Closet horse lover intimidated by equine community but desperate to be around horses! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Portland, OR
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Red face Closet horse lover intimidated by equine community but desperate to be around horses!

Excuse me if this doesn't seem to be an appropriate post for this particular forum...I'm new here.

So I have this dilemma. I was born with a deep love for horses in my heart... I'm not sure how it happened because neither of my parents are horse people and none of my family members have horses. I started lessons when I was about 7 in Pennsylvania and was doing great for about a year until my family moved out of state. I tried again to pick up lessons but once again we moved, and after a whirlwind of moving around the country through my childhood I sort of gave up and never picked it up again.

Well, I'm 22 now and suddenly find myself desperate to have horses in my life, and on a regular basis. It's almost to the point of feeling like a physical longing, nothing makes me happier than thinking of being around them. So I've made the decision to reintroduce them into my life.

The thing is, I have absolutely no clue what to do now. I don't know a single person with a horse, and I'm actually very intimidated by the whole horse community because I feel like I'm an outsider with no knowledge or experience. I'm working to help support myself and both my parents. Times are tough, and I don't have the extra money for lessons. I'd be more than willing to work in exchange for just being in the presence of someone's horses...though ideally it would be in exchange for lessons as well.

So my question for you is...where do I start? Who do I talk to? I live in Portland, OR...and I'm under the impression that there are a lot of horses in Oregon, so it shouldn't be too hard right? Thanks in advance for any tips or advice!
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post #2 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 07:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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Be brave!! Find a way to take lessons, maybe at a smaller (but nice) barn. Figure out what you want to do, English or Western.. and go for it!

I think once you learn to ride w/t/c you could totally lease a horse and maybe one day own one.

You sound a lot like me... parents are not horse people at all.. but I had this desperate urge to be around them and yeah it can be intimidating being the glow-in-the-dark green person, but if you don't start you'll never get there my friend!

Also a good way to get into the horse world is volunteer at a riding center, therapy riding or a rescue. You'll learn so much!!!!

Good luck :)
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post #3 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 07:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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I didn't get into riding until I was 28. Same as you, didn't know anyone. I went to a few barns, found a few that offered group lessons for adults, and picked the program that looked most suitable to adult beginners. Don't worry about feeling intimidated. There are plenty of people in your situation. Never lost interest in horses and got back into it later in life. I don't know what your ultimate riding goals are, but I can tell you that eventers are very nice people as a whole. If you can find some eventing barns, I would start there. Just take in the scenery for awhile. I'm sure your gut will tell you one way or the other if it's what you are looking for. Good luck!
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post #4 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 07:32 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
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I'm from Gresham, so we're close! :)

I don't know really anyone that I trust with horses around here though. :( It's a pretty ghetto area for horses.
There are a few barns in the Beaver Creek/Eagle Creek area that seem classy but I've never actually gone to one. Sherwood also has some really classy sounding places, if you do a Google search. Lake Oswego has some really really nice places as well, but they're crazy expensive.
There is one guy that I've ridden with in Boring, but he kept making rather perv-y comments to while his horses were crazy well trained, I loved riding them, and he was a good instructor, I just didn't feel comfortable. But, if you have a thick skin and that sort of stuff doesn't bother you, I can definitely give you his name and number.

Alternatively, (since you can't PM yet, I'll just tell you here) if you want to be able to just be around a horse because you do, I have a sassy horse, in Gresham, that loves people... We might be able to work something out. :)
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post #5 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 6
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Thank you so much for your quick reply!

I feared that this general area might not be the best...I've attempted a few google searches and kept finding dead ends. I actually worked up the nerve and went to the horse center in Lake Oswego last year but it was EXTREMELY expensive, like $400+ a month for lessons, and the stuffy vibe just intimidated me even more.

All I want for now is to be in the presence of horses...take some time to get used to them and learn to care for them (clean their stalls, feed them, learn the lingo). Of course I want to ride too but I'd just be happy getting used to being around them again. I got to take two lessons last year when I lived in Eugene and that was the first time I'd been around horses in...oh jeez, probably 7 or 8 years. I was way more nervous than I thought I'd be! I forgot how big and powerful they are.

Anyways, I'm thrilled by the possibility of working something out with you! That is very kind and generous of you to even consider working something out, so obviously no pressure from this end if you decide you'd rather not. I'd like to PM you...I'll try to figure out how to set up my messaging now. :)
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post #6 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 07:49 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: NY
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I'd start looking for a job around horses. I don't know your current living arangements and financial needs so i don't know how practical it is. If you are experienced enough with horses that you can feed them, lead them, and muck stalls go to all the local barns and ask if they are looking for a farm hand. tell them what you told us.

I am putting a disclamer on what i am about to say... It isn't true for everyone but is an overwhelming trend that i see. Those that have more money than God ride the horses and it is someone else's responsibility to care for them, those who have enough money have horses and care for them. those living paycheck to paycheck care for the horses that belong to the people with more money than God.

It might be wise to find one of those people with the money and take extra good care of their daughters horse because when she outgrows her "beginner horse" you know they are going to buy her a new one and sell the old one. And that my friends is how i got my first horse. The horse already knew me and liked me and the owners gave the horse to me for really cheap because they liked me and knew the horse was going to a good home.

I know some people on this forum are going to hate me for what i just said and think that i "used" the previous owner of my horse. I would concider it making an investment that payed off. I never once asked to buy their horse untill they were looking to sell it. and i didn't just take good care of this one horse, i took good care of all the horses i cared for. i just put my spare time into the ones that i would potentially have a chance to buy.
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Last edited by THN; 12-11-2011 at 07:56 PM.
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post #7 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 09:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Arizona
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THN, that sounds like a good plan to me. Even though I am not in the same situation of working for someone, I do keep "tabs" on my friends horses in case any become available. I have even gone so far as to ask for first dibs a time or two (has paid off once).

Really, buying a horse you know from someone you know is the BEST way to buy a horse (in my opinion). You know what the horse is like. You know what the seller is like. They know you. You are much likely to get a good match that way. So I don't think it sounds bad at all.

Although I am not wealthy I have one wealthy friend with really high quality horses. I have never gotten a horse from her, but if she ever decides to part with one you can bet I am hoping she will let me know. Plus we ride together all the time, so she knows how I ride and what kind of care I give my horses. Nothing fancy, but they are never lacking for feed or vet care. So yeah, I am not above asking someone if they ever part if a horse I like, would they please consider me first.

And a note to the original poster- are there any rental horse stables in your area? They are usually more relaxed and less stuffy because they cater to the public. Sometimes they need guides to take people out on rides. Or maybe you can put in a little time cleaning pens or saddling horses in exchange for riding.
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post #8 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 09:10 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: OK
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If you have a therapeutic riding center near that you could volunteer at, they would probably be happy to give you a lesson on one of their horses. Those horses are beyond smart and gentle and it would be an excellent way to learn while doing and you'd have the satisfaction of helping someone who needs it.
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post #9 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 09:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Texas
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Have you thought about volunteering somewhere? I dont know your area, but I know around here (Tx) we have a ton of rescues - private and ASPCA/Humane Society, and therapeutic riding places...alll of which I'm sure would love to have your help. No cost involved, just time.
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post #10 of 23 Old 12-11-2011, 09:21 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Arizona
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You have to be brave. I've been in the horse community all my life and have found that horse people tend to be very opinionated and strong individuals, for better or for worse and in varying degrees. Everyone has a different opinion on how things are done, whats right, etc. You have to be humble, and let yourself learn, but don't let people push you around- just because they act like they know what they're doing does not mean they do.
The best thing I would say, with horses, is first hand experience. Because I've met plenty of people who said they knew what they were doing but clearly did not. I may be young, and not the best horse person, but I can tell a fraud when they can't even pick up a horse's foot!!
Find a barn, first, to volunteer at. You can start small, doing little things, and work your way up. It depends on the place you're at, too, though. Maybe volunteer at a good rescue. That's a good place to get experience. Or try therapeutic riding centers.

Last edited by soenjer55; 12-11-2011 at 09:24 PM.
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