So, you’re getting a new horse? Congratulations! Something first-time horse buyers often wonder is whether it’s the right time of year to get one.
Although there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” answer to this question, there are some seasonal considerations to keep in mind as you do your shopping.
Here are a few pointers to keep you level-headed and avert some unnecessary drama when buying your new horse!
What to Consider About the Time of Year When Buying a New Horse
The time of year will influence many different things that can affect your new horse (and you). Consider grazing, hormones, disease, holidays, and school exams if you’re a student.
Grazing Your Horse According to Season
If you have limited grazing at your ranch or stable yard, you probably need to keep the numbers of your horse herd down, which is why a dry season isn’t the best time to buy a new horse.
Likewise, you also don’t want to move a new horse from a dry area to a very lush and green area as your horse is more likely to end up with laminitis and colic. Not to mention that green grass produces loads of sugar, which can potentially lead to bucking and rearing behavior due to too much energy. This may not be the ideal time to try and bond with a new horse!
If you are buying a stallion, then the breeding season (late spring/early summer) also may not be the best idea as you will be buying a horse that won’t be at his best behavior. Mares also hit the hormones hard, and buying a mare that’s in season can create the wrong impression of the horse.
Geldings usually don’t get hormonal, but the presence of other worked-up horses can also complicate your shopping experience.
Diseases of the Year
No matter where you live, there are certain times of the year when a local disease may be more active than other times of the year. Usually, the middle to end of summer is the worst season as the vectors (mosquitoes, midges, and flies) are most active then.
Moving a new horse during your local “disease season” isn’t a great idea. You may end up with a sick horse instead of a new friend to play with.
School Holidays and Winter School Times
It may seem like a great idea to buy your child a new horse before the school holidays, but the chances are pretty good that you and your family are also heading away on vacation. A new horse requires hard work, and being left to stand in their stable or paddock isn’t a great way to start your new relationship.
Likewise, getting a new horse during winter can also present some challenges as it gets dark early, and you may not have time after a long school day to spend with your new steed.
Okay, So When Should You Get a New Horse?
It may sound like there’s simply no “good” time to get a new horse. However, the truly best time of year to buy a new horse (despite everything I said above!) is whenever you are the best prepared to welcome your horse, train them, and tend to their needs.
If you intend to get a new horse during the summer holidays, ensure you are available and not going away so you can look after your new horse, work with them, and bond with them. Should you get a new horse during the late summer, when bugs may be a problem, prepare by getting all the best bug-repellent technology on your side.
Of course, the final and perhaps most important factor of when you can get a new horse is whether you can afford one!
There are many costs involved in getting a new horse. Consider not just the cost of the horse itself but also whether you can cover their shipping, feed, stabling, medical needs and farriery, training fees, new tack, and the extra time you need to travel to see them. A new horse can cost anywhere from $100 to $10,000 and more, depending on their breeding, level of experience, and training.
Consider the monthly costs as well. Caring for a new horse can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per month, depending on boarding costs and any extras such as feed and nutritional supplements. The best time of the year to buy a new horse is when you can actually afford all these things and have the time to take care of your new horse.
From Where Should You Buy a New Horse?
Ultimately, your decision may be moved when the right horse crosses your path. If you are looking at new horses, you may consider these places to find your dream steed:
- Equine Rehoming Services
Tough times hit people hard, and sometimes great horses need to be re-homed when their owners can’t afford to look after them any longer. Equine rehoming services can help you find a great horse or even an older horse that has been outgrown by a child. Touch base with them and see if there’s a great horse on their books for you.
- Mustang Rescues
America’s wild horses often get sold to private buyers by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and you can look at adopting a Mustang.
- Training Facilities
Trainers often have horses they have trained that they are ready to sell off. Off the track, thoroughbreds are often sold in this way.
- Slaughter Houses
Looking to do a kind deed? Why not browse your local stockyard and see what horses are heading to slaughter? It’s an ugly truth that thousands of horses are slaughtered for dog food every month in the U.S. You can make a difference in one horse’s life by adopting a horse headed for slaughter.
- Craig’s List
Local notice boards often have horses on offer. People decide to sell a horse, and this is one way to find out what horses are for sale.
As you can see, whether you’ve bought horses in the past or this is your first horse, there are several different things to consider when looking to buy a new horse—and the time of year is one of them!
What do you think—when is the best time of year to buy a horse for you?