Buying a horse might be a temptation, and they are easy to find one for sale or for free online. However, is Craigslist the right place to arrange a purchase and is getting a free horse a bigger expense than first expected?
Before beginning a search on Craigslist for a horse, keep in mind that these listings are prohibited. On the Craigslist website, they state “pet sales, animal parts, [and] stud service” are not allowed. However, re-homing an animal like a horse for a small fee is allowed on Craigslist.
For anyone that wants to sell or re-home their horse on Craigslist, there is an organization called SAFE Horses that gives excellent advice about finding solutions before, during, and after the horse re-homing process. This helps keep horses safe, but also protects their owners.
Nevertheless, if owning a horse is a goal, there are several ways to get them, but they should be, ultimately, be offline purchases.
For insiders to the thoroughbred horse racing industry, Ellis Law Group says methods for purchasing a horse may include using a buyer’s agent. This person spends most of their time figuring out which horse is foaling, the prices breeders have typically charged in the past, and how to negotiate a deal between the breeder and the buyer.
More often than not, a buyer’s agent will have a team of consultants and experts that helps keep them informed. For this reason, unlike other professionals in the horse industry, agents are more likely to stay abreast of opportunities like IRS, estate sale, and bankruptcy auctions where horses are being sold.
Regardless, the old-fashioned way to buy a fine equine specimen is at horse breeder’s shows like Keeneland’s annual sale or the Fasig-Tipton horse auction. These shows are frequently advertised on horse racing websites and in horse-related classified ads.
Along with going to a horse auction, buying a horse can be difficult if the buyer does not have the skills to negotiate with a horse seller. Guides by Horse Master, Julie Goodnight, certainly demonstrate that buying a horse is somewhat of an art. Also keep in mind that buying a horse directly from the owner is possible, but a thoroughbred champ that requires tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars outside of future upkeep costs.
By using horse buying consultant services and brokers, owners are assured that important health records, ownership papers, and legal documents or procedures will be up to snuff, according to Equine Legal Solutions.
Once the horse is purchased, there will be several areas of expense to consider — and some are challenging in nature. For instance, Horse Talk points out that a reason to avoid first-time horse ownership includes the fact that it is important to have insider knowledge about feeding the horse alfalfa to prevent stomach ulcers.
Owning a horse also means controlling the environment tightly. For example, new horse owners may not be aware that it pays to be careful which animals horses graze with. This can be confusing to anyone that already owns house pets or other common farm animals, because they usually get along. Alternatively, according to Horse Advice, horses are social animals, and they prefer to be with other horses.
Also, unlike other farm animals, the average lifespan of a horse is 30 years, and there may be a lot of hidden costs for keeping a horse. For instance, the University of Georgia estimates that keeping a horse can cost up to $4000 per year.
There is also a horse ownership calculator provided by Horse Channel to find out how much a new horse will cost per year.
On top of basic care and money set aside for emergency vet visits, there are three facts about grooming a horse that a new owner will need to be aware of. First, keeping their hooves shoed will need to be done every six to eight weeks by a specialist called a farrier (about $500 per year).
Additionally, a horse’s teeth never stop growing and this means they will need regular dental attention. This is called teeth floating, according to Good Equine Dental, and the procedure will be done once or twice a year. If the horse is sedated, the cost can be as high as $70 to $100 per session.
One other hidden cost is the maintenance of pasture land; which can vary drastically based on the owner’s personal experience, local climate, and the land the owner keeps the horse on.
Horses can also incur large expenses because they cannot puke, and this causes expensive veterinarian problems. Unlike other animals that cure themselves by doing so, according to USA Today, a horse will not vomit when it is sick.
Due to the fact they do not vomit, one of the main reasons that horses are expensive is due to the fact that they are prone to be colicky, and colic is difficult to diagnose. The expense is also related to the fact that every suspected case of colic in a horse is an absolute emergency that must be treated by a vet at once.
Adding to this, one of the common causes of colic in horses by new horse owners is feeding them grass clippings from mowing the lawn. Besides mowed grass, horses usually understand which plants are poisonous, according to CSE Landscaping Architect, but they may eat them anyway when they are extremely hungry.
One other major consideration to keep in mind is that different horse breeds do have different personalities, and some are not ideal as pets for small children. For example, the thoroughbred horse has been bred for racing, and it may or may not be suitable for children. On the other hand, an Arabian horse has a sensitive, dog-like personality but may need more attention than a busy owner can give it.
According to the opinions on Horse Forum, the best horse breed to get for a new horse owner is the quarter horse, the Morgan horse, or painted horse. While these horse breeds are intelligent, they are less likely to consistently outsmart a new owner with a fiery personality like the thoroughbred or Arabian horse.
Common parting advice to anyone that wants to buy a horse for the first time is to work with a trainer regularly. This ensures inexperienced horse owners are regularly being evaluated by a professional, have access to tips about raising a horse, and gain techniques to keep the horse happy.
In addition, as previously reported by the Inquisitr, anyone considering buying a horse for someone else, should evaluate ways to own one and pet one without spending labor or money on the upkeep. These include investing in a horse racing syndicate as well as donating or volunteering with a local horse rescue organization.
[Feature Image by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images]