We all, aside from our work routine, have some other activities we carry out as a form of relaxation. Out of these many hobbies that we all engage ourselves in is horse riding. History records no definite date as to when horse riding began. What history does tell us is that horses have served man in the past for different purposes; as a means of transportation, they served man on the farm, and they have served as a source of sports and entertainment.
Regardless of when horse riding began, it remains a fact that at some point in time, humans discovered that the horse is an intelligent creature (at least more than its peers; donkeys, and bulls) that can be trained to understand certain things.
I, like many others, agree with the position that horse riding is not only a fun activity but also one that contributes to our mental wellness; this is not far from its therapeutic effects. However, it is believed by lots of people that horse riding is an expensive hobby.
Well, I somewhat disagree with the stance as it is.
A major factor that makes us believe that horse riding as a hobby is expensive is because of the cost of owning one as well as the cost of sustaining one, but why bother so much about owning one when you can seemingly opt for an alternative that makes it so affordable.
The Real Cost of Horse Riding
Purchasing a horse is not as straightforward as buying our cars or electronic appliances from the store. Certain factors determine the cost of a horse, but major key factors are the age of the horse, it’s breeding, and if it is one that has been to competitions especially if it has a medal to its name.
As far as age is concerned, I will go for a horse that is between the ages range of 7 – 14 years. Horses in this age bracket may attract a little extra cost; this is because horses are at their best within this age bracket; this is not to say that older horses won’t serve me well too.
So, on average, buying a healthy and fit horse should cost from $5000 and above, and the average cost of maintaining a horse annually is around $2500 – $3500. Yes. I know those figures seem huge, but do bear in mind that those figures are for owning one and not for horse riding as a hobby. I tell you this again; horse riding is not expensive though it will surely cost you some money.
How? Simply follow the alternatives I will be discussing below.
Horse riding lessons
Why break the bank when all you need do is enroll for horse riding lessons. A good start in enjoying horse riding at a very affordable cost is to visit stables within your local outfit that offer riding lessons. A plus here is that you get to take your riding lessons under the watch of a qualified instructor.
How much will this cost?
The average cost for a beginner is between $25 – $65 per week depending on your location. The horse riding lesson can be once or twice a week depending on the arrangement and in some cases, the lessons are done in groups. However, if you will like to move at your pace and also have the undivided attention of the instructor, you can go for the option of the private lesson.
The private horse riding lessons will surely come with a little extra, but I would say here that paying an average of $35 – $80 a week for it is well worth it considering its privileges. The advantage you have here over group lessons is that you can schedule lessons for a period that suits you, and unlike the group lessons, rescheduling would not be much of a problem.
It is common for members of the 4-H club to own their horses. However, not owning a horse doesn’t in any way hinder your child from becoming a member especially if the 4-H club within your locality offers horse lessons for young riders.
Imagine how much you could save! Your child owning a horse gets horse riding lessons and hands-on experience at little or no cost. Why then do some people still say horsing riding is expensive?!
Another good alternative I would explore for horse riding is by becoming a volunteer. All you need do is to reach out to the stables and organizations near you that engage in programs like horse rescue or horse therapy, and inquire if they need volunteers.
Of course, your priority should be to look out for those who will grant horse riding lessons or free ride time in exchange for your services. As one who loves horses, you get to care for and know more about horses while at the same time get free ride time.
Yes, this is a perfect option I would explore as someone who has a child that loves horses. At summer horse camps, the children are in some cases paired with horses.
This way, the child gets to take up the responsibility of tending to the horse. The child cares for the horse by feeding and grooming the horse and also gets to ride the horse. There are adult camps riding vacation for those who are also interested in horse riding.
This is the closest you can get to owning a horse. Leasing has to do with reaching an understanding with an individual, a local stable, or an organization to grant you access to their horse. Depending on the terms of the agreement, you may have to pay a weekly, monthly, or annual fee to lease the horse.
Leasing provides you with two affordable options; the first is the full lease in which you will be responsible for the horse’s feeding, veterinary, and general well-being. The advantage you stand to enjoy here is the fact that there is barely any restriction therefore, you can ride the horse at your convenience.
The second option is the partial lease in which you do not shoulder the full responsibility of the horse’s general well-being; it is divided between yourself and the party that is leasing it to you and responsibilities are shared as spelt out in the agreement.
The disadvantage you might suffer here is that half lease is a practice adopted in situations when you have more than one person leasing the horse which limits your access to the horse hence, riding at your convenience is almost impossible. The beautiful thing about leasing is that you get to enjoy the experience of owning a horse without having to buy one.
As a horse lover, it saddens me whenever I get to learn of horses that are roaming around uncared for or neglected by their owners. On the bright side, and with the help of a horse rescue organization, I can turn around this bad situation.
Horse rescue organizations are often in need of foster homes for their horses.
It provides me with the opportunity of having a horse as good as mine with very minimal expenses as the organizations would take care of some of the expenses which include the veterinary cost and training cost. Mine will only revolve around the provision of shelter, food, and other quality care.
While this is a good alternative for me to have a horse I would care for and ride on, I also need to be watchful about the horse I accept to foster; a sick or lame horse won’t be suitable for horse riding. Also, it is important to know that a foster horse can be adopted at any time and this is a limitation to this alternative.
Personal point of view on horse riding
Having read through the alternatives, I am sure you do not need convincing that horse riding does cost some money, but not in any way expensive. Many think it to be expensive because they are ill-informed that to ride a horse, you need to own a horse, and when you realize how much it costs to buy one and the cost of maintaining a horse annually, you back away from the idea of horse riding.
We confuse horse riding to mean you must own one.
Nothing is free and nothing good comes cheap. Horse riding may cost you some money, but when you learn about the benefits you gain from it, you will agree with me that it is not an expensive hobby.
I will round up by highlighting some of these benefits. Horse riding may be a hobby for you but is it also an exercise. As an exercise, horse riding helps you keep fit physically and mentally. It enhances your mental alertness, endurance, problem-solving skills, and also helps you build confidence.
It is not uncommon to be scared at the initial stage of your horse riding lesson but over time you will develop confidence and this newly found courage can reflect on other aspects of our lives.