Horses are the most high maintenance animals ever. I don't think anyone that is a horse person can disagree! Please, let me know if you have an animal that is more high maintenance!
With that being said, before you begin a journey into horse ownership, it's a good idea to make sure you can provide for them. There are two huge parts to this: money, and time.
Horses are expensive. It costs to buy them, feed them, board them, shoe them, tack them, show them, worm them, vaccinate them....the small things that really nickel and dime you are crazy! And then, not to mention that if they colic, get hung up in barbed wire, get beat up by another horse, get bit by a snake...all of these things could be so expensive!
So if you don't have money to care for a horse, it's honestly not responsible to buy one. And I'm not just talking short term, think about if you will have the money 5, 10 or 15 years down the road! What if they get to be super high maintenance in their older years? You owe it to your horse to continue caring for them, after everything they have done for you the years you rode.
Horses are also time consuming. You have to drive to the ranch, get them from their stall (or pasture which sucks) turn them out possibly, groom them, tack them, warm them up, give them a work out, cool them down (SOOO IMPORTANT!!!) untack them, groom them, possibly grain them, put them back, do barn chores.... And then repeat, as often as possible.
If you do not have the time commitment to provide for your horse, do not buy a horse!!!! Horses take sooo much time, and obviously it is enjoyable time, but not everyone has that much in their schedule! Horses could be worked everyday, and still be perfectly good. Horses are big and strong, and need to be stretched and made to move, otherwise they can become sour, sore or stiff.
Everyone has weeks when they can only get out once, or twice, or possibly none at all. But if that is your normal, maybe you should consider that it isn't a healthy situation for your trusty steed.
I understand that it can be scary, or sad to sell your horse! So I urge you to consider leasing if you are in either of the above situations. It astounds me that so many people have not heard of leasing. How do you think a college kid like me is able to ride!!
If you don't have the money to provide, consider finding someone who can pay half board+half shoes, or whatnot, and get your horse 3 or 4 days a week. That way, you still have access to your horse, but someone else is helping with the costs!
If you don't have time to provide for your horse, also consider a lease! If you can only get out on Saturday or Sunday, find someone who is looking for someone to ride during the week! If price is not necessarily a concern, that is always negotiable depending on the person you find to ride!!
But really, horses are amazing to us and they deserve to have their needs put up high on your list of priorities!