While the purchase of a horse may be the primary consideration for those in the market looking to purchase, it is always only a small part of the budget required compared to the ongoing costs of keeping and maintaining your equine partner over his/her lifetime.
Following the purchase of a horse, you will need to consider the cost of keeping the horse (boarding/keeping at home), saddle (including saddle adjustments and changing saddles as the horse’s musculature changes), routine vet care (including dentistry), emergency vet care, routine bodywork, nutritional supplements, foot care, lessons, showing fees, transportation etc.
There are many areas to be considered in successfully owning, maintaining and riding (recreationally or competitively) a horse so that he/she remains healthy, happy and a willing, empowered equine partner.
It is also important to bear in mind when preparing a budget, that a preventative maintenance program can be a lot less expensive over time compared to costly vet bills incurred due to unnoticed signs of an underlying problem that then becomes chronic.
As athletes, an in depth understanding of the biomechanics of horse and rider in relation to training for correct postures is essential!
As EVERYTHING matters to the horse in terms of their ability to have sufficient motivation, understanding and ability to do what is being asked of them, we must understand and be able to monitor the potential obstacles that might occur along the way.
In terms of preventative maintenance, bodywork can be a RELATIVELY inexpensive way of getting ahead of any brewing issues – for example, regular massage can reveal underlying muscle imbalances that indicate something is not right before it becomes a behavioral or lameness issue.
Other modalities including chiropractic, fascia release, acupressure and a variety of other complimentary treatments can be the difference between a long riding career or an ongoing, frustrating path of resistance, undiagnosed physical issues and very large vet bills!!
This also applies to rider wellness – it is important for a rider to be appropriately fit, balanced in the saddle, have a good feel for and appropriately light aids to direct the horse in the gymnastic movements being practiced.