Finding For Horses In Your Price Range
Lots of people want horses, but they often times stop before they get started looking for one because they think horses are incredibly expensive.
It seems as if horses must be expensive because probably the only ones you've heard about are the famous ones - race horses or champion show horses whose prices commonly run into many thousands of dollars. But there is a vast selection within the range of average-income families. These are the horses, which give fun and friendship to thousands of children and to grownups, are all over the country.
For only $50 you can get your own horse. He'll be a skinny, unkempt-looking animal, but you can feed and curry him back to health and turn him into a perfectly suitable family mount. And there's always the chance that he may turn into a champion. Every now and again a weary-looking animal is rescued from misfortune by some keen-eyed horse or man - and soon that very horse is discovered to be a fabulous jumper who secures triumphs and trophies for his owner.
For $100-$150, you can get a quiet, sound animal which would probably be outclassed at bigger shows but which would do well enough for you in small country shows - in 'hack' (trail horse) and horsemanship classes.
If your family can afford it, about $300 is a good amount to count on spending. At that price, you can shop around a little and find yourself a horse with plenty of promise - one that will do well in shows but will not be too high-strung or frisky for a youngster to handle.
However, if you don't think you can afford any outlay for buying a horse but you can afford to keep him (that is, feed and stable him), and if you have paddock space for him, there's another possible solution. Don't buy a horse at all; instead, get in touch with a large summer camp or riding academy and offer to take care of one of their horses after the camp season is over. Many camps realize how much young people love horses - and they would much rather have their animals given the attentive care of a loving child than send them off to public stables during the winter. For 10 months of the year you'll have your own horse - and you won't have to pay a cent beyond his keep to get him.
Naturally it's helpful if you know your way around on a horse a bit because then you can see for yourself whether or not you like the gaits of the horse you are considering. You are in a position to rely on your own feelings for the horse's possibilities rather than on the opinion of a friend. Still, it isn't absolutely necessary for you to know how to ride before you buy. In fact, a quiet horse of your own - one that becomes used to you and fond of you - will help you improve your ability faster than practice on the sluggish, indifferent creatures you often come across at stables.
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