Getting into Horses and riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-22-2012, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Getting into Horses and riding

Hi, I have little experience with horses but I think they are amazing animals and would love to learn more and maybe eventually have one someday. I have a question for you experts. I am looking for a situation where I help someone take care of their horses in exchange for experience and saddle time. Does this happen in the horse world? I realize owning a horse is one of the most demanding hobbies there are as far as time and resources are concerned. Surely people would welcome the help a few times a week.

A little more about me, I am a 37 year old teacher who is is good shape. I live in the Chattanooga area. If anyone has heard of a situation like this or can give me any other info about getting into horses without a huge investment of time and money any and all info is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-22-2012, 02:56 PM
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A lot of people do this. Just talk to the barn owner or manager at stables around your area.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-22-2012, 03:12 PM
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Don't expect to get any 'saddle time' until you've done a LOT of hard labor and learned as much as you can about horses from the ground.

Even then you'll be expected to take lessons, since by your own admission you know nothing about how to ride.

If you're lucky enough to find such a position, it will teach you invaluable things about horses, mostly that they're a very expensive and time consuming lifestyle.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-22-2012, 05:09 PM
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Frist do some research and find out exactly what kind of riding you want to do. English? Jumping? Dressage? Western? Barrel racing? Working cows? Trail riding? Next, look into lessons at a barn that teaches what you want to learn. After you feel comfortable and your trainer gives you the ok try leasing a horse or lesson horse so you can get in some solid practice time. There is a barn by me that you pay monthly for lesson and lease days as a package deal.

When your ready to own a horse you should know a great deal on horse health and safety!!! I can't stess this enough, a lot of people think just because they can ride and tack means they are good candidates for ownership. Especially if your going to keep them at home you must know signs of colic, laminitis, safe fencing, horse nutrition, how to worm, what warrents a vet call and countless other things. You also must have STRONG handling skills. It takes a spit second to teach a bad habit that can take a month, year or lifetime to fix! A misbehaved 1,200 pound animal isn't safe for anyone!

When it comes to buying don't fall for the first one you ride! Have a knowledgeable horse person, usually your trainer, come with you and test them out. You don't need a project, you need something already "made".

All and all your in for a LONG road. There is going to be discouraging moments along the way but stick with it!! The past two years I have been working with a lady a bit older then you who has MS. She started with me from SCRATCH. This month she bought a house to move her two Tennessee walking horses to (they have a special gate, a trot is to bouncy and she doesn't have the strength to post continuously). I ride with her all the time and I'm 10 minutes away heaven forbid she should need me. I'm glad to help her fulfil her dreams!

Now, go live yours! =D
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-23-2012, 03:20 AM
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Hello, I have worked at three barns to get lessons or to ride horses. Some require a lot of work for a lesson, some require very little. Just depends on the place. I would ask around at lesson barns in your area, many will work with you! I did the craigslist listing way (posting a wanted to trade ad) but got a lot of spam that way, and people wanting me to train their horses (probably didn't really read my ad). Check around with your lesson barns, ask if they would be willing to let you work for some lessons. Great way to go, you learn a lot more about horses and the work that goes into it! :)
Good luck!
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-23-2012, 03:39 AM
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Many barns, usually on a small scale, are always looking for help in exchange for some saddle time. However as Speedracer so eloquently put, it's not going to start right away. In order for you to ride, you're going to have to be taught.. and time is money so the owners of the barn will be expecting you to work your buns off.

Honestly I think you should maybe volunteer at a therapeutic riding center, horse side (or with kids too) so you can learn about the basic care and handling of a horse, then I'd look into taking some lessons.

The money you spend on gas alone to work for riding, and the amount of time you spend working will equal that of lessons, possibly more. In lessons you can also learn about particular things in depth, rather than have someone halfheartedly show you.

Most of the people looking for cheap labor do not spend a great deal of time teaching someone the basics of horse care. But you do get lucky.. and if you pursue this further I hope you find one of the good ones.

Hope that helped.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-24-2012, 06:12 PM
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My advice would be to just take lessons for now on a lesson horse. This will get you saddle time and experience and help you to learn the things you need to know before getting into a lease or buying a horse. Lessons are the best way to start out with horses because you get to learn to ride without the hassle of vet bills etc.
Down the road after you have taken lessons for a while and you are ready you can lease a horse. This entails paying the owner of the horse for the use of the horse and usually involves you paying for some of the vet bills and board. Everybody works it out differently as to what you pay for and what they pay for as well as how many days a week you get to ride and everything so do lots of research before you decide. Also make sure the horse is acceptable for your riding level. Nothing worse than paying for a horse that is beyond your level and getting hurt or scared. Make sure to try the horse out at least once before agreeing to a lease.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-25-2012, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post

Honestly I think you should maybe volunteer at a therapeutic riding center, horse side (or with kids too) so you can learn about the basic care and handling of a horse, then I'd look into taking some lessons.
If your going to go this route do it for the ride reasons. I work for a TR barn and I VOLUNTEER my time (time I could be spending teaching lessons or working my other job) to teach new volunteers "the ropes". I'm not there to shell out horsemanship lessons to people who are to cheap to go out and pay the money for them. If you want horsemanship lesson do it the right was, not through deceit on someone else's dime!
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