Buying an older horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-07-2013, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Buying an older horse

I'm really interested in this horse and am going to go take a look at him. He looks like an awesome horse, the only downside is that he's 20 years old. I've always heard older horses are the best teachers and that would be great. But the thing I'm concerned about is how many good riding years he has left. I really like this horse, but not sure about his age especially since I want a horse I can show and do lower to intermediate dressage on. Here's the ad:PRICE REDUCED NEED TO SELL Handsome Solid Arabian Gelding

What do you think?

Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die. Don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris LeDoux
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post #2 of 20 Old 09-07-2013, 05:36 PM
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Old age is going to vary. We have a lesson horse who is 29 and just starting to slow down. Then there are horses who break down in their late teens. This guy looks like he is in good shape! I'm sure your going to get MANY more good riding years out of him. While at 20 I wouldn't recommend heavy work, like starting a barrel career, there is no reason you can't do dressage on him! His age wouldn't prevent me from buying him if he is a good, sane, beginner mount!

Some things you might consider is he may have to be on (or go on in the future) supplements, like a joint supplement or Bute. He many need shoes to be comfortable. It may take him longer to limber up, unlike younger horses.
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post #3 of 20 Old 09-07-2013, 06:00 PM
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It's such an individual thing. I think an older horse can be great for someone who's learning. A well cared for horse may live into his 30's, but you don't know this guy's history. I would be prepared to do an extensive PPE unless you could afford to retire him and get a second horse at any time. He may also not be very rideable much longer-depends how much arthritis he has. He will have a higher upkeep cost due to extra vet bills, supplements, and feed. You're also wanting to do intermediate level dressage, and he's never been ridden English at all. If he's arthritic in the hocks, he probably won't make it out of the low levels. It's just more of a risk buying a horse that age.

That said, I bought a 22 year old Arab that had done endurance most of her life from the sale barn for almost nothing, and I really loved her. She was a blast to ride, and she could go all day. She ended up being a lovely horse without a lot of problems other than needing a joint supplement and some Bute if it was really cold. I doubt she would have been much good for dressage though--she had trouble picking up one lead and had some general stiffness due to age. Great trail horse, and I never regretted buying her. I had the pasture space so it wouldn't have mattered if I'd never been able to ride her. I was a sucker and no one would bid on her.

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post #4 of 20 Old 09-07-2013, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horse racer View Post
especially since I want a horse I can show and do lower to intermediate dressage on.
The ad says he has only ridden Western, at age 20 teaching him dressage would take how long? I have no idea on that part of Dressage, but I am sure it would take a while and then he is getting really old.......

I would pass on that Horse if it were me....


.
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post #5 of 20 Old 09-07-2013, 06:17 PM
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It looks more like his owner ride him in a western saddle, not actually riding him western. She isn't neck reining and she is riding in a snaffle. I guess either way he isn't "dressage trained". I guess you would have to evaluate him and ask your trainer if he would make a good prospect and hold up to the program. I know my older (17) would probably do fairly well at lower level dressage.
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post #6 of 20 Old 09-07-2013, 06:35 PM
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I probably wouldn't.

When buying an older horse to me the main benefit is that you can get excellent training and experience for a fraction of the cost. Even if you do have to supply more feed and take more care, this is offset by the low price (in comparison to a younger horse) that you have paid for the training.

However, this horse isn't trained in what you want to do. The add even says he's been used as a trail horse but needs more experience to be a good trail horse. Yes, an older horse can be a great teacher but only when they're trained in what you want to learn. So you're not getting the benefits of age, so really the only benefit is a discounted price.

Although if you ride him for six months to a year and find he's got no aptitude for dressage, or you simply don't get along, it's going to be very hard to sell him. Even if you train him in dressage (which could cost a fair bit in lessons) you're never going to make a cent of that back. Then there is the increased risk of age, and the costs associated with it. If something does happen, and he turns out to be unsound or something, you could be stuck with this horse for many years.

I'd probably look for something a bit younger and with a bit of training in dressage. You might find a pony club or adult riding club schoolmaster in his mid teens, the price might be a little higher, but in the long run, with resale and costs, you'll likely end up ahead.
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post #7 of 20 Old 09-07-2013, 07:54 PM
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I pretty much agree with the previous posters.

Of course, I got my Arab mare when she was 23. She had been retired since she was 11 or 12 for going over backwards on her rider and, obviously, had some pretty serious issues undersaddle. But nobody told me any of that^ until after I had agreed to take her [a mutual friend was acting as the sort of "broker" between my mare's then-owner and myself...no one told the mutual friend these things until after all paperwork had been signed].
ANYWAY, long story short, Lacey is now 28 and basically one of the most dead-broke but sensitive horses I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She is genuinely a pleasure now. There's never any doubt in my mind that she is a 100% safe horse - I even use her to teach little kids how to ride!
It took a solid 3 years for me to get her trained the way I wanted, but I had never finished up a horse before or worked with one that had so many issues. An experienced trainer could have gotten her fixed up in no time.

She's also a kickbutt trail horse. She'll attempt anything I ask her to try! She had minimal amounts of trail experience, from what I've heard, in her previous home but not a whole lot.

Anyway, 20 is nothing, especially for an Arab. Of course, you do need to be prepared to be this guy's last home since the market for older horses is small.
And older horses do have less...I guess energy. I mean, my girl will keep going for as long as I ask her to but she gets TIRED and it shows after a bit. The 9 year old Arab I work with at work could go all day, and then some, without showing any signs of fatigue. I guess the thing is that my older girl is more willing than her body is able, she just doesn't have the energy reserves she had when she was younger. She's still totally up for 3-4 hour meandering trail rides with breaks, but she'll be pooped by the end.
The other thing: older horses are less able to be "molded" into whatever you want them to be, like you can mold younger horses - if he doesn't want to be a dressage horse, you are going to be fighting a HARD uphill battle to make him be one. He may love dressage and you two may be a perfect pair...but be prepared for the "what if he doesn't like ____". That's why my girl is a trail horse - I wanted to do arena "stuff" like jumping, dressage, etc...and she didn't. Guess who "won"? haha
Of course, now I absolutely love the trails and live for hitting them...but that can be a problem.



Older horses are great. I just love them. If you have the space and resources to be able to keep this guy for the rest of his days, I say go for it. I don't think you'll be sorry.
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post #8 of 20 Old 09-08-2013, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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I've talked to the seller and she says he has great hooves and keeps him barefoot. She says he know some dressage stuff but needs work. He would be a great horse, but just not sure if he'd be all the horse I want. Since I am both a western and English rider I want a horse that versatile on trails, roping, working cows, dressage and jumping. I think he'd be a great horse and I would love to have him.

I've been looking for a horse between the age of 10-12, but I just can't find one that is in my budget, I have $1500-$1800 to spend on a horse.

This is the other horse I've looked at: AQHA Ranch Gelding Prospect

Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die. Don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris LeDoux
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post #9 of 20 Old 09-08-2013, 02:54 AM
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Well, in the first post you said that you liked the horse because he was older and could teach you a lot. Which makes me think you want a horse for beginners. (Though I may be wrong.) The QH you posted says that he is well broke to ride, not for beginners. Lol, this guys seems to be on the opposite end of the first one. Maybe keep looking until you find one in the middle? :)
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post #10 of 20 Old 09-08-2013, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not exactly a beginner, but no expert and still have a lot to learn. When I worked for a horse trainer I got put up on some challenging horses haha. But yeah, if I could find one in between it would be great. I don't want a horse that's completely dead broke though. Here's some more I've looked at, I'm just trying to choose between the ones I've posted on here that I think is worth going and looking at.

12 yr old Experienced Thoroughbred

Thoroughbred Gelding for Sale
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Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die. Don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris LeDoux
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