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Thinking of getting your own horse?

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  • Getting a horse while still learning to ride

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    05-12-2013, 09:38 AM
  #11
Banned
This thread needs to be stickied!

Lots of good stuff in here!
     
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    05-13-2013, 10:17 PM
  #12
Showing
MAKE SURE YOU CAN AFFORD A HORSE! Nothing drives me more crazy than someone's horse looking like crap because they aren't able to give it what it needs.
Northern, Corporal, Endiku and 7 others like this.
     
    05-14-2013, 01:31 AM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
MAKE SURE YOU CAN AFFORD A HORSE! Nothing drives me more crazy than someone's horse looking like crap because they aren't able to give it what it needs.
Amen. Do the math. Calculate what it will cost in a year, divide that by 12, and make sure you can afford that much. Better yet, set aside the much for a few months before you get a horse A) to be absolutely sure you can afford it & B) so that if anything happens to your income, you can still afford to feed your horse while you are looking for a new home for it. Here's a sample breakdown for prices in my neck of the woods:

Yearly Vaccinations: $100
Farrier: $45 every 8 weeks. Barefoot trim, add accordingly for horses that need shoes. $270 yearly
Wormer: varies as you rotate wormer, say an average of $10 every 3 months: $40 yearly
Board: self care board for me is $135 a month, $1620 yearly
Feed: $100 month, $1200 yearly

So, baseline, you're talking $3230 a year, or about $270 a month. Baseline.
That's not to mention unexpected vet costs for injuries, colic or other crazy things yu'll be responsible for. My BO just spent $1400 in vet bills because his mare got bit by a tick. Teeth floating is usually a couple hundred dollars.

I think I mentioned this before, but leasing is a wonderful step to take before horse ownership. You get the perks of ownership without as much of the responsibility like unexpected vet costs
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    05-14-2013, 11:22 AM
  #14
Weanling
Awesome post! I was actually looking into a horse and, to be honest, wasn't quite experienced with them. I just wanted a horse to go trail riding on and just have a fun horse (ex: no shows, etc)--but I had bought a book and a few things that it mentioned that really made me rethink purchasing a mare I had been considering was:
1. Be realistic about your riding abilities.
-Now I had been a confident rider, but I also hadn't been in many "bad scenarios" where I had a horse act up too terribly much and if I had bought one that was a bit...er, rowdy, it'd knock my confidence down and I probably wouldn't enjoy it.
2. How many lessons you have had.
-I was from a small town initially (now live near a large city but still in a "large town") where people are mainly on farms, get an older bombproof horse and you teach yourself, so I hadn't had much instruction. By that, I mean I went to a week long camp (not much horse care/riding knowledge from that) and did about one month of "lessons", but I was still learning barn management and basic horse care so I still hadn't properly learned how to ride.
And lastly,
3. Your goals for riding.
-For the past 7 years I've wanted to leave the little country, trail riding aspect and to get into Hunter/Jumpers after being introduced to the side of English (about 7-8 years ago). I had gotten so caught up in just wanting my first horse that I forgot about my aspirations of showing in Hunters/Jumpers and settling for a Western trail horse.

Those three points were honestly what made me stop and now I've been getting Hunter/Jumper lesson for the past month (going to my fourth lesson this Thursday *happy dances*) and I'm SO grateful I didn't jump into horse ownership. I've become a much more confident rider, have found that I LOVE riding English more than just going for a leisurely walk through the woods in a Western saddle (not bashing Western riders...English is just my preference ^-^) and I thoroughly enjoy what I do, have made a bond with a school horse who I now have hopes to lease in a few months (hopefully by this upcoming August).

So my goal is now to:
1. Continue getting lessons and to keep improving.
2. Lease a school horse and begin showing.
And
3. Eventually work my way up into horse ownership when I have more knowledge/basic horsemanship.

^-^ Again, this is a great post. There is definitely a LOT to think about when it comes to horse ownership and it shouldn't be taken lightly.
     
    05-14-2013, 12:11 PM
  #15
Trained
Find a barn that you like and get to know the people there. A good trainer is your best bet for finding a suitable horse, and keeping that horse at a stable is your best bet for finding your Vet, Farrier, and help when you need it.
It is still VERY MUCH a Buyer's Market, So be VERY PICKY and VERY PATIENT in your horse search. Horses are emotional creatures, and emotional people get into horses. It makes for a very good romance novel, and also makes for a very good horror story.
You MUST be willing to give a great deal of your time to continue to learn about horses in general, and your own horse, in particular. Boarding at a barn will save you the time I take to get hay and grain, clean the barn and daily manage my herd, along with training them, so this would enable you to keep working so you afford to be Horse Poor, like we all are. ROFL!!
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    05-14-2013, 12:40 PM
  #16
Started
Yes, I think LEASING is the way to go before horse ownership. When my kids were young and taking lessons....what a difference it was to bump it up to leasing a horse!!! So much responsibility, cost and realizing that coming to take a lesson once a week on an already tacked up and ready to go horse was waaaaaaay different! It really is a great preparation to owning a horse.
Corporal and Skyseternalangel like this.
     
    05-15-2013, 01:10 PM
  #17
Yearling
This may just be my opinion, BUT:

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, buy a foal or a mare in foal for your first horse(s)!! Unless of course you've been employeed full-time by a breeding farm for several years, and just haven't got around to getting your own horse.

I know they are cute and adorable, and the idea of 'learning together' can be enticing. But it will only cause you $$, pain, and heartache in the end.

Oh one other thing, remember there is more than one correct way of doing things. You will learn sooo much more if you keep an open mind. So even if your trainer says something must be done a certain way, listen to others & keep their suggestions in the back of your mind.
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    05-20-2013, 08:40 AM
  #18
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by rexing93    
So my goal is now to:
1. Continue getting lessons and to keep improving.
2. Lease a school horse and begin showing.
And
3. Eventually work my way up into horse ownership when I have more knowledge/basic horsemanship.
Couldn't agree with you more. I'm in the same position and started off doing things completely backwards. Luckily I never got hurt, but obviously had some experiences that shook my confidence and were way out of my comfort/knowledge zone. So I'm stepping back and taking my first dressage lesson tonight! Nervous, but excited, and I know this is the most responsible way to do it.
rexing93 likes this.
     
    05-25-2013, 06:44 AM
  #19
Foal
My advice for beginners is long, but bear with me. I have ridden pretty consistently for over thirty years and have seen beginner mistakes over and over. Take a few minutes and consider some of my ideas as well as those of the other experienced posters.

You will likely get interested in a discipline of riding, such as trails, barrels cutting etc. That is fine and dandy, but before you get too involved doing your discipline of choice, take a couple of *years* and really focus on learning to ride well. Proper, classic, equitation, and also proper handling of horses, especially when things do not go as planned. To do this, find a good trainer and take lessons as often as you can. I think a dressage type trainer would be ideal for starting out, personally.

Before you really focus on a discipline, you should be able to ride easily at all gaits with proper seat and leg position, and be able to ask for those gaits correctly. You should be able to make upward and downward gait transitions, as well as rate your speed within those gaits. You should be able to do a one rein stop at all gaits. You should know your diagonals, leads, and have light gentle hands. You should ideally spend a good deal of time at first on a longe line, simply getting your seat at all gaits (what is known as an *independant* seat) so you will never have a tendency to balance on a horse's mouth, something I constantly see beginners doing.

Additionally you should start to be able to respond instinctively to handle unplanned behaviors. You should be able to know what to do if a horse spooks, bolts, rears, bucks, and you should start being able to read a horse's behavior to notice that those things might occur and corrective action can be taken *before*things get dangerous. The real key to safety with horses is prevention.

Are you starting to see why I emphasized *years*? That is how long it will take most people to become minimally proficient at all the skills listed above.

These first years of riding, or returning to riding aren't supposed to be a punishment, they are supposed to be fun. You will hopefully get with a great instructor, ride a variety of horses, and start getting interested in one of those disciplines, if you don't already have one in mind. Most of us do more than one discipline, especially throughout our lifetimes. I rode hunter/jumper as a child, did gymkhanas, also rode trails. Now I ride trails mostly, but enjoy working on western pleasure and reining type stuff with my western horse.

In addition to taking lessons to get proficient, *read*. Read as much as you can get your hands on. Watch the clinitions, but don't get hung up on just one and make him/her your guru. The best horse people I know keep open minds and learn from a variety of people and sources, then they use what works best for them and their horse.

After you take a couple of years to get proficient at basic riding, talk to your trainer about the next best step. A lease is often a good option for a first horse experience. Remember that your first horse leased or owned should be bomb proof and possibly older. You may need to move up to a more advanced horse in another year or so and depending on the first horse, and the situation, so keep that in mind. For sure do not make your first horse young (less than five IME), untrained, highly reactive, or a problematic horse with "issues". You need to use your head, not your heart when making the first horse selection, leasing or buying. Listen to your trainer.

All of the above will help you get a good start. Adult beginning or returning riders especially, think about this: if you had a child interested in horseback riding, you would start them (hopefully) with lessons to get a good safe foundation to start, and then a safe gentle horse. Why adults often do not offer themselves that logical start is a mystery to me. Instead, I often encounter adults, who should know better, take a lesson or two, and then they rescue a 3 year old, essentially unhandled, highly reactive, high energy horse. Then they either end up afriad, injured, both and then may end up with even more unsuitable horses for some reason, while keeping the original because they fell in love with it. They simply keep accumulating unsuitable horses. An example of more money than sense in some instances.

Lastly, if you do end up with a horse that is not right for you, for whatever reason, there is no shame in rehoming it. Even the best of trainers don't "click"sometimes with certian horses, and it happens even more often to us amateurs. I bought an unsuitable mare once. I gave it six months of trainers, lessons, then found her another home. You can't win 'em all. It is just as easy (easier IMO) to fall in love with a suitable horse as it is one that is not suitable. Besides...horses can kill you. A horse that is really unsuitable could cost you your life. Our sport is dangerous. Having a good horse and rider match helps decrease that danger significantly.

Good luck and welcome to horses! There is nothing better!!!
     
    05-25-2013, 08:48 AM
  #20
Trained
I mostly agree with the advice. I started at 50, have now been riding for 5 years, did the green on green thing and have a nagging injury to prove it. However...

In many parts of the US, having trainers, instructors, saddle fitters etc isn't practical. It is entirely possible to live 50+ miles from the nearest "barn". It also takes a long time to get decent at riding if you ride 1 hour/week. Lots of riding is muscle memory, which requires lots of time in the saddle. At $40/hour, it is tough to get 5-6 hours/week of saddle time!

If I had to do it over again, I would:

A) Buy personality. A willing, well-broke horse who doesn't take advantage of beginners can afford some physical faults, assuming the faults are not crippling. A true beginner's horse is a valuable piece of horseflesh! If you later progress beyond that horse, you can sell him, keep him for the grandkids (if you are starting as old as me) or keep him for old times sake.

B) DO take an expert who doesn't mind telling you "This horse sucks". Also, the local trainers around here will often know of a good horse who will never be on Craigslist.

C) Expect to pay more than the typical horse on Craigslist. This goes back to A & B. Horses with good personalities and who work well with beginners don't show up very often on Craiglist. They are sold by word-of-mouth by people who know people. They are too valuable for Craigslist.

D) Bump up your budget. The real cost of a horse is in feeding, farriers, vets, lessons, property, corral supplies, building sheds, monthly boarding fees, etc. Where I live, going from a $1000 horse to a $2000 horse is a big jump in what you can expect. The extra $1000 there can save you much more a few months later. I bought a $1200 horse, but I would have saved a lot of money, time and future health by buying a $2500 horse...

I don't have 30 years with horses, and I'm a nobody rider with no credentials. Take my comments with a big steaming cup of FWIW.
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