How Much Does It Cost to Own A Horse

Recurring Costs

Boarding, training, and lesson package at Heron Creek Farm $725/month
Option 1 Veterinary Package, Coastal Equine $375/year
Farrier services trim $35 or shoes $75 and up every six weeks
Floating Teeth $100/year
Equine Insurance based on market value of horse (optional)

One Time Fees

Commission on purchase of horse 10% sale price of horse
Pre-purchase exam (radiographs not included) $350 +
Horse blanket and sheet $350 +
Saddle, bridle, brushes, etc $1,000 +

Leave room in your budget for emergency vet bills and horse shows. Prices listed are estimates and subject to change

What to Expect in Your First Lesson

At Heron Creek Farm, our lesson Program is customized for each student. The first lesson begins with basic familiarization with the horse, equipment, and safety.

You will be matched to a horse with a suitable temperament and size for your ability and stature. You will not always have this same horse, as we find students learn well by being exposed to different challenges.

You will be riding from your first lesson. At Heron Creek Farm we strongly believe in a “holistic” approach to riding, so you will be exposed to a great deal during your first lessons.

Beginning in the barn, you will be shown how to safely groom and move around your horse and “tack up” (put the saddle and bridle on). This takes about 30 minutes. In the ring, you will mount your horse, do some stretching exercises and begin to familiarize yourself with the correct position, balance, and movement necessary for riding. Some riders who have ridden in a western saddle may find that more balance is required when learning to ride in an English saddle. You will learn how to communicate with your horse by using “aids” to ask your horse to walk forward, (forward transitions), stop and slow down (downward transitions), turn left and right, and when you are comfortable, learn to trot. This portion of the lesson varies greatly based on attention span and fitness of the rider, and usually builds as confidence increases and muscles get used to riding. The average is 15-20 minutes, building up to 30 minutes for private lessons. You will be working hard, and there is a lot to take in during the first 4-5 lessons, but soon it will all come together with practice and patience. You will learn how horses think, and know when your horse understands what you ask of him.

Back in the barn you will learn to take the saddle and bridle off, and groom your horse. Depending on the weather, this takes 15-30 minutes to cool a hot horse. This is the time to take care of your horse, and thank him for his efforts.

We ask that you do not give food rewards, because hand feeding teaches horses to be mouthy and leads to biting. Horses appreciate when you rub their necks, and you may find a tickle spot that your horse likes to have scratched.

In subsequent lessons, you will learn to refine your aids, and build on the basic skills. Communication between horse and rider, and good horsemanship is what we strive for. Every student is encouraged with the help of the instructor, to set realistic goals. Whether cantering, trail riding, dressage, or jumping is something you would like to work toward, we will assist you in your journey to safely reach your dreams.

Lesson Apparel:

  • Correct apparel for horse shows is listed to avoid double purchases for riders who may wish to compete as their skills progress.
  • ASTM/SEI Approved riding helmet. Schooling helmets start at $30. These helmets must be replaced after a fall because the inner foam may be cracked, compromising the integrity, even if the outer shell remains intact. If the rider may want to compete, a show helmet is recommended. Schooling helmets are not appropriate for horse shows.
  • Hair: Hairnets are available at tack shops under $4. Place hairnet at hairline on forehead. Secure all hair under net. For long hair, follow previous directions, then gather hair into a pony tail at nape of neck and fasten with a hair band with the hairnet. Tuck pony tail (hair and net) up back of head. While holding pony tail up, place helmet on head back to front to keep pony tail in place.
  • Braids are permitted for lessons and schooling if all hair can be restrained.
  • English paddock boots. Children under 14 may wear brown paddock boots, (ankle high lace, pull on, or zip) for shows with beige or tan jodhpurs. Adults and children over 14 must wear black field boots, (knee high with ankle laces) and beige or tan breeches for shows. For lessons or schooling black or brown paddock boots and riding tights in a conservative color are permitted. Heron Creek Farm does not permit neon or print tights. Half chaps or full chaps are recommended for intermediate/advanced riders who do not ride in tall boots.
  • Shirts, sweaters, and jackets should fit close to the body to show position to instructor.
  • Gloves are recommended in cold weather. For shows, match boot color.

What to Wear to a Horse Show

  • ASTM/SEI Approved show helmet.
  • Hair net for all female riders’ short or long hair, and males with long hair. Place hairnet at hairline on forehead. Secure all hair under net. For long hair, follow previous directions, then gather hair into a pony tail at nape of neck and fasten with a hair band with the hairnet. Tuck pony tail (hair and net) up back of head. While holding pony tail up, place helmet on head back to front to keep pony tail in place.
  • Girls under 12 may wear two braids with ribbons and no hair net.
  • Leather boots. POLISHED!
  • Black leather field boots. Tall/knee high with laces at ankles.
  • Children under 14 wear brown leather paddock boots. Ankle high with laces, elastic gores, or zip.
  • Beige or tan breeches or jodhpurs.
  • Breeches are worn only with tall boots.
  • Children under 14 wear jodhpurs and brown leather “garters” under the knee with buckles on the outside of the leg. Jodhpurs have elastic straps that are worn on the outside of the boots.
  • Belt. Must be worn, even if covered by jacket.
  • Show shirt/rat catcher. Collar may be monogrammed. White is best if you buy one shirt. Long sleeves.
  • Show coat. Navy is the best if you’re buying one coat, solid or subtle pattern. Buttons match coat.
  • Gloves. Must be worn even in summer. Black or brown to match boots. Leather or synthetic show glove.
  • Bat (black), spurs (polished, black straps). If used.
  • Clean white fleece close contact fitted saddle pad.

How to Prepare For a Local Horse Show

Two Weeks Before

  • Pre-enter the show (if applicable).
  • Make appointments for clipping, trimming, mane pulling, braiding (Cooler show only, except Cleo must be braided for every show), or any other services you need.
  • Schedule appointments and check to be sure the horse isn’t needed for a lesson. It is your responsibility to hold horses for clipping, braiding, etc. unless other
    arrangements are made. Check with Taylor (630-3934) if you have a conflict. She charges $10/hr.
  • Check to be sure your clothes and boots fit and have any tailoring done.

Day Before

  • Check prize list to see if your division(s) are morning or afternoon. For example, Walk Trot and Very Beginner Pleasure are usually in the afternoon.
  • Plan your day with extra time so that you are not rushed.
  • If you can, give your horse a light hack.
  • Clean tack, wash saddle pad.
  • Polish boots.
  • Get show clothes together. (Check list)
  • Eat a good dinner, get to bed early!

Morning of Show

  • Eat breakfast, and pack snacks, lunch, drinks for the show.
  • Arrive at Heron Creek Farm early, so you aren’t rushed!
  • Load tack.
  • Bathe your horse. (Don’t wear your show clothes, you will get wet and dirty.)
  • Hand graze in the sun if it’s warm, and allow time for your horse to dry. If you leave the horse in a stall, he may roll!
  • Make sure your horse has had breakfast if it’s early. Offer him water throughout the day.
  • When the horse is dry, wrap legs, or put on shipping boots.
  • Load horse with supervision.

At The Show

  • Go to show secretary and register.
  • Be patient and polite to secretary and staff.
  • Parent must sign for minor child to register.
  • If you plan to show more than one time, consider joining the Va. Beach Horse Show Association (V.B.H.S.A.). You may even get a ribbon at the end of the season!
  • Points are only awarded to members. If you do not join before the show is over, any points earned that day will not count.
  • Leave an “open” check.
  • Numbers are given to the horse, not the rider. If your horse is being ridden by another rider, know what number the horse has already been given.
  • Tie your number around your waist. Don’t lose it.
  • Go to the ring that you will be showing in, and see what class they are on. Wait until the announcer is not busy, and politely ask. It is your responsibility to keep track of your ring, and be tacked up and ready to show.
  • Jumping: Learn your courses!
  • It is your responsibility to hold your horse at all times.
  • Offer water to your horse from a bucket. Do not let your horse drink from a trough at a show to prevent spreading disease.
  • Coordinate schooling with trainer.
  • Tack up one division before your first class.
  • Do not sit on your horse and wait. Get off and find a shady spot if it’s hot.
  • Warm up one class before your division. Follow the plan you have with your trainer. It is important that you don’t tire your horse out.
  • RELAX AND SMILE! Remember to be polite to everyone around you.

After You Show

  • Review and learn with trainer.
  • Take care of your horse first! Then you can undress.
  • Remove tack, brush saddle mark or hose in summer.
  • Offer water to your horse from a bucket. Do not let your horse drink from troughs at a show to prevent spread of disease.
  • Remove braids with a seam ripper. Put all trash in a trashcan, even yarn from braids.
  • Do not leave your horse unattended without permission.
  • Wrap legs before loading.
  • Load with supervision.

Go to Heron Creek Farm to unload your horse