To the those who had to learn everything about Horses on their own... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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To the those who had to learn everything about Horses on their own...

Edit for apologies for the shocking thread title!

So I have finally got my significant other to admit he'll let me get a horse when I finish University, (another 2.5 years) but I'm not so sure I'll be ready.

I take weekly 1 hour lessons with some great instructors but unfortunately I don't feel like I could properly care for a horse with the knowledge I have now. I wasn't so lucky as to have grown up around horses, so everything I know I've had to learn myself.

I don't really want to just "wing it", it wouldn't be fair to my future horse if I did that, but I don't really know anyone around my area with a horse that I can speak to. I have stuck around after my lesson to help feed and groom the horse I am learning on but they are an extremely busy school and don't have the time to spoon-feed me information.

I have books, I can read about horses all day on the internet if I want to, but I'm feeling more and more like there's only so much you can get from text and most of the learning is done "on the job" so to speak.

So, after that wall of text, my question is;

To those of you who did not grow up around horses and had to learn everything on your own, how did you know you were able to take care for your horse and that you were ready for ownership? At what point did you think: Ok, I won't totally screw this up?

Last edited by hlwk; 04-21-2011 at 07:57 AM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 08:08 AM
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I was like you. I didn't grow up around horses but read everything I could on them. While I was growing up I couldn't take lessons my mom wouldn't let me so in that aspect you are learning a lot. I didn't own my first horse until I was 23 years old. It takes time but you are learning always when you are taking lessons.

I know you said that financially right now you can't take care of a horse. I couldn't really when I first got my first but I put money back out of my paycheck to start their fund. I have had my horses now for 6 years now. I own 4 horses now. I didn't put in a whole lot but it adds up. I put in 20.00 a week out of my paycheck and was able to take care of them. For their first two years they just ate grass and I helped with hay in the summer so I got my hay for them. As far as feed I didn't feed them grain the first two years I owned them.

You are on the right track. I would start putting aside some money for your horse and their upkeep so when the time comes you are able and won't feel like I can't do it. I broke my own horses. I think you could now but finish school so that you aren't taking away from your studies. Time is the one thing I wish I had more of. I would do it all over the same way if I had to start again.

Striving to always excel in everything I do. Whether I fail or not I always try to do better than last time.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by equus717 View Post
I was like you. I didn't grow up around horses but read everything I could on them. While I was growing up I couldn't take lessons my mom wouldn't let me so in that aspect you are learning a lot. I didn't own my first horse until I was 23 years old. It takes time but you are learning always when you are taking lessons.

I know you said that financially right now you can't take care of a horse. I couldn't really when I first got my first but I put money back out of my paycheck to start their fund. I have had my horses now for 6 years now. I own 4 horses now. I didn't put in a whole lot but it adds up. I put in 20.00 a week out of my paycheck and was able to take care of them. For their first two years they just ate grass and I helped with hay in the summer so I got my hay for them. As far as feed I didn't feed them grain the first two years I owned them.

You are on the right track. I would start putting aside some money for your horse and their upkeep so when the time comes you are able and won't feel like I can't do it. I broke my own horses. I think you could now but finish school so that you aren't taking away from your studies. Time is the one thing I wish I had more of. I would do it all over the same way if I had to start again.
Thanks for the reply.

My main concern is not monetary wealth, it's the knowledge I don't have about horses that worries me.

I only work part-time at the moment while I am at University and could probably care for a horse; I know though, that if I get one now I will never finish my degree.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 08:25 AM
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I am not wealthy by no means. I am raising a family as well. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and be determined. When I got my first horse Cinnamon I was nervous that I would fail that I couldn't do it. But I had read everything I could so now I had to practice what I had read. I think that is where you are at.

I would most definitely wait until you finish. I think you will make a wonderful horse owner. Just remember never quit learning. I am still learning and last year I wanted to start showing so I am learning a lot about that now. I have my first show this weekend. I don't know if I am completely ready or my mare but I have to start somewhere.

Striving to always excel in everything I do. Whether I fail or not I always try to do better than last time.
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 08:29 AM
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Spend time at the barn you take lessons from - not riding but helping out. Maybe once per month, let the lesson be about horse care instead of riding (or both if you can swing it). There is absolutely no substitute for hands on learning.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.


It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 09:10 AM
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Help in barn or volunteer in horse rescue for several months. You'll learn A LOT about what's needed and daily routine. I was like you - almost no experience. Worked in barn (for free) for about a year before getting my own horse. I must confess I still lacked the knowledge significantly, but at least I knew about deworming, shots, health issues, grain, etc. Knowledge will come as you go, you just need a good start. :)

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 09:37 AM
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Definately set aside an emergency fund. I started one about 2 and a half years ago for Phantom with him being up there in age I don't want to take the chance I wont have the money to get him treated for something bad. I don't have one started for TBird but to be honest I didn't know I was getting him haha.

Research is the best thing. That's how I got by in the beginning when I knew almost nothing other than horses are beautiful, you can ride a horse and that horses could be dangerous. Also a lot comes from personal experience. Not every horse or situation is going to go as the book states it will. An example is a horse could still be colicing even if it's passed manure. Why? Because they may be expelling the waste that is after the block/twist.

Maybe go out to the barn when you know a vet, farrier, dentist, chiro, etc is coming out and observe. And some may even be willing to answer a few questions, not a ton because they are busy. But maybe just ask them if they have a minute and ask a few. I'm sure someone will help you gain some more knowledge. You could learn a lot of interesting things.

~ Hope is never light years away ~
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 12:26 PM
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I have had horses for 6 years..never owned one or took care of them prior to that. It was too expensive of animal for my family to have one growing up although my grandpa had a pony when I was really young on his farm but dont really remember it. I love animals period...started with dogs, boxers in paticular..and after I realized that wasnt going to consume all my free time I started checking out my neighbors horses. Then came the opprotunity for my husband and I to get a large property and therefore horses (he wasnt thrilled about the horse part:). I found that same neighbor whos mare had just dropped a paint baby, bought her at 6 months...and started there. I also got another colt from the neighbors father in law...my reasoning in the process was that we could learn together. And honestly it helped...I would ride the neighbors horses (learn the basics) and raise the babies. I learned alot that way. Did more on the ground work than most probably just because I was working with babies. But I love to groom and spend time with them and I was in no rush to ride them, so it worked out great. I did alot of research online (thank god for internet) bought some books, learned the day to day care of just having a horse...and also have a accident prone mare so got a few vet visits too. Ended up buying a 7 year old walker off CL since I was then ready to ride before mine were old enough, but he turned out to be a project too...ended up sending him to a trainer (after alot of research) for a couple months. He was my best buy ever...he has a great personality but he came from a neglectful home..and honestly I think he just didnt know what was going on. Now that he knows he has a good life he has repaid me in spades. My other two (the paints) are now 6, and my mare is fantastic..was nothing to train to ride...but my other paint (a gelding) is a tad ADD and I just thing hes going to take longer to mature. What ive learned the most from the process was patience and lots of it...and the the daily knowledge it doesnt matter what my day turns out to be, I have to take care of them EVERYDAY. Its a big committment..its not just about cost. And they live for a long time...but there is so much to learn about horses, and I probably havent made a dent..but it does feel good to know that people now ask my advice on their horses. It means my time is paying off..and there are days I wonder what am I thinking (especially if I get a big vet bill) but they make me feel good on days that would otherwise be pretty grim...and they make me laugh on days I dont feel like it. And i think what else would I be doing? Watching tv on my butt...but its not for everyone, and there are days Ive wanted to give up epecially when they are being a pain...but then again I cant imagine trusting them into anyone elses care..Im a control freak. It took me awhile to just accept that I work so I dont always get the riding time in I would like...I just enjoy being with them every evening honestly. Its pretty sad when you miss poop scooping if we ever go on vacation (which isnt often just because of the animals and not trusting just anyone to watch them).
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 12:41 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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I didn't grow up around horses either. I've had Whisper for a little over a year and Persia for a little under a year. My sister in law talked me into it because she knew how much I wanted one. I bought Whisper from her as a 1 1/2 year old and keep her on their property. It's been interesting because they are really new to horses too but they have great neighbors that seem to be experts. But because they are their neighbors and not mine I choose to do a ton of research whenever I need to know about something, and I'll ask one of their neighbors if there is ever a convenient time. This forum is great though, it's just like haveing neighbors you can bring all your questions to.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-21-2011, 12:59 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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I feel that way sometimes.
I don't feel anyone trusts me around horses and
I can't do anything right. But I learned. I watched.
And, I got nagged . I admit a read a few books
to gain my knowledge but watching doesn't get
you too far. As your riding, ask your instructer what
you want to know, possibly sometime ask her to give you
a lesson on caring for your horse rather that a riding lesson.
You can learn a lot. Once I was entering showmanship and
needed some help and guess what? I got about five fabulous
lessons on showmanship...you know what happened? I got
my first blue ever that's what happened! All instructors/
BO's are a wealth of knowledge...you might have your
"go-to-gal" right there and not know it! So, basically,
ask questions when you get a chance, talk to people, maybe
even reserve a lesson on caring for your horse is all I have to say.
Good Luck!
LD

If you want a stable friendship, get a horse.
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