So any of you wise investors own or know about horses?

I know "nussink" about owning or buying a horse.

I have just moved to a small acreage which is one part of a lifelong dream in itself, the other part being that when I do move to acreage, I could get a horse.

I didn't plan on getting one for a few more months yet but have been offered one today. It is a 3yo trotter who isn't that great as a trotter, but (apparently) has such a nice nature, the owner would like to find a home for it rather than send it to the pet food place.

I know nothing yet about the horse being offered, don't know if it is broken in, don't know its history etc. I have the contact details for the owner but before I ring him, I need to educate myself on what exactly I need to know?

If anyone can help me with any advice, questions I should ask, tell me to run a mile or all of the above I would be ever so grateful. :D

A horse is a huge commitment in time and money and should be approached as such. I would recommend finding out much more first. If you end up with a dud horse you have to accept responsibility for that.

That said, they can be wonderful companions and teachers.
Hi there,
I rode heaps as a child and teenager. That said, have not ridden for about 20 years now (gosh, I am getting old:cool:).
Anyways, in the pony club scene I was into, plenty of people had ex-racehorses and ex-harness racing horses (that's your trotter ... It's a standardbred, just like a galloping horse is a thoroughbred. Pacers are also standardbreds and are the same, except for their action - the way they move their legs. But that's a whole other story). General feeling was that these were generally nice horses, with plenty of potential, depending on what had happened in their lives, how they'd been treated, etc. Get one that's been handled ok, and it'll be great. Get one that's been kicked, starved and beaten (and they're out there - racing is a business for many people, not a love interest), and it might have a few issues.
The only thing I would warn you about is that standardbreds (harness-racing horses) are bred to either pace (near fore, near hind legs go, then off fore, off hind go ... does that make sense? Both legs on one side, then both on the other, that's how they move) or trot (and not to canter or gallop). When you are riding them, their way of moving is quite different to an ''ordinary'' horse. To a certain extent, you can train that out of some of them, and some you can't. If you can't, they can be a bit uncomfortable to ride - and limited in their potential.
On the other hand, if you just want something to mow the lawns and hang out with, maybe swim in the river or at the beach, it could be fine.
Oh, one other thing, check the soundness. Many racecourse failures are carrying injuries - minor or otherwise - and bad habits, from being bored and lviing in stable.

eeek. rant over (sorry, guess that touched a nerve ...:eek:)
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A horse is a huge commitment in time and money and should be approached as such. I would recommend finding out much more first. If you end up with a dud horse you have to accept responsibility for that.

That said, they can be wonderful companions and teachers.

Oh yeah.
And what attrill said - second that.
Dangerous at both ends. Uncomfortable in the middle. lol
Ownership is not to be taken lightly.
Learn to ride properly and then see if ownership still interests you. Beautiful animals and intelligent though.
We have just over 40 horses which wifey breeds and sells and it certainly is a large commitment. How bigger acreage are you moving too as this will determine whether hand feed is necessary which is an additional cost.

Pm me if you wish and I can give you the wifes number to answer many of your questions.
There is some realy good information shared here. All for consideration.

We breed, educate and race both standardbred/thoroughbreds.

At anything from 400 to 500kg+ of bodyweight they are not to be taken lightly, no matter how much the ascertain of "lovely natured animal".

They are a flight animal.

Adequate feeding, water, fencing, fencing is very important, containment and safety of not only the horse, but for people.

They require monitoring and supervision, regular hoofcare, teethcare, worming etc along with any of the other (unpredictable) things that may require attention.

You may well require the services/use of a horsefloat to transport the horse to a vet for this, unless you are prepared to pay whatever it may involve for home visit, (IF you can find a vet that will do this).

Equine handling/husbandary/ riding skills and knowledge, experience are important, for your horse and for you.

Also what Tuppence and the others have said...I'm not deliberately trying to discourage anyone from becoming a horse owner or rider but education and skill/knowledge building is a must.

It cannot be emphasised enough, that they are a flight animal, no matter how "lovely and quiet" they may appear to be, it is an important point more people are injured through horses than any other animal. That includes lifelong and experienced horse handlers/riders.
I live on small acreage just outside of Bundaberg. Just around the corner from me some people have a horse... Lucky if the poor thing has 1/2 acre, it's in the house yard with no cover and just walks around looking very sad!
They are known in the area as "Feral" and people near them are trying to sell up.
This has nothing to do with the OPs wanting to get a horse, I just read the posts and thought of this poor creature and wanted to share!
Just a suggestion before you get your new horse, and depending on the size of your place - you might like to look at putting horses on agistment there. That way, you can have all the pleasures of having a horse in your backyard; to ride (depending on what deal you can work out with the owner) and to learn the husbandry side of things - all the while bringing in a little bit of cash each week.

My girlfriend's family have a few acres at The Gap here in Brissie and they have been offered $50 head/wk. Owner to supply feed when required - land owner to ensure fences are kept up to scratch and water available.

Just a thought.
Excellent suggestion Icarus.

Also from OO. Owning a horse is a lot different to owning a dog. ( and so many people shouldn't be allowed dogs!)

When I was younger I used to herd the cattle on my uncle's farm using a couple of beautiful horses that were good natured enough to teach me how to ride them. Eventually the nudge of the knee and the pat on the neck made us a good team. I'm convinced they enjoyed the 'playing' of herding and I can still see them galloping down the paddock to greet me and saddle up for the day's work.

MissMuffit - I'd give the RSPCA a call. A visit might help them respect that poor horse a bit more.

But GTF if you really want an animal that will entertain you, get a couple of piglets. Smartest animal on four legs and 'Babe' lovable. If you can harden your heart they make a dollar and if you're more interested in the relationship, then they are the best waste disposal and ploughing devices you'll ever find and socialised they are totally entertaining.
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Be prepared to constantly fork out money - worming, shoeing and hoof care, vet bills, food (concentrates and roughage), more vet bills, rugs, tack, grooming kit, more vet bills... you get the picture.

Unlike some other "pets" you can't just leave a horse in your paddock to go away for the weekend. They need daily care and much more time than a dog or cat.

That said, if it was about saving a beautiful creature's life I'd take it on in a second.
If you want to take the horse on to save it, good for you, but don't expect to be able to ride it. If you do want to ride, DO NOT get a) a three year old b) a horse that is not broken to saddle c) a horse which is broken to saddle but inexperienced ('green') or d) a horse which will need retraining (many horses off the track, and trotters in particular because they have been taught to 'pace' not 'trot').

If you want a horse to ride start out at a riding school and then your instructor can help you find a suitable first horse. The best first horses are typically middle aged or older horses (10-20) with stacks of riding experience. Ex pony club horses are the best because the kids put them through hell :p

If you just want a horse for a pet, find out how well handled the 3yr old is and ask what its 'ground manners' are like. Horses, especially young ones, are extremely impressionable and will often 'try it on' eg threaten to kick, bite, push past you to see what they can get away with, and if they do get away with it, the behavior will escalate.

Don't forget that even a 'pet' horse needs 6-8 weekly farrier visit (budget $80), 3 monthly worming ($12), yearly teeth done ($100) plus feeding if necessary (anywhere from $0-$100 per week depending on the horse, your pasture etc).
Your advice is all fantastic and hugely thanks.

The biggest thing I don't have is time. I am going to decline the offer. I would like to take the horse just to keep it as a pet to learn about owning one even if we can't ride it but I just don't have the time to commit to that right now.

Thanks guys. I know where to come next year when I do start the ball rolling on getting one!
I have to agree with all the horse owners above but will also add that no matter how experienced and skilled one is with these animals, you will come to grief at some stage one way or another. They are just so big and as someone said, a flight animal....

My wife was basically born riding horses and her whole family are horse mad and very very skilled and experienced having won at Royal Shows around the country in the hacking arenas. yet still there are incidents....this year alone has seen father in law bucked off twice... latest broken tail bone...and my wife "fell" off and busted her head open needing stitches, and also got kicked while in the stable...and these are what you'd call "bomb proof" animals that have been highly trained and very well treated....**** just happens sometimes...:eek:

Not a thing to just jump straight into....horses are a lifelong passion and are a big part of your can't just go away and leave them for instance.....;)
Having married a horse woman, and not having kids, I have found horses to be like kids who will never leave home. Until the day they leave your life in whatever way they will have to be rugged, fed, shoed, washed, mucked out.. well you get the picture.

Being able to nip away for a few days to a nice resort has become a distant memory... Far easier to leave a dog or cat with professionals or a family member.

Still, as I said before they can be wonderful teachers, but it is a huge commitment to take on.