Undoubtedly, horses are versatile animals. They are used for various purposes, as draft animals, for riding, racing, and even raised for meat. But can they be pets?
According to the definition, a pet is a domesticated animal kept for pleasure and companionship, and going by this definition, horses can be kept as pets. Nonetheless, whether a horse can be a pet largely depends on what do you want from it as a pet.
We say so, because, it is not uncommon to find people having horses in their stable just out of love and fascination. Also, according to ASPCA, horses belong to the category of companion animals.
On the other hand, horses are considered livestock animals by the American Horse Council. So, horses can be both livestock and companion animals (pets).
Are horses domestic pets?
Pets are domestic animals. By definition, domestic animals are those that are bred and raised to live alongside humans. They can be of 3 types: companion animals/ pets; farm animals and draft animals.
Horses are domesticated for different purposes. They are kept as pets as well as raised as livestock. Actually, horses fall under all the categories of domestic animals, as they can be companions, farm as well as draft animals. But they do not belong to the traditional definition of domestic pets like cats, dogs, and so on.
In other words, horses can be kept as domestic animals as well as used for economic purposes like riding, carrying goods and people, etc.
Is a horse a pet or farm animal?
Different people perceive horses under different lights in the context of domesticating them. Depending upon their uses, horses can be categorized as either pet or farm animals.
People buy, rescue, and adopt horses to domesticate them as companion animals. On the other hand, horses can also be considered as farm animals, as they are widely used in farms, agriculture, and raised for meat. In fact, traditionally, in the US, horses have been used as livestock. So, a horse can be both- a pet as well a farm animal- depending on its usage.
Horses, in most cases, are seen as assets and traded for money. There is no legal distinction that states if horses are pets or livestock. It depends on what the owner of a horse wants to do with it that defines in which category it falls.
Are horses considered livestock for tax?
As we stated, traditionally and legally horses have long been used as livestock. According to the American Horse Council, horses are kept in ranches and farms and raised for commercial purposes.
Since horses are considered as livestock, horse owners and commercial breeders, under the Federal Law, have to pay state sales and excise tax. In fact, in the US, the horse industry pays around $1.9 billion in taxes to all levels of the government.
That being said, farm horses may qualify for certain tax deductions. Horses qualify for Code Section 179 deductions if they are used for businesses for more than 50%. However, if their usage is less than 50% then they fall under the 7-year property statute depreciation.
Can you keep a horse as a pet?
After facing the debate if horses are pets or livestock, the next question that comes is can they be kept as pets? Horses are intelligent and friendly animals and can be domesticated easily.
That being said, horses can be kept as pets. They can not only be domesticated but also kept as companion animals. However, we must note that keeping horses as pets is entirely different from keeping pet dogs, cats, or other smaller animals. It requires huge time and monetary investment in the process.
Also, horses are work animals and enjoy running and having jobs and rewards. So, just keeping a horse in the field and not making it work can prove negative for the animal. In other words, if you have a pet horse you must at least ride it for 2- 3 hours daily.
Regular exercise will help horses to maintain their health status, body, and muscle mass. As an ideal pet in the pasture, a horse can pick bad habits like cribbing, digging, weaving, etc.