I had everything I could have ever asked for growing up, I even had a pony for my 5th birthday. I insisted until I was 16 I really had a horse when I was younger. I believed this was my horse and was crushed to find out the truth when I was 16, that I really in fact only got to ride, Sandy once.
I want a horse… even if my fiance insists they are much too much work and I wouldn’t really like it. He thinks I only like the idea of the horse, which as long as I’m being honest, I probably only like the romanticism of the thought, but… I still want to stomp my feet and go back to the days when I thought I had one.
Here’s a few ideas.. let’s just substitute the age differences here.. 😀
Steps to Get a Horse
Expect a challenge going into this argument and have a rebuttal ready for every possible reply that your parents can conjure. Make lists of possible reasons that your parents may use as objections and then do extensive research to prove that you have thought your decision through completely. If your parents see that you are thinking about the negatives as well as the positives they will understand that you are taking the idea of becoming a horse owner seriously.
Read every scrap of equine information that you can get your hands on. The more knowledgeable you are, the more confidence your parents will have in your ability to care for such a time consuming and expensive animal. A great source of information is a good horse encyclopedia. Most libraries have them but if yours doesn’t, you can sometimes find them on the Internet.
Have a complete breakdown of what every aspect of horse ownership will cost. This should include the following (if you plan to be responsible horse owner): Cost of buying the horse, cost of boarding (if needed), cost of de-worming program, annual vaccinations, annual teeth care, shoes or feet trimming every six to eight weeks, cost of hay and/or supplements, and any lessons you may need to take. Write all of these expenses down and have a breakdown of monthly expenses and annual expenses. It will be a lot of money, but here is a good series of arguments you can make: You can offer to pay for part of it (shoes and wormer, for example); you can have a half lease on your horse to someone else who will share the costs; you can point out that no one gets better at any sport doing it once a week and owning your own horse is the cheapest way to ride every day; you can point out that learning to ride properly is best done when you are young.
Assess your financial situation, and your family’s. You will probably not have enough money to pay for your horse’s continuing needs, and will need your parent’s help for it. Owning a horse is very expensive, and you should make sure that your family has enough money for it.
- Explain to your parents how you expect to finance your horse. If you can purchase the horse yourself, that’s great! If not, then provide a basic budget explaining how you will repay your parents and still cover the basic expenses for your horse. Boarding, food, veterinary expenses, tack and equipment, farrier expenses, etc. are not cheap and if you have a means of paying for, or at least assisting in the payment of these, your parents will appreciate it. If you do not have a job to help pay the bills, offer to pitch in more around the house or to do work for your parents in exchange for a monthly “horse voucher.”
Assess your current situation to decide how you will care for a horse. Do you have a place to keep your horse or will you have to board somewhere? Try to think like your parents would. Is there a place nearby for boarding? How expensive is it? Is the place physically safe for horses or is it rundown? Call several other horse owners and ask them where they keep their horses to get a good idea of what types of facilities are available. Keep in mind that someone will have to drive you to the barn if you do not drive and it is too far to walk or bike.
- Consider what you wish to use your horse for before talking to your parents.Are you interested in pleasure riding or showing? If you are interested in showing, how will you pay for your show expenses (travel, clothing, entry and memberships fees, etc.)? You may want to get really good at braiding or grooming and go to horse shows and offer your services to get a very good idea of what showing is like. Also keep in mind that a good braider can make a lot of money at a horse show braiding other people’s horses.
Make sure that you have the experience to back up what you are proposing. If you are not already involved with horses, you should spend time volunteering with a local stable. Spend time doing all aspects of horse care, not just riding! Make sure that you are willing to take the good with the bad. Muck stalls, clean tack, groom horses, whatever the owners will let you do. Remember, if you are a person who sees a pile of manure and needs to say “eeew” or hold your nose, you probably aren’t mature enough to consider owning your own horse.
- Enlist the help of others when discussing your desires with your parents.Approach your current trainer, barn manager, other horse owners, or anyone else who has experience working with horses. Ask them to vouch for your work ethic to your parents. If other mature, responsible horse owners see that you are a strong, determined and focused individual then it may provide your parents with a little extra proof that you are serious about this commitment.
Enlist an experienced horse person to go along with you on your quest for the perfect horse. While your parents may appreciate all of your newly developed equine knowledge, they will probably feel more comfortable knowing that an experienced horse person is there to help point out pros and cons of each equine candidate. Look at a lot of horses before you get one, and remember that “free horses” or cheap ones most likely have big problems, though this is not always the case and there may be a reason (Such as the owner’s boarding area shutting down, don’t have enough money to care for the horse anymore, etc.). You do not need a problem horse. In spite of what people may think, it is not a good idea, nor is it cheaper, to get a baby and “learn together.” Any experienced horse person will tell you this is a foolish idea, especially since this is going to be your first horse.
Make sure that your parents know that you will keep up with and even excel at your school work after you get your horse. Just because you have a new and very time-consuming interest, you must still allocate time for other things in your life such as school work, job, family, etc. To prove that you will keep your grades up, if you get under any letter grade C, then you can only groom, feed, muck, clean tack, and turnout. You can pretty much do anything but ride until you get the grade back up. If you don’t have an online grade book where you can view your grades, meet with your teacher or e-mail him/her often.
- Keep an open mind and do not try to scam your parents by leaving out pertinent information. It will be just as easy for them to sell a horse as if was for them to buy one in the first place. If your parents do raise a concern that you had not considered, then ask them honestly if that is their only objection, would they consider letting you get a horse if that objection could be overruled. If yes, work together with them to come to any comfortable decision. Remember, thinking of your horse out in the paddock makes doing the dishes a much more enjoyable task, than not to be able to think of your horse at all.