Advice for a beginner
I've always had a love for horses, and took lessons when I was 15. Now as an adult I am looking at getting back into riding. I came across this forum through my many horse related google searches, and have found there to be a lot of useful information. I have no intentions of rushing out and buying a horse and getting myself into a bad situation, so in order to help prepare myself, I was hoping I might seek some advice.
I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I have researched a few boarding facilities and it looks like full board around here will be from $350/month and up. I have savings, so the cost of my future horse would be covered. I am by no means rich, so I am curious to know if anyone has an idea of how much it costs to train a horse. I am also trying to figure out how much it would cost to prepare a horse for events, perhaps something like jumping or barrel racing. I don't intend to buy a horse that is untrained (and I've read plenty on this forum that the worse thing a beginner can do is buy a green horse!), but I know there must be an upkeep cost to keep the horse and rider in tune.
I've also recently enlisted myself in some horse riding lessons, about how long do you think it is necessary to practice before purchasing your own horse?
My ideal situation would be finding a horse that I can trail ride and event with, but I am not familiar with the hidden costs of horse ownership or how to go about getting started.
So if anyone can offer advice for a beginner that would be great. It is important to me to learn as much as possible before making any commitments.
Try leasing a horse first. That will give you the feel of ownership without the lifetime commitment. I personally have never leased but plenty of people on here have success stories and some go on to buy their leased horse. I'll let someone with experience tell you more and I know there are threads about leasing as well.
Good luck and welcome to the forum :)
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Take one step at a time woman! lol
First, get some horse lessons down and get a feel for different horses.
Then ask around your new horsey friends at the barn, and even the people training you, how much a horse upkeep costs.
Do your research and read up on some horse books, internet blogs and sites, and of course this forum lol =]
After that, consider NOT buying a horse just yet. Try leasing one first, it will get you used to being a future owner of a horse.
After or near the end of your lease (whichever works best for you) look around at some potential horses you would like to pursue in buying and then if you think you can handle the upkeep of the horse and put in all the time that a horse takes up in your everyday life, go for it <3 !
How long to practice:
That really depends on how confident you are, and if you will have anyone to help you where you board your horse.
Right now, I say concentrate on taking lessons for at least a year.
Look at prices in your area. It depends on what training you want your horse to get.
Not sure about barrel racing, but I know a low level jumping show runs about $200 around here.
The fact that you want to be as well-prepared as possible is the first step.
Like I said, take lessons and read as much as possible.
Also, really look at what you'll have to pay for. Along with boarding, will you have enough for vet fees, farrier, etc?
Ride a bunch of horses, of you can, during your lessons to get a feel of what you like in a horse. Cowy, tall and smooth, gaited or not ect..... As far as hidden costs, think of a 1000lbs 2yr old left home alone lol. Extra costs can come from lotsa directions. Do you want your own truck and trailer? $$$$ shots, farrier, teeth, hay. Tack, oh tack, having spares, buying or making emergency repairs. Fuel in your vehicle to go to the barn. Let's just say its an amazing LIFESTYLE. :) take your time and enjoy it!
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There is so much more to owning a horse than just knowing how to ride. I second the suggestion to try a part lease first. In addition, if your instructor is open to it, ask for lessons in horse care and handling in addition to the riding. In the meantime, I would be researching everything I possibly could.
You'll need at least a basic understanding of horse nutrition, the knowledge of the warning signs of common ailments such as colic, how to treat minor wounds, how to know when the wound isn't minor and a vet needs to be called. You'll need to be confident in handling a horse on the ground, as even the most good-natured seeming horse may try to take advantage of you if you act timid and let him get away with things.
Find a good instructor who is happy to teach you the "other" things you'll need to know, find a good part lease on a well trained horse (once you've been riding with your instructor for awhile, they should be able to help you find a suitable mount). Figure out what discipline(s) you want to pursue so that when it does come time to get your own horse, you'll know what type of horse you want to look at. Ask tons of questions, read tons of articles and books. Read forums such as this one (taking things with a grain of salt of course or doing independent research).
Lots of people jump into horse ownership with no or very little experience and do fine, others go on to regret their lack of knowledge. They may get hurt or their horse might. Granted that still can happen when you have more experience, still I wouldn't recommend committing to something as large and strong and at the same time fragile as a horse without some serious hours spent in the saddle and around horses.
Some of the hidden costs:
Worming the horse, many people use wormer every 2 months. Costs about $15 a time.
Vaccines in spring and fall, around here costs around $60 each time.
Hoof care, approx. every 6-8 weeks. If you put shoes on, costs around $100 each time, if barefoot around $40.
Teeth floating once per year, costs approx. from $125-$200.
Many people feed vitamins, which usually cost around $25-50 per month.
If the hay and grain are included in boarding, consider that many horses require grain beyond the "base" price included in the board. If you buy a hard keeper, it may cost up to $100 extra per month for grain.
Assume you may have an illness every couple of years costing between $100-600.
Grooming supplies: can cost up to $50 per month.
Tack of course can be expensive too.
Thanks for the replies. It sounds like what I need to do is find a trainer that I can ask questions, and hopefully find a stable nearby that will let me help out with the chores. I tried googling to find a place to volunteer, but no such luck yet. I'll keep looking!
I did something similar for a friend of mine! Beginner adult, always wanted a horse. She had a few lessons under her belt and then bought a horse. I went out with her everyday for the first week to make sure she was comfortable with the horse on the ground. The next few weeks I went out 3/4 times to give her lessons and prefect ground skills. Then we just weaned it down. I still ride with her but I don't do much instructing as I'm training her second horse, who was an impluse buy. First piece of advice, DON'T fall for the first pretty thing with 4 legs and have someone much more knowledgeable then you who knows your needs see the horse with you. Riding is supposed to be fun and safe! You shouldn't have to worry about getting run away with, bucked off, spun on, kicked, bit, etc!
See if you can look for someone to supervise you for a little while like it did. It doesn't have to be a reputable trainer, just someone who has been a long time horse owner. It helps if your beliefs mesh with theirs!
When buying a horse buy one that already meets your standards, that's proven in what it does. You don't want the headache of training or possibley "messing it up". The horse market is so crummy good horses are going for a steal of a price. It's true, you can "mess up" any horse, but at least you know the foundation is there! For example I retrained a reining horse to be a lesson horse, as well as tuned up her reining skills. Now she is a wtc lesson horse and is ridden pretty... Awfully... But I can get on her once a month and she will still spin and stop. It would probably take a 5 days to really tune her up like how she used to be.
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Enjoy the journey.:D
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