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This is a discussion on Hmmmm... within the Horses for Sale forums, part of the Horse Resources category
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    06-10-2008, 11:06 AM

Something really interesting has transpired during the past 24 hours. I keep Spree's owner UTD on what's going on with her and my working with her, and last night she that Spree has gotten some interest from a woman wanting to come out and take a look at her (she's still for sale). That's great; I think both of our priorities are that she go to a good home. Either way though, her owner said she wouldn't mind if I canceled the lease, since she's confident she could sell Spree before the winter comes.

The reason I mention getting out of the lease is that her friend (who boards her mare at the farm next door) wants to "offer me her horse for free." At first I thought that meant a free lease like I was going to end up doing with Spree, but now I'm thinking she means offer me the horse to OWN for free. I think my mind just exploded a little. I think the mare's been for sale for a while, and apparently she just wants to find her a good home. She's a lovely, tall chestnut TB who's about 17 year old (I think). I believe she's had her for sale for about $1300? What I know: she's trained in dressage, very quiet and responsive, great ground manners, and obviously has a lot of mileage under her belt. I met her one day when we walked next door, and she's a sweetie.

Obviously, I'm going to call and chat with this girl a bit more. I'm totally intrigued, but OMG! First of all, I have never owned a horse before. Secondly, I'm on a fairly set budget. I do freelance writing work that enables me to afford leasing Spree, but I don't how much much beyond that I could swing. This mare is stall boarded now, and I don't think I could afford that anywhere nearby. The place I was going to move Spree to eventually is about $100/more a month for stall board than my current budget allows for. I'm a firm believer in pasture board, but how hard is it to transition a horse from stall to pasture board?

Also, even if someone were to give me a horse and I could afford it now, we're not planning on living in MI for more than another year, then we're trekking back across the country to CA. There, boarding is outrageously expensive (I've checked), we'll be moving home with no set jobs...

ALL advice and input gladly welcomed.
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    06-11-2008, 09:22 AM
UPDATE: I spoke with the girl who owns the mare last night, and here's what I now know.

-The mare is 20 year old, 15.3 or 16hh TB
-trained to Training Level in dressage
-very quiet and responsive to light aides
-the girl has only been trying to sell her because she wants to move up and forward with her dressage, and she thinks that she's gotten as far as she can with this mare
-she's actually being GIVEN a horse that she can do higher level dressage with, so in a sense, she's ready to pass on the kindness

Apparently I come highly recommended from Spree's owner (which is very sweet), so she is willing to just give her mare to me, providing I'd give her a good home. She also mentioned being open to a lease situation, which I think I'd want to start with no matter what, though in reality a free lease at another boarding facility would be the same financially as just ownership. I'm going out there tonight to meet her!

No one has responded to this yet, but I really could use some input. Any suggestions on which road to take? Questions to ask? Things to look for?
    06-11-2008, 11:06 AM
First off, you have to be completely honest with yourself when it comes to affoardability when it comes to boarding a horse. Unexpected costs crop up all the time, and you have to be willing to pay them because it isn't optional.
In all honesty, you have to keep a small sum of money handy for those emergency situations - at the very least you have to be able to put a horse down.
Will you be able to keep a horse for at least a few years? A 20 year old mare doesn't have a lot of riding time left, and is very unmarketable for resale - chances are you'd have to give her away if you wanted to get rid of her down the line.
An older horse has more costs than a normal young horse; they need their teeth taken care of, some (especially TBs) need extra feed to keep them at a healthy weight....
I'd say do a free lease with the mare until you can assure yourself that you can affoard a horse - it's a big responsability.
It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, so think long and hard :)
    06-11-2008, 11:54 AM
Thanks JDI, I appreciate the nod to my smarts :) I am thinking about all of that, and have even created a little spreadsheet to make it easier to look @ costs. I'd definitely want to start out w/a lease, and see how open she is to splitting any costs above/beyond board.

Given the choice between the two mares, would you (if you were me, obviously) stay with Spree or ride this other mare? Spree might sell soon anyway, so it could be a mute point, but for the time being.
    06-11-2008, 08:05 PM
In your situation I think you should stick with a lease type situation. If you only going to be in MI for a year or so, trying to sell a horse or transport it cross country would be just another worry for you. I know its tough to turn down a "free" horse, but as JDI said those free ones sometimes end up costing more than one you paid for.
    06-11-2008, 10:44 PM
In all honesty, you aren't going to get much more out of a 20 year old mare - she'll have a few good years, but then chances are she's going to need modified light work.

If I were you, I would stick with a lease situation until I gained financial stability and knew I would be stationary for a while. It sucks, I know - it's VERY hard to turn down a free horse, but the right horse will come when the timing is right for you :) don't try and force something to happen :)
    06-12-2008, 09:04 AM
Very shrewd ladies, very shrewd indeed :) Last night was great-her owner's a doll, I love the barn she's boarded at, and I'm hoping to chat logistics over e-mail today.

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