All I want for Christmas is a

pony or a horse…


“All I want for Christmas is a pony or a horse…” I bet that’s some- thing a lot of you have heard from your child or grandchild over the years. Those big eyes looking up at you saying… “pppllleee- aaassseee”, can be pretty hard to resist, but there’s a lot to con- sider and think about before making THAT kind of decision.

First of all, you need a lot of space. It’s not like you can have a horse hanging out in the living room with you watching TV on the couch or hanging out in the backyard during the summer barbeque! They require a large space to get exercise and roam and live. If you have a barn or paddock already, you’re probably good to go… but if not, you need to remember that you are going to have to pay for boarding. You also need time… horses, just like all animals, need a lot of time and attention spent on them. If your child is already spread thin with school work, athletics or clubs… finding the time to give the proper amount of care to a horse is going to be difficult. Horses require a minimum of two feedings of food and water a day and will also need regular exercise and groom- ing. This all takes a lot of time… make sure there are going to be enough hours in your day to accomplish all that needs to be done to care for your horse.

Another thing to consider is the cost of having a horse… from the initial adoption fee to equipment, supplies, tack, feed, vet bills, boarding and more. You also need to take into consid- eration the unexpected costs that may come up. It’s probably a good idea to check into all the costs involved before mak- ing the commitment and there are a lot of different resources out there to find that kind of information from talking to other horse owners, feed and supply stores and various websites on the subject. The University of Maine figured out that the aver- age cost of owning a horse is approximately $3,876 per horse, per year… which works out to about $325 a month.

Just like when kids say they want a new puppy and they promise they’re going to walk it, pick up the poop and play with it, you’re probably going to get the promises that they’ll take care of their horse too. Maybe before you take the leap you can try a differ- ent approach, like letting your child take riding lessons to see if it’s something they really like and will follow through on… or see if there is a place that they could volunteer at helping take care of horses, so they can learn what all is going to be involved. There are also summer camps that concentrate on horse care and riding, riding vacations, dude ranches & 4H clubs.

While you cannot put a price on bringing in a new 4 legged family member, as there is nothing more rewarding… time, space and cost do need to be considered. So, if you’ve done the research and all your homework and you are interested in adopting a horse, we have a lot of them looking for a forever home at our Equine Center in Chino Valley. We’d love to make an appointment with you, to show you around and introduce you to some of our horses available. Please give us a call at 928-515-4947 and we’ll be happy to help you find your perfect new forever friend. 30 DECEMBER 2019 I HORSE & AG MAGAZINE

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