Owning and caring for a horse is a rewarding and enjoyable experience but it’s also a big responsibility and long-term commitment. With their beautiful and spirited natures, it’s all too common for horse owners to own more than one of these incredible creatures. With that in mind, a frequent discussion among equine enthusiasts is how many horses is too many?
You won’t be surprised to hear there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. If you can provide the care and attention they need as individuals then there’s really no limit. But in these difficult economic times, it’s still a conundrum many are having to grapple with.
Read our guide to help you consider the sometimes-thorny issues. And if you decide you have too many horses to care for properly then we also include a few tips to consider when rehoming.
However many horses you have in your life, they’ll all need to be covered by appropriate horse insurance to keep them happy and healthy. That’s where the specialists at Equesure can help.
Costs of horse ownership
Horses are certainly not the cheapest animals to own both in terms of time and money. And the more horses you own the more important it is to budget wisely and manage your time. The financial costs of keeping horses in the UK will include things like:
- Livery yard or field rent
- Feed and bedding
- Vet’s fees and insurance, the costs of emergency care
- Farrier fees
- Dental treatment
- Worming and vaccinations
The costs per horse can often be less when you have more than one equine. For example, when it comes to horse insurance, Equesure offers multi-horse policies if you have more than five horses. Call our team of equine insurance specialists and see how much you could save.
If you’re struggling to meet the costs of your horses, then the National Equine Welfare Council has produced a really helpful advice leaflet Cutting Cost Without Compromising on Welfare to help. The British Horse Society also provides useful guidance on the level of financial commitment associated with owning a horse, so you can make an informed decision before you make another purchase.
As well as the financial implications, how much time and attention your horses will require will depend on a lot of factors. In general, you should expect to devote at least 8 to 10 hours a week per horse. If you're doing more of the work, then 14 to 15 hours a week is probably more realistic.
From feeding and watering two or three times a day, to mucking out and daily hoof care there is a never-ending list of jobs to be done. If all of these jobs fall on you then the list can soon feel overwhelming, particularly if you have other responsibilities. Similarly, if you share the load with others then multi-horse ownership can be a lot more manageable.
You’ll need to set aside several hours to give them all the exercise and bonding time they need. Remember the more time you spend with a horse, the deeper your bond will be and the more fulfilling your relationship.
Horse welfare – your number one priority
In the majority of cases, the rewards of horse ownership far outweigh the financial and time costs. However, sometimes no matter how much you’re devoted to them the costs become too much of a burden on you or your family. You may have too many horses if any of the following things apply:
- The health and wellbeing of your horses is suffering.
- You can’t afford appropriate feed and dietary requirements.
- You can’t afford routine vet care or farrier fees.
- You have to miss paying other bills to care for your horse.
Whether you have one horse or 20, you love your horses, so you should never find yourself in the position of compromising their health. Sometimes the only answer is to find your equine a new home.
Tips on horse rehoming
However much an owner cares for a horse sometimes they simply don’t have the money, time or space to take care of them. As difficult as the decision may be, it’s not unusual for owners to have to reduce the number of horses they own.
Rehoming a horse can be a heart-wrenching decision but the sooner you start the process, the more likely it is that you’ll find them a suitable home for the years to come.
When considering rehoming, there are several options for you to choose from to secure the best care for your horse. These can include equine welfare charities, companion homes and retirement homes.
However, the most popular choice for horses that still have a long life ahead of them is to sell or loan them. To provide the best chance of a successful rehoming, you need to do the following:
- Be honest about their health, temperament and needs.
- Word adverts carefully. You only want to attract genuine new owners.
- Allow potential owners visit and meet the horse to see if they’ll get on.
- Check if the owner’s level of horse knowledge or experience matches the horse’s needs and temperament.
- Offer the new owner references from the vet, farrier, trainer or riding club.
- Visit the horse’s new home beforehand. Your horse is relying on you to see if the facilities are suitable. If in doubt, back out. It’s not worth sending your trusty steed to a place they’ll be unhappy.
Save money on multi-horse insurance
No matter how many horses you own, you need to get the right horse insurance in place that enables you to meet their needs. With over 60 years’ combined experience in the insurance market, our team of specialists can offer a bespoke insurance policy to help you do this, whatever your budget.
Policies arranged through Equesure include three options for cover when it comes to veterinary fees:
- Option 1 – £4,500 per incident with unlimited claims in the year
- Option 2 – £7,500 per incident with up to £15,000 in the year
- Option 3 – £5,000 per incident with £2,500 top up for life-saving surgery
We can also cover saddlery and tack and personal accident cover up to £20,000.
Call our horse insurance team for a quick quote today.
Policy benefits and features may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.