How Do You Know?

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The horse in question: Slick.

The horse in question: Slick.

The saying "If you wait until you're 100 percent ready, you'll never do it" usually refers to having kids. It's been thrown around in reference to horses, too, and it definitely applies.

So that makes me wonder: How do you know when you're ready enough to take the horse-owning plunge?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

The trainer I ride with has a horse for sale. I went out to ride him just to get the saddle time, but I left thinking he might be one to consider. He's a ready-to-show reiner that's in my price range, and he's a dream to ride.

He's currently under a half lease, and that would continue with his new owner through the show season. This would help me defray some of the costs that would otherwise make horse ownership more challenging.

As part of that agreement his farrier costs would be split, and he'd be in free training?meaning he'd be ridden and schooled throughout the week by my trainer, as well as the lessee (the trainer's daughter). I would split the show and travel costs with the lessee, but I'd be fully responsible for board and vet care.

Another perk is that I wouldn't immediately need to have a truck, trailer, or reining tack (my trainer's graciously offered the use of her tack until I have my own). I'd have at least through the end of the show season to get these items together.

However, like every decision, there are a few drawbacks. My trainer lives about 70 miles from my house. That's a considerable amount of gas every weekend and for those evening rides after work.

Also, with the horse being so far away, I wouldn't be as much of a "hands-on" owner as I'd like to be.

But, the horse is young, so his staying in training until I get a really good feel for working with him is ideal.

I've looked at my budget, and with certain cuts, I know I could afford his board bill and general veterinary upkeep.

But the things that really keep me from reaching for my checkbook are the what ifs.

What if he's injured and is unable to be ridden? What if he colics and needs surgery? What if he has a freak accident during turnout time? What if I buy him and then realize I can't afford him?

I wish there was some magical formula where I could plug in all the numbers, and it would simply tell me "yes, you can have a horse," or "no, you can't."

But until some horse (and math) genius comes up with that formula, I'm left debating with myself.

How did you know that you were ready to purchase a horse?

Ready to look for the right horse for you? Go to Equine.com, the premier classifieds site of the Equine Network, to search for the perfect horse!

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