Equines

Although extremely rewarding, keeping a horse, pony or donkey is a huge responsibility and a commitment that should not be taken on lightly

Environment

a suitable living environment

Diet

a suitable diet

Behaviour

to be able to behave normally

Companionship

to have appropriate companionship

Health

to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

1

Environment

a suitable living environment

2

Diet

a suitable diet

3

Behaviour

to be able to behave normally

4

Companionship

to have appropriate companionship

5

Health

to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Did you know?

Equids can live for between 25 and 40 years so, at an average annual amount of between £3,000 and £10,000 the costs soon mount up. Could you commit to providing care for the animal throughout its life?

25 - 40 years life expectancy

£3,000 - £10,000 average annual cost

Check before you buy

Consider contacting your local animal rescue/rehoming centre

Research before you buy

Be sure you understand the needs of the horse and that you have the time, skills and finance to provide for them. Donkeys should never be kept alone without the company of another donkey.

Choose a type of horse that will be suited to your circumstances, abilities and requirements

Make sure you have secured appropriate facilities where your new horse will be kept and that you will have the support of knowledgeable people

Check that the horse is healthy and fit for the purpose for which you intend to use it

Your local veterinary practice should be able to advise you on pre-purchase vetting.

Take someone experienced, perhaps your riding instructor, with you to try the horse

It may be necessary to visit more than once before you make the decision to buy

Be prepared to wait for the right horse rather than settle for an animal which you are unsuited to and that you may be forced to part with after a short time

If your chosen horse was not bred at the place of purchase, or was not resident there for a considerable period of time, ask where it came from and try to discover its previous history

An advantage of rehoming a rescue horse is usually rescue centres will be able to provide the equine's history.

Ensure that the equine's passport is handed over to you, the animal is microchipped and that it matches the description

Your vet will be able to confirm the microchip matches that recorded in the passport. If the animal also has separate vaccination certificates, breed papers or other identification documents, make sure that these are given to you at the time of purchase if they form part of the conditions of sale. Contact the Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) within 30 days to update the passport ownership details. Note you could get an unlimited fine if you can't show a valid passport for an animal in your care.

Only experienced people should buy young horses, as they require a lot of additional knowledge, care and handling to ensure that they develop properly until they are ready to be prepared for riding (at least four years old).

They should be bought from reputable breeders and you should ensure they were weaned at an appropriate age.

Remember that horses, ponies and donkeys are powerful animals and can cause considerable damage

You are strongly advised to take out 3rd party insurance cover. Similarly, veterinary bills for equids can be very high indeed and you should consider insurance to cover these bills.

Common Scams

Horses on loan being sold without the owner’s permission

Selling a horse which has previously been the subject of a Loss of Use (LOU) insurance claim for a purpose they may not be capable of and/or insurable for

Horses medicated to mask problems

Dealers posing as rescue organisations or private sellers

Horses with more than one microchip

Horses medicated to mask problems

Altered, fake or duplicate passports

Government Codes of Practice on how to meet the five welfare needs for equids: