How long should I take lessons before getting a horse? - Page 2
 
 

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How long should I take lessons before getting a horse?

This is a discussion on How long should I take lessons before getting a horse? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How often should a lesson horse be ridden
  • How long are hoursback riding lessons

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    12-31-2011, 03:41 PM
  #11
Started
I would wait for a couple of years in general... if after a couple of years you're still interested and still taking lessons, then get with your trainer/instructor and go from there. Lots of time what people think riding is and what it turns out to be are not always the same. That also gives you time to figure out what sort of horse would be suited to your riding goals and your personality. Height ranks rather low on the list of priorities when looking for a good first horse IMO. The horse's temperament, patience, training, experience, and health all rank far ahead.
     
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    12-31-2011, 05:05 PM
  #12
Weanling
I took lessons for 7 years and have been riding all my life and I just got a horse a few years ago....you shhould wait till you know more.
     
    01-01-2012, 01:04 PM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Now, I have to comment on this. The only part of this you are right about is that they are sometimes easier to get on and it usually isn't so far to fall (unless they launch you, which they sometimes do). In my experience, the short horses with short backs are the hardest horses to ride because they are just so darn quick. A big horse, you can feel when they are about to spook/misbehave and have an opportunity to stick with them, even on a big spook where they spin and/or bolt. Those little short athletic boogers...not so much. They can be spooked, spun around, and bolted 30 feet the other way before you even realize they saw the boogeyman. It's all very cartoonish...where they leave you hanging in the air and it takes a couple of seconds before you realize that they're just...gone.

As for smaller horses being easier to ride and handle...that all depends on their training. I've known lots of 18hh draft horses that were infinitely easier to handle than most standard sized stock horses or even ponies.
I agree that it's definitely the training of the horse and the horse itself that determines how safe it is.
However, I can totally see what Joe is talking about with shorter horses. I feel much safer being lower to the ground and feeling more secure makes me a better rider. I used to think that a fall is a fall, but really, the laws of physics tell me that the higher the fall, the greater the damage....all things being equal.
I think that's the key here. We need to compare apples to apples. If you are comparing a 14 hand hot arab to an 18 hand slow and steady percheron, then of course the perch is going to make the better mount for a beginner like me.

But comparing a steady shorty to a steady tall horse, I'd prefer the shorter horse. I don't think Joe means that you can't get hurt on a shorter horse, it's just that size can definitely matter when talking about an injury.

And honestly, I've found the smaller horses easier to handle as well. I don't think he was saying they are better behaved. Just again, comparing two well behaved horses, the shorter horse is easier to back up, turn around, put away, putting on the tack. I hated reaching up over my head to try to get a halter on. I much prefer to be able to see over a horse's withers when grooming them or doing anything really.
I've found my feelings are common among the middle aged new rider women horsey set, lol. Of course everyone feels differently. I just wanted to explain further what I think Joe meant. I think that he and I are the same "type" of rider. Plus on trails, shorter horses are easier in many ways.
I think if the OP is young and wants a big horse, then get a big horse! Definitely do whatever makes you comfortable. It's all trial and error. You can read all you want but IMO until you are actually out there and trying different horses out, you won't know what you really want. How long that takes is up to you. I plan on taking another 2 years of lessons before even thinking of buying. The more I learn about horses, the more I don't know, if that makes sense.
I think that is what it comes down to. A secure rider is a better rider. Good luck! Happy Horse Hunting!
     
    01-01-2012, 07:27 PM
  #14
Foal
I took lessons for 10 years before I got my first horse. I would recommend that you take lessons for a couples years and maybe move onto finding a lease horse(usually riding schools have horses that you can lease) and then start thinking about owning a horse!
     
    01-01-2012, 07:51 PM
  #15
Yearling
I think it depends on the circumstances. I'd been taking lessons for 8 months when I bought my horse. BUT (very important "but") the whole reason I was taking the lessons in the first place is that I had a life-long desire to have a horse, and I thought that taking riding lessons would be a great way to learn the basic skills I needed in order to be a good horse mom. So it's not like I took lessons and then thought "hey, wouldn't it be awesome to have one?" I had spent my life around horses one way or another, and I've wanted one since I've been able to say the word "horse". Only recently have I had both the time and the money to commit to the job.

Riding lessons were a great path to horse ownership for me - but I ride at a barn where my first lesson was "grooming" - before I ever even *saw* a saddle at this farm, I knew how to get a horse to pick up his feet and pick them. And I rode 5 or 6 horses for lessons, and wound up buying one of those because I'd had such awesome experiences with him and knew what a super horse he was...and because I'd been grooming and handling him from the ground for a couple months, I also knew what I was getting into with him.

Or...really...I knew a lot of what I was getting into. It turns out that owning a horse is an awful lot like having a kid. There are 1,000,000 things that can go wrong there, nearly all of which are mom or dad's fault, and if you don't have a great support system, you can get into huge trouble really fast. Since I bought my boy from my trainer, and had a good amount of experience with him before I bought him, and I've kept him at the same barn where I can ask questions of the more experienced people when (not if, but when) I feel like I'm in over my head, it's been fine. If I'd bought him from strangers, untried, and taken him him to my backyard without supervision and experienced people around, I think it would have been a different thing.
     
    01-02-2012, 12:58 AM
  #16
Green Broke
I think that at one lesson per week it would be best to take lessons for a year minimum before even considering owning a horse. Its not just for safety and knowledge but also because the horse that you will want and need as a beginner will likely be very different to the horse you want and need in a year, or two years. You can get good and bag big horses and small horses but I think that smaller ones are best to handle. Yes, it depemds on the training but large horses are harder to rug, harder to saddle, generally require more food, may not fit in some stalls, yards and trailers. Large horses paces can be smoother but they can sometimes be too big to sit comfortably, and they can be strong.

My advice would be to ride for a year and then, if ready, lease out a quiet and experienced horse and learn more about ownership and riding without a school horse and instructor, while still receivibg regular lessons on the side. When your ready you can then buy a horse that suits you, big or small, fast or slow.

Some people buy early on and it works out, other times it doesn't. Make sure its really what you want though, even though I love horses when I have one it feels like a life and money drain sometimes. Good luck!
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    01-02-2012, 04:47 AM
  #17
Super Moderator
I'm one of the early buyers. I learned to ride and do groundwork for a year and a half in a riding school, dealing with many different horses of all genders, shapes, ages and sizes, including mares in heat, pregnant mares, and basics with stallions and foals. Then, since October 2011, I leased a horse I had put my eyes upon since I started riding, and, when I was completely sure about this decision, I bought him in December. The things I made clear for myself before I became the proud owner of a wonderful horse -

* Will I be able to afford boarding, tack, vet expenses, hoof trimming, any supplements he might need, and also the loan I took to buy him;
* Will I be able to afford transportation expenses to visit him often enough, and will I be able to give up most of my social life to train him as much as he needs;
* Will I be able to stay interested and educated enough to be a really good owner, putting my horse's needs in the first place.
* Am I good enough of a rider and a horse(wo)man to be a sufficient human for my horse :) ;
* Will I be able to deal with both of his pros and cons, for example, his stud-like character (although he is a gelding), dominance and pushiness.

All in all, I am quite a green rider so my case might not be suitable for every horse and rider combination, but still - such cases exist, and I'm one of them. Both me and my horse are safe and sound, doing what we enjoy and living how we like it, now just to keep it up. :)
     
    01-02-2012, 05:16 AM
  #18
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
Now, I have to comment on this. The only part of this you are right about is that they are sometimes easier to get on and it usually isn't so far to fall (unless they launch you, which they sometimes do). In my experience, the short horses with short backs are the hardest horses to ride because they are just so darn quick. A big horse, you can feel when they are about to spook/misbehave and have an opportunity to stick with them, even on a big spook where they spin and/or bolt. Those little short athletic boogers...not so much. They can be spooked, spun around, and bolted 30 feet the other way before you even realize they saw the boogeyman. It's all very cartoonish...where they leave you hanging in the air and it takes a couple of seconds before you realize that they're just...gone.
Years ago, I wouldn't have thought much about your short backed comment since even our stocky Paint mares are very quick (even our long backed penner), but after adding our Paint mare Cinnamon who is 14.3hh, much leaner, and short backed, I have to agree...she has never bolted or spun, but she is more than just very quick...she can really turn and move those feet, and the feel of being in the saddle is much different...as you mention, that feeling like you could be just left hanging in the air
     
    01-02-2012, 05:30 AM
  #19
Super Moderator
Oh, one more thing. It also matters more now for how long you take your lessons, but - how often and how the horses vary. If you take one lesson a week for a year with one bombproof beginners' horse, your experience will differ from what you might achieve if you took 3 or 5 lessons a week whith different horses.
     
    01-02-2012, 08:36 AM
  #20
Weanling
I'd recommend waiting at the very least one year. Longer would be preferable. The longer you spend learning, the easier it will be to make a well informed choice of what horse to buy. If you are uneducated about riding/training/types/care, you may end up with a horse that's not well enough trained, or unable to perform in the capacity you want, or that requires so much vet care and maintenance, you'll want to pull your hair out.

It is possible to have your trainer pick a horse for you, but I have heard instances of the trainer picking a horse that's completely not right for the student, usually because the sale of the horse will benefit the trainer in some way, whether they will make money just from you buying, or if they pick a horse so green you will be required to pay the trainer to train the horse so you can ride it. Now I don't know your trainer at all, but it's always a great idea to know as much as you can before you make such a huge investment. Your trainer won't be the person paying all the horse's bills. Same goes for well meaning friends steering you towards a horse they like, but may not be right for you.

It's also a great experience to ride many different horses. You will learn a lot from the lesson horses. You don't need to spend the year riding once a week at your lesson either - try to involve yourself with horses in other ways. See what horse clubs are in your area, or volunteer at some shows. You'll be able to see a variety of different horses, and it'll help you recognize things you like.
     

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