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Horse Articles :: No Such Thing as a Free Horse
No Such Thing as a Free Horse
With the current horse market in a state of flux there are
more and more horses being offered for very low prices and
even for free. But when looking to purchase a horse it is
important to understand that there is no such thing as a free
Of course the price tag might be free, but that should not
be the only consideration when getting a horse. Often the
actual purchase is the cheapest part of horse ownership.
The first thing to consider when you see a horse offered for
free is why the owner has decided to offer it as a give-a-way.
It is very rare to find a sound, young horse for free. Most
free horses are either older, unsound, untrained or have some
other factor that makes them valueless.
One common scenario is the horse who has been injured in some
way and can no longer be ridden. Sometimes the lameness is
temporary and with time and treatment the horse may return
to soundness for light riding, or even possibly for more serious
work. Other times the lameness is permanent and renders the
horse a pasture ornament. Either way you are likely looking
at vet bills, supplements and sometimes stall rest to bring
the horse back to a reasonable state of comfort. A lame horse
costs just as much to keep as a horse who can be ridden.
Another possibility is that the horse is older and is no longer
capable of doing what the owner wants to do. Sometimes you
can get an excellent horse this way. If the horse is sound
it could be an excellent schoolmaster for a rider who is learning
to ride. Many older horses are wiser in their ways and can
be good babysitters for young riders or riders with confidence
issues. The biggest issue is that with age many horses benefit
from supplements to maintain their health and soundness. They
may be limited in how much work they can do. You also need
to consider that there is no guarantee how long the horse
will live, so you might be searching for a new horse sooner
than expected. If an older horse does become lame it is very
difficult to place it in a new home and there is no resale
value in the long run.
Many free horses have training issues or are virtually unhandled.
While for an experienced horse owner this can turn into an
excellent deal, for the average horse person an untrained
horse is a recipe for disaster. A horse with issues under
saddle could be reacting to a pain-related issue, which can
cost a lot of money in vet bills. If the horse is not even
halter trained it often takes a long time to fix the bad habits
it has learned from not being handled which can be far more
difficult with a full-grown horse than with a baby that is
still small enough for a human to outmaneuver. Often colts
are left ungelded and need a veterinary visit to remove the
necessary parts to make them good equine citizens.
As long as you carefully consider the background of the horse
and keep in mind that an unrideable horse costs just as much
to keep as a sound, well trained horse a free horse might
be worth considering. But, if you do not have the experience
to retrain a horse, the money to rehabilitate one or the heart
to cope with the loss of an older companion you should steer
your attentions elsewhere. It is far more sensible to spend
a few thousand dollars on a sound, sensible horse who is well
trained for your discipline than to get a free horse who may
cost you far more in the long run.
About the Author
Philippe Wiskell is a writer for HorseClicks, classifieds
for sale and other states.