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walkingmedley 01-03-2013 10:01 PM

need opinions- 3-year-old for a beginner?
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Hi there,

I have been taking lessons on and off for about 3 years now and consider myself an intermediate beginner rider. I have also half leased 3 horses, so I guess I'm fairly comfortable around them. I have recently have been looking around for my first horse. I'm in no rush and feel like if I see the right one, then I will buy it. Anyway, I saw an ad on craigslist for an arabian farm than is selling its stock and emailed them asking if they had a horse that would be suitable for a first horse and for a beginner. The lady emailed me back with a little grey mare that she says would be suitable. When I saw her pics, my heart skipped a beat.... she is gorgeous! ...but she is only 3 years old. Is it really possible for a horse this young to be safe as a first horse? Im not a dead beginner, but still learning and dont want to make the mistake of buying too much horse for me. Of course I can always go and look at her, but she is 2 hours away, so just wanted to ask everyone's opinion before I even make the trip out there to look at her. Thanks in advance... Im posting pics of her. Shes so cute, Im trying not to allow that to affect my rational thinking. :)

tinyliny 01-03-2013 10:05 PM

She looks SO young! like a two year old. I wonder if she is even physically mature enough to ride much. Arabs need a bit more time to mature.

I would say yes ONLY if you have a trainer to help you for the first year at least. Or, board at a place with a very knowledgeable and likeable trainer available to you.

Mochachino 01-03-2013 10:18 PM

She looks very young and needs to develop more. What kind of training does she have? Has she been started under saddle??

maggiesshowjumping 01-03-2013 10:18 PM

my first reaction is "NOOOOO!!!!" but I dont know what kind of expierance you have had and how the horse is... however I would take into account a few things that are sometimes not the best together:
3 years old
now, I am not saying any of these things are bad... I have nothing against 3yos (I work with a lot!) or mares, but they WILL get moody sooner or later and that can be a real pain depending on the horse, or arabs, they generally have good feet and are smooth and well built, however they can be high strung. this also can make it hard to keep weight on. all of these possiabilities combined initiated my initial reaction... its just something to take into account.
I would highly suggest having a trainer help you. I would say 9 out of 10 people I have met/talked to/worked with that bought their first horse without a trainer were not happy with how it ended up or wished they had known "what they knew now- then" inclucing myself. you cant judge a book by its color, I looked at many "beautiful" horses but when I saw the horse it was not close to what I needed... then I saw a sun bleeched, dry, dull, scraggly haired, skinny horse in a field in the summer.... forgetting first impressions I got on and rode him and saw him again etc.... I ended up buying him and he was most certinly one of the best horses I have ever worked with. he was a diamond, he was just so caked in dirt no one would have ever known- turned out he was actually a beautiful black horse that looked like a dunishbay and he put weight on and got all shiny etc. just goes to show dont judge a book by its cover. a horse can look great on paper but in reality they can be a nightmare.
having said all of this- a lot depends on what you actually want to do with the horse... some things I said may not apply in the slightest to you depending on what you want to do with your horse.
in short- I would highly suggest a good trainer that knows you and a friend or 2 oor a family member also try and look at the horse like you dont love it- like the mindset of "even if this horse were perfect im not sure ill buy it" to stay more OBJECTIVE to make sure you get the RIGHT horse that will be a good match vs falling in love at first sight and letting your emotions overtake your judgement and decision making.
let me know if you have any questions- hope it helped!
congrats and good luck!

maggiesshowjumping 01-03-2013 10:21 PM

"She's so cute, Im trying not to allow that to affect my rational thinking. :) "
btw- she does look VERY cute! I do love the coloring but you have the right idea in "im trying not to allow that to affect my rational thinking" haha! maybe take a dad or a husband along with you? I have found they are much less phaised by the "but shes so cute!" thoughts and the excitement of getting a horse than you may be! haha!

oh vair oh 01-03-2013 10:24 PM

When I was 13 we were shopping around for a 10 year old horse. We found a 3 year old going on 4, and were somewhat skeptical. The horse was a natural steady-eddy, I learned so much on that horse for the next 8 years. You never know until you go and see the horse's personality and maturity. I swear every time I showed my 4 year old everybody thought he was 10 or drugged. :)

EvilHorseOfDoom 01-03-2013 10:25 PM

Arabian horses physically develop at the same pace as all other breeds and are probably more suited for an early (3yo) start than other breeds due to their shorter back. Mentally, however, they are known to mature at a much slower rate.

This girl looks very young and green - is she even broken? Even if she was I'd be saying no - you want your first horse to be a been-there-done-that horse. You want to be able to hop on and ride and not have to worry about limiting riding days or lengths of rides. You want to be able to go off riding with your friends and not have to worry about her going nuts on you because she's too green and flighty to know better.

A 3yo Arabian is almost certain to be too much horse for a beginner-intermediate. I know it is very tempting for sellers to allow someone without the necessary experience to buy their horse, especially in the current market in the US. I was tempted so many times to lease/sell Brock to intermediate beginners but I didn't - and even when I did lease him to an experienced rider she is having to end the lease because she's not as confident as she used to be and doesn't feel she can deal with his bucking.

There are plenty of lovely, sane, sensible horses out there for very little money. And in the end you'll be paying more for a green horse than an older slightly more expensive horse because you're pretty much guaranteed to need to bring a trainer in at some stage (or you'll be paying a lot more in hospital bills). Keep looking, and keep us updated :-)

EvilHorseOfDoom 01-03-2013 10:25 PM

(Ugh double post.)

walkingmedley 01-03-2013 10:30 PM

Thanks for your input guys! She does seem really young. She might be closer to 2, but being called a 3 year old since its after Jan 1st? According to the owner, she has been broken and is being ridden english. Even if this is so, I dont know if Im ready to continue training such a baby. I feel like I still have a lot to learn myself. I guess I knew it wasnt a great idea just needed to hear it from more experienced horsepeople. She is stinking gorgeous though. If only she was about 10 years older.... ;)

BBBCrone 01-03-2013 10:31 PM


1) I'd be wary of anyone who told me a 3 year old would be a good match for "beginner/first horse". Not saying it's not possible, just that I'd be wary.

2) To me, she looks fairly thin and definitely appears young.

3) Have them tell you what she can and cannot do at this time and find out if she's been backed at all and if so, what age did they start.

4) Get her Pedigree and ask the Arab breeders on here to help you. They can look at her lines and give you a pretty good idea of what she might be like temperament wise if they know the horses personally or have experienced them at shows.

Hope this helps you some :)

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