Pros and Cons of a younger horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-19-2011, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Pros and Cons of a younger horse?

Me and a friend have been looking for horses for a LONG time. Years actually but have never been able to get them. We do have a place to house them, which is very nice and we would only need to pay for food (if that). It is also a very short distance from me so I would be able to be there all the time.

We are thinking of getting them as yearlings and training them ourselves from there. What would be the pros and cons of this instead of an older horse than has NOT been broke?

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post #2 of 15 Old 09-19-2011, 09:56 PM
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If you are not very experienced with horses, then training your own is an utter recipe for disaster. It's now how they make it look in the movies. Even if you get lucky enough to find a total deadhead of a horse who will tolerate your sitting on its back and pulling it around, that is not the same thing as actually training, and does not result in a good finished product. Unless you have a budget to call in a professional, and loads and loads of spare time, it's far better to stick with an ol' faithful.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-19-2011, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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I, personally am not very experienced but my friend is. She will be the one helping me. The people who own the property where we would be keeping them are also great with horses and can help us along the way. They have trained their own three horses they keep there who are all VERY well behaved! :)
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-19-2011, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by newlndnfire View Post
I, personally am not very experienced but my friend is. She will be the one helping me. The people who own the property where we would be keeping them are also great with horses and can help us along the way. They have trained their own three horses they keep there who are all VERY well behaved! :)

Ehh, I would get a sane green horse if you're set on looking for something you want to teach a little with the help of your experienced friend. Something that has a pretty chill attitude and has the basics down, but could use a few more pointers. Buying a yearling to train yourself, especially if this is your first horse, won't always be fun. Every ride will be a lesson. You'll have to wait at least a few years to get to that "bombproof" stage where you can saddle up and go without wondering what your horse will spook at next or making sure you're on your toes about correcting them.

My first horse was a super green 7 y/o warmblood mare, and she didn't chill out until she was 10 years old. Every time I rode her before that, it was like riding a ticking time bomb. Eventually I got used to it, but there was definitely a few times I decided to ride a seasoned trail horse instead just so I could have a relaxing ride.

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post #5 of 15 Old 09-20-2011, 03:03 AM
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Too many 'Black Stallion' movies.

Youngsters may look cute and cuddly, but unless you get an absolutely dead quiet, brilliantly trainable one, you're going to run into some big hurdles.
Youngsters pick up habits incredibly easily, and if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile. I strongly recommend that you steer clear of a young horse. I also question what kind of 'experience' your friend has.
I have worked with youngsters on numerous occassions, but not until now have I felt that I have the capeability to buy my own weanling and start from the ground up. I am surround with breeders and other trainers that can help me, and selected my youngster with his temperament being the first and foremost atribute I looked for. He is a very well bred hannoverian bred specifically as a dressage prospect, however is not as speccy as his half sister or the other youngsters in the paddock with him, however his temperament is the best by a long shot, and that is why I decided on him.

If you are looking for a first horse, use your brain and don't get a youngster because it seems like a cool idea at the time.
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-20-2011, 04:41 AM
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Even with a place to stay horses get expensive. Pretty much all horses need an extra mix for vitamins. Additionally you will need to get a farrier every six weeks or so, dentist yearly, have to buy rugs and tack, vet care. Not to mention your horse will grow so its not just one rug you'll need to buy, but you'll have to keep getting more as they get bigger. Youngsters often have a way of hurting themselves and horses can be very expensive to be treated. The costs of transport even, going out there everyday in rain or shine to care for your horse, it really adds up. Its not just the food and agistment costs that are involved with a horse.

Additionally, getting a yearling you won't be able to do much with it for a while. You'll still have to go out and feed and rug and check it everyday, but for two years you'll just be going over ground handling pretty much. Then you'll spend a few months of regular dedicated work to start it, and then usually people put them out for another 6 months or so. Even with very experienced help chances are you won't be able to just relax, have fun and ride for probably 4 years at least. And if you can't keep it you probably won't get close to the amount of money you put in.

I mean I would get a broke horse. Its not a huge process so its not like its going to be life changing for you to break it yourself, its not inspirational or particularly fun. Its just lots of repetitive, careful work that can be quite dangerous if you don't know how to act in a certain situation. Once you get on its not like you have a fun horse, its months or years of just putting experience on the horse, day in and day out. But if you really want an unbroken horse I would go for a three or four year old. At least you can start working on it now rather than having it sit in the paddock for years. It's just hard to do things with young horses because most of them are, mentally, like children. Limited attention span, over sensitive and unpredictable.

Make sure you know what you really want. A lot of people have a romanticised view of horses - I know I do, I always think it is so great and then I get a horse, and I like it and care for it, but you forget how much mundane work there is. And it gets old after a while, especially in winter where you just want to have dinner but you have to go out there in the dark to feed and rug your horse, and you just want to sleep in on a Sunday but you have to go do your horse. A young horse is even harder, and is going to be harder to sell if you decide you don't want it later on.

Why don't you lease a horse for a little while, just to make sure it is what you want?
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-20-2011, 04:58 PM
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I've had both - babies and well broke horses. Here are my pros and cons.

Broke horse Pros:
1.Rideable - big one obviously if you want to ride right away.
2. Full grown - no "growing" stuff needed. You will already know what size saddle, halter, bridle, blanket, and bit the horse will ever need, and you should only have to buy them once.
3. Easier to manage - they already have their manners (hopefully) and so you can relax a little more.

Broke Horse Cons:
1. They are never exactly how you want them, and some have learned habits that may drive you nuts.
2. More expensive than a yearling.
3. You never really do quite know their past, or how well they have been taken care of.
4. Honestly, I hate the period when I first buy a horse, because I feel no connection to it. It takes a while to build a bond with said horse and to fully trust it.

Young Horse Pros:
1. Bonding - honestly I have raised 1 filly, and I loved that horse more than anything. She trusted me and I trusted her.
2. You ARE there past - You start with a clean slate and work from there.
3. YOU make the horse what you want it to be, no one has trained it different and it knows only what you teach it.

Young Horse Cons:
1. Risk of injury goes up. These horses need to be taught manners, and thus probably have few, if any.
2. Can't ride them
3. LOTS of groundwork/training (although this can be VERY rewarding)
4. Lots of money goes into a baby, you frequently must update tack, they need more nutritious food, and they have different needs than full grown horses.

** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-20-2011, 06:51 PM
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Yearlings might be fine for your friend, but I really think you would regret it. When you don't know what you're doing, a young horse is never a good idea. Even if you have an experienced friend, it's just not smart. You would never be able to do anything with the horse by yourself, and you'd need constant supervision. Yearlings are rambunctious and can be very naughty. They will test you every minute of the day. It won't take them long to figure out that you're a greenie and they'll take full advantage of it.

You'd be much happier with an older horse that's already well trained. Trust me.

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What a man can be, he must be.
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-20-2011, 11:50 PM
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Here's a rule of thumb to use. Think of it as a scale 1-10 for the horse and you in experience. The closer your combined score is to 10 the better.

-1 is either a non-broke youngster or tyro rider.

-10 is a dead broke horse or very experienced horse person.

-If you are a 1 in experience your horse should be a 9.

-If your horse is a 1 then you had best be a 9.

So tossing a inexperienced rider (1) with a yearling (1) is a recipe for disaster. With experienced riders helping you I would still go for a 10-15 year old horse without problems for your first. A confident horse will greatly help you gain confidence. After 3-5 years then consider possibly getting a 5 yr old. After another 3-5 years under your belt, try a 3 yr old. Tack on another 3-5 years then consider training your first horse.

Of course there are exceptions but please don't delude yourself into thinking you or your horse is just that.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-21-2011, 10:00 AM
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Im just now training my first 2.5 year old horse, iv been riding and around horses for about 8-9 years. I have multiple other people around to lend a hand if needed. In my opinion training your own horse would be very rewarding. Your horse wouldnt have already learned bad habits, it would build a bond with you, and in the long run would know what you expect of it.

My advice is that if your dead set on training your own horse get a 3-4 year old with a gentle personallity and make sure you have plenty of experienced helpers involved...... but please keep in mind if things dont work out right you could do more harm than good to the young horse and make it undesirable to other owners. Iv seen that happen too often and its sad
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