Mum, can we have a horse? How do you care for a horse?

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This is a question that pops up every now and then, ‘Mum, can we have a horse?’

Of course, the answer is no. Where would we keep the horse? Who would muck it out? Who would groom it and feed it? I continue with a long list of all of the elements that go into looking after a horse and win the argument hands down. Every time, like a Boss.

However, then my romantic side kicks in and I let my mind wander back to the place when I was 10 years old and asked that very same question to my mum.

What is it about horses that pull on our heartstrings so much?

I have friends who go horseriding and some who have their own horses too; I don’t envy their early morning starts in all weathers and Every. Single. Day. They have to get out of bed before their day starts and visit the stables to give the basic care for their horse weekdays, weekends and high days and holidays too.

How to care for a horse

If we were to get a horse (which we are not) there would be a lot of things to consider beforehand and in order to explain my decision to the twins properly, I took a quick glimpse into what we would need to have in place.

The basics to consider before taking another step are feed like Spillers Feed Balancer for Horses water and shelter. Already at this point, you are clocking up a bill that will make a substantial dent in your monthly outgoings. The Horse and Hound give a great rundown of costs to consider should you be tempted along this path.

Then you will need to think about the space your horse will have to live in and run around in as the animal will need regular exercise in order to stay fit and healthy. Another element that goes into the horse’s wellbeing is company; a horse is an animal that lives in a herd, it thrives in the company of others and it would be cruel to expect it to live on its own.

Talking of health and wellbeing plans will need to be put in place for feet, teeth, worming and a host of other regular checkups that will need to take place and then of course, insurance. Even Baxter our rescue dog is insured.

Mum, can we have a horse?

Now, when the twins ask me that question, I am more prepared. Rather than a flat no, I can go through these areas of care that need to be considered with them and turn the question into a debate which gets them thinking – and arguing – about how to care for a horse. Initially, it all looks very easy but as you dig deeper, you quickly discover that it’s not.

Of course, if you do go ahead, you’ll then have to kit out yourselves with saddles, blankets, riding gear, grooming gear and lessons to ride a horse. I think it might be a good idea to start with a trip to the local stables and a day mucking out before we go any further with the conversation.

What about you? Have you had a debate on owning a horse in your family?

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