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A Handy Guide to Getting a Horse

Thinking of getting a horse or a pony? Here’s what you need to know.

There is something undeniably majestic about horses. Whether it’s the graceful precision of a dressage breed like the Hanoverian, the athletic versatility of an eventing breed like the Australian Stock Horse, or the steadfast strength of a Clydesdale for your farm, there is a horse breed for every equestrian pursuit, every productive farm, and every enthusiastic hobbyist. At Gumtree, we facilitate connections between people seeking to buy horses or ponies with responsible breeders and owners, ensuring you find the perfect equine companion.

Breeds

199

Most popular

Cavoodle

Family-friendly

Golden Retriever

Born Work Companions

Owning a draft horse comes with a unique set of rewards, especially for those with a farm or ranch. These robust, hardworking breeds are an incredible asset when it comes to completing various tasks and chores around the property. From the very crack of dawn to the fall of dusk, draft horses’ natural strength and tenacity shine in their ability to assist with heavy farm work. Whether it’s plowing the fields, hauling supplies, or pulling logs, they can offer an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to modern machinery. The diligent efforts of a draft horse can transform a challenging day’s work into a rewarding shared experience.

The Grace and Athleticism of Eventing Horses

Embodying the epitome of versatility, eventing horses are cherished for their ability to master the art of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. With an impressive blend of strength, agility, and endurance, these breeds such as the Thoroughbred or the Australian Stock Horse, excel in equestrian competitions, demonstrating grace under pressure and a remarkable spirit. Their athleticism makes them a delight to train, providing endless opportunities for bonding and skill refinement. The partnership you form with an eventing horse goes beyond the competition arena, enriching your life with shared achievements, memorable journeys, and an unbreakable bond of trust and respect.

The Charm of Ponies: Small Size, Big Personality

Ponies bring a unique, endearing quality to the equine world. Their small size and generally gentle demeanor make them perfect for younger riders and those new to equestrian pursuits, providing a safe, manageable introduction to horse care and riding. They are also adaptable and resilient, often showing an uncanny ability to thrive in varied climates where larger horse breeds may struggle. Moreover, ponies, with their sparkling eyes and playful personalities, add an immeasurable amount of joy and charm to your life. Their captivating presence, combined with their capability to form strong bonds with their owners, ensures that a pony is not just a pet, but a true companion and treasured member of the family.

Realities and Rewards of Horse and Pony Ownership

With all the joy of horse and pony ownership comes the responsibility for their wellbeing, including regular veterinary checks, a balanced diet, ample exercise, and suitable accommodation, whether it’s a stable or pasture. A horse’s or pony’s needs can feel substantial at times, but each task presents an opportunity to strengthen your bond and improve their quality of life. From grooming routines to annual vaccinations, the practicalities of ownership become a valued part of the journey, enriching the day-to-day experiences of life alongside these majestic creatures. At the end of the day, when your horse or pony nuzzles you with affection, you’ll realise every effort invested is worth the profound joy they bring into your life.

Embracing the Journey

Whether it’s the anticipation of preparing your ranch for a draft horse, the thrill of training an eventing breed for the next big horse racing competition, or the joy of seeing a child’s face light up at the sight of their first riding pony, welcoming a horse or pony into your life is an extraordinary journey. Each horse, regardless of its role, brings a unique rhythm to your daily life, infusing it with purpose, pleasure, and profound companionship.

Your A-Z list of dog breeds

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Need to list your Horse or Pony?

Need to list your horse or pony?

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Dog breeds that will suit your lifestyle

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Best breeds for apartments

Best Breeds For Apartments

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Hypoallergenic dog breeds

Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

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Best breeds for families

Best Breeds For Families

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Medium breeds

Medium Breeds

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Browse by Dog Breed group

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Terrier Breeds

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Sporting Dogs

Sporting Dogs

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Toy Dog Breeds

Toy Dog Breeds

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Herding dogs

Herding Dogs

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Do you need Pet Insurance?

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FAQs About Getting a Horse or Pony

Horses and ponies are both from the same Equidae family, and all horse breeds share a common lineage, tracing back to the time of early horse domestication. The primary difference lies in their size. Generally, an animal is considered a horse if it measures over 14.2 hands (58 inches) in height, while animals under this threshold are considered ponies. However, this isn’t a strict rule as some horses may be pony height and still be considered a horse based on their breed or characteristics. For instance, the gypsy cob height is generally at pony size, yet it is still classified as a horse breed. Ponies often have a stockier build and thicker manes than horses.

The space required depends on various factors, including the horse’s size and breed. A general rule of thumb is that each horse should have one to two acres of land for grazing. For stabled horses, the stable size should be big enough for the horse to lie down comfortably, typically at least 12×12 feet for an average-sized horse. Always ensure there’s plenty of room for horses to exercise daily, whether that’s a riding arena, a paddock, or trails.
There are several signs to look out for when assessing a horse’s health. Healthy horses have a shiny coat, clear eyes, and pink skin on their inner eyelids and gums. Their weight should be appropriate for their breed and height. For instance, the thoroughbred height is typically between 15.2 and 17 hands, and their weight should align with that. They should be alert and responsive to their surroundings, showing interest in other horses and people. Regularly monitoring their vital signs such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature will also help determine their overall health.
The best age to buy a horse or pony depends on your individual needs. Younger horses (2-7 years) are often more energetic and may require more training, making them suitable for experienced owners or riders. Older horses (8-15 years) are usually more experienced, making them ideal for novice riders or families. Senior horses (16 years and up) may be perfect for light riding or companionship. Always remember, horses can live well into their 20s and 30s, making even a “senior” horse a long-term commitment.
Choosing a horse breed or pony involves considering several factors, including the horse’s temperament, size, and care requirements. Researching thorough horse information, understanding your lifestyle, and identifying what you want from a horse (such as eventing, farm labour, or simply a pet) will guide you in making the right choice. If you plan on riding horses frequently, consider a breed known for its endurance and temperament. A horse’s size and strength should match the rider’s experience level and physical stature. Ponies often make great starters for children involved in a pony club due to their smaller size and gentleness.
Horses and ponies mainly eat grass and hay, which should make up the bulk of their diet. Grains such as oats, barley, and corn can be added, especially for horses with high energy requirements. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also good for horse bones and overall health but should be given in moderation. Clean, fresh water should always be available. Remember, sudden changes in diet can upset a horse’s digestive system, so any changes should be made gradually.
Training requirements vary depending on the horse’s age, breed, and what they will be used for. All horses and ponies benefit from basic ground training, including leading, tying, and grooming. If the horse or pony is going to be ridden, they’ll also need to be trained in saddle, starting with basic commands before progressing to more advanced riding skills. Specialised training may be required for horses participating in specific disciplines like dressage or eventing.
Reputable breeders can be found through referrals, horse shows, breed associations, and online platforms like Gumtree that offer horses for sale. A responsible breeder prioritises the health and welfare of their animals and will be transparent about their breeding practices. They should provide comprehensive horse information including medical history, breed specifics, and training level. They should also be able to answer all your questions and provide ongoing support after purchase.
Owning a horse or pony comes with certain risks that can be covered by different types of insurance. At a minimum, you should consider liability insurance to protect you if your horse injures someone or damages property. Mortality insurance covers the death of a horse due to injury, illness, or theft, while major medical insurance can help cover veterinary expenses for illness or injury. Other types of insurance cover loss of use, transport, and specific activities like racing or showing.
From the aesthetic appeal of spotted horses to the modest build light horses, there are around 400 different breeds of horses, each with its own characteristics and specialties. Thoroughbreds are renowned for their speed and agility, making them a popular choice for racing. Breeds such as the Andalusian and Dutch Warmblood are renowned as dressage breeds due to their agility and responsive nature. The Clydesdale and Shire are draft breeds, known for their strength and gentle temperament. On the smaller side, the Shetland and Welsh are popular pony breeds, perfect for young or inexperienced riders. Modern horse breeds like the American Quarter Horse and the Appaloosa are versatile and adaptable, good for various equestrian activities.
Mare milk is crucial for the survival and development of a newborn foal. It provides essential nutrients and antibodies that protect the foal from diseases until its immune system develops. Usually, the foal should start nursing within two hours of birth. If a foal is unable to nurse, a vet should be consulted immediately.