The Arabian horse is known for its versatility and his human-minded character and as such is the perfect pleasure horse. Although, the term “pleasure riding” or “hacking” is often used derogatively, this type of horse needs to have certain characteristics, to make its owner happy and so, the expectations on part of the pleasure riders are high. As it is often the first own horse, it must be patient, must go into the trailer without fuss, must be used to the farrier and must be easy to handle. On top of that, it should have a healthy constitution, so it doesn’t become sick with each change of weather. Oh yes, and it must be easy to keep, as it might be necessary to leave it on the pasture for a couple of weeks, if time is short to ride. It must give a comfortable ride, of course, ideally it should have “rocking horse” gaits. And it must be pretty, so that everybody is envying us. And, not to forget, it must be cheap. Who pays more than absolutely necessary these days?
Most of the breeder have had these – or similar – “customers” on their farm. Please, don’t get me wrong: I do like pleasure riders. But a good pleasure horse must also have a good (i.e. cost-effective) price. Serious breeding starts with the right selection of the mating partners, followed by the optimal care of the mare during pregnancy, and offers the foal ideal conditions to raise with lots of exercise. Where this is not guaranteed at a young age, later problems are pre-programmed. And even if a pleasure horse is not able to trot like Totilas, or to “jump houses”, it needs to have other qualities: Character, temperament, constitution and health. And these characteristics are by no means less important than dressage or show jumping aptitude.
Lately, we conducted an online-survey and asked people, who bought a purebred Arabian as pleasure horse within the last five years. The purchase prices quoted were sobering: Almost two thirds of all horses were sold between 1000-5000 €. Those, who do not have more money available to buy a horse, are reminded that the purchase price is only a fraction of the running costs to keep a horse. And more often than not, “cheap” horses become very expensive due to vet treatment, that are necessary to remedy any rearing and keeping deficits.
If you cannot afford the purchase price, just keep on saving for another year or two the cost that you need each month to feed and maintain a horse. And those, who sell their horses at such a cheap price should be aware that they are partly responsible if it is sooner or later given away – because what costs nothing is often worth nothing.
Fortunately, there are also those more sophisticated pleasure riders, who know the cost of conscientious breeding and raising, and who are grateful that there are (still) breeders, who place great value on it even if it is costly. For such a horse, these customers pay the double or triple price and as a breeder you have the justified hope that the horse will be equally valued by him, as it is by you.