We've all seen them – horses being offered up as free to a good home. It can be so tempting to bring them home to the barn, but oftentimes free horses are actually quite expensive. Here's why.

Underlying Issues

Oftentimes horses which are being given away for free have significant physical or behavioral issues. If the owner is honest, then these issues will be disclosed up front in effort of finding a new home that is a good match for the horse. Unfortunately that’s not always the case, so in taking on a free horse, you may also be taking on underlying issues. One way to lessen the chance of this is to vet out the horse in the same way that you would when horse shopping. Having a pre-purchase exam performed on the horse can help to identify physical issues, while test riding the horse can sometimes reveal behavioral issues.

Cost of Care

If you already own a horse, you know firsthand how expensive just simply caring for a horse from month to month can be. A horse may be initially free, but you’ll need to be prepared for the long-term costs of owning that horse. In the case of a free horse, the cost of care may be even more expensive than it is for your average horse. A free horse may need rehabilitation time, professional training, special barn facilities, or special shoes, diet, or medication. If you are considering taking on a free horse, then you will want to be prepared for the potential costs associated with it.

Too Good to Be True?

When it comes to free horses, it’s best to listen to your gut if you think that the deal is just too good to be true. In some cases, yes, you might have a close friend or former trainer who truly wants to see their horse go to a good home or new situation. But when you’re dealing with an offer for a free horse from a stranger, and that horse seems like it would otherwise be marketable, then there’s probably a reason that the horse is being offered for free. Which isn’t to say to never take on a free horse. Sometimes the situation works out wonderfully, and you’ll hear of many horse owners who got some of their best horses for free or for a steal of a price. But remember that even if a horse is free, he can quickly run up hefty bills. Be careful when taking on a free horse, and treat the process with the same caution that you would use when buying a new horse.

Original Source: The Hidden Costs of the Free Horse

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