Can I take on a 6 year old?
While "window shopping" online I found a handful of amazing, well-priced horses that are in the 6-8 age range. I'm wanting to purchase my first horse fairly soon but I've heard many state that your first horse should be an older, more experienced horse. However, I am interested in something a little younger that is well trained in the basics but could use a little extra work. (I find it very rewarding to teach a horse something, even if its just a little.) I've been riding for about 5 years and have leased 4 horses. One was very naughty and had a huge reputation for his sassiness but I managed to work very well with him. The last one was a strong, bossy boy that I was schooling training level eventing. The horses have all been between 10-15 years.
Anyways, could I take on a six to eight year old? One horse in particular was only 6, but in the video he was very collected, quiet, and SEEMINGLY level-headed. I know in the end my trainer will help make the best decision but I'm just asking for some thoughts.
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It really depends on the horse, it's training and your abilities. Don't rule out that age group, your trainer should be able to help you make a good decision.
My first horse was just turning 5 when I got him. It all depends on how adept and willing you are to train a horse rather than find one you can just get on and ride. I wouldn't consider age to be a big factor as long as the horse has a good mind.
An older, better trained horse will allow you to move up through the ranks of eventing faster.
So the question is how much you know and how much patience you have. Getting a green horse means that it will take longer when moving up. And if you are green yourself (I don't know, just saying) then it will take even longer.
I myself bought an extremely green horse and am very much the amateur. Although we are making progress (with an instructor), it is slow going.
Me, I don't mind and just enjoy the process. My 17 year old son would not even get on until the horse was better trained. He wanted just wanted to go, and the horse was not ready at first.
Hope this helps. :)
I wouldn't rule it out.
My first horse (my first actual horse that belonged to me) was only about six and barely greenbroke when I got her.
I actually think that you can learn much more from a younger horse that is not trained completely yet and has been there and done that. Of course you need to have certain horsemanship skills to deal with this horse, but there is nothing more rewarding than training a horse and learn tons of stuff for yourself while doing it. I see no problem if you get a 6 year old that has the basics and you will go from there. Maybe work with a trainer - training and learning is a NEVER ENDING process for you and your horse! Enjoy it and good luck!
"Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) was a 4yo when bought him, easy to trailer and handle and totally green as a riding horse. By the time he was a 5yo he was working in my lesson program and finished. Now, being a hot Arab, he didn't become a babysitter until he was in his '20's, but I could have sold him to you as a 5yo or 6yo, and he would have behaved just like a well trained horse in his teens.
Be VERY, VERY picky. Think of everything that an inexperienced horse might do to spook or shy and make a list. Give the list to your trainer and ask for additions, then put any candidates through a test. If the owner isn't willing to show you everything on your list, then the horse probably has holes in their training, and you don't want to buy THAT.
Good luck, and keep us updated on your hunt. =D
Oh, include physical build. I see a lot of "I bought this horse, and want to know about his conformation", and I see a LOT of weak backs, upright hind legs, etc.--YOU know what I mean. Buy a real athlete.
I agree that you shouldn't rule the horse out because of his/her age. It all depends on your experience as a handler/rider and the horse's level of training.
When I got my first horse (pony) I had been riding for about a 6 months (?) and while she definately took advantage of my lack of riding experience, she was very well broke, a lesson pony, etc. She was great to teach me the basics, how to jump, etc. and we had many great years together (she's retired in paddock now). She was I believe 13 yrs old when I bought her. (She will turn 22 this year).
Then I got a 9 yr old TB, who was green (mainly over fences) and who taught me even more for years. He is now 16 yrs old, and retired (due to injury) with the pony.
NOW, I have a 4 yr old OTTB, who I bought (was 3 when I got him a few months ago) when he was 2 weeks off the track and I have been working with him solo, except for two rides from another boarder.
I am thankful and lucky to have had the chance to have horses that took me to the next "step". I would have in no way wanted to start with either of my TB's, as the pony was a good rock for me. Each horse fit my experience level, basically.
I also agree that you need to figure out if you want a horse that knows a little more who can teach you and get you to the next level, or if you want a horse that you need to work with that may also hold you back a little in your riding while you work on HIS needs first.-- I did not have that issue with my pony or first TB, but I am running into that problem now with my new OTTB. I jumped over 3' with my first TB, went to clinics, shows, etc. Now I am not jumping at all, not leaving the property (yet), and am back to working on the basics of getting an OTTB into "normal" riding. He is still very green.
I am learning some things from my OTTB, but like I said, he is holding back my progress as a rider. Right now, would I go back and change my mind of getting him so young/green... probably not. We are working things out and will get there eventually. You just have to commit to it.
Also, if you have noticed, I can't sell my horses due to fear of where they will end up, so am also thankful we can afford board on three (two paddock puffs, and one actually in work)!
Depends. Is the horse forgiving? And do you have a good system of support?
I recently bought my first horse and was nearly 6 and green. (and I'd only been riding for 3-4 years on a weekly, at best, biweekly basis beforehand) Best decision ever. But time and time again I'm so thankful he's so honest and forgiving. Plus, I have two trainers to depend on. But except for two rides, I can proudly say his training has been all me. =)
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