Need Advice Regarding a new horse.
I am an advanced beginner rider and I am looking to purchase a riding horse to both learn on and work with for english pleasure, light jumping, and dressage.
I am currently looking at a 6 yr old, 16.2Hh TB gelding who has been retrained off the track after a short stunt at racing. He has basic jumping and light dressage work on him but has not been asked to do anything but light western pleasure riding for the last year or so with an owner who unfortunately has very little knowledge of horses and has been treating him like a big puppy dog and spoiling him endlessly.
He has a sweet "in your pocket" personality and is very willing however I have noted several negative behaviors he desplays which all seem related to the lady who has been riding him.
He is very pushy on the ground (she gives him treats almost constantly when I am there and never repremands him for any negative behavior).
I asked him to lunge so I could see his movement and honestly he didn't seem to understand anything I was asking him. I did however get some movement after some effort but when I asked him to canter he showed light aggressive behavior by kicking out and rearing a little (He did not try to hit me but seemed to threaten).
After lunging him for a short amount of time I saddled him which he did fine with and rode him out to pasture to test his gaits. He did very well on everything until I asked him to stop. This horse has no breaks. The owner had him in a nasty twisted wire bit and honestly I know those things hurt and he didn't seem to care he just kept on walking. He would stop after about the third request. At the trott I had to run him into a fence.
I brought my dressage trainer out with me to look him and she expressed that she thought he had great potiential but due to him basically having his own way for the last year, he might be a handful for me to train and that would be exactly what he needs; to be retrained properly.
The owner is asking $1200 for him and is very willing to allow payments and I can ride him whenever I like.
My question is this: is he worth it?
What do you think of his behaviors?
He is a beautiful horse and I honestly feel bad for him because he wants a job and loves to be ridden but just seems to be lacking knowledge about what he is supposed to do.
I do not however, at my training level, want to get in over my head with a horse just because I feel bad for him.
Your advice would be greatly appreciated!
Unless you can afford to send him to a professional trainer to work out the kinks, I'd pass on him.
Yes, he seems like a lovely horse, but he has some piggish ways that you as an advanced beginner just aren't going to be able to tackle on your own. Advanced beginner rider does not translate to advanced beginner trainer.
i'd have to say that he sounds great if you can afford to work with a trainer with him but that on your own for the most part he has a lot of nasty habits to correct not to mention rebitting a horse is a training process in and of itself.
will the seller negotiate on price at all so that perhaps you can offer $750 or $800 and then negotiate somewhere in the middle and use the money you "save" towards training?
The trainer that I mentioned who came out with me to look at him would be willing to train him for me. She was a professional show trainer in dressage for many years. Actually that is the thing, I wouldn't have to pay anything really for his training outside of his normal care and time on my part.
Barbara, the trainer, is a friend of mine and I work as a working student at her barn and just help her out in general whenever she needs something. She is a very sweet lady and has offered to help me finish a dressage/jumping prospect.
That is what is making this decision so hard. Its very tempting to just buy him and work with him but I want to be careful and not get in over my head.
The current owner seems very motivated to sell him (she isn't going to be riding him anymore due to injuries to her neck apparently - car accident related) but that is another reason I want to be careful about this. She was not very honest about his training level. I don't think he has been being ridden often (she claims she has been riding him but his behavior seems to say otherwise and I would say he has been out to field for the last month at least).
As for price. I think she will drop it dramatically if I buy him out right so she doesn't have to continuing supporting his boarding fees, feed, etc.
For the type of horse you are looking for, I would be looking at older horses, 15 and over. Find a nice schoolie type that someone may be retiring from serious showing that can teach you the ropes. A 6 year old with some issues is a long way from being something that will help you learn and progress.
I think you will have much more fun if you buy a horse that isn't a project. As a advanced beginner, you probably will find this horse a handful, probably for a long while.
My recommendation would be to find a completely trained horse, so you will be able to go to the barn, saddle up, and do whatever it is you want to do, without having to worry about green horse quirks. It's much more enjoyable to know you can get on whenever you want and go on trail rides, or play around in the ring.
If you get a green horse, what you are in store for is going to the barn and wanting to ride, but having to wait for something, whether it's waiting for basic ground manners, walk work, and then trot work, and then canter work, and then over fences.... it'll be a lot of waiting. And since you aren't a trainer it'll be a lot of money invested, plus a lot of waiting. And you may not even feel very confident when you do ride, since a green horse can be an extremely unpredictable horse, and you may just end up being terrified of what the animal could do to you, whether it's falling off, or kicking you on the ground.
If you are interested in having fun with horses, don't drag it out and make yourself have to wait a considerable amount of time before you can actually have fun. Get a horse that you can fun with now, and there will be plenty of green horses you can get in the future to learn about the training aspect of it.
well if you can get training for free and are willing to put months - a year of work into the horse before you are able to show or do much outside of learning how to fix his habits, i don't see why it can't work. if you want something to get on and go and show and trail ride now, then i'd look for something more trained that's safer.
it does sound like this horse has a lot of potential, but will need a lot of work to reach that potential starting with fixing old habits. it all comes down to how much work are you willing to put in, how long are you willing to wait to be able to go to outings/events, and how often can your trainer work with him for you to keep progress moving forward? and of course - just how comfortable are you overall with the horse? "advanced beginner" is a pretty broad term - only you and your trainer can truly assess your riding abilities and decide if this horse is too much or not.
Good point CJ82Sky. It does depend a lot on your goals.
My main concern Tara - Based on your original post, it kind of sounds like you fell for this horse without completely considering it. Take a step back, and think about what you'd like to acomplish in the next year.
This horse will take time to develop into a useful equine citizen. It depends how much you want to invest, both time and money, before you expect a return on your investment.
Do keep in mind there are horses out there right now that are useful right now, without the wait. They could even cost the same as the one you're looking at, or even less. There are also other green horses out there, possibily ones that don't have the aggression you noted. If you have to struggle to justify this particular horse, it would be worthwhile to see what other horses are there.
So it really just depends.
Look at more horses before you make a decision. There are many good horses out there for sale. Many!
I LOVE having a horse that I know has some sense in his head and I can do a ton of things with him, but I am not your age, I think.
I kind of think that this horse might be a better choice for you when you can honestly say you are at least a strong intermediate.
Thank you so much everyone for your advice. I really feel like your thoughts and support on this matter have allowed me to step back and look at this situation a little clearer.
I went out to his boarding barn yesterday to spend a little more time with him on my own (without the owner hovering over my shoulder, pushing me to buy him) and I must say that I was not at all impressed with his behavior on the ground. Honestly it worried me.
This is a horse that has learned to be pushy. Learned to treat fearful new situations with aggression, and he does not respect humans at all.
At the lunge, he reared completely off the ground when asked for the canter. This was after offering to cow kick me when I asked him to reverse directions.
The owner had told me he didn't lunge so although he behavior worried me I was letting it go somewhat as a training issue later when he decided to show he true colors out in the field when I went to put him back in his paddack.
His owner had come out when I was working with him to put his feed in his pen for me. He must have seen her because when I went to put him back he was very pushy and kept trying to get around to the feeding stall. I corrected him quetly but sturnly and he rewarded me by threatening to rear.
I got out of the way and he didn't complete the threat but it seemed pretty clear his opinion on the matter. I did not imediately release him as he wanted and I kept him on the lead to keep working with him and get him to accept my position and to learn a little respect.
Every time I touched his halter to take it off he would shove at me and it took me a good 10 minutes or so to get him to stand in place respectfully and lower his head so I could remove his halter.
It struck me that he was not at all fearful of removing his halter, something which I had done before, but that he simply did not care to have me bother him or even be near him when he just wanted to go eat and he acted out by showing threatening behavior toward me as the handler.
I talked to a boarding barn that this horse had stayed at and the owner told me quite clearly that she had told the horses owner that he was showing rude and threatening behavior on the ground and needed training right away. A comment which the owner took as insulting and soon removed her horse from that barn (the owner confirmed just as much herself, although she claimes to this day that the horse is perfect and has no such behavioral problems which is why she is advertising him as a beginner safe horse).
Well after all the drama I have decided not to buy the TB.
You guys are right. I need to find a horse that is a good fit for my riding level. I feel kinda bad for the horse because he really needs to go to a home that can work with him and train him properly.
I already have a coming 2 yr old filly who I am ground training and getting a 6 yr old project right now is just too much. I don't have that kind of knowledge, time, and money to be retraining every project horse that I come across.
Thank you all again for your kind thoughts and advice. It has made this situation so much clearer and I thank you all for that.
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