Big thanks for Olivia for some blogspiration. She recently posted this topic on her blog, and I just had to tackle the idea!

Apparently, I am having a bit of a throwback week this week. (sorry, not sorry). I am going to go back a few years, to just before I bought my first horse. Let’s call it, “5 things I didn’t know I didn’t know about owning a horse”.

1. This is your responsibility only.

This one seems obvious right? You’re buying a horse and that horse is your responsibility.  However, it really comes down to how it is YOUR responsibility ONLY. Your trainer, barn manager, and friends may all be incredible resources for you on this journey, but this horse’s training, happiness, welfare, and health all fall on your shoulders. Be ready to educate yourself beyond your core group.


2. You will feel guilty, and that is ok.

Shocking to no one, owning a horse is expensive. Owning a horse you want to train and compete is VERY expensive. I have always made enough money to support my horse habit, and I have always responsibly reined back my expectations for myself and my horse when funding just didn’t cover my goals. However, it is still expensive. Even spending the bare minimum, I still often feel guilt. I should be riding more, doing more, succeeding more.

Horses don’t work that way though. Just enjoy what you are doing, make sure you aren’t spending beyond your  means, and remember that a horse doesn’t care if it has the newest, fanciest anything. She really just wants a carrot.

3. You will fail, and it will make you better.

Failure in horse ownership takes so many paths. I have failed to prepare my horse properly for a competition. I have failed to recognize the signs of ulcers. I have failed to call the vet immediately for an injury that I thought was minor that turned out to need more extensive help. I even failed to make my first horse into what I hoped he would be. Now, however, I am a more educated horse owner, rider, and trainer, and every horse I touch is better off because of it.


4. You will succeed.

I recently downloaded a mood tracker on my cell phone. I wanted a better sense of what impacts my moods (food, caffeine, hormones, etc.). Most of my ratings hang out in the middle of the scale, kind of like a Dressage test. There are lots of 5’s and 6’s and 7’s, even the occasional 4. However, after my first lesson of the season, I pulled out a 10. I was beyond myself. I called my husband just to word vomit to him all the amazing things I did with my horse in 28 minutes. I get the same high after a great horse trial and, sometimes, even after that perfect Dressage transition.

5. Ignore the Rail birds

Rail birds take all forms. They are the catty teenagers (and adults!) on the sidelines at show that feel the need to comment on your troubles. (Fun fact, it is not fun to watch the video after a rough SJ round and hear this commentary in the background.) There are friends and trainers that will try to put you into a box surrounded by what you “should” and “should not” do. There are COUNTLESS people on the internet that will love to critique your position, horse, tack, weight, and more. These people don’t matter. The beauty of riding, and eventing in general, is that this is a sport of you and your horse. Buy the horse you want to ride everyday, and then go out and ride it whenever you can.


After 6 years of horse ownership, I have grown a ridiculous amount, and I know I still have so much to learn. What about you? Do you have any advice for yourself prehorse ownership?

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  1. the_everything_pony

    Loving this blog hop! I’ll have to get in on it 🙂 All good stuff you shared!

    1. Emily

      Thanks! I think I could’ve written a BOOK on this topic.

  2. nadsnovik

    Number 1 resounds with me the most. I need to remember that EVERY time I make a decision for my horse

    1. Emily

      Not going to lie. Number one has caused arguments, lost friendships, and a lot of aggravation, but I have never regretted standing up for my horse.

  3. emma

    love these, so many good reminders! i’d add to #5 that the rail birds thing goes both ways too, and just as i have to remind myself not to worry about what others are saying, i also need to remind myself not to project my own judgment or opinions onto what others are doing too. just bc i think my way is best doesn’t mean it’s the *only* way to get a thing done haha. hahaha. sigh.

    1. Emily

      Oh gosh.. I totally had this moment last night. I had to remind myself that my opinion about how to do something is just that… an opinion. 😉

      1. Alex

        This is something I’ve had to work on more lately. I have strong opinions and I generally keep them in my mind and not say them outloud. But I’ve been reminding myself to not judge as often in my head. It’s important.

  4. HunkyHanoverian

    Wow, I REALLY really really love all of these! They are so, 100% true. It is human nature to make snap judgements about other people, but most people learn to disregard them. It seems like the majority of people never learn that lesson, and LOVE judging other horse people. Annoying, but I do my best to ignore them, and make sure that I am not doing the same thing, even if subconsciously.

    1. Emily

      Yup! I love the time I get to spend in the saddle, and I am so protective of that joy. Haters, just keep walking!

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