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3 Reasons to Look a Free Horse in the Mouth: Is this Horse really FREE? By Diana J. Canaday

    The down turn in the economy has resulted in an abundance of FREE horses. Many of our customers come to us with tales of the FREE Horse Syndrome (FHS).  The tale starts like this “I got a FREE horse off the internet…from a neighbor…from a relative…etc… When we got the horse home we can’t ride it…it was lame…it was stupid…it was sick. We invested money in its care and training and the horse is still dangerous or unusable. We spent all our money on this horse."  

    Although their intentions were good...saving the horse and having a family pet, the reality was that even a FREE horse costs money to feed.  The sad truth is that when you accept a FREE horse you are getting someone’s PROBLEM. When you see the words FREE horse, substitute the word FREE for PROBLEM or better EXPENSIVE PROBLEM.

     Horses cost money, both in the initial purchase price, tack to ride and the monthly up keep. There is a monthly feed bill, farrier service, and worming. Then there is the yearly cost of a Vet bill for a coggins test and vaccinations.

    Look a FREE horse in the mouth to determine if it will let you handle its mouth? Resistance to handling is an indication that the horse either hasn’t had enough training or has an attitude of ingratitude. The horse may even be hard to bridle. 

    Look a FREE horse in the mouth to check its teeth. We had a horse that had a broken molar that required surgery and antibiotics, which meant a large vet bill.  Also, make sure that the horse has teeth.  If the teeth are nearly gone, you will have to buy special feed for the animal. I know people who give away really old horses (over 25 yrs) because they don’t want to incur the extra expense of feeding and the final expense of burying the horse when it dies.

     Look a FREE horse in the mouth to see if has a cut or deformed tongue. When a horse is a problem during training, many an individual will go to a harsh thin wire bit. Hence, when pressure is exerted the wire cuts the horse’s tongue. The tale-tell sign of a cut tongue is that the horse is only ridden with a halter or hackamore. Indeed, when questioned why the horse isn’t ridden with a bridle, the owner may say “Oh, the horse doesn’t need it.”

     These are just a few things you can do to evaluate whether the FREE horse is a worthwhile hobby or an expensive lesson. At Circle H Stables, our first concern is your safety. Your safety begins with a horse that is sound and sane. Hence, we offer seasoned trail horses for beginners, advanced beginners and experienced riders. Stop by the stable and look at our friendly horses.