Are you considering to buy a new horse? When purchasing a horse, many people decide to buy a three-year-old or an older horse that has already been trained. But why would you choose a foal or a 1- or 2-year-old? There can be several reasons:
Foals are often cheaper to purchase
From the age of 3 the purchase costs of a healthy, well-ridden horse quickly increases. The asking prices of a saddle broken, radiographically and clinically healthy 3-year-old horse, often starts approximately from € 12,500 and can easily increase up to € 40,000 for a 3-year-old horse with a lot of potential.
On the other hand, for those who take a lot of time and search very well, can purchase a foal with lots of luck from € 2,500. But various factors, such as the quality and potential of the foal, ensure that the purchase price of a foal quickly increases too. For those who want to purchase an above-average good foal, must take into account a purchase price that starts from
€ 5,500 and higher and for a foal with a lot of potential of € 8,500 rising up to
€ 12,500 and more .. In addition, just like with the purchase of an older horse, there are more costs involved, such as the costs of transport, rearing, veterinary costs, farrier and at a later stadium saddle breaking and a X-ray examination.
Take the risk or lose the chance!
When buying a foal you take a somewhat higher risk than when you are purchasing an older fully vet checked and ridden horse. Before you can ride on your new horse, you have the chance of diseases and injuries during the rearing period. In addition, veterinarians can only determine from the age of 2 whether a young horse is radiographically sound. However, we can tell you from our own experience that it is lots of fun, very educational and exciting to buy a young foal and discover in time if you have managed to get hold of that shiny pearl.
Ultimately, it is always a question whether a young horse will meet the expectations that you have, but if you have found a good one, you are in the possession of a three year old that you could not buy at that same age for the money you have spend on the foal. Off course there are also possibilities to protect yourself against (a part of) the risks. For example by taking out an insurance policy for your foal. You can often decide for yourself which risks you would like to cover. In practice a remark on the x-rays does not always have to be a problem for the sport. There are plenty of examples of horses that perform at a high level with a remark on their X-rays.
In your own hands you can form a foal early on
With a foal you can influence the final behavior of the older horse at an early stage. A young horse that is growing up with minor human contact, will of course have to learn more at the age of three, than a foal that is used to be handled by humans early on. Think carefully about how you want your foal to grow up. If you have your own stables at home, it is important for the foal to grow up with another foal or an older social horse. It is not advisable to let a foal grow up alone, because this can lead to less social behavior at a later age when the horse is placed in a group of horses. Rearing in a larger group of horses contributes to the development of good social behavior. When viewing the foal, it is important to pay close attention to how the breeder interacts with the foal. The environment and the experiences of a young horse can shape the animal for good and bad for life. If you have a young horse under your own care early on, you can understand better why a horse develops certain behavior and you can respond to this.
Many breeders teach their foals the "Foal ABC". In a nutshell this is a short basic training for foals, in which they learn to wear a halter, to walk by the hand, to be tied up, to be brushed and, to lift their feet. If your foal does not know this yet, it is advisable to get started with this before the foal goes to rearing. This reduces the risk of dangerous situations at a later stage, when the young horse has become a lot bigger and more powerful.
Keeping young horses is very educational
We 'horse people' all learn on a daily basis, but especially if you are just started to keep a foal or young horse you learn extensively. What does a young horse actually eat during periods of intensive growth? And how does your young horse overcome its place in the herd? When you buy an adult horse it is often already known what the feeding schedule is and often the new owner continues with this schedule. You learn to recognize all kinds of signals about young horse ailments, such as changing teeth and "childhood illnesses" among the horses. Of course it is important, if you do not have any experience with keeping foals or young horses, to seek good guidance and to gather a lot of information. Better to be safe than sorry!