Is my friend ready for her own horse?
I honestly don't know if she is or isn't, and I would like your opinions before I say anything to her.
I introduced her to horses last April (so a year ago now) and that doesn't seem very long but she REALLY took to horses, she had weekly lessons with me for six months then I changed barns to one without lesson horses so she stayed where she was. She still takes weekly lessons and also volunteers at the barn every Sunday. She wants to be a barn owner / horse trainer / instructor and plans on pursuing that after post-secondary. The barn owners know that and help her out teaching her during their spare time. She tacks up and grooms the horses before lessons and helps out in the beginner lessons. She is really bold while ridding and has no problems jumping without stirrups or whipping around on horses she had never met before. She wants to switch to my barn and buy her own horse to come ridding with me. She has gotten a job and is saving up for it, but I am just worried she isn't experienced enough yet, she hasn't come across a lot of problems (the school horses at her barn are very good) and when I owned a problem horse she refused to go out and help me with him because he was quite ...interesting... and didn't have any ground manners. She seems to get frustrated easily especially when the horses isn't listening or she can't do something right. Our barn is really helpful, and she would still be getting weekly lessons with my instructor...so she wouldn't be alone in the dark with horse care...but idk...
What do you guys think?
Sounds like she has more experience that I had when I got my first horse. The biggest thing is finding the right first horse and having a support group to help through issues.
Doubt she would appreciate you coming on here asking others if she is ready - honestly its not your place and could really alienate your friend if she ever found out. I'd just be careful so you don't lose a friendship over it.
She keeps asking me if she is ready, (it's not like I am just trying to judge her decisions) and I don't know what to tell her (I am her only horsey friend and she is looking to me to tell her) I don't want to say "go for it!" and have it end horribly or to stop her and have her miserable.
I commend you for wanting to help your friend out with this, but the decision is actually hers.
Everyone has their own opinion on when someone should own a horse. Some are ready for it much sooner than others, so I can't say specifically when someone should own a horse. Personally from what you've explained, your friend sounds dedicated, and mature about getting a horse of her own.
Rather than saying when someone should be ready for their first horse, I think it's more appropriate to say what kind of horse someone is ready for. I myself rode for years at a riding school... could do all the above, but didn't have as much knowledge on horse care - past worming, feeding and farrier the rest was all new to me when I got my first horse - and not to mention my horse was green as. This was not the ideal situation for a first owner, and I would steer clear from telling anyone that it's the right path. For me, I was dedicated to improve my skills with my mare, and ended up owning her for many years before selling her on to a young girl, but we didn't really get far together if I'm honest.
My best friend rode maybe three times before owning her first horse. However she had spent over a year every day doing horse chores, learning how to care for a horse whilst helping me with mine. We adopted her mare from a good friend and the mare is a slow, plodder type who really respects my friend. Again this situation worked because of the type of mare Seoul is, and the skills my friend had acquired. It also has been beneficial having me there every day to guide her. This is not a situation I would expect the average first owner to be involved in alone.
I think if your friend is dedicated to getting a horse, as long as she finds a suitable mount for herself as a first time owner, and has great friends like yourself as well as a trainer or professional on call to help her whenever she has issues, then she's more than ready, because that shows someone who is mature and responsible in her choices as a horse person... and not rushing in to buy the first cheap horse cos it's "pretty".
But that's just my opinion. I've learnt from my mistakes. And others may have a stricter guideline to horse ownership than myself... but personally I think it's up to your friend to decide if she's ready, and has the support she will need in choosing and owning her first horse.
You could always suggest that she try leasing. That way she will get more hands on, owner type experiences without actually having to make the whole commitment.
This. Also, it sounds like her arrangement where she's at now really is pretty good considering what she wants to do. The best thing for her is to get as much hands on experience working in a professional environment if she's trying to be a professional. I think if she buys a horse and transfers to your barn, she may not be as involved as she is now, and won't be able to develop enough skills to get to the goal she wants.
Another thing to consider is that MANY people take a while to determine what kind of riding they want to do. It's better that she waits untils he's tried many things before she gets her own horse. There's always the possibility that she might find a new sport/discipline that she likes that her mount may not be suitable for.
Some people ask their friends, especially those who have more experience, if they're ready for something. Further, some people don't make decisions alone... and when it comes to horse ownership, it shouldn't be something to decide on alone. She has already made the decision to be involved in horses, and it's clear from what OP has mentioned, she has worked hard in her journey so far.
Asking OP if she's ready, isn't a sign that she's not ready herself. She could be simply checking to see if others have seen the work she's put in and judging against someone who already owns a horse. It is a logical move to ask those types of questions in my opinion.
But perhaps that's because I'm the type of person to ask questions, even the silly ones to help form my own answer. I don't see it as a sign of not being 100% confident and capable of owning a horse, but a sign that she trusts her OP's own ability with owning her horse(s) and sees her as a respectable person to talk to about on this topic.
We don't know if she's also approached the barn she rides at with the same question, which again, is a logical move. I'd be more concerned if OP's friend just went "Well, I've been riding over a year, working at the barn and learning so much, clearly I know everything I need to and it's time to get my own horse!" ... it's situations like that where someone makes rash decisions.
However, it doesn't mean OP will be making the decision for her friend either... like I said before, the decision is hers, however asking a friend her opinion isn't a sign she's not ready for it, in my opinion.
I completely agree with what Chelle said. ^^^ all that. I think the friend is trying to figure out what they think. Asking more experienced people what they see/how they see her as currently in the horse world is very smart. The friend may think she is ready but is asking around because maybe there is more she doesn't know yet. I''m also one to ask questions, even if I think I know the answer, I'd rather be sure than to go ahead with something and have it turn into a disaster because I wasn't ready but to proud to ask for help.
I think it would be hard for us, as fellow posters, to be able to say yes or no as to if she is ready. Because we don't know her and can't see what she can or can't do with horses yet, it is hard to say for sure no or for sure yes.
Maybe you, as her friend, need to ask her what she would do in given situations and what she thinks. For example, has she considered all and every option:
1) where will the horse be kept
2) can she afford it
3) can she afford emergency vet care? (this was a question I had to seriously consider before buying my mare. I was asked if I had to pay for emergency colic surgery right now, could I afford it? It is something major to think about)
4) How often can she come out to take care/ride the horse?
5) Can she afford lessons on top of board? (It is important to note that one is never to old or to experienced for lessons. I've been riding 14+ years and I still take them)
6) What level horse does she want?
7) (more generic questions that I can't specially identify): what level horse is she at/wanting? What age? Since we don't know he riding level, it is hard to say that an older quiet lesson horse would suit her or if she can handle a semi-younger horse with maybe minor issues, like lead problems or backing up problems or something like that.
8) What kind of riding is she planning on doing? (Trail, dressage, pleasure, jumping, eventing, etc). What if in two years she changes her mind? Maybe a 'do it all' horse would be best right now.
9) How is she at handling training/horse issues? I doubt she would be able to train a horse not to buck after just a year, but maybe she can't handle training at all, or maybe she can. The answer to this will help determin just what level she is at.
10) What about generic horse care? For example, I'll admit I'm not the best at horse-y first aid. i'm a little unsure what to do in some situations and look to my barn mates and trainer for advice and help and teaching me. Can she properly take care of a horse and maintain its wellbeing?
As someone else suggested, leasing may be a good option for her. It'll get her horse experience without the full costs of owning and it can be only temp. (Maybe a month to month or 1/2 year lease)
All these things are questions that I think should be considered. If she is dedicated and willing, PERSONALLY I think she might be ready to get a horse as long as she continues to have a trainer and take lessons and ride. I've seen posts on here of people that have no idea what they are doing or can't remember alot ("I haven't been around horses in 25 years, but I have property, can I own horses?") that are thinking about getting a horse. Compared to them, it sounds like she could do very well. Usually the suggestion is to find a good trainer and keep at it and try to learn as much as possible. So as long as she can care for the horse properly and can afford it, its my own personal opinion that it seems she might be ok buying a beginners horse. Or leasing!
Hopefully that helped!!
She certainly sounds as if she has been around the barn enough to know what it really means to take care of a horse. I think that makes her ready. I worry about that part far more than the riding. Of course she needs to find the right horse. That is the goal of all of us when we are considering buying a horse. Sure we are all searching for horses on different levels, but the common goal is that we are all searching for horses that meet our needs. This girl is no different.
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