1st Horse- stories please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: New Mexico
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1st Horse- stories please

I have been reading lots of posts from people asking questions about getting thier 1st horse or questions after they have purchased thier first horse (like me :) ) and I was wondering if some of you could share your "my 1st horse" stories. I am particularly interested in those of you who got your 1st horse as adults or who had to overcome certain challenges with that 1st horse.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Minnesota
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I waited 21 years to get my first horse :) Right after I finished my basic training and I got to my first duty station I had saved up quite a bit of money for this exact purpose:) It was the most exciting day of my life. I had looked on CANTER and found a gorgeous grey, but couldn't afford the time nor the cost of flying to Ohio to try him and have him shipped to MN. I then looked at MN Hooved Animal Rescue and I knew the first time I saw his picture online that he was the horse for me. I'm always drawn to horses with a lameness, for some reason, at my old barn the horses I took care of were known as the "cripple crew", haha.
I scheduled to go take a look at him and when I pulled up the long drive I saaw him in the roundpen and my heart skipped about 10 beats. He was all shaggy and pudgy but I saw a huge gorgeous thoroughbred.
The owner of the rescue told me that there had been a lot of people show interest and come out to see him but he had never looked twice at anymore until I came. That made me feel so good :) He walked right up to me from eating his hay and sniffed me with curiosity. Later, when he was in his stall, he popped his head out from his grain and rested his head over my shoulder for the longest time. This is when I absolutley knew he would be mine!
I know people never say to buy the first horse you see, especially without riding or seeing someone ride....but I did, and I've never regretted it!
We've definitely had our ups and downs. He suffered a sesamoid fracture on the track and as a result has a pin and a lot of arthritis. He struggles with lameness on and off, so our training has never really been consistent but he is the best equine partner I could ever ask for. He always tries to please and is the sweetest horse in barn. :)
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post #3 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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Honestly a little nervous about telling you all because I certainly had it very lucky and do not recommend this to anyone. So please don't think this is the norm or that this is how it works.. definitely not.

Refer to this thread: Buying a horse that's right for you.

But I was gifted my first horse by my boss for all of the hard work I have done and all of the volunteering and rushing over to help, etc.

Now he was a project. He had not been handled on a day to day basis, he was skin and bones, very unpredictable, lack of trust for people and would break down everything to just run away (he was that scared.)

Found out his past from my boss (she seemed to brag about it, how she rescued him.. which she did from that.. but this wasn't too great for him either.) His past is very dark, and it made him a challenge to work with because you couldn't quite do anything without this huge surprise reaction.

Now I was a dumb little girl when I started volunteering there. I thought I knew everything because previous instructors had told me that I did. And it didn't help that my parents supported the idea that I was some horse expert (which I am not.. by any margin!)

So here I was, greener than a newbie.. volunteering, learning the basics of lunging. I was asked to school a green mare and learned how to fall off of her, and teach her to change her pace of gait, and turn her, and break her of her "let's slam this person against the wall and drag them" habit. She really was a fun one, and we eventually took her to her first w/t show and she got 5th out of a large class.. so I'm proud of her.

That was my only "training" experience. I also helped with a filly from birth to yearling status. I would pony her bareback off of her mom and taught her to pick her feet up and how to lead and follow. She was a lot of fun.

Anyway so all this to say I wasn't ready for this greener than green 17hh malnourished/emancipated/mentally not all there/terrified/untrained horse.

But there was something about me, that he liked. Though honestly I didn't like him. He was everyone's favourite eye candy and they would talk about him like he was amazing or something. I didn't see it, and didn't like how they gave this horse all this attention.

Course I didn't know any better.

One occasion, when we was about to blow in the crossties, I'd grab his halter softly and he'd freeze and he'd look at me. Now if anyone else did it with him, or any horse for that matter, they'd get flung or their arm ripped off or reared on or whatever. But he just froze.. and looked at me. Everyone was yelling "LET GO" and when I did he turned around and took off.

A lady who thought she could ride this horse after a few "lunging" sessions on the ground fell off of him and broke 3 vertebrae via slamming into a ground post in the outdoor. He spooked, and she felt it coming but said nothing because she feared being scolded by the instructor. A shame.
The saddle was sideways and I didn't see it happen, only the aftermath. This poor horse was on the other side of the arena running in circles trying to escape. He didn't know that he could jump, else he would have been out of there. I was told to go and grab him, and I did. He came right over to me, breathing so hard I thought he was going to blow me away. "Go fix his tack and come back out with him, and grab your helmet"

So I did.. took him up, brushing him to get all of the dirt off, and re-tacked him. He was very calm, not shaking like he had been, his breathing was normal, but he had this look in his eyes.. like he was on some other planet. I took him out to that outdoor and she said "get on him" and I did because I didn't want to get in trouble either. When I got on, he started prancing and I kept with him. I asked him to trot right away and he took off, I stayed on him, posting along so I wouldn't mess him up. Just so we're clear... I was not a good rider then.. and he was an absolute giraffe. But we kept going, I asked him to trot in circles and then when I felt he was alright, we walked and I let him relax. Then when I felt him going away, I asked him to trot again. I didn't know how to canter, didn't know leg yields or how to get him to use his back. I just kept up with him.

Well when we were done, he was pretty different. He had this look in his eyes that told me this was something new.. I got off and he leapt away and backed a few steps, probably thinking I was falling off or I was some sort of cougar after him. I don't remember what I said to him, but I remember encouraging him to come up to me and he did and then I loved on him, on his face and his chest and on his neck. And he breathed really nicely out.

Since that day, he was offered as a lease for me. I work, I get to ride him as much as I want. So I did, since I didn't know any better. I worked with him on riding outside (and fell off a lot, as he was an avid bolter/spooker/leaper) and we rode inside and he learned a lot on the ground. Everyone kept pushing us to canter, but I knew neither he nor I were ready. We trotted over poles and learned to ride on a loose rein (something he wasn't used to) and we had a lot of fun. I only went on one trail ride with him but he was amazing. Course we didn't do much, spent most of it in the round pen since my trainer was convinced that he would take off with me and never come back. But the short distance we did do was lovely :)

His owner (my boss) then gave him to some guy she was dating (and ended up marrying) and they weren't doing good at all.. he would buck a little and bolt and slam him against the arena edge. It just wasn't good at all.. so they asked me to ride him more and I did and we did great.

Then one day, November 23rd 2010, I was coming up from the barn and she looked pissed. And I was scared... "Is Sky okay?! What happened?!?!" and she stopped a foot short of me, and a huge smile went on her face which took me by surprise.

And she gave him to me. It was the best moment of my life.. knowing he was mine. Knowing that I had disliked him so much and now he was mine, and I was his.

I spent 3 more months there and then moved him closer to home, working on the ground and then eventually getting on him (in an Aussie) which switched to my Dressage saddle (another gift from my Boss which fit him so perfectly.. it was scary) when I moved with him out East 7 months later. I took 2 different sets of riding lessons a week, read up on ground work, kept volunteering and became assistant manager there as well as beginning riding instructor though I plan on getting more certifications later on..

He went from a body score of 1-2, to a body score of 3-4. He knows w/t on the bit, he can be ridden bareback, he can be handled by men, he's a pro on the trails, he's working on his canter right now and doing great, he knows leg yields and can pick up all his hooves for the farrier, he bathes, fine with clipping his bridle path (I don't clip elsewhere,) he loads, he works well on the ground off of voice cues and body language.

And I'm still a beginning rider but I have improved a lot and continue to take lessons.

He's got a topline :)

We're still improving every day.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"

Last edited by Jake and Dai; 04-27-2012 at 09:32 PM.
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post #4 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 08:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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I just got my first horse about 3 months ago. I've waited a long time and certainly worked very hard both in my riding and with my family (coming from a non-horsey family it takes a lot of time and persuasion haha). Anyway, I'd been riding a pony that I'd outgrown and while I was trying horses, he and I took a nasty fall that couldn't have been prevented. My confidence was shattered, and I didn't want to jump again. But as soon as I went to try Enzo, I felt like a different person. Then he was a skinny, unfit, dull-coated Thoroughbred with the kindest eye and the biggest heart. Now I've put weight on him, built his top line up, got him in good shape and healthy. It's done wonders for my confidence to ride a sweet and kind horse, even though he's very green, working together, and basically starting from the beginning was exactly what I needed.
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 08:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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I got my first horse at age 40. I knew I wanted a TB since I had leased many over the years and knew I got along with them very well. Since I was already 40, the biggest thing on my list was a safe horse. The first horse I located was just turning 5 which didn't quite fit that safe thing, but I want to see him and it was clear he had a good mind. His trot was crap, but three days later, I was still thinking about his mind. I ended up buying the mind and fixing the trot. It's been 5 years of bliss with some odd TB moments mixed in.

Make a list of the most important things you want and do not deviate from it. Don't get sucked into, "he's so pretty", "he was abused", or "he'll go to slaughter". There are plenty of good horses out there. Find the one that's right for you.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #6 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 08:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Australia, Victoria
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Im not an adult but i thought i would share anyway.

Although Curly wasnt really my first horse (I had a shetland and a welsh pony about 10+ years ago) i consider her my first horse.

This is not an advised path of getting your first horse.
I was a very very green rider, had only even been on a few push button horses, hadn't had lesson etc and Curly was an OTSB, she was skin and bones (with a coat that was about 4-5cm long) she couldn't even trot in a straigh line.

when i went out there to try her, they brought her out and i immediantly said no, my dream of a big handsome fat creature dissapeared. I rode her anyway and she only walked and did a tiny unbalanced trot for a few strides.
They put her away in a yard and i had my foot on the bottom rail, well Curly then put her head through the rail and rested her chin on my knee and looked into my eyes with hers and i was sold. We took her home the next week.

She is a beautiful horse and everything i could possibly want, she is my true heart horse and i couldnt live without her. I dont regret buying her at all.

For your first horse i would reccomend bringing someone not emotionaly invested!

<3 Curly, you are my life! You are my whole world. <3
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Ahhhhhh good old first horse... hahaha he was anything but a good first horse. My parents and family know nothing about horses so I was by myself from the start. I got my first horse, a 6 year old paint, when I was 16 and able to drive. $500 is what I paid for him, I was as proud as I could be. I later found out that boy had an attitude of his own! I got bucked when riding bareback, he always turned his butt at me and I actually ended up getting kicked in the back from him. Never-the -less i ended up selling him and bought a real good quarter horse mare. Looking back now I know it was all my fault, for the things he did. And simple things I never knew back in the day, that today would be an easy fix for me.
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post #8 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NE
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I love threads like this!

I got my horse almost 4 years ago and still have him now. The whole thing was amazing the way it worked! I had been leasing a horse, but after show season the owner decided to take him back so her son could ride. I had become very attached and was very sad to see him go. I decided after that I didn't want to lease anymore and be at the disposal of the actual owners. BUT my parents (I was 15 at the time) didn't want to buy a horse as my father's sister did big show jumping class's (unrelated but she won national youth something -I don't do jumping- go Aunt Karla!!) and it took all of their family's money.

SO I was looking at getting out of horse's for a while until I could afford my own horse. BUT this AMAZING lady I know started looking at horses for me. She pointed out a couple, but nothing I could convince my parents about. Then she sent me a photo of this gorgeous gray paint saying that he wasn't for sale, but she knows the owner and would ask her if she would sell to a good home. Several e-mails later of her describing the perfect horse and sending us the lady's number after she said she'd consider it, we went out to see the boy! I swear when I first saw him I thought, "Where's the horse? This looks like a pony!" (he's 16.1 but he was chunky!) but I rode him on Thursday, fell in love and after the owner saw how well we got along, I brought him home on Friday.

I got darned lucky though, my friend did the same type of buy on impulse the exact same month (we both failed to do health checks) her horse had navicular and now she spends $400 a month on shoes alone for a pasture puff, whereas my horse hasn't seen a vet bill (other than shots, floating and eye removal from freak accident) since I've bought him.

I got to teach him a lot of things (like flying lead changes, pivots, etc.) but he taught me a lot more. I just noticed this week, that we have almost exact personalities. We both are stubborn as heck, not too outgoing (like our 'bubbles'), words just don't even describe how we sync when we're riding. He knows what I'm thinking and I know what he's thinking (though sometimes we don't agree with eachother.. haha).

When I'm feeling grumpy- my horse doesn't snuggle up he'll be grumpy right back to me. Which makes me laugh and then I forget why I'm grumpy :) When I'm sad, he does get snuggly. One moment I won't ever forget is after a very sad tragedy in my life. The day after I went to the barn, into my horse's stall and just bawled. He was new to me then, and we hadn't bonded yet and he was definitively not snugly yet. He came up to me, lowered his head and let me squeeze his head. Ever since then- this horse has always been pure gold in my eyes.

My heart lifts whenever I see this horse :) He's my first horse, and I plan on keeping him forever so he can be my future kids first horse (***waaay in the future, hehe).
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post #9 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 09:00 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Err whoops. didn't finish reading the original post, but I'm not an adult either. I just over came a lot to get my boy :)
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post #10 of 26 Old 04-27-2012, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 64
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Well I guess since I have asked others to share, I will too. I got Hondo a month and a week ago march12th to be exact. He was about 250 miles away from me. I actually saw him on Craigslist a few months ago and he sounded like the kind of horse I was looking for- older,well trained, calm. So we drove out to see him. I rode him and I loved the ride. He seemed a bit stand-offish but I figured it was cause he didn't know me. Is was just a good boy and was very cooperative and willing. So we brought him home. He has been very good with everything I have asked him to do. I feel good that he will be the confidence builder and teacher I was looking for.
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