What Does a ‘Free’ Horse Cost? Part 2

Now that you’ve acquired your “free” horse, here’s how to keep him healthy.

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What Does a
With a little TLC and proper veterinary and farrier care, a dental exam, a wellness plan, and some thoughtful training, that free or almost-free equine partner could end up being the horse of a lifetime. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Now that you’ve acquired your freebie, here’s how to keep him healthy

You’ve discovered your diamond in the rough. That handsome horse you rescued (or found at an auction or on Craigslist or secured through a random giveaway) barely cost a penny and is now yours. Once he’s home, though, be prepared to start spending money on veterinary and farrier bills and even training fees.

In Part 1, we talked about whether a free (or nearly free) horse really ends up being a bargain and what a prospective owner should consider before taking one of these horses home. Now we’ll look at the steps you should take after you’ve acquired your free horse and how to keep him (and the rest of your herd) healthy.

The Fundamental First Exam

Keeping your new horse in good health starts with veterinary and farrier exams. Jennifer Williams, PhD, co-founder and president of Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society, in College Station, Texas, suggests scheduling the first veterinary and farrier visits for as soon as your horse arrives at his new home. These are even more crucial if the horse has an unknown health history and/or underlying lameness or illness

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Written by:

Sarah Evers Conrad has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and equine science from Western Kentucky University. As a lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Conrad started her career at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care magazine. She has also worked for the United States Equestrian Federation as the managing editor of Equestrian magazine and director of e-communications and served as content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency. When she isn’t freelancing, Conrad spends her free time enjoying her family, reading, practicing photography, traveling, crocheting, and being around animals in her Lexington, Kentucky, home.

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