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Horses can make wonderful companions. They are typically the strong, silent type, but treat them right and their affection for you can run deep. Horses are versatile; they can be ridden for pleasure, trained for competition or used in farm work. If you are considering buying one for yourself or a child, take this quiz to determine whether owning a horse is the right choice for your family.
True or False: Horses need a lot of care. True. A horse is not an animal that can be left unattended for long. Most horses need to be ridden or exercised as often as possible. If the horse is kept in a barn, the stall must be cleaned regularly. And keep in mind — these are just some of an owner’s responsibilities.
True or False: Horses are expensive to own. True. The initial cost of the horse itself is only the beginning of an owner's expenses. Feed, bedding, stabling, veterinary fees, shoeing, tack, equipment and training fees are just some of the many costs that need to be considered. Before purchasing a horse, it is important to plan for all of these expenses — and more.
True or False: A backyard is a perfect place to keep a horse. False. Horses need to be housed in an adequate stable and have daily access to a pasture. Also, some areas have zoning laws that do not permit a horse to be kept on the property. Even if your home has significant acreage attached, it is important to know in advance if a horse is permitted.
True or False: An older horse may be a good choice for a first-time owner. True. A horse that has had experience with riders and has been properly trained, but is still in good shape, is often an ideal first horse for an inexperienced owner. Horses can remain active well into their 20s if they have been (and continue to be) well cared for.
True or False: You should not buy a horse without first having a veterinarian examine her. True. It is essential that you have a veterinarian look over any horse you are considering purchasing. The veterinarian will check the horse’s general health and condition, as well as look for evidence of parasites or lameness. Another good idea is to ask a professional trainer or knowledgeable friend to accompany you when you are searching for an equine companion, in order to get an informed opinion before you make a decision.
True or False: A horse should be carefully selected with a specific rider in mind. True. Matching a horse to a rider — and to the rider’s expectations — is important. The rider’s experience, age and training need to be taken into account. Whether you intend to ride for pleasure or show your horse, a professional trainer can help you find the perfect fit.
True or False: Horses do not need regular veterinary care. False. Quite the opposite. Horses need routine veterinary care, including regular vaccinations, parasite prevention and dental exams. In addition, there should be an equine veterinarian located nearby, so they can visit the horse in case of an emergency.
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