The Online Magazine FOR and ABOUT Southside Virginia
Ask Me One Question
As we met with various horse people in the course of putting together this issue, we asked them to respond to this thought. These people are either equine professionals, or have long-term experience with horses.
The question we put to them was this,
"If you could get people to ask you one question before they get a horse, what would that question be?"
This is the flip side of, "If you could give people one piece of advice..."
The original idea was not to get all the answers, but to get the questions. Important things to be considered before getting a horse. The answers to the questions are available from a variety of sources. Some of these resources are listed in this article or elsewhere in this issue. Others can be found online, at various Universities, or by contacting an Equine professional in your area.
The point was to ask the question and get people thinking.
If you are considering getting a horse or are a new horse owner, hopefully, these questions will serve as a starting point in what is sure to become a lifelong learning process. We have never met anyone who knew all there was about horses. Live with horses and they will teach you new tricks every day.
Here are the questions, and in some cases where to find the answer.
The most popular response was usually a variation of
Listed below are some answers to our question along with other questions to start you off in the right direction.
How long should I take lessons before I get my own horse?
Take Lessons for 2 years before you get your own horse. By then you will be better able to choose a horse to fit your abilities.
Is there a test I should take before getting a horse; like I have to take to get my drivers license?
There should be a test.
What information resources are available for a new horse owner?
The Southside Virginia Horse Council website:
Virginia Tech has a website listing many horse extension publications:
What is the biggest expense or cost of owning a horse?
Cheryl took the time to get information from the Virginia Horse Industry Board on the costs associated with horse ownership
According to the Virginia 2006 Equine Survey Report, the Number One expense is feed and bedding.
Answer: Yes. You will have a better knowledge of what is involved and the right horse for you.
What is involved in the daily commitment and the long-term responsibility that goes with a horse?
Dr. Erwin stresses the daily commitment in terms of time and that many people don't consider that a horse lives a long time compared to other animals. Horses like any animal need 7 day a week care. He compared a horse to a recreational vehicle. "That motorcycle or 4-wheeler doesn't eat when parked. Or if you break it, you can fix it when you get around to it. Not so with a horse"
He offered some additional advice.
Southern States EquuSSource
Two websites for Veterinary professionals also have resources available to the public.
American Association of Equine Practitioners website
American Veterinary Medical Association website
Dr. Paul Erwin D.V.M.
What should I know about the proper care of my horse?
What kind of time commitment is involved?
Dr. Smith points out that proper care goes beyond just having feed and hay. Access to a veterinarian, and a farrier, are essential. Also considering if you will have the time to devote to the proper care of your horse.
Dr. Melissa Smith D.V.M.
What kind of horse (level of horse) should I get?
Get a good fit of horse to rider level. Realistically consider what you plan on doing with this horse.
Do I know enough or have enough education to properly care for a horse?
What is entailed in on-going costs, especially medical and farrier expenses?
How can I decide what horse to buy?
Take lessons to find the right match up of horse and rider and know what horse you really need.
What should I learn before getting a horse?
Take Lessons. Learn Safety.
Margaret “Maggie” Gardiner
Due to the conversational nature of the question we put before these respondents, in some cases we have paraphrased the answers. Any errors are the responsibility of the interviewer.
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