So, You Think You Want To Buy A Horse?

Amazing brown horse

Horse ownership is one of those things that is a dream of many, but only a few ever get the chance. And it’s no surprise. Buying and caring for a horse is a huge commitment – and an expensive one at that.

There is a lot to think about, and you will need to do a lot of preparation to ensure you are ready to take on the responsibility. If you have an inkling you want to buy a horse, read on. I’ve put together a few ideas of everything you will need to do.

If you can guarantee you can live with these essential rules, you might just make a great horse owner. If not, I might suggest choosing a different animal for your home!

The costs

Do you really know how much it costs to own and car for a horse? You will spend a fortune on clothing and equipment alone. There are vet bills to consider, too, as well as insurance, shoeing, and vanning. You will need to pay for housing your horse in a stable, too. Even if you have your own suitable field, there are adaptations that you will have to make that all cost a lot of money.

Horse RidingThe personality

When you buy a horse, you do so for better or for worse. Horses all have their own personalities, and go through periods of moodiness, too. There is every chance yours will not want to play ball when you do, and you will need to spend a long time training it. And make no mistake about it, horse training is a very different beast to horse riding. Your skills will be put to the test in a big way, or your new animal could well turn out to be a burden.

Horse in autumn

The stable

Every horse needs a stable, and it is essential that you house your new beast in a great environment. According to Vale Stables, the ideal home for a horse is sturdy, secure, and totally focused on your horse’s safety and comfort. That means a lot of time clearing out the muck, making checks, and swapping out dirty hay. And, most importantly, regular maintenance to ensure your stables are always habitable.

The quality time

You also have to spend a lot of time with your horse. He or she will need a lot of attention – and in most cases, they will also need a companion. Ideally, you should spend no less than two hours every day with your horse. That time includes grooming and riding – if you keep them in a boarding stable. If you are keeping them at home, your commitment will be even bigger. There is no respite, rain or shine, and few people will be willing to horse sit for you if you ever want to take a holiday!

The illness and injuries

As a vet, I see a lot of sick or injured horses. And I can tell you that it doesn’t take much for these fine animals to have an accident in the fields or develop a serious condition. The healing process can take a long time, too, in many cases. It’s all time and a lot of money from you, which you should always bear in mind before buying a horse.

So, do you think you have what it takes to own and care for a horse? If you aren’t prepared to do everything I have described above – and a whole lot more – your priorities should lie elsewhere!

The crazy killer cows… (Day -267)

Cow reproductive management

Growing up in London I had very little experience with farm animals. So starting my vet school journey I had an open mind with a willingness to work with them, to try and understand them. To follow advice and instructions of those more experienced with working with them.

Sure accidents can and will happen, big animals may step on your feet or crush you against a wall. These are things we are taught to recognise and avoid. However together I met my first cow that actually meant to injure humans.

Talking about intentions when it comes to behaviour is generally a very massively frowned upon thing to do.

As background it is common to try and form a channel to move cows from one place to another. Sometimes humans are used to block paths as most cows will do anything to avoid a human… So we were using a channel into the crush with no problems.

In this cows case however I am not under any illusion that the cow was attacking us humans. It used its head firstly on one of my colleagues, knocking her to the ground, and then when she tried to escape crushing her to a wall. Then the cow turned around and head butted a farm worker who tried to close the gate after the cow had the left the area we were in to protect. Not just the once, but once the worker was falling the cow head butted him against the gate.

This is the first time that I’ve seen an incident like this occur with cows. It’s not nice to be the target of a 500kg animal, and it is rather scary. Whilst I have always thought cows would never cause intentional harm I realised that this a wrong thought to have. Normally I have no problem helping with the movement of a cow or calves, or blocking a path to help form a channel for the cow to move along to where she needs to be.

After this incident I chose not to act as a human barrier to close a path off. I think this is the first time where I have actively refused to do something for fear of injury or harm during my entire time at vet school. My judgement here was proven correct when the farm worker that took my place had to climb the fence to escape from the next cow through.

I know now that I will never been working with cows ever again once I finish my ruminants state exam.

What did I do? (Day -272)

Vet Student Operating

Last night I spent laid awake wondering about the kitten that I operated on. I read recently a quote I in relation to Dr Harvey Cushing that resonated here with me:

“no one has any right to undertake the care of any patient unless he is willing to give that patient all of the time and thought that is necessary, and of which he is capable.”

Did I give the kitten enough time?

Enough thought?

And was I really capable to do what I had done?

Did I know what was going happen once the skull had been covered. Was there going be pressure trapped inside? Was the skin going be enough to protect the brain? Should I have done anything else?

Were my sutures too tight? Is the blood supply to my flap enough? Will it heal?

If I could I would have spent the entire night watching the kitten. The kitten would have been hospitalised. Instead circumstances prevented this; however the kitten was watched carefully by the foster carer that had been caring all week.

I spent hours and hours during the week reading every surgical book I could find with a chapter covering the brain, head or skull. I spent hours looking for case studies and relevant articles in the literature. There was so little. Either it is so common that no one thinks it is worth writing about, or it is so uncommon that no one has had the chance to write about it.

I reached out to some of my contacts asking for advice and got some great support.

There were instructions that the minute anything happened I was to be called. Any time. So in this case no news is good news. However I still laid wondering.

Tomorrow I will see the kitten again to check the wound. And so far today no news really has been good news.

I realise that I love surgery – however it is the outcomes that give me the biggest satisfaction. Knowing that my impact has helped the life of another being is such a reward. However it comes with great responsibility that I must accept.  Every single time that I step up to an operating table I am responsible. That responsibility is why I am laid awake.

I do not yet know whether what I have done is good or bad.