Once they get started, many people develop a lifelong passion for horses and horseback riding. If you’re one of them, there’s a good chance that you’ll eventually want a horse of your own.
The most important thing you can do is enlist the help of a professional horseperson, such as your riding instructor or a horse trainer that you’ve come to know and trust. It’s essential that you have an objective third party who is familiar with your skill level and what you want to do with your horse to help ensure you find a good match. You want a horse that will help you increase your skills and confidence. So, while a little colt might be adorable, in most cases a horse with little or no training and a first-time horse owner are not a great combination.
Some people start by leasing a horse instead of an outright purchase. Many lesson barns offer opportunities to lease a horse on-site, so you can experience everything horse ownership entails without making a significant long-term financial investment.
Many horses are looking to make “career transitions” as they get older. They may have been a competition horse looking for a slower pace of life, or perhaps the teenage owner is off to college and the horse needs a new person to love. These “been there, done that” horses are often a great choice for a first-time owner. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Right Horse Initiative are examples of organizations focused on helping horses transition to new careers.
Horse ownership can open a whole new lifestyle. You’ll get plenty of exercise, grow as a rider, make new friends with similar interests, and learn more and more about horse care. Best of all, you’ll come to know the sheer pleasure of seeing your horse’s heart and soul in his big beautiful eyes—and seeing yours reflected back.