explanatory.
Your horse caring experience is limited to what you read in Marguerite Henry books, and once again… you don’t have a trainer. Books are awesome. Substitute for doing standing wraps, knowing when or when not to call the vet, and applying a poultice to an abscess… they are not. If you’re green and you don’t have a good trainer/barn owner to help guide you through the newbie phase – stick to lessons.
I’m sure there are a LOT more examples of reasons why you shouldn’t buy a horse – so what do y’all think? What are your “red flags” that set you off that someone shouldn’t enter the wonderful world of horse ownership?