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Family horse in South Africa

Buying a family horse in South Africa

Reigning in the cost

By Angelique Ruzicka

, |

Buying a family horse in South Africa

Reigning in the cost

By Angelique Ruzicka

, |

3 min read

If you’ve moved into an equestrian estate like Val de Vie, Dieu Donne or Waterfall Equestrian Estate you may feel tempted to buy yourself or your children a pony or horse if you’re passionate about all things equestrian.

But if you’re just starting out, what should you expect and what does a typical horse or pony cost?

Here we speak to Dawn Newman, one of South Africa’s top dressage and showing riders and owner of Kuda Insurance runs through what you need to know if you’re new to horse ownership.

What does it cost to buy a horse or pony?

If you’re looking at a pony that’s safe that you can ride around on the farm, you’ll pay relatively little. I’d say between £15k to R20k for a “happy hack”. You’ll probably end up with a pony that’s a bit older, which may perhaps not have the ability to compete.

We bought a pony for my sister’s two children, and I think we paid £15k with saddle. But there’s no potential for him, in terms of being a competitive pony. He’s very little and the kids will grow out easily.

What often tends to happen is that ponies like this will circulate in the community and get passed on when kids get bigger. When they are good and sweet ponies, they do always get to find a place and get passed from one little person to the next.

If you want competition ponies for more experienced ponies, you’re probably looking at around between £100k to £500k for a well-trained horse, particularly in show jumping. But middle of road pony reasonably talented £150k-£200k.

You can get really good quality for a lot less but then on the understanding of less training and little to no competition experience.

Do you have to watch out for fraud?

I’d like to say fraud doesn’t happen often, particularly with the sale of ponies. I think owners and sellers of ponies are often very willing to allow ponies to be taken on trial. If perhaps one that you didn’t know then you could take it on trial.

I’m in the insurance industry and that’s where insurance plays an important role because if you take it on trial, you become liable for the animal and you then would need to insure until it was with you until such time as you purchase it.

When it comes to the higher priced competition ponies you more than likely see them on the circuit so you would idea of temperament.

It’s not as easy [to avoid fraud] with horses as there’s far more horses available. But when it comes to ponies, I don’t think there’s a big threat of it.

It’s important to have a blood test and get a horse vetted because you could land up spending a lot of money on medical expenses or buying something that’s totally unsound which would show up in a basic vetting.

A blood sample can be tested straight away as well to test for any calming substances, etc., or you can keep it with the vet and if you take the pony home and you suspect something you can ask for the blood to be tested retrospectively.

What should you do before you buy?

Make sure you buy insurance for the pony or horse before it leaves the place where you’re buying it from. Don’t take something home without it. There are so many risks as it could injure itself.

Make sure you take someone knowledgeable with you when you go and look at the horse as often you can get blinded by emotion, but you can’t see past the fact that is half lame. Make sure the person you are taking with you is educated and unbiased and is not standing to take commission out of the deal as that could force you to buy something you may not have considered.

When you get your vetting if it’s not your regular vet doing the vetting always pass the vetting onto the regular vet to look and get their opinion.

Remember, there is no such thing as the perfect pony or horse. It may have a little quirk or temperament issue, so remember is that you are doing this for fun. It’s unlikely you’re going to be competing in the Olympics, so the most important thing is that it ends up being fun for you or a nightmare that you hate riding!

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