Need advice: should I buy a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice: should I buy a horse?

I created an account here because I really need advice from some fellow horse people. Long post warning! Details to follow, but here's the summary: I'm a college student; the pony I grew up riding is for sale; I love this pony and I don't think anyone else is going to want him because he's a PITA; I really want to buy him but I go to school out of state plus horses are expensive.

So, here's the long story. When I was 14 I started riding a pony cross who was bought as a camp horse prospect for the stable I worked at. He was pretty young and turned out to be very strong and spooky, so he was hardly ever used. (He also became notorious for throwing campers when he was used ) I became basically his sole rider for the next 4-5 years. I leased him over the summers but even when I wasn't leasing I was the only one to ride him since no one else wanted to. We had that special bond - he was really a one person kind of horse. He's highly intelligent, quirky, and very strong-willed. I let him do things I would never let another horse do because we have a strong mutual understanding. I feel like the two of us grew up together.

Then the ranch closed right after my first year of college. They had to get rid of most of their horses. I didn't feel like I could buy a horse at the time. I was devastated, but I just sort of accepted the situation.

"My" horse was sold with several others to another ranch. It was a similar, camp and lesson kind of place. I talked to the owner and she said they wanted to use him for camp but I could half-lease him when I was home for the summer.

So, when I got home for the summer I called her and she said she had sold him. It wasn't a huge surprise to me, to be honest - I knew there was little chance he'd suddenly turn into a well-behaved camp pony.

I just called the person who owns him now. I was told she has him for sale. I suppose I should wait until I hear back from her until I start making plans, but until then here are my thoughts:

I really want to buy him, both because I miss him a lot and because I know how unlikely it is that someone else will want him. He's one of those 'needs an experienced rider' grade horses who is not trained to do anything fancy. He's a horrific trail horse (spooky). He's too unpredictable to be safe for a child. He's getting too old to be a teen's 4H project, and he's too small for most adults to want him. And have I mentioned that he still forgets his manners sometimes and tries to bite? (Not bite hard in an aggressive way, he's never done that - he tries to chew on everything as a way of releasing his nervous energy. But it looks pretty bad if you don't know him.) So, I'm afraid he'll just keep getting sold from ranch to ranch and I'll lose track of him, or he'll end up somewhere bad....

The thing is, I go to school in another region of the country. I've been coming home for the summer, for a month for Christmas, and for a week in the spring. My time at home may become briefer as I find more jobs/activities back at school. I have at least 2-3 years of school left, and I hate to just leave a horse sitting around in a pasture here for that time. No one in my family knows anything about horses. And then there's the fact that I don't know how easily I could afford to pay for board and other expenses. Pasture board around here can be pretty cheap, and I'm certainly ready to work hard, but as a college student working for minimum wage, an extra 250 - 300 a month in expenses is not trivial. My parents are already helping me pay for school, so I can't also ask them to pay to board a horse for me. Frankly, they probably wouldn't approve of my buying a horse right now, since I'm supposed to be "focusing on my studies".

What do others think? I want to do the best thing for this horse, and I also want to make a decision I won't really regret a few years from now. Any opinions are welcome.
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 02:00 AM
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I don't understand why people hate seeing a horse sit around in a pasture, waiting on it's owner who loves it but can't do much with it right now.

I'm in a similar situation. I have seen my mare TWICE in the past year since I've obtained her. I was in an abusive marriage and was afraid to move her to the state I was living in because my ex had a bad habit of flipping out on horses. She's a fighter so I knew it was only a matter of time until they'd go at eachother.

I boarded her at a friend's house. When I left my ex, he called my friend and told her he was going to move the horse. My friend said "absolutely not until I hear from her REAL owner". It never happened and my mare stayed there for this past year, eating grass, being a fat, happy horse out in a pasture.

I just NOW have the opportunity to do some things with her since I've moved back to my home state (where she is boarded) and I have my freedom back. But I was NOT going to move her anywhere. She was safe, happy, and well cared for while I was absent. Now she's ready to be worked.

If you have the funds to keep the pony, do what your heart tells you to. You obviously have a strong connection with him. I'm presuming he's like my mare, nobody likes her but me, but I do have a serious bond with her (I did some retraining on her a couple years ago before she became mine) and nobody really "gets" her.

If you can board the pony without straining your finances, then do it. He'll sit in a pasture and be fat and happy and he will be there when you're done with school. You'll know he's waiting for you when you get back. You love him and understand him. Sounds good to me.

IF you can afford to board.

Last edited by Copperhead; 06-30-2012 at 02:02 AM.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 02:39 AM
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It's not just about the horse being out in pasture. The horse needs farrier care every 4-6 weeks, the horse needs to be seen by a vet if they get into trouble, the horse also needs some sort of companion.

That is why boarding is better than sticking a horse in a field for X amount of time. Horses are investments. We invest money, we gain happiness and joy and sport. They must be looked after.

From what you are saying in your OP.. I don't really think you can afford a horse. I would wait until after college when you can get a job and plan financially.

Keep in touch with the owner of the horse and track him. When you can afford it, then you'll easily be able to keep this horse and take care of everything that he needs.

But that's only my opinion :)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 09:48 AM
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Is there any place where you could board him and work off the board? Just a thought here.

The outside of a horse is good for the inside of man.........unknown
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 11:37 AM
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I was presuming that wherever she would board the pony would take care of the appointments for her and bill her for the care like in my case. Though some facilities don't do that for people. I was lucky with mine.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 11:45 AM
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Look at places around where you go to school. You may be able to find cheap pasture board. A friend of mine recently took her horse away to school with her. She works at the barn doing stalls and stuff. In exchange she gets pasture board for about $45 dollars a month, about enough to cover the gain she eats.

There are also other ways you can look into cutting costs. Could you find a leaser for him? Try to get someone who is able to handle him. You never know, there might be someone out there looking for an inexpensive lease! You have someone to help pay the bills and they have a horse they can use as their own! Seems like a win win to me. Worst case, there is NOTHING wrong with letting a horse be a pasture puff. It was their original job before we slapped shoes, bits, saddles, and wagons on them. I'm sure he would be happy as a pig in **** to hang out with a few buddies for a while. He isn't missing out on anything!

Also, can he go barefoot? This can help with the farrier expenses. Is he accident prone? There are horse .sat my barn who see the vet for spring/fall shots only and one we have to plan for two major accidents a year (usually involving sedation, stitches and antibiotic shots) WITHOUT FAIL. Is he an easy keeper or a hard keeper? Some horses get fat thinking about food, obviously this costs less then feeding a horse who is hard to keep weight on.

You situation is the same one I fear. I don't know if I could live without "my" horse at the barn, deemed that by all the other staff and the BO. She is definitely a one person horse. I helped her "come up of her shell", fixed her horrible habits, she looks for me, watches me when I walk by. One time I was unable to see her for three months and the day I finally did get to see her she left her dinner and stood with me for 45 minutes while I scratched her, putting her head in my lap when I sat on the floor. As I left she followed me down the fence line and she stood there, at attention, until I was out of view. She was free to walk away and continue eats (which she does like a vaccum) but she chose to stay. That's when I realized we don't really own horses, horses actually own us! If they were to ever get rid of her I would to anything I could to keep her safe with me!
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 12:28 PM
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You may be able to find affordable field board and pay a little extra for them to hold the pony for the vet/farrier. Many barns have a barn list for both and the pony could just be added on.

I think if you can afford to get him, even if he just sat in pasture, get him. He has so many bad habits that an extended break may do wonders for his naughtynes.

They don't sit around in their field thinking, "Man I wish someone would ride me today!" their thoughts are more "in the moment" - "I am thirsty" "That bit of grass looks good" "Aw here comes Stan the gelding and he's a jerk, I'm going over there".

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 12:45 PM
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^^ Lmao and don't for get "poor Charlie looks hot sweat and miserable after that ride! Thank god it wasn't me!" ;o)
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies!

In response to some ideas that have come up... I go to school in downtown Seattle, definitely can't bring a horse with me there. I don't have a car and there are no horses within the range of public transit.

My concern is not about the fact that he'd be sitting around (he does that anyway when I'm not around, and he's always more amiable after a bit of pasture time ) ... I'm worried more about the fact that I won't be anywhere nearby if something was to happen to him. I don't know the owners of any of the places I might be able to board at. I would have to arrange for them to take care of farrier and stuff for me, since my family aren't horse people and all of my close horsey friends will also be off at college.

Fortunately he is barefoot, a super easy keeper, and doesn't tend to injure himself. I do have a job, I can make enough to afford board, but that would eat through my cash pretty fast...not that I don't like oatmeal and ramen. I'm actually more worried not about my own financial situation but about my parents' reaction. They'll think it's a bad idea to spend money on a horse I can't see most of the year, and they have a track record of interfering with my personal decisions. Any thoughts on that front?

Slidestop - your relationship with your mare sounds kind of like mine.. Last time I saw him (over Christmas) I sort of tresspassed and walked into their pasture cause I had to see him (I got in touch with the owner the next day, she didn't mind) ... but anyway I was standing there scratching him, and then when I turned to leave he left the feeder (!) and followed me all the way back to the gate of the pasture (which was not a short walk) with his nose pressed against my back.

Last edited by flyonby; 06-30-2012 at 01:56 PM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-30-2012, 02:08 PM
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I will tell you the BEST decision I ever made went against my mothers advice. She didn't want me to buy a new car my uncles mother was trying to sell me (a 2008 Nissan sentra with 15,000 miles for $8,000). I would have been a FOOL to pass it up. Although I know it put some tension between us I finally, for once, made a decision that made ME happy. I don't let her see the extra financial stress it puts me under, we don't talk about it and heck she hasn't even ridden in the thing yet. All and all I believe this was a good choice and it feels good to do something on my own!

How will you feel when he slips through the cracks and you can't find him?

Work on finding him a half leaser, this way you know he is in trusted hands. Scheduling farrier visits isn't difficult, a phone call will do. Our farrier will go out and get our horses and keeps them on schedule for the most part. We just get a call asking if that day would be good, we say yes and he is there. No one holds them, they all go on the cross ties. Vetting I would slightly worried about but that's where your trust worthy leaser comes into play!! Obviously you would also be a short call away for making decisions.
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