So you think you want a horse? Well, this week on the Paw Report we’ll talk
to Penny Allen from Paradise Equestrian Therapy in Mattoon about everything you need to know
before you make the decision to take on a horse, from equipment to veterinarian care
and more. Stay tuned, the Paw Report starts now.
Welcome to the Paw Report. I am here today with Penny Allen from Paradise Equestrian
Therapy here in Charleston and Penny we are talking about so you think you want a horse.
And I assume there’s a lot more to you know, just going out and buying a horse.
>>Penny: Yeah, exactly.
You might as well say it’s almost like having a child.
Because you have to take care of them, you know, there are a lot of things involved.
So, it depends on what kind of horse you want, who you are buying it for, you know, your
children, or yourself. There’s all different breeds, you know it
So it’s probably like choosing any pet, right? I mean, you have to consider what’s right
for your family, what kind of job maybe do you want the animal to do?
>>Kate: Energy, things like that.
Do you want to talk about some of those you know maybe you are deciding that you do want
a horse, what are some of the things that you do need to look at in terms of that?
>>Penny: First of all, you need to have a good place
to keep them, and you need a barn, a shelter for them, you need probably a couple acres
per horse to graze on, stuff like that, and if you don’t have a lot of grass, you need
to have hay, there’s feed to consider. There’s just all kinds of things you have
got to consider, and that can be costly. Especially, nowadays, the average price of
a bale of hay right now is like between five and nine dollars a bale.
>>Kate: Oh, ok.
>>Penny: There were they used to be three or four dollars,
and with the shortage of the drought we had, it really hurt bad, so if you are considering
it, you better put some money aside because it is probably going to cost you about five
hundred dollars a month to take care of a horse,
>>Kate: Ok, so is that including everything?
Is there equipment that comes along with this, too?
>>Penny: Oh yeah. I mean, if you are going to ride
you need saddle and bridles, and saddle pads, and all that stuff, and you are talking probably
between four hundred to a thousands dollars for a saddle,
>>Penny: But you can go to auctions like, you know,
sale barns and places like that and pick up used stuff, so
>>Kate: So there’s that available too.
So, what are some kinds of the things to consider in the decision to make a horse.
Can you talk about some of those, you know, what process do you have to go through in
your mind before you can say, ok yeah, I can definitely take on a horse.
>>Penny: You would have to consider the upkeep.
I mean there is maintenance on them just like anything else.
They have to have veterinarian care, they have to have shots, vaccinations, they have
to have their feet trimmed, their hooves trimmed every six to eight weeks.
I would say the majority of people that get a horse just think they can just through it
out someplace in the yard, backyard, stuff like that, and it really doesn’t work that
way. You have got to have it planned out before
you ever think about it. The prices of the horses, right now they are
fairly cheap and stuff. There’s a lot of people that can’t afford
to get them, you know, can’t keep them and stuff, so you can usually pick up a horse
pretty cheap. But you want to really check into it and make
sure that you are buying it for your children, or whatever, you are going to make sure it
is childproof, safe, that’s very important. If you are going to trail ride, you better
make sure that horse has been rode out in the woods.
You don’t want to buy a horse that’s been a show horse, because if you take them out
in the woods, they don’t have a clue about what’s going on.
They can be really spooky. So, I mean there are just all kinds of factors.
Like I said, to do something like that, you really need to talk to somebody that got horses.
There’s a lot of people in our area who have horses, so go to somebody and talk to them,
ask them questions, you know, if you are really interested in that.
There’s a lot to consider when you get a horse. It’s just not like, you know, throw them someplace
and that’s it, they are going to take care of themselves, they are not.
You have to take care of them; it is your responsibility.
>>Kate: I assume there’s daily chores involved with
Aw yes, there’s feeding,>>Kate:
Can you talk about kind of what your typical horse day is like when you get up?
>>Penny: I get up early in the morning and feed them,
I kind of have them on a pretty good set schedule. I feed them early in the morning, I mean you
have to grain them, hay them, then you have to clean stalls, you know, you have to buy
shavings and stuff and keep in your the stalls. If you keep them in the barn, we turn some
out, rotate them and stuff, and there’s, that’s a daily thing, twice a day.
You know, and check on them, if I am there all day long, you have to go out and check
on them, because you know, they can get themselves in trouble, even if you had them in a padded
cell, they’d find a way to get hurt.>>Kate:
They are just like kids; they can find some little thing to get hurt on.
>>Kate: It doesn’t matter if you think you’ve got
it horse-proofed, childproofed, anything they can prove you wrong.
>>Penny: Yep. Sure can, so.
>>Kate: Ok, so it not just a one a one time a day
investment, you know, because I am sure there’s people who may think, well, it’s probably
like a dog, except easier, just put it outside and leave it.
>>Penny: No, not at all.
It’s a major chore. It really is.
Right now we have nine, we usually keep between nine or ten or whatever at my facility and
stuff, and then, we borrow some off and on for we use for our riding lessons and stuff,
but yeah, it takes like an hour and half to two hours and then you have to consider if
you are going to do during the winter time, that’s when it is really cold, you have to
have like heated water bucket for them so the water is not froze, so there’s a lot to
Yeah, that was my questions, you know, because I always said, I don’t think I could have
horses, because I was telling my husband this one day, because I think I would have to have
them in a heated and air conditioned barn all day, and I would just worry about them
standing out there. So what is winter like for a horse?
>>Penny: They get hair when it cools off; their coat
changes, and goes from a smooth coat to a heavy thick furry coat.
Now not all horses will get real heavy coats and then you have to get blankets and put
on them and stuff like that. They need shelter to get in out of the wind,
and stuff like that, just depends on how bad a winter we have.
But if it is icy and slick outside they can fall down and break a leg, because you know,
horses get to running and they get to feeling good and frisky, they can actually slip and
fall and break a leg real easy.>>Kate:
Ok, so season change is something else to consider around here, whether you can tolerate
leaving a horse outside I guess you know. What are the different types of things that
horses do, that you might want to consider if you are buying a horse?
You know, there are horses you can ride, there are working horses, what kinds of things like
that are there to think about?>>Penny:
Like I said, you can get a horse if you want to go trail riding like a lot of people go
camping and take the horses over the weekend and go to Shawnee and different parks and
stuff like that. You want to make sure you’ve got a horse that
can do that type of thing because they tie them out and leave them tied out all night.
If you are interested in showing, there’s all kinds of horses to show, like pleasure,
barrel racing, rodeo is really big. I know Eastern has now a horse program where
they do showing like that. There are just all kinds of horses, driving
horses; it just depends on what your interest would be.
>>Kate: Are there certain types of horses that are
better for certain types of people? Are there horses that are better with children,
just like there are dog breeds that are better with children?
>>Penny: Actually, for children and stuff, a lot of
people think that their kids they are going to buy their child a horse or something,
>>Kate: I want a pony.
>>Penny: Yeah, or I want to get a young horse and they
can grow up together and teach each other. That doesn’t work that way.
Somebody’s got to know what they are doing, so the horse needs to be a horse that is older,
been trained real well, and is safe for a child.
If you are a beginner, I would always advise you to get an older horse, a good horse that’s
been older and been through everything, then they will kind of teach you.
And that the easiest thing for a person to learn on that has never had a horse.
You don’t want some young horse that’s never been trained real well, because they mature
just like children; it takes a while.>>Kate:
So, young horses are not for first time horse owners?
>>Penny: No, no, no, no, no, that’s a bad thing, I
don’t know how that ever got started, but that is an old adage that you know, “they
can learn together”, but somebody has got to know how to do the training or whatever.
Somebody needs experience.>>Kate:
Ok, so say you decide you want a horse around here, where do you go?
Are there auctions, because, it’s not like a pet store, you know you don’t see horses
in pet stores.>>Penny:
You can go online, there’s hundreds of websites, there’s horse.com, dreamhorse.com, Arthur
sale barn around here has sales, you can look, you know, you can go online and find all kinds
of places that horses are for sale. There are local listings, I think there are
some on Craig’s list, you’d be surprised where people put horses and stuff like that.
Easy access, yes.>>Kate:
And what do you want to do when you are going to get this horse, what do you want to look
for when you are buying, what do you need to be careful about?
>>Penny: You want to make sure they are sound, and
by that I mean they are not lame, you want to make sure their feet are in good condition.
Horses can founder, that’s another thing in the spring when the grass comes on, it’s real
rich and high in carbohydrates and there’s a lot of horses, and ponies are notorious
for foundering and once they do that, they are ruined for life, so.
>>Kate: In layman’s terms, what is that?
>>Penny: Actually their hooves will grow out real long,
and the coffin bone in the sole of their foot will actually rotate from it, and they get
like a fever in their feet, and it’s quite an ordeal.
It’s a very expensive thing to ever get them corrected and they are never usually one hundred
percent sound and you have to watch putting them out on fresh grass like that, because
like I said it is so rich in the spring you have to watch that.
You’ve got to know what you are doing if you are going to get a horse.
Like I said, it’s not something you can just throw out in the yard and think that’s all
you’ve got to do for them.>>Kate:
What about maintaining pastures? If you are not necessarily, you may have to supplement
with feed and hay and things like that, but what about pasture, what do people need to
know about that kind of care?>>Penny:
You need to keep it mowed, if you can mow it like once a month or whatever during the
summertime, it will keep the weeds out. You don’t want your horse eating weeds, because
there are a lot of weeds that are poisonous to a horse, especially in our location.
You want to keep it mowed, you can re-seed it every, you know, like in the spring or
in the fall, something like that so that you have got good pasture.
A horse needs the fiber that’s in grass, that’s really what their basic diet is. Because we’ve
confined them and keep them on different lots, because they don’t free roam like they used
to, they used to graze and get all their greens and vitamins and so now we supplement all
that stuff, so you’ve got to consider all that too.
What type of hay, and what type of grain to give your horse.
You know, you can give them too rich a grain, or you can give them too rich a hay like alfalfa.
It’s real rich or the grass hay. Some horses can tolerate it, and some can’t
>>Kate: And what is veterinarian care like for horses?
What do you need to think about there, because I am sure it costs, as well as time associated
They are expensive. Like I said you horses have to have annual
shots, just like your dogs and cats do, they vaccinate them for West Nile, tetanus, that
type of thing. Every once in a while somebody will bring
a horse from out of country, out of state, in your area, and they can bring in new diseases,
so they have like a five-way, six-way for different types of viruses that are out there.
You have to watch for that. It can be very expensive, they have to have
their teeth floated at least once a year because they are not out eating the roughage they
are used to in the wild, so we have to have their teeth done at least once a year.
They float them; they grind them off, just like you know, so they won’t have teeth trouble,
because they can’t eat. The older horses, you have to do maintenance
on their teeth a lot more because their teeth get weak and start falling out and then you
have to change your feed, so, like I said, it is almost like having a child.
>>Kate: There is a lot to consider and care about
there. So, what is the life span of a horse, because
I assume that you are getting into an investment here and in time?
>>Penny: They can live anywhere here; the average age
is probably in the late 20’s. I’ve got a couple friends that’s got a couple
that is in the early 30’s and that’s about the extent of it, but that’s because they
have had good care. Like I said the horses out in the wild probably
don’t live that long. They just don’t get the care that they do
when you have your own personal horse. But the average age, I would say, would be
So you are not getting into ten, twelve-year investment like you might with a dog.
>>Penny; No, a little longer than that.
A little longer care and a lot more maintenance probably.
>>Kate: Ok. So what about equipment?
If I were to go buy a horse today, what else do I need to buy?
>>Penny: Well, you’d have to have a halter that fits
right, your lead rope, if you are going to ride, you need a saddle, a saddle pad, you
can get all kinds of pads, different thicknesses, your saddle needs to fit your horse properly.
That’s another thing people don’t consider. They just go someplace and get a saddle or
whatever, and throw it on the horse, well if it doesn’t fit the horse correctly, it
will actually make their back sore and then you’ve got a problem there, so you have to
be kind of careful about it and ask somebody. Like I said, if you are starting out, have
them help you fit your saddle and your saddle pad to your horse and make sure the saddle
Ok, so that’s the kind of thing you reach out to the horse community in your town, now,
because I assume there’s probably one in just in every town maybe in your area there’s people
that know about horses.>>Penny:
You’d be surprised. This is horsey country. There are actually a lot of horses here in
this area. We have race horses, trotter-pacers, we have people that show, barrel racing, and
stuff like there, so there’s a lot of horses, there are a lot of trail riders, and that
type of thing.>>Kate:
I’ve noticed there is even some Clydesdales around the area.
>>Penny: Yes, yes there is. As a matter of fact one
of my best, he has Clydesdale horses and shows them too.
He travels all over and shows them.>>Kate:
Are they primarily show horses? Are Clydesdales primarily show horses?
>>Penny: The Amish use them.
They use the Clydesdales. They use Belgiums, the bigger ones that are
palomino colored and they use their for work mainly.
But around here in this area they mainly show them and stuff.
They have different classes of pulling wagons; they show them in halter, where they go by
confirmation, and things like that.>>Kate:
Are there certain breeds of horses that do well around here and certain ones that don’t?
>>Penny: Actually, no.
I would say that just about any breed of horse. I know people that have got paint and quarter
horses, there are different breeds of quarter horses, paint horses.
I would say the quarter horse is probably the most popular in this area because it’s
kind of a horse that can do anything, you can work cattle, you can barrel race, you
can show in halter, you can do western pleasure, English, you know all kinds of things with
So is there a big competitive community of horses in the area?
>>Penny: There is a lot of barrel racers in this area.
A lot of the high school rodeo is big. Junior Rodeo is big.
We used to host a lot of junior rodeos and the kids, that would be like between eight
and twelve I think it is, and after twelve, they go to twelve to eighteen for the high
So, there is that competitive culture here, too, if you are interested in that.
>>Penny: Oh yes.
>>Kate: So what is your best advice, you know, for
someone starting out, looking into and researching the horse? Would you say first go talk to
Yes, I definitely would and find, like I said you can go on the internet and you can find
anything on the internet, but you can find people, chat room, maybe or groups that, 4-H,
to to 4-H if your kids are interested, find a 4-H Club that’s got a horse division in
it and talk to them.>>Kate:
Ok, so are there agricultural extension offices, would they know about horses?
>>Penny: In this area, probably U of I.
They have the big large animal clinic up there, so a lot of times if you have a major surgery
a lot of us will take our horses to the U of I up there.
And they have horse programs up there also. And Parkland college has regular classes you
can take if you are interested in horses, so you can go to school up there and get a
degree in that.>>Kate:
Ok, so there’s plenty of information and availability out there.
There’s plenty of consideration too, to take onto when buying a horse.
>>Kate: Or thinking you want a horse, I guess I should
say. How did you get interested in horses?
When did that all start for you?>>Penny:
Actually my parents had horses when I was born, and my dad showed horses, reigning horses,
and halter horses, and pleasure, so I got to travel a lot when I was young, so it just
come if it is in your blood, it just is.>>Kate:
It kind of stays with you. And what’s that like, you know, the culture
of traveling, for horse racing and things like that.
>>Penny: Oh, it’s kind of like a family thing.
Usually the whole family goes, and that’s one thing about the high school and junior
rodeo. That is all family oriented, and it is fantastic,
because the whole family spends the weekends and like from Friday to Sunday together, and
compete, but it’s kind of a family things actually.
So that’s a good thing.>>Kate:
And what is a competition for somebody that has maybe never seen a horse or barrel racing
or competition, what are some of those like, what are some kinds of things they are asking
the horses to do?>>Penny:
Go to fairs in the summertime like that, they have the trotting races; some places have
thoroughbred races, that type of thing.>>Kate:
So you could see that around here.>>Penny:
Sure, sure. Rodeos, I mean, like I said, you can go online,
you can find where the nearest rodeo is, where the horse shows, we have local horse shows
like over at Mattoon, Shelbyville, Sullivan, all places have horse arenas and have a lot
of horses in this area, you’d be surprised.>>Kate:
Are there any horse groups, or clubs in this area if someone were looking for information
Yeah, there are trail riding groups, there are like I said, if you go to online stuff
and just type in whatever you are interested in, barrel racing, it would come up and show
you everybody that barrel races probably in this area, it would name all the groups and
organizations. There is Illinois Barrel Racing association,
there is the, you know, if you are interested in getting into the trotting horses, or the
buggy horses, the racing horses, sulkies, you just go to your local track, and you can
talk to those guys, they’ll show you and talk to you they are real interested about helping
people keep that going.>>Kate:
Are you in any competitive?>>Penny:
I used to barrel race. I barrel raced for years and stuff like that.
>>Kate: Ok, what’s that like?
It is fast. When you are showing like western pleasure
class, or walking or trot or canter type thing, they have a judge that judges that, and you
get into the speed events and the competition like that, you are running against a clock,
and that’s more fun, so I mean you know, you are not depending on somebody whether they
like your horse or they like you or whatever. The competition of it is you are just running
against the clock.>>Kate:
And since you are a horse person, do horses have personalities just like people?
>>Penny: Oh yes they do. I’ve got, we’ve got halflingers,
we’ve got Norwegian fiords, quarter horses, paint horse, Tennessee walking horse, and
everyone one of their personalities are different.>>Kate:
Oh My! The little draft ponies, which are halflingers,
and the Norwegian Fiord, they have, they are kind of like their own personalities.
It’s, yeah, but they can be ornery, they can be sweet, they can just, yeah, so ponies are
more of a kind of ornery type pony, horse or whatever, they’ve got more personality.
They are just like people; they all have different personalities.
Some love people, some not so much, but they tolerate it, you know.
There are others that when they see you coming, here they come.
They come running.>>Kate:
So you know that’s also something to consider I suppose, when you are choosing a horse.
I assume when you go to choose a horse, you will be able to interact with it, or watch
Oh sure. Never buy anything without riding it.
You know, if you have your own saddle already, take it with you, and ride it or see if the
people will let you take it home, and try it for a week or two.
That’s usually the best thing, because sometimes you’ll ride a horse at somebody’s facility,
or whatever, and then you take it home, then it has never been away from that facility
and you can get yourself in trouble. So if they will let you take it home and ride
it, that’s the best way to try it.>>Kate:
Ok, and for a first time horse person, can you train a horse yourself, or should you
get that horse trained?>>Penny:
If it is your first horse, it needs to be trained.
And then after you, say you’ve went through two or three horses and that is older and
that is broke real well, then you might consider doing something like that.
You will already know some of the things to look for and makes it a little bit easier.
But your first horse, you don’t want to try training your horse, you know, you need to
have some instructions before you try to do that.
>>Kate: Leave that to the experts to do for the first
Yeah, yeah. Good idea.
>>Kate: And what is your favorite thing about horses?
What do you love so much about horses?>>Penny:
I would say it is just, there is just something about them, I don’t know whether it is just
the look in their eye, or whatever, and what is it Winston Churchill said?
“The outside of a horse is the best thing for the inside of a man” or something like
that, and that’s a pretty true thing. I have just seen a lot of great things happen
on horses, too.>>Kate:
Yeah, you also do equestrian therapy, so you see a lot of great interaction there.
We are going to have you on for a later show about that.
Ok, is there anything else you think people, before we go here, we’ve got a minute or so
left, people might need to know about horses before they decide they want to go out and
They are like anything else. Even a good broke horse can get spooked and
can throw you off. Something like a dog can startle them, or
something like that. So they are a large animal and they are powerful.
They are very powerful, so just always use caution.
Never get too relaxed. I’ve seen people relaxed on a horse out trail
riding, and say a deer run across them, they turn and spook and fall off, so just never
get relaxed, I mean use caution. Use your head.
Helmets now, a lot of people ride with helmet when they are trail riding.
I recommend that. Just to be on the safe side.
>>Kate Well, we have to remember that they are still
It’s just like a dog you know, just because your dog has never bitten you doesn’t mean
that it couldn’t or won’t because they still have those instincts.
I assume the same goes for horses.>>Penny:
Exactly. They still have that fear of flight or fight.
That’s just normal and that’s just the way they are bred.
>>Kate: Ok. All right.
Penny Allen from Paradise Equestrian Therapy here in Charleston.
Thank you for coming on today, and we’ll look forward to having you back sometime.
>>Penny: All right.
>>Kate: Thank you very much.
If you are a veterinarian, trainer, groomer, specialist, rescue organization, or shelter
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[music] IF MAGGIE COULD ONLY SPEAK – SHE WOULD HAVE
QUITE A STORY TO TELL! THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS – IN THIS SNOWSTORM
– SHE DISAPPEARED. We went out looking for her but it was white
out conditions so it was really hard to try to find her. I looked the next two days but
I kinda lost hope. DESPERATE – AS THE DAYS STRETCHED ON – DUNDEE’S
RADIO STATION W-FLR – MADE A PLEA TO LISTENERS. It’s tough once I started to lose hope and
I didn’t know where to look – but I still felt like I had to. I had to be out there
trying. It’s pretty sad to think that a dog’s missing
because I like dogs. SIXTH GRADER AUSTIN GIBSON DIDN’T KNOW IT
AT THE TIME – BUT HE-AND HE ALONE- WOULD BE THE ONE TO HELP.
I was sitting on a snow bank – practicing my turkey call when I saw something brown
and I called my dad. AT 17 – MAGGIE, A LAB/SPRINGER MIX WALKS AND
SEES WITH DIFFICULTY – SHE HEARS EVEN LESS. BUT AT THE SOUND OF THE CALL…
[turkey calls] SHE STOOD FROM WHERE SHE HAD BURROWED IN – NEARLY
A MILE FROM HER HOME. She was just standing there wagging her tail
and looking at us. I ripped my coat off and put it around her because she was shaking
and she was really cold. A REUNION AFTER LONG FIVE DAYS – MADE POSSIBLE
BY THE UNIQUE SKILLS OF AN 11 YEAR OLD… AND THE DETERMINATION OF A 17 YEAR OLD.
AND MAYBE A LITTLE SOMETHING ELSE. It’s not like you can go out and call and
she’ll come. She couldn’t hear anybody even if they were near her New Years eve they found
her. It was kind of a miracle. [music]