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How To Prepare Yourself For Horse Ownership?

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    01-29-2014, 06:57 PM
  #11
Yearling
If it were me, and it was me last year, I would do this:

1. Take lessons for several months. See if you like horses when it comes to having a sore body, being thrown, misunderstanding behaviors, dealing with health issues. These are the downsides, so might as well experience them first before you own.

2. Consider leasing a horse after you've moved past #1. Then you can have the ownership feeling without the full commitment. Take your lessons on your lease horse.

3. If you still love what you're doing several months into it, start shopping for an experienced horse, older than 10 who is calm and willing, used to carrying beginners. Do not get a young or inexperienced horse for your first one or you could quickly start to dislike horse ownership and riding.

4. While you're doing all the above, research the heck out of horse training (I prefer Natural Horsemanship), horse behavior, nutrition, healthcare, hoofcare, paddock and arena construction, fencing, trimming, grooming, and everything else. By the time you buy, you'll be in a much better position to be a good partner and your horses will have a lovely, safe home. I think you already know this part though because you said that's why you're here.

And best wishes for you in creating and living your dream! I started doing exactly the same thing in August and I couldn't be happier. (except for the part where I tore my calf muscle and now have to wait 2 weeks before riding again). :)
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    01-29-2014, 07:08 PM
  #12
Yearling
I also highly recommend going on Youtube and finding videos on any of the subjects you've brought up. You can learn a ton about English vs. Western riding, barrel racing, dressage, etc.

Also, to second or third the opinions on the board already given, do NOT get a stallion. That's a male horse with testicles full of hormones. They are for professionals only. Look for a gelding (male without testicles, which makes them usually much gentler, calmer, and willing) or a mare (female).

When I shopped for my first horse, I was specifically looking for one that was calm, gentle and non-dominant. I didn't care about the color or breed. I ended up with a sweet angel of a horse who I adore.

Horses come in 2 flavors: warm-blooded and cold-blooded. Warm-blooded are high energy, fast horses. Think Thoroughbred race horses or Arabians. Cold-blooded horses are calm and docile. Sometimes some are called Draft horses. They are slower to move and slower to react.

My horse is 1/2 Draft and 1/2 Arab which to me is the perfect mix now that I have some riding experience. She's docile and sweet when I'm on the ground, but when ridden, has energy.

Certain breeds have characteristics common to that breed, but there are always exceptions to the rule. For example: Arabians are warm-blooded and can be "spooky" meaning easily spooked into running or acting out. But there are very calm and well-mannered Arabians out there that are fine with just walking everywhere.

Do your homework on breeds, but always try a horse before you buy. People LIE their butts off when selling horses. And always pay for a vet check and if there are any issues with the flexion tests, get xrays done. It could save you some heartbreak.
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    01-29-2014, 08:02 PM
  #13
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4hoofbeat    
hi
I would say start reading horse books, go to a local riding stable and watch. (ask first if it's ok to watch, some don't like watchers)
Watch everything, the way people are with their horses, some lessons, feeding time. Etc.
Find some local horse shows to go watch.
That's a good place to start, because if you don't like just watching and being around horses, you probably won't want to do anything more. (just my 2 cents)


From someone who has been around horses their whole life, I don't know what it would be like to not know anything about horses.
I have always been around horses in one way or another. They are pretty inescapable when it comes to being on a farm. I have never disliked being around horses, but I never liked being up close with them, as I had a rather ridiculous fear of being trampled by large animals when I was little. That is no longer an issue.

I've fed one and petted one before, but that is about it. I wouldn't exactly call that experience.

I'm more concerned about general upkeep and daily chores. Animals require care and there is no way of getting around it. Even if I hired out the work, and I do plan on hiring some help so I can enjoy the good parts without so much of the unpleasant work like cleaning out stalls and such, what if that hired help was not available? What if my hired help got sick suddenly or if they quit without notice? I need to be prepared, willing and able to care for a horse on my own.

I'm not shy of hard work, but I do not like the idea of taking on the care of an animal that I am not fully prepared for. Like my other animals, I know how to care for them and would be able to care for all of them on a daily basis if I had to do all of the work solo. I believe that I should not take on the responsibility of caring for a horse if I am not prepared to shoulder their care by myself in the event of emergency, or for any extended period of time as well.

It seems like I need to read more into the different kinds of training available and to further deliberate on my ownership goals.

It would be a shame to go out and purchase a beautiful, quality show worthy horse and not be an owner worthy of having such a creature.

What good would it be to have such a magnificent animal, yet be so poor in skill that I would not be able to work with the horse and have it live up to it's potential?

Training and preparing myself to own a horse is laying down a solid foundation upon which I can build and achieve what I want to achieve.

It is important that I get this right.

I need to get me some good books on the subject.

Does anyone have some recommendations?
     
    01-29-2014, 08:19 PM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecasey    
If it were me, and it was me last year, I would do this:

1. Take lessons for several months. See if you like horses when it comes to having a sore body, being thrown, misunderstanding behaviors, dealing with health issues. These are the downsides, so might as well experience them first before you own.

2. Consider leasing a horse after you've moved past #1. Then you can have the ownership feeling without the full commitment. Take your lessons on your lease horse.

3. If you still love what you're doing several months into it, start shopping for an experienced horse, older than 10 who is calm and willing, used to carrying beginners. Do not get a young or inexperienced horse for your first one or you could quickly start to dislike horse ownership and riding.

4. While you're doing all the above, research the heck out of horse training (I prefer Natural Horsemanship), horse behavior, nutrition, healthcare, hoofcare, paddock and arena construction, fencing, trimming, grooming, and everything else. By the time you buy, you'll be in a much better position to be a good partner and your horses will have a lovely, safe home. I think you already know this part though because you said that's why you're here.

And best wishes for you in creating and living your dream! I started doing exactly the same thing in August and I couldn't be happier. (except for the part where I tore my calf muscle and now have to wait 2 weeks before riding again). :)
1. Yep! I practice martial arts, so I am used to taking bumps and being sore, but getting thrown off a horse is quite a different experience, I'm sure. Also, as far as health issues go, I know that Vet bills can be outrageous and yet worth every cent and that owning a horse means you need to be prepared for such expenses.

2. I had no idea you could lease a horse. Is it advisable to locate a Trainer and then locate a lease horse or do I need a lease horse before I contact a Trainer? I have no idea what kind of horse I require, how can I choose a good lease horse?

3. How quickly can one possibly gain the experience necessary for proper ownership? I was thinking it would probably take at least a year or more just for the basics. I think it would be better to go slowly and to be secure and confident in my abilities and then progress from there.

4. Yes! All of the wonderful details. I fully intend to spoil my horse or horses. I have the land, but it needs to be cleared appropriately first and then built to suit not just me, but the horse or horses as well. My other concerns will be forest creatures. The area I am building is in pristine mountain land and I have purchased many acres. I intend to leave the surrounding mountain land intact, as the scenery is not only part of why I picked this location, but because I also believe that the land needs to be conserved, as Tennessee has a good deal of endangered wildlife and I want to manage the land with this in mind. Needless to say, because of the location and because of the wild animals in the area, I need to take special precautions to safely secure the area for the horses and my other animals.

I am so sorry to hear about your calf muscle! I can only imagine how much that hurts!
     
    01-29-2014, 08:24 PM
  #15
Foal
Ya just go watch shows training sessions read books go talk to a local vet about things to check into see if he/she could go with you and do a quick checkup on a horse your looking to buy and make sure it's healthy hope you find everything your looking for
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    01-29-2014, 08:26 PM
  #16
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecasey    
I also highly recommend going on Youtube and finding videos on any of the subjects you've brought up. You can learn a ton about English vs. Western riding, barrel racing, dressage, etc.

Also, to second or third the opinions on the board already given, do NOT get a stallion. That's a male horse with testicles full of hormones. They are for professionals only. Look for a gelding (male without testicles, which makes them usually much gentler, calmer, and willing) or a mare (female).

When I shopped for my first horse, I was specifically looking for one that was calm, gentle and non-dominant. I didn't care about the color or breed. I ended up with a sweet angel of a horse who I adore.

Horses come in 2 flavors: warm-blooded and cold-blooded. Warm-blooded are high energy, fast horses. Think Thoroughbred race horses or Arabians. Cold-blooded horses are calm and docile. Sometimes some are called Draft horses. They are slower to move and slower to react.

My horse is 1/2 Draft and 1/2 Arab which to me is the perfect mix now that I have some riding experience. She's docile and sweet when I'm on the ground, but when ridden, has energy.

Certain breeds have characteristics common to that breed, but there are always exceptions to the rule. For example: Arabians are warm-blooded and can be "spooky" meaning easily spooked into running or acting out. But there are very calm and well-mannered Arabians out there that are fine with just walking everywhere.

Do your homework on breeds, but always try a horse before you buy. People LIE their butts off when selling horses. And always pay for a vet check and if there are any issues with the flexion tests, get xrays done. It could save you some heartbreak.
I want a cold blooded male or female horse then, because I have no ability, nor willingness to deal with a potentially aggressive horse. I just want one for a nice farm animal, complimentary to it's surroundings. Nice and peaceful, contented with a nice, slow and gentle trot.

I want a horse that is fully papered and or registered, a heritage breed. Vet checks, testing, vaccinations and the whole nine yards will be done.
     
    01-29-2014, 09:05 PM
  #17
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatherineM    
I'm more concerned about general upkeep and daily chores. Animals require care and there is no way of getting around it. Even if I hired out the work, and I do plan on hiring some help so I can enjoy the good parts without so much of the unpleasant work like cleaning out stalls and such, what if that hired help was not available? What if my hired help got sick suddenly or if they quit without notice? I need to be prepared, willing and able to care for a horse on my own.

I'm not shy of hard work, but I do not like the idea of taking on the care of an animal that I am not fully prepared for. Like my other animals, I know how to care for them and would be able to care for all of them on a daily basis if I had to do all of the work solo. I believe that I should not take on the responsibility of caring for a horse if I am not prepared to shoulder their care by myself in the event of emergency, or for any extended period of time as well.
As much as many horse folks love to pamper their animals and talk about how much care and money they cost, horses are not fragile animals. We have always bought "low maintenance" horses, horses with good, simple diets (i.e. Pasture and hay) and good feet. With routine shots, hoof care, grass/hay, and water, they're pretty good at taking care of themselves.
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    01-29-2014, 09:46 PM
  #18
Green Broke
I'd of course recommend a Quarter Horse, take you in any direction you want to go almost. Then again, I am biased and have owned mostly them, haha. Or even a Tennessee Walking Horse!

Best way to get on hand experience? Trade barn chores for lessons.

Horse ownership is SO rewarding. So many things, however, aren't really taught. You figure it out as you go. There are many books on everything you need to know about horses, and you can learn a TON. Somethings are trial and error:)


When I first started riding, I rode Tennessee Walkers (I started english, then went western because where we moved NOBODY rode english, lol). The horses we rode were 30+ year old retired show horses. Super smooth, fun gait. Really great for trail riding and shows:) Not my video.

Then, when I got my first horse, I wanted to do western pleasure. My friend showed Paint horses, and even though my first horse was a Quarter Horse I wanted the chance to show with her. I grew out of western pleasure..also not my video.
Then, I decided to do drill team with another one of my friends. It was SUCH a big part of my life for about 5-6 years. Loved it:) This was our team WAY back in the day.
I now currently do reining and barrel racing.


There is something out there for EVERYONE! Wether you like high speed rodeo, ambling gaits on a trail, gracing over oxers (jumps), sliding stops or dressag, there is something for everyone.

*raises glass* Here is to a fantastic time!
KatherineM likes this.
     
    01-29-2014, 10:30 PM
  #19
Foal
Wow, KatherineM! What a great thread you've started! Thanks for sharing this beginning of your journey with us.

ECasey has given you some great ideas about where to start. I agree that it's a good idea to start with lessons. Call a barn and tell them what you'd like to accomplish. Hopefully, they'll start at the very beginning -- teaching you terminology, anatomy, a little about behavior; safety aspects - do's and don'ts; before moving on to haltering, grooming, "picking feet," etc. If you pick the right place, you'll be doing a lot of work before you ever tack-up and hoist yourself into a saddle.

Leasing a horse is a good option for beginners who are primarily interested in riding and competing, but it sounds like you're committed to making a horse (or horses) a part of your heritage farm -- like ownership is primary. If this is true, and if riding turns out NOT to be your thing, you may want to adopt a "pasture ornament" -- a horse that is un-rideable due to an injury or soundness issue.

I did a little poking around and discovered that "heritage" breeds of horses include Morgans and Mountain Pleasure/Rocky Mountain horses. Either would probably be good for your needs. There are plenty of others on the list that are less common (e.g., Caspian, Dales Pony, Dartmoor, Fell pony) and several Draft horses (Clydesdales, Shires, Belgians, Irish Draughts) that are going to be very large in size. I would consider those less desirable in your situation. You can google the breeds for pics and more information; or check out pricing/availability at sale websites like dreamhorse.com or horseclicks.com or equinenow.com.

Good luck!
KatherineM likes this.
     
    01-29-2014, 10:45 PM
  #20
Green Broke
Since you will be in Tenn., check out some Walkers-trail ones, though, not the Big Lick show horses. Also try to read about Morgans-Lippets are like the foundation stock & they often both ride & drive. You will most likely tire quickly just riding on your property, so don't overspend on making a "track". After a few rides, most riders want to branch out & see new ground.

I really read your posts, & see you are in Utah now & will move to Tenn & build your dream ranch after getting there. I bought my Morgan mare in Utah & I have seen Tenn Walkers for sale in most every state. So buy what you like, haul or have it shipped if necessary. A good horse & riding companion is priceless, no matter how little you pay for it. Please don't be turned off by a low price-paying a big price does not guarantee health, hardiness , or happiness w/your choice.
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