Written by Kate Stone.
The end of January marked one year owning my horse, Furi. I will be taking the time to recap the year and all that horse ownership has entailed. I did lease him for 7 months prior to owning him but ownership requires more responsibilities than just leasing. After the purchase, I was left with not much, because during the lease, I had used what the previous owners provided which I wrote about here. I had to quickly figure out what I needed right away. During the first week he came in from turnout with a nice sized superficial cut on lower shoulder, broke the only sheet that was given to me, and lost a halter. That first week I also requested and received a copy of his paperwork from the vet to see when he would need things done so I could plan ahead. I had to do a lot of planning ahead as I would be taking him to college with me that following August (2015).
During the late spring my trainer at the time got sick and was in and out of the hospital which left me working with another trainer for a short period of time. Then I was not riding under a trainer but did trailer Furi to a well-known trainer about an hour away a few times. The one day that we trailered out, we rode in the outside ring, and Furi was acting up and ducking out of jumps left and right, which was unusual for him. We were doing an exercise where I jumped and made a 10 meter circle back to the jump. During this exercise, he was looking off into the field, tripped, and went down with me.
We were both okay, and I got back on and continued the lesson but it really shook both him and I up a little. After returning back to our barn later that day, I found him shaking, had to call the vet and gave him a small dose of banamine. They believe he had a mild colic. Thankfully he was okay, but it just added onto an already stressful day.
The middle of August, I had brought Furi in from turnout and had him in the cross ties grooming him, and his eye started to water and he got very fussy. I was pretty sure he had something in his eye or he scratched it so we rinsed it out and he seemed better. I put his fly mask on overnight to make sure nothing else irritated it. The next morning, I went out to the barn to ride before heading out of town for the day and found his eye swollen so I called the vet and waited hours for her to come out. She used dye and a light to find the spot he scratched, prescribed him topical medicine and banamine, and said he needed to keep his fly mask on and avoid sunlight as much as possible which meant no turnout. This incident happened days before taking him to school with me. It just goes to show that as a horse owner you need to be available 24/7, make sacrifices, and be able to stay calm and level-headed because you have to make the decisions.
The weather in Ohio has been very all over the place and there are some nights when he needs his sheet changed early in the morning or at night. Thankfully at home and at school the barn is only 15 minutes away so driving there is an easy thing to do. Additionally, at home I had an amazing barn manager that was so helpful. With blanketing I really had to adjust with the different barns. At home, the barn set-up keeps the barn at a fairly consistent temperature of approximately 40 degrees. At school the barn is much colder, and Furi gets his own runout. I have had to blanket heavier at school due to this.
A question I came across during this past year was what joint supplement I should start him on. He was guessed to be around 14 when I purchased him, and although he was not heavily jumped or worked when he was younger, I wanted to get him on a management supplement (Editor’s Note: This is always a good idea!) Picking a supplement was not as easy as it sounded. There were so many factors that went into the process, such as ingredients, accessibility, quality, cost, and what form it came in (powder, pellet, liquid, wafer, etc.) I compared a large group of supplements and finally decided on Majesty’s Flex Wafers (Editor’s Note: I used to give these to Rascal because my barn managers refused to let me buy him a proper joint supplement, which I understand because it was a lesson horse, and not my personal horse – but I still wanted to take care of him since I was the one primarily riding him! They worked very well on his arthritis!) I decided on this product because it was a management supplement. It was also in a wafer so I could easily tell if he received and ate it. I also loved the price, a 60 day bag is only $37.95 at Big Dee’s Tack and Vet Supplies. I also knew that the product was made in the U.S. which was an added bonus. I have been using the supplement for a little under a year and I really love the product! I am looking into using their Omega supplement to help his mane grow and help his coat look its best.
Moving my horse to college was more stressful than moving myself. I had to decide when to start switching his grain, how many bales of hay to take with us to safely switch him in his new home, and also what to take with me for him. I had to plan months in advance to ensure he received all of his shots, got his teeth floated, etc. I wrote an article here that recaps the move and all the it entailed.
The past year has been the best year of my life, and I am so grateful and proud to own such an amazing horse. Leasing a horse can prepare a rider/future horse owner in many ways, but at the end of the day as a lessee, you are not making the final calls (depending on the contract). Ownership means you carry 100 percent of the responsibilities and have to make the tough decisions. I tell a lot of people, owning a horse has just as many cons as it does pros: the thing that makes it all worth it is the passion and love you have for that animal.