Advice on Purchasing a Horse

The Showgrounds Team are very experienced equestriennes and for a small hourly fee can provide you with advice about your prospective purchase including attending watching the horse being ridden, riding the horse and arranging a vet check if needed.

Email for more information.

Why do I want a horse?

Horses are a source of enjoyment for many people. Not only is riding fun, it is a great form of exercise. In many cases horse ownership is a lifelong dream which can finally be realized. Social and competitive opportunities become available with horse ownership, and frequently your own horse is a confidant and close companion. Being able to ride whenever you wish is one of the many benefits of horse ownership. Many horse lovers simply enjoy spending time with horses, and caring for them as another member of the family.

At Showgrounds and our sister riding school Oakford Equestrian we aim to make horse ownership fun.

Common First Horse Owner Questions:

Is a horse right for my child? What will my child gain from owning a horse?

Horse ownership offers many benefits. Caring for an animal teaches a child to be responsible. The routine and regiment of caring for an animal teaches children discipline. As with many interests, the rewards are the direct result of hard work. Children will learn that hard works pays off, and develop a good work ethic. When children contribute to the cost of keeping a horse, they develop an appreciation for money and finances. A nervous or shy child will gain self-confidence from being able to handle a large animal. All these qualities will carry over into the child’s life. Riding and stable chores develop strength, agility, balance and coordination. A family horse encourages teamwork and sharing. A competitive child will gain a healthy sense of sportsmanship and a good competitive attitude. (Horses can be very humbling!)

What are the benefits for parents?

Horse ownership cab bring the family together when everyone takes a part in the day-day care and riding activities. Parents can be involved, and experience the joy of watching their children developing new skills. Skills which will provide pleasure throughout the child’s life. Watching children enjoying their horse may encourage Mums and Dads to join in the fun and learn a new skill!

What are the disadvantages?

Keeping a horse can be expensive. The animal must be cared for every day, twice a day, 365 days a year. If you pay someone to take care of the horse this is not such a problem. A horse that is cared for by the family must be provided for during the holidays, vacations, and family crises. Your child may lose interest or find another pastime. Horses are time consuming. Make sure that your child’s other activities will fit in with a horse. Do you or someone in your family have the experience to care for a horse. If not, are you willing to learn?

If you have any doubts about your child’s level of interest, try some other options such as leasing before committing to a horse full time!

How will a horse affect my family?

If the whole family is involved with your hobby, a horse can bring a family together. If however, everyone has separate interests, your horse will have to fit in around their schedules, and might take time away from other family activities. If other members of the family are interested, it is a lot of fun to spend time together doing chores around the stable as a family.

How time consuming is owning a horse?

This depends on your individual situation. If you plan to agist the horse and pay someone else to care for it, your time commitment can be whatever you choose. Your horse care costs will be higher and your worries less but you will also miss out on a lot of the fun of your own horse. If you plan to have the horse at home, you will be committed to feeding and other chores at least twice a day. These can take 20 minutes or more than an hour depending on your circumstances. This is 7 days a week, 365 days a year, rain or shine.

The horse will require grooming and other maintenance procedures that at a minimum will take half and hour a day, often more. You will also need time to work with the farrier and the vet.

What are the alternatives to horse ownership?

If you are not sure if you are ready for a horse of your own consider these options.


This is a great option. See our leasing options. A leased horse offers the responsibility of horse ownership without the long-term commitment. It has the added advantage of allowing you to upgrade to a fancier model as your skills improve!


If you have a friend who is also considering buying a horse, think about sharing. With a sharing agreement, everything is shared, the chores, riding and expenses. For some people this is a great arrangement, just make sure that the sharing is equal!

Do I have the experience to care for a horse?

Only you can answer this question. How much actual hands on horse care have you done? Do you know how to clean a stall effectively, groom a horse, recognize a healthy horse and know when to call a vet? Are you comfortable with health maintenance routines and hoof care? If you don’t know something is there someone you can call for help? Will you be comfortable handling a horse at home without help? Horses are large animals, and if you are alone you must be confident in your abilities to deal with any situation. Evaluate your level of experience, and decide how much you are capable of doing and how much needs to be left to someone else. Be honest. It is fine to learn, but it is also important to have help when you are not sure. A friend who has horses is a valuable asset. If you are a complete novice, agist the horse until you are more experienced and comfortable around horses.

What will it cost?

This is the question most frequently asked by potential horse owners. Unfortunately, it is also the hardest question to answer.

Horse prices vary greatly, as does the cost of keeping them. The price of the horse is probably the largest figure involved, however there are several expenses which at first glance may not be obvious.

The following table summarizes the expenses involved.

Purchasing expenses


Horses can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. A horse intended for trail riding and pleasure can be found for $500 to $5000. Of course, you can pay a lot more, As expectations for the horse rise, so does the price.

If you wish to compete you will need a horse that has been trained to your discipline.

This adds to the purchase price. Experience, training and breeding all add to the purchase price.


This is recommended for every purchase. For a pleasure horse, this should be no more than $150. For more thorough vetting expect to pay $250-$500.


Floating is expensive. However float hire and transport options are available from the Showgrounds team.

Health Care Expenses


Another great variable. Depending upon the services provided ranges from $145 a week to $200 per week. Full board may include feed, bedding, training and care, but may not necessarily include worming and shoeing.


Vaccines $20-$100 every 6-12 months
Worming $4-$12 every 6-8 weeks
Hoof care $10-$25 for trimming every 4-8weeks or $40 – $100 for shoes every 4-8 weeks.
Dentist $50-$200 once a year.

Equipment and Supplies


Stable forks $20-$30 each
Brooms $10-$20 each
Wheel barrows $50-$150
Grooming tools brushes $3-$20 each


These include first aid items, grooming products etc budget $10-$100


Good second hand tack can often be found at very reasonable prices.

Prices for new tack.
Saddle $500-$2000 each
Bridle $50-$200 each
Halter $10-$50 each
Rugs $75-$200 each
Bandages $20-$100 a set

Competitive Expenses


Lessons are important for everyone. Pleasure riders can improve their skills and maintain or improve their horses level of training. Anyone wishing to compete successfully needs to continually practice and improve his or her skills.

We offer a 30% reduction off our standard lesson fees if you have your own horse.


For a show the fee per a class may be as little as $20 – $150


An expensive horse (say great that $5000) is worth insuring. Policies vary greatly from a simple loss of use policy to coverage for surgery and other medical procedures. Insurance can be tailored to any circumstance.