I first laid eyes on Dun It For Money as a yearling where he was in a pen with other colts. Knowing he was too expensive for me, I purchased another colt who turned out to be a champion. I could not get him out of his mind. As a three year old, he was then sent to the NRHA Futurity where he placed in the finals.
The following Spring, Dun It For Money was shown at the Olympic Trials in Burbank. I sat in the stands with the owner as they watched a hot mad stallion stop and refuse to go any more. The rider threw his hands up in the air and rode out of the arena. The owner ran over and grabbed Dun It For Money from the trainer.
I did not see him again for 6 months and I still could not get him out of his mind. When Dun It For Money went up for sale, I sent for him. At the time that he arrived at my ranch, he was upset at the world and came out of the trailer on his hind legs rearing and striking. At that moment, I decided that Dun It For Money wasn’t ever going to leave my side. You see, we were both at a very similar stage in our lives and when we looked each other in the eye, there was a silent understanding.
With a month of horse trading and negotiating, I was able to purchase Dun It For Money. This was the most incredible moment in my life. I led him down to his arena and with eager anticipation I got on him. Dun It For Money promptly reached around and grabbed my leg with his mouth and took me to the ground. I pulled his head around, got him up, and got back on. Away we on our first trail ride together. I made him a promise that I would not ever work him or train him in an arena again because of Dun It For Money’s bad experiences. He blossomed very quickly and never once did he show any signs of quitting or getting mad!
The following summer I decided to enter him in the prestigious Santa Barbara Fiesta Rodeo and Stock Horse show him in Open Reining. We won it! I then entered him in the Monterey National Horse Show Open and again we took the championship title. I and Dun It For Money moved to Rosamond, CA where we occasionally showed at the local level. Not wanting to do reining with Dun It anymore, I just played around roping, team penning, and working cattle.
When Dun It For Money turned 15 years old, I decided to semi retire him to occasional trail rides only. Dun It For Money was not happy and grew over time to become mad and resentful over non use.
When the Extreme Cowboy Association “EXCA” Racing finals was just three days away, I decided to pull him out of his pen and try him on obstacles. To my surprise he loved it! In this first EXCA race, Dun It For Money had to jump, drag logs, and go over teeter bridges for the first time because I had not had a chance to introduce him to them. Dun It did not refuse one obstacle! We placed 4th in the Regional Championship with only 3 days preparation. Our first run video is the most posted and viewed globally and still is the favorite.
Three weeks later I took Dun It For Money to the Vaquero Days EXCA race in Desconso, CA where we won the Pro title. A few months later I took him to the EXCA World Championship where we made the finals and put on the first match race against Lee Hart. The Equine Affaire EXCA race was a couple months later where we placed 3rd against California’s toughest competition. Soon after we competed at the California Cowboy Racers EXCA event and we won it! This was his last race. Shortly afterwards, on May 24, 2011 at approximately 2:43 pm, Dun It For Money had a heart attack while breeding a mare and died in my arms. His legacy lives on through Dun It Colt 45, Laredo, La Cody Dun It, and Dun It Docavanna; all of which I own. On November 4, 2012, Dun It For Money was the first horse inducted into the EXCA Horse Hall of Fame.
I had always dreamed of the perfect horse, being a buckskin paint stud by Dun It For Money. I got my wish in March of 2008. I had been getting up every morning anticipating the new arrival. On the morning Laredo was born, I had Evon go check to see if he arrived. Evon came back to my room elated, “Chop, chop, get up and come see your dream horse”!
Laredo Dun It is the only buckskin paint stud by Dun It For Money. Laredo has his sire’s athletic ability, intelligence, and temperament. Laredo or Baby Bucky as we call him is now being trained for future shows and performances with an Extreme Cowboy Racing career in sight for 2015.
Quarter Horse seems like a strange name for an animal, but only until you understand that Quarter horses are able to run a quarter mile faster than any other horse can run the same distance (in some situations, a Quarter Horse has been recorded at over 50 miles per hour while running at full speed), then its given name makes good sense. In part, that is a testament to the horse’s athletic ability, along with its strong, well-muscled hind legs.
Combine versatility and an even temper with those characteristics (athleticism and muscle structure) and you can see why Quarter Horses are some of the most popular choices among those who are buying from a list of horses for sale. Not only is the American Quarter Horse common with a lot of general buyers, but the breed is popular overall; the majority of horses registered worldwide are registered with the American Quarter Horse Association.
Of the registered Quarter Horses, many run races thanks to their speed. Many others are participants in horse shows. Others work on ranches around the world. Still others – thanks to the Quarter Horse’s compact body – are used in working with cows, calf roping, barrel racing, reining, cutting as well as other riding events. But don’t think of the Quarter Horse as merely a workhorse: the Quarter Horse is equally at home in other equestrian events.
Sport and speed both create environments in which the American Quarter Horse feels at home. With Thoroughbred, Arabian and Morgan bloodlines all contributing to the genetic pool of the American Quarter Horse, it’s not difficult to see why the Quarter Horse excels in most situations.
Because of this, the American Quarter Horse is often seen in show environments, in racing events, in rodeos as well as on the ranch, and even in stables that are home to horses that are owned by individuals and families, who just want a horse that they can take out for enjoyable rides on trails. It’s important to note, however that just because Quarter Horses are used for ranch working purposes as well as for trail riding doesn’t mean that they don’t serve other purposes as well; for example, many quarter horses have been used for dressage and for jumping competitions.
As with anything else in life, not all Quarter Horses are created equal. Most grow to between 14 and 16 hands high with some growing to 17 hands. Stock Quarter Horses are agile and muscled, however they appear to be compact and a bit stocky. Halter Quarter Horses, on the other hand tend to be taller and have similar smooth muscling to the Thoroughbred.
Regardless of whether or not the horses are of the stock or halter variety, you’re likely to discover that Quarter Horses are available in a wide variety of colors. Most commonly, you’ll find them listed as sorrel – a brownish-red, chestnut brown shade. That, however, doesn’t mean that you won’t find Quarter Horses listed that are described as black, bay, gray, dun, palomino, red roan or a number of other shades. All of these colors – along with spotted or pinto colors – are found to be acceptable when it comes time to register a horse with the American Quarter Horse Association, provided the horse’s parents were registered as well.
If you are looking for a family horse, lineage and registration with the American Quarter Horse Association may not be among your top priorities when you’re looking through listings of horses for sale. Instead, you may be focused on a child’s request for “a brown one,” or on finding a Quarter Horse that is closer to 14 hands rather than 16 or 17, which will make it easier for even the youngest members of your family to ride.
On the other hand, if you are looking for an American Quarter Horse because you are looking for the right animal to help you around the ranch, when it comes to reigning in cattle, you may actually want to know whether or not the Quarter Horse is from a working line.
In other words, when you’re making an effort to research Quarter Horses for any purpose, focus on your needs first and foremost. You will be more likely to find a Quarter Horse that will meet your expectations if you know what your expectations really are. This way you are sure to find exactly the Quarter Horse you need and want.
Due to their unusual colour, Palominos stand out in a show ring, and are much sought after as parade horses.
The Palomino is considered a colour breed. Palomino is a coat colour in horses, consisting of a gold coat and white or flaxen mane and tail. Genetically, the palomino colour is created by a dilution gene working on a red (chestnut) base coat. However, most colour breed registries that record Palomino horses were founded before equine coat colour genetics were understood as well as they are today, and hence the standard definition of a Palomino is based on the coat colour visible to the eye, not the underlying presence of the dilution gene. Thus, palomino is simply a colour and not a set of characteristics that make up a “breed”.
Because registration is based solely on coat color, horses from many breeds or combination of breeds may qualify. Some breeds that have palomino representatives are the American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse, Morgan and Quarter Horse.
The color is fairly rare in the Thoroughbred, but does in fact occur and is recognized by The Jockey Club.
Unlike the Appaloosa, which is a distinct breed that also happens to have a unique colour, any breed or type of horse usually may be registered as palomino if they are properly golden-coloured (though, for some registries, horses may also meet a conformation or type standard).
While the breed standard states the ideal colour is that of a “newly minted gold coin” (sometimes mistakenly claimed to be a penny), some Palomino registries allow a coat colour that may range from cremello, an almost-white colour, to a deep, dark, chocolate colour (“chocolate palomino”).
The liver chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail (back), may be accepted as “palomino” by some colour registries.
A palomino at the lighter end of the acceptable range of colour, coat is still a golden shade, skin is dark, horse is not quite a cremello.
White markings are also permitted on the face, but must not extend past the eyes.
Some breeds, such as the Haflinger and Arabian, may appear to be palomino, but are genetically chestnuts with flaxen manes and tails, as neither breed carries the creme dilution that creates this colour. White markings are permitted on the legs, but must not extend beyond the knees or hocks.
One of the most famous Palomino horses was Trigger, acknowledged as “the smartest horse in movies,” the faithful mount of the Hollywood Cowboy star Roy Rogers during the 1940s and 1950s. Another famous Palomino was Mr. Ed (real name Bamboo Harvester) who starred on his own TV show in the 1960s.
Finally it should be noted that Link’s Horse Epona, from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, can be considered a Palomino.
There is a unique emotional bond between humans and horses ever since the first man tried to mount this wonderful animal. Horses seem to have the ability to sense a person’s mood and react to it. It is no wonder then that so many people enjoy books and feature films with horses as the stars. Here are some of the best known horses-actors.
The book “Black Beauty” was written in the 1870’s by writer Anna Sewell. She worked most of her life with horses and wrote the book especially with the intent to report and correct abuse against these animals. People all over the world know the story of Black Beauty, even if they never read the book. Since the 1940’s three movie films have been made about this animal, telling his story in his own voice. Even a TV show was made that run for several seasons.
My Friend Flicka
Flicka was the horse of a young rancher’s son Ken McLaughlin in Wyoming. At least it was so in the children’s novel written by Mary O’Hara that told of their incredible adventures together around the Goosebar Ranch. The first movie was made in the 1940’s and a remake in 2006 stars Alison Lohman as young farm girl Katy … A television series ran from 1955 – 1958.
The story of Seabiscuit is based on a true story. Seabiscuit was a racing horse during the Great Depression, but not a very good one at that. For some years he performed at the very lowest levels of horse racing. But then three man saw the talents that apparently were hidden. Author Laura Hillenbrandt made him into a legend by writing a bestseller about him. The consequent movie adaptation was inevitable.
Another real and living horse was Trigger. His fame came from the actor Roy Rodgers, who always appeared in films as cowboy. He bought Trigger in the 1930’s. Since then the two became virtually inseparable and Trigger was as popular if not more popular than Roy Rodgers himself. Trigger died at age 33 and when he died his hide was stretched over a plaster likeness. Even today you can see Trigger in the “The Roy Rogers/Dale Evans Museum”. (Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum: 3950 Green Mountain Dr, Branson, MO).The museum gets over 200,000 visitors a year and not surprisingly most people come to see Trigger..
Like Trigger, Mr. Ed was a dark-blonde Palomino horse. And although the show aired in the 1960’s even children today are familiar with the talking horse. Mr. Ed was not just another horse, no, he wanted to be more human than man and this meant that his owner, Wilbur got into all kinds of trouble very fast whenever Mr. Ed got his “hands” on a phone or was able to get out of his stable.
There are many questions that are asked everyday that no one knows the answer to. Some of these questions are more like riddles, for example, why do convenient stores that are open twenty four hours a day have bars on the windows and doors? These types of questions will get the wheels turning in a person’s brain. Then there are some questions that could cause a brain to explode. An example of this type of question is why do women love horses?
A person could easily spend the rest of their lives trying to figure this one out because there is not a clearly defined answer and the worst part is that if you were to ask a woman why they all seem to love horses so much they will not even know the answer. Many people have tried to answer this question, but there is not a solid answer.
One theory that has been proposed is that a woman’s love for horses is simply part of their DNA. Many people will say that there is a tiny gene located somewhere in a woman’s DNA that programs them to love horses. This “horse loving” gene is similar to the “sport loving” gene that all men are born with, yes guys; this is why you are drawn to all types of sporting events.
Many times the “horse loving” gene will begin to express itself during a woman’s childhood. Anyone will be able to determine when the “horse loving” gene is starting to express itself because this is when a young girl will start to play with toy horses and ponies, but it is important to know that the “horse loving” gene will be expressed more strongly in some girls that in others.
The girls that have a really strong “horse loving” gene will want to own their very own horse. Anytime a girl has the opportunity to ask for a horse, she will. This means that parents can expect to always see a horse on their daughters Christmas and Birthday lists.
Sometimes the “horse loving” gene will go into remission. This will usually happen about the time that a young woman turns sixteen and wants a car. Parents should keep in mind that it is often less expensive to purchase a horse for their daughters than it is to purchase a car.
Just because the “horse loving” gene has gone into hiding does not mean that it will stay there. There are many occasions when a woman’s “horse loving” gene will resurface. This is why you see many middle aged women buying horses for the first time. Now they do not have to rely on their parents to purchase a horse for them, instead, they now have the means to own a horse.
It is important to remember that all women are born with a “horse loving” gene. The only thing that differentiates all of the women of the world is at what point in their lives that their “horse loving” gene will makes its presence known.
Do you have Horse DNA? Stop on by our horse resource links below and join our community. We would love to hear from you and share some great stories.
Super Saver wins Todd Pletcher’s first Kentucky Derby out of 25 trips to the derby. Calvin Borel nicknamed Calvin “Bo-Rail” for his habit of riding next to the rail won the derby on Super Saver for the third time in 4 years of riding in the Kentucky Derby. He lived up to his nickname by hugging the rail on a sloppy wet track and swinging wide to run up between horses.
Super Saver was the third Derby winner in four attempts for jockey Calvin Borel, and the first winner out of 25 entries for trainer Todd Pletcher.
I always knew what I wanted to do as a child. I bounced around from several different career choices but all of them revolved around horses. As my senior year went by, I spent countless hours researching equine science degrees at four-year colleges and applying to schools all over the country that had programs that fascinated me. I ended up at Colorado State University, after debating between West Texas A&M, Tarleton State University, and Texas A&M. I graduated from Colorado State University with my degree in equine science and promptly attempted to enter the work force searching for my place in the equine world. What a learning experience!
If you are about to graduate high school or maybe you have a son or daughter who is about to graduate high school and they are determined to go to school for equine science. On one hand, it is an awesome thing that they know what they want to do, especially considering the astounding numbers of undeclared majors in state universities these days. On the other hand, the reality is, equine science is almost a worthless major in the eyes of most employers. It is also a degree that requires a lot of entrepreneur spirit in order to succeed in the equine world. If you are a follower and not a leader, this may not be the correct degree choice to work towards.
This is a tough place as every parent wants to support their children’s dreams. You can make a living at anything if you are truly determined to do it and you love what you do. The problem is after visiting college campuses and having a ton of smoke blown up your butt about how wonderful each school is, there is a lot to an equine science degree that nobody ever tells you until you get into the thick of it all and waste a ton of money on the degree.
Equine science is a popular pre-vet degree. Most four-year schools that offer the degree also have a veterinary program. What this means is, if you are not interested in becoming a vet, you still are going to class with pre-vet students who must get an A in every class. What this means for the average equine science student who is there to further their knowledge of the horse industry is, there are no curve grades, and the competition to get into classes with limited seats is tough. First preferences often times go to the pre vet students leaving the average equine science student to get pushed back anther year before they can take that required class that is only offered in the spring once a year.
Another feat perhaps more difficult than getting into your required classes when competing with vet students and pre-vet students is getting a job in the field so you can get experience most employers’ want you to have while you are still in college. Once an employer learns that you are not pre-vet often, times you, get bumped all together from those equine employers employee choices. Best way to avoid this is to inquire if the school’s internship program is actually hands on about placing students with employers, which allows a more fair opportunity for those who are going to school just to get their equine science degree to actually get a job around horses. Most schools that have placement programs do this, as internships are required in order to graduate from their equine science program. Employers will usually choose vet students and pre-vet students for positions within a barn or equine facility because they like the thought of having someone with veterinary knowledge around the horses for a minimal investment. 9 times out of 10, the equine science student will not even be called in for an interview when they are competing with vet students. This is why having a school placement program is crucial for avoiding this problem all together.
One of the other interesting little tidbits you learn while trying to get an equine related job while in college is that the equine industry in notorious for expecting you to work your butt off for free. This means you better be the master of the shovel, willing to work every spare minute you have for little compensation, and do it with a smile and maybe, just maybe you will get the opportunity to ride a horse, or work with an incredible trainer, or get some responsibilities that are not the bottom of the barrel work. I have to admit that the equine employers that think they are doing the educational system a favor by offering these internships are truly looking out for their own best interest and trying to find cheap labor. It surely is not for the students benefit in most cases. They assume every equine science student is a kept pony princess or prince whose bills are paid by their rich parents and that the college credit they are giving you in exchange for your hard work is equal to the compensation they would be paying a non-student. The other problem is most of these jobs, as I mentioned before you are stuck not really learning anything, but doing all the chores and work, that nobody else will do on the farm other than migrant workers. Which guess what, as an intern your even lower than that because they have to pay the migrant workers! It is a pretty sad and discouraging system. I do agree that scooping poop does build character, but there’s a limit to how much character building a college student needs while trying to learn the ropes in the equine industry while in school. There are also a fair share of equine employers who severely abuse this system and only participate to get their free slave college labor.
The reality is once you graduate with your equine science degree, what you do with it is up to you. It’s a degree best suited for those of you who want to start your own equine related business as employers look at it as a worthless degree otherwise. Most equine science graduates end up making their living in an industry outside the horse industry and often times run into roadblocks because of the validity of the degree itself. This is why I would encourage those of you pursuing this degree who are not vet students to minor in a degree or attain a second bachelor’s degree in a field that will help you get employment in the instance you are not working in the equine industry after graduation. I would recommend business, marketing, computer science, legal, or anything related to the energy field. All of these choices will complement your equine science degree and ensure you have plenty of career choices after graduation.
Do not be surprised that the low pay continues after graduation with your equine science degree. Most equine employers think they are being generous by offering you housing along with a huge monthly salary of 1500.00 a month in exchange for 60 hour a week worth of hard labor. This labor almost always includes scooping more crap, yes even after all the experience you gained in your internships doing this equine employers still feel you need more practice at it for little pay! What they usually do not tell you is the housing they are offering is nasty, rat hole, and you will have to share that housing with the other farm help, and you get to pay the utilities. Oh yes, the equine industry is tough. This is why if this is your direction you are choosing I would highly recommend that you minor in business. As the most successful in the equine industry are self employed small business owners that set off and started their own businesses to make a living. You really have no other choice unless earning a $1500 a month salary and living in a rat hole with no free time is your ideal career choice.
If you are lucky enough to find an equine job that is not on a horse ranch, breeding facility, or training facility the pay usually is not great, and you are expected to work hard! My example comes from personal experience. April of my senior year in college I got a position at The Arabian Horse Association as a Member Services Representative. I was so excited to actually get a horse job, I did not mind the 82-mile one-way drive to Denver, or the crappy pay which at the time was less than 10.50/hour. I thought the job was perfect for me as I focused a lot of my effort in learning about equine event management, and was stoked that I might actually get the experience and chance to help the AHA put on their breed shows. It also put my family at bay for not giving me a hard time not working in the horse industry, as up until that point I could not afford to go work for the equine slave drivers in college for free as I was not a pony princess, I had to pay my way through school which meant paying bills not just paying for alcohol. I was responsible for paying for a truck, my housing, my food, and my horse. Spending the time I was not in class working for free was not an option for me. I spent a year and a half working at the AHA, only to discover they kept wanting more data entry work, I rarely got to leave my cubicle hell, and the biggest raises they gave hourly employee’s was.05 an hour and in the year and a half I got one.05 raise. In that same year and half fuel prices increased over.30 a gallon. During that time several salaried higher paying positions came available within the AHA, but what you do not know is that the positions I applied for that were in the breed association development department, they wanted people with marketing, and business degrees, not equine science. The other problem with my job was the long commute. I could not afford to move closer to my job because it was in the middle of the city and I would have to board my horse an hour plus away from where I would be living and spending more money to have a horse, while being able to see my horse less just so I could get an extra hour of sleep, and avoid an 82 mile 1 way drive. I was living on a 5-acre horse property with my horse for less money than what is would have cost me to move closer to my work. Yeah, screw that. I quit and started my own business in the oil and gas industry after a bunch of prodding from my future husband that I was sitting on the road to nowhere. He was right.
I was regretful that I did not spend more time learning more about business and marketing in while I was in school. It is hard to even think about going to school since I went for 5 years paying out of state tuition only to discover the degree was worthless. Every successful equine business owner I know will tell you that they know dozens of people with my degree that do not use it. Therefore, my advice to those of you still determined to do this:
You had better be thick skinned and prepared for a lot of rejection. Competition with vet students is cut throat.
You will need to make a living until you can find a job, so find other talents that you have that will allow you to make a living until you can secure that dream job in the horse world.
Be prepared for the equine scum employers, it will never matter how much crap you scoop, many of these positions are dead end and they are just out to look for cheap labor. They have absolutely no interest in giving you what you want, they will work you until you quit or give up for as little money as possible.
Do not take any more than one job in your college career that entails scooping horse crap, seriously, it is not doing you any good and you will be wasting your time. You will learn more by getting work from other businesses that can help you become a successful business owner in the future. I worked one tax season for an accountant, it was one of the best experiences I ever had in college, and it taught me so much about being a business owner the experience was incredible!
If you have a truck, do not let an equine employer talk you into using your personal vehicle for their benefit unless they intend on fairly compensating you for it. I had one job in college at an Andalusion farm where the owner seemed to think that not paying me very much included free use of my truck to haul hay was included.
Narrow down you career choices while you are in school than contact future potential employers to find out what they are looking for when they hire for those positions. Why, because you don’t want to find yourself in an entry level job in the horse industry to only find out that the better jobs they offer require a completely different degree like I found out at The Arabian Horse Association. This will allow you to be working towards the best degree for your chosen career path, and not end up with a worthless, useless degree that will make it more difficult for you to attain employment with in the future.
2 year degree programs are good for getting a lot of hands on experience but they do not allow you to get participate in a backup major such as business.
2-year programs typically are better suited for those looking to go into horse training, riding instruction, and coaching. These programs are also cheaper, and typically, they are a much easier degree academically to complete. Just remember many careers require a 4-year degree unless you are in a job that is primarily a technical position such as an electrician, plumber, or other specialized career that requires special training.
4 year University Equine Science programs typically will have programs in equine reproduction, where you can learn the art of Artificial Insemination and semen collecting, as well as the skills required to work in a reproduction lab or breeding facility.
4-year equine science degrees typically are less hands on than a two-year equine science degree. You spend a solid 2 years at least working on core requirements that every major the school offers requires students to take. These include classes such as algebra, speech, English, statistics, chemistry, biology, foreign language, and public speaking. Of course, most of these classes are completely useless and will not make or break you in the real world.
There are some 4-year equine science programs out there where you never even handle a horse. Be cautious of this, after all there really is not much point to getting an equine science degree if you never handle a horse. If all you want to do is handle & work directly with horses a 2-year program may be the better choice.
Personally, I can attest to the fact that I regret getting my degree in equine science. I also wish that the career advisors at my school had been more honest with me. I paid a lot of money for that degree only to find out after graduation its true value. Your best defense in this world if you want to work in the horse industry is to be prepared to start your own business as that’s really the best way for you to make a decent living. It is a tough world and if you graduate with that degree and are expecting to get a high paying job, you are going to be searching for a long time because very few of them exist. In fact, there are very few equine science positions that even pay $35,000 a year. Many higher paying positions in the equine world also have other degree preferences for their job candidates that are not equine science degrees and only require that you have hands on knowledge of the equine world, not an equine science degree.
Finally, if you are looking for any job to just pay your bills, often time’s equine science degrees will not count, thus making it more difficult to attain employment outside the equine world. Your best defense in this world is to round out your education, do not get tunnel vision thinking horses and only horses. Attain a second bachelors, or get a minor in a degree program that can not only help your equine career but help you secure a job outside the equine industry if need be at a later time. Most importantly, do not let your college baffle you with bullshit, they only want your money and truly do not care what happens to you after graduation. Supporting yourself after graduation falls on you not the school, you graduated from, and there is no degree that has a guarantee you will be able to find employment after graduation, especially in today’s job market.
It all starts innocently enough and with deeply altruistic motives…”Let’s get a horse for Junior/the kids/the family. They love horses SO much and they’ve always wanted one of their own. It will be SO good for them – learning how to care for a pet…and learning to ride. And they’ll be outdoors so much more…and gain confidence…and maybe learn enough to go to the Olympics with the Equestrian team. And it’s SO great to see a horse galloping around in a paddock.”
Well-ll-ll…there are Pros –
· A horse IS a noble and beautiful creature – intelligent, loyal, obedient, and it does provide valuable lessons to all who become involved in its life.
· And when it sees you in the distance and its head lifts, ears pricked, and then it nickers and whinnies and trots joyously towards you – that is awesome, and strangely moving.
· Fondling a horse and having it gently nibble at your hair and sleeve, or witnessing the tiny tremors of pleasure that ripple over its skin when you blow gently into its nostrils, just has to be experienced to know the incredible love and happiness you feel.
· And horses smell wonderful – a special, unforgettable fragrance…and when they ‘harrumph’ and nicker close to your face and you get that sweet grassy ‘aroma’ from their breath, you’ll know a special ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling of bliss. They most certainly teach love and appreciation of all creatures, great and small.
· There’s an important lesson in friendship and trust you will learn from a horse – despite all that strength towering over you, he chooses to rest his chin comfortably on your shoulder, and take a bit of a ‘nanna-nap’ as his velvet nose is softly stroked. It’s certainly a humbling experience.
· I haven’t even mentioned such insignificant matters as the supreme feeling of being atop this loyal steed (AND the view!); of the wondrous sense of being ‘one’ with this creature; of being in control of his stops and starts, his motion and his speed. An amazing blend of power and joy – and yet humility and gratitude, that he is prepared to offer and bend himself to your will so totally.
BUT…there have to be Cons, as well –
· Stabling a horse places huge demands on ALL of your resources – particularly financial…but also time-wise…and emotionally. And so paddocking would seem a simple option – just put him out to pasture…yes? Well-ll-ll…no, actually.
· Successful paddocking requires secure fencing and gates; first-rate pastures with little or no weeds; grasses that are not too lush and green; and there must be shade and shelter – and adequate and totally reliable water freely available (a horse requires approx. 9 gallons (or 45 litres) of water per day. And he will need a lot of hay, and oats and bran, with minerals and trace elements added…in the correct proportions
· He will also need you to spend time with him at least once a day, preferably twice – to ensure his safety and well-being, establishing that these are not at risk – and to also lay the foundations and develop trust and bonding to an absolute and total level.
· Even the paddocked horse requires light grooming (preferably daily) – to remove dirt accumulation and hair he is shedding, that could cause skin problems – BUT not the extra growth or natural thickening of his coat to keep him better insulated in his outdoor world. And yes…even a horse-coat must be removed, preferably daily, and the horse given a chance to roll, and then be groomed lightly…he gets itchy just like us, you know.
· I haven’t even touched upon such insignificant matters as training, riding, working, equipment required, fees, veterinary requirements – and bills – lots and lots of bills! Have you not seen the car bumper sticker that states – ‘Poverty is Owning a Horse’?
IF you have bottomless pockets; the ideal available land you own or can lease; and all the time in the world to devote to your horse – I’d say “go for it”.
For myself, having experienced all of the Pros – and ALL of the Cons too – I am in no doubt of my stance on the question of horse ownership. As the title of this article states – ‘I Love Horses, But…’ – and the rest of the statement is – ‘ I especially Love the Horse that belongs to my next door neighbour. No responsibilities or work, OR bills!…just the joy of having a best friend, or two or three – on the other side of the fence!’
Horses are expensive to buy and when you invest a large amount of your money in one, it is important that any equine partner you buy is fit and healthy for the job you have in mind.
While the possibility of your new horse developing a severe medical condition cannot be completely eliminated, having your horse vetted before you purchase him will help you to know exactly what you are buying and assist you in finding a fit and healthy horse that is capable of doing the activities you want.
The Vetting Process
There are two types of vetting available; a two stage and a five stage. A two stage vetting is less comprehensive but will give you an indication of the horse’s current health and highlight any lameness or conformation issues. A two stage vetting costs around £75 and takes about an hour.
A five stage vetting is a thorough examination of the horse at rest and during and after strenuous exercise. Some insurance companies will not insure a horse over a certain value or insure a horse for loss of use without a five stage veterinary certificate. A full vetting costs around £250 and takes around 2-3 hours.
Stage 1 – Stable examination
The horse will be examined at rest in a stable. The vet will note if the horse has any vices, check the eyes and the heart.
The horse will then be taken outside and examined for any wounds, scars, growths, swellings or heat. The teeth will be checked to determine the age of the horse.
Stage 2 – Assessment in hand
The horse will be walked and trotted up in hand on a flat, hard surface. The vet will make sure that the horse shows no sign of lameness and may carry out flexion tests to further assess the horse.
Stage 3 – Strenuous exercise
The horse will be required to carry out a period of strenuous exercise, either ridden or on the lunge. The vet will monitor the horse’s heart and respiration rates and check for any abnormal breathing noises.
Stage 4 – The cool down period
The horse will be rested for 30 minutes after the previous strenuous exercise. The horse will be checked for any stiffness and the heart and breathing rates will be measured. At this point there is usually the option to have blood samples taken and stored in case they are needed at a later date.
Stage 5 – Final examination
In this stage, the horse will be trotted up to make sure that they have recovered fully from the strenuous exercise. Any other areas of concern that have arisen during the vetting will also be re-examined.
Some horses for sale are advertised with a recent vetting certificate provided. Be very wary of this, as the horse could have been injured after this vetting took place.
The vet will fill out a document detailing all the tests carried out and any findings. They will either pass or fail the horse and will detail any abnormalities that might affect the horse’s ability to carry out the activities you would wish to do if purchased.
The vet will not suggest whether you should buy any horse for sale, that is up to you based on the evidence supplied by the vet.