Keeping a horse as a pet can be incredibly fulfilling, but it’s a big commitment and certainly not cheap. Know the basics of horse ownership before bringing home an equine companion.

Before getting a horse

Owning a horse is a big responsibility. They not only require time, land and resources, but also a significant financial commitment. Make sure you’re aware of all the costs associated with horse ownership before you commit.

If you’ve got what it takes to give a horse a happy home, contact RSPCA Victoria and other local rescues to see who’s available for adoption.

Adopt a horse

Buying a horse

It’s important to only purchase a horse or equine when you are sure you can provide them with a happy home for the duration of their lifetime. Many horses end up at RSPCA Victoria because owners were not prepared for the responsibility that horse ownership comes with. When speaking to sellers, always ask for the animal’s history, age, background and temperament. Tell the seller how you intend to keep the horse (e.g. for companionship or for riding or sport), and make sure you’re a good match. If you’re confident, ask to take the horse for a trial period and ask a vet to give them a health check.

If you suspect a horse is being mistreated, contact RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate.

Tip off

The responsibilities of horse ownership

If you’re buying your first horse, RSPCA Victoria recommends joining your local pony club, doing lots of research and talking to as many horse owners as possible. To learn all about being an amazing horse parent, here are a few of our top tips to get you started. You can find comprehensive advice at the bottom of this page.

The basic necessities for your horse will include:

  • Adequate shelter
  • A healthy diet
  • A suitable paddock of one acre minimum
  • Regular exercise
  • A clean environment
  • An established grooming routine
  • Farrier visits every 6-8 weeks
  • Regular dentist visits
  • Vaccinations and insect treatment as advised
  • Financial ability to provide medical care when needed
  • A feed bin
  • A water container
  • Rugs in colder months

Your horse and the law

As an owner you are legally responsible for any harm or damages caused by your horse.
Pet owners should be aware of the Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA), and the offences that are punishable by law.

Horses should be cared for in accordance with Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses (Revision 1).

For more information about owning a horse, check out the articles below:

Caring for horses in hot weather

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Caring for your horse

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Spring horse welfare tips

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From the horse’s mouth: What kind of dental care do horses need?

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