If a horse suits you right now, you might not want it in 3 years. You will want to ride loads and loads of horses and become a good rider before you start thinking about what you want to buy. Horses that are safe for absolute beginners often aren't the horses that will be exciting and fulfilling to ride a few years later (there are exceptions, of course!), especially if your horse isn't being developed past your own skill by a trainer. You are just learning, in a few months you could decide that all you want to do is jump or all you want to do is piaffe and suddenly you have a horse who can't do any of those things and then what do you do?
The cost of horses can be crazy. I just got a vet bill for $1100 from an injury that wasn't even a big deal. Next week my horse is getting $500 injections for his arthritis. His shoes are $200 every 6 weeks. Floating his teeth costs $350, clipping costs $140, then there are vaccines, fecal tests, $300-400 a year for glucosamine supplements, $350 for saddle fitting, etc. Just fly spray alone can cost you $30 a month. Then there are blankets, coolers, saddles, bridles, bits, boots, saddle pads, brushes, fly sheets, fly masks - it never ends. Not to mention his training and board. There is no way I would have been able to afford a horse as a student - I wouldn't even have had the money to transport my horse to university.
If I were you I would spend extra money on more lessons and wait quite a while until you buy a horse - until you're a competent rider, you know what you want to do and you find a horse that will help you achieve it, a horse that can depend on you to provide it with everything it needs whether you are in full-time training or if the horse is on stall rest and needs to be wrapped every single day or if it's retired. And retirement is something I think people should be considering even before they buy a horse - what will you do when this horse can no longer be ridden in the way you want? Will you be able to support both a retired horse and a new, rideable horse? Some people are fine with selling horses, but selling can be hard and considering where horses can end up I would not feel comfortable selling to anyone but a very, very close friend. Which means that my horse is most likely with me for life.
And of course there is the issue of time. I have everything taken care of at my stable - I don't need to feed or muck stalls or be there when the farrier comes. But I still spend at least 15 hours a week at the stable. That means I can't go out with my friends as much - I don't stay out until 4am because I have to get up early on Saturday to go see my horse. While having a horse in university and in my early 20s would have been fun, it would also have been really limiting - I spent that time living in different countries, travelling, dancing until the sun came up, having torrid long distance love affairs, being an artist with no money, etc. I would never have been able to do those things if I had a horse and I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. You are young and it is such an exciting time - you have so many possibilities that maybe you do not want to trade for something you can have in the future.
I waited until I was in my early 30s before buying a horse and in retrospect I am very glad I did. If I had bought when I was 25 I would not have been able to afford to do what I am doing now and I would have a horse that couldn't do it either.
Last edited by plomme; 07-07-2013 at 05:25 PM.