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futuredoctor 07-04-2013 04:34 PM

How long until someone should consider buying a horse & convincing parents questions?
I've been taking English riding lessons for a few weeks now. I've really enjoyed it and I like spending time with the horses. My family has two horse stalls and about five acres of open fields (plus some shared trails in the woods behind our property). When we bought the house obviously the previous owners didn't include their horses with it so the stalls have been vacant. Anyway, I'm wondering when I should consider the idea of getting my own horse and bring it up with my parents?

Also, how do you convince your parents to pay for or share the cost of buying a horse? I've been looking at sales & ads. A lot of well-trained horses can cost $10 K or up. You could buy a small car for that much. My parents won't let me get my own car (unless I pay for it which is impossible) so how could I convince them to help finance a horse? They've been supportive of paying for lessons and stuff, but I don't want ruin in by being too pushy.

SouthernTrails 07-04-2013 04:44 PM


Time frame is different for everyone.

The main concerns about buying is not just Initial Cost, but long Term Cost.

What are your long term plans? School, College, Career, etc.

What are you Goals in Riding?

If you are going for Showing/Competition a well trained Horse can cost 10k or more. But the price is based on how well that Horse is trained. We had a student who found a 1st level Dressage Horse 9 years old for 1,500.00, not the norm, but they do exist.

If you are just Riding for fun and maybe Fun Shows, around our area you can find a well trained Horse for 1k to 2k.

You may want to think about a Lease if your Schooling or Career path may limit your time in a few years.


EquineObsessed 07-04-2013 07:40 PM

You've only been riding a few weeks- I would wait. There is a lot more to horses than riding. If I we're you I would offer to help with chores at your lesson barn so you can learn general horse care. Also, you're what, 17? What are you going to do during college with your horse? Sell it? Make your parents pay for it? I think you're better off continuing with lessons and learning, and you should look into getting a horse later on when you have a better idea about your future.

futuredoctor 07-04-2013 07:53 PM

I may not have enough for the upfront costs, but I can cover the long term costs and I have a feeling my parents would help out.

In terms of time, I'm good for at least five more years. I have one more year of high school and four years of college. The college I'm going to is about 20 minutes away from my house and even if that doesn't work out, they have a horse boarding program. After that (if all goes well) I'd like to go to medical school. That will be another four years. During that time I'm not sure how things would work out. Medical students get time off but not in regular patterns (one Thursday could be a 12 hour class followed by a 12 clinic shift, the next could be completely free).

I'll keep things simple:

1 More year of high school. (Would certainly have time)
4 years of college (Would certainly have time. The college I'm going to even has equestrian boarding and programs.)
4 years of medical school (I'm not sure how this would work out. It might be difficult)
7-8 years of residency (This worries me the most. Resident doctors generally work 80+ hour work weeks.)
2-3 years of fellowship (This would be better. Fellows are generally considered more as colleagues than students and often work shorter work weeks.)
Finally an actual doctor (Doctors are still super busy, but would have time for horse fun. I shadowed a doctor who is a doctor, researcher, teacher, skier, and musician.)

Endiku 07-04-2013 08:07 PM

I wouldn't buy your own horse until you have a steady source of income. I am your age and about to buy my second horse, but she is a LONG story and will be a short time buy to keep her out of a bad situation.

I bought my first horse at 16. She was a miniature, and thus cost half of what a full sized horse costs. I found a place to let me work off part of my board, made sure I had enough for initial cost AND 3+ months of care including vet/board/farrier in case I got laid off or something, and I made sure I had a fairly secure job that provided at least 30% more than what I need monthly to care for her. Let me tell you that initial cost is NOTHING compared to the day in day out expenses of owning a horse. I've only owned Sour (my mini) since last September and I've already spent well over $1,500 on her care, yet I only paid $300 for her.

Asking your parents to finance your horse would be unfair IMO. They are already indulging you with lessons, the horse is your hobby and thus your responsibility.

Are you planning to work through college? Its probably feasible through your undergrad years but once you get to your 3rd or 4th year I highly doubt you'll be able to finance a horse, car, insurance, wherever you're staying, etc., School, especially when you aspire to be a doctor, is HARD work. At least for me it is! I can barely balance highschool and a horse!

DancingArabian 07-04-2013 08:40 PM

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There's a huge, huge difference from riding a horse in a lesson barn and caring for one 24/7. I would wait if I were you. You should have solid riding experience and handling skills before you try to bring a horse home without a support system in place.
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Jore 07-04-2013 09:23 PM

Agreeing with everyone here.

I was riding for seven years before I got a horse, and had been leasing for about four years during that time period. I don't quite know exactly how I managed to convince my dad, but it took a lot of planning, researching and I asked around to find out general costs of vetting/farrier/feed/etc in my area and worked out a price sheet.

In the end, I had my horse for two and a half months... we bought her for $2800, spent about $100 on farrier work, $600 for board, well over $5000 on vet bills. Not to mention the $700 saddle and the few hundred dollars that went towards other supplies... keeping in mind that I already had a bridle and such from leasing horses in the years prior. If my experience taught me anything, it's that you have to be prepared for the unexpected.

If I was in your situation, I'd likely just continue lessons and possibly find a lease horse until you were done with university. I know lots of students successfully keep a horse during their school years, but I also see lots of ads for horses once their owners head off for university.

NaeNae87 07-05-2013 12:05 AM

I bought my first horse when I was 23. By that age I had a steady income and had been riding regularly for almost 8 months.
I used to ride a bit when I was younger and I also had (and still have) an extensive library of horse care books, vet manuals, training books and even horses for dummies which I had read hundreds of times. Even though I was new to horses, I had a lot of theoretical knowledge. Even then I still found myself asking friends who were more experienced than me a thousand and one questions. Almost 3 years down the track and I am still asking heaps of questions and learning something new almost every day.

It's not cheap, even if you don't end up spending $10K + on a horse (neither of mine cost anywhere near that much btw - one was $2500 AUD and the other was $750 AUD).

You also have to take into account the following (I have included prices that I pay)
feed - $150 per f/n
hay - $12 per bale
Farrier - $145 every 6 weeks (2 horses - 1 trim and one shod in front)
Dentist - $120 per horse every 12 months (more often if advised by dentist)
wormer - $20 every 3 months
vet bills -$75 + depending on what is treated. (colic surgery is $10,000 - IF nothing goes wrong)
Insurance - $75 per f/n per horse
Saddle fitter - $75 per saddle plus parts (gullet, flocking, CAIR shims)

Then you have equipment -
stirrup leathers
feed bin
water bucket
grooming kit

Plus lessons, property maintenance, etc

You also need to feed morning and/or night (hay, hard feed etc depending on horse and workload), check your horse for any injury or illness, rake out paddocks, scrub water containers and inspect the paddocks for anything dangerous or any broken fences. This needs to be done daily regardless whether you are tired, sick, injured etc. If you can't do it then you need to find someone who will do it for you. No exceptions.

If you want to see what owning a horse is like with out all that responsibility, maybe ask the place you are taking lessons if you can part lease one of their horses? You will be responsible for some of it's care but you will also have help. :)

You have only started riding. There is no rush :)

Skyseternalangel 07-05-2013 12:14 AM

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I honestly think you should wait.

It's not just buy a horse and everything falls into place. It's constant work, worry, financial obligations, training expenses, lesson expenses, insurance, caring for one fulltime, figuring out diet, supplying said food..

You've only just began to ride. Maybe you could talk to your parents about volunteering at a riding stable to get an idea of just the surface of horse ownership via stable management.

Tracer 07-05-2013 01:16 AM

Definitely wait, or find a lease.

You want to have a ridiculous amount of knowledge of things that you'll probably never need to know before you get a horse. I'm 21, and currently have my 'second' horse, who is a free lease. I pay for absolutely everything - 3 bags of feed every fortnight, and extremely cheap agistment costs me around $200 a month. On top of that there's a farrier every 6 weeks ($80), he's steadily destroying his new rug, I've had to buy a new saddle and a riser pad ($100 for a cheap secondhand saddle, another $100 for the riser pad), I need new reins because the leather ones I have are going to break any day now ($30+)...

I have everything cheap, didn't even have to pay for the horse itself, and it's still keeping my bank account low. Unless your parents have extremely well paying jobs, it's not something you should expect them to do for you.

Also, med school is VERY demanding. Are you going to feel like getting up at dawn to check on and feed your horse, go off for a day of uni, and then come home to exercise and care for your horse, on top of probably working to pay for said horse?

Not to mention the fact that most 'beginner horses' that are cheap end up being unsound or drugged these days. If you are determined to have a horse, look for a part or full lease. It means that if things get too much, you don't have to worry about the fate of the horse (as much), because they have someone to go back to that can provide for them.

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