How do I pursuade my parents to let me get a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-17-2020, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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How do I pursuade my parents to let me get a horse?

Right so I'm nearly 14 and have been riding for 7 years but I'm still not allowed to get a horse. I live on a farm so we have plenty of stable space and paddocks for a horse. I can afford to buy a horse and I am looking for a job to pay for the yearly costs which I have worked out. The only thing is is that my mum doesn't understand what it is like to care for a horse and thinks I am not up to keeping one. I need advice on how to convince her I am capable. Can you help?
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-17-2020, 12:59 PM
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Sounds like taking a first step to prove you are responsible is where to start - see if you can exchange riding time for physical labor - cleaning stalls, scrubbing buckets, sweeping, feeding...or even just get paid to do so at a local stable needing extra help.

More comes to horse ownership than just having the space and having the money, though. A lot of knowledge is needed to be a great owner - knowing what and how much to feed, knowing the signs of ailments including colic, laminitis, thrush, etc, knowing what de-worming cycles and other preventative care is needed, and more! It isn't as straightforward as many think, and I'm sure my parents wished they would have known that a farrier needs to come out every 5-7 weeks, a dentist needs to come out twice a year, regular vaccinations are needed, some horses need chiropractic work and massage...Plus keeping a horse on your own property comes with fence maintenance, pasture maintenance, manure disposal, and daily care nonetheless.

I'm sure my parents regretted moving our horses (3 at the time) to our own property instead of boarding as soon as all of the maintenance and daily care became part of our daily rituals. It sure was a lot easier just sending a check to who was taking care of our horses, instead of having to do it all ourselves.

Really, the responsible step that many people skip is leasing a horse before buying a horse. If you are trying to jump from taking lessons, or even just riding, to owning a horse, I would consider leasing instead. I know my first few years of horse ownership would have been much better if I would have opted to lease rather than nosediving into ownership.

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post #3 of 10 Old 06-17-2020, 01:07 PM
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I have owned horses for many years, but up until 5 years ago never kept them on my own property. It is a lot of work having horses at home. I sometimes spend more time dealing with the maintenance of keeping horses at home, and don't have any time to ride because of it.
Pasture maintenance is a lot of work - harrowing, seeding, weeding. Ensuring fences and shelters are in good repair and kept painted/etc. I feed hay year-round, so buying, shipping and storing hay is a huge headache some years.

And since I now keep my horses at home, I felt it was pertinent to get a trailer so If needed I could take them to a vet,etc (another added cost).

Have you looked into leasing in the mean-time? I agree with everything @ClearDonkey mentioned about proving responsibility, etc. Also keep in mind your own future goals with regards to high school/college. Your plans may change in a couple years and having a horse may end up causing some heartache or issues. Not to say it isn't possible to keep a horse through college (I did!), but it was not easy.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-17-2020, 01:23 PM
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Welcome to the Forum...

I remember wanting a horse so bad....
I can only tell you that I had to prove to my parents I was ready for the responsibility of caring for that horse.
I did that by keeping my school grades at A's & B's only.
I was in school clubs that you had to participate in community activities to belong.
I started babysitting when I was 13 during daylight hours only.

I babysat every weekend and school holiday from the time I was 14 adding the late night hours.

There was no going out with friends to hang out or get into trouble with. I watched kids Friday evenings, Saturday part of the day or into the night and Sunday I had to be home by 11:00PM so could get up for school the next day...otherwise it was common for me to be brought home around 2:00 AM Friday or Saturday by one of the adults...
I saved every dollar but $10 a week which I allowed myself to spend on me... so 40+ years ago I saved nearly $75 - $100 over the weekend babysitting for several families, not bad for a kid those days.
I had chores to be done at home, every day and every week certain things were my responsibility to get done and done right.
I cooked dinner nights my mom worked late or had most of it done, table set so it was fast to finish and eat when mom walked through the door.
My sisters had other chores and responsibilities...
When I had shown my parents I could be responsible for that animal, the animal would come first in everything as it depended on me to survive... only then did my parents agree to getting...

However...the deal was..
My school grades could not suffer, my chores still were the same and needed done, I still babysat just as much.
I contributed what I could toward my horses care...
What I did give up some was the community service work and some of the school horse came first and those clubs took me away from time needed to literally take care of my horse...feed, clean the stable, clean his paddock and ride him to keep him fit and healthy.
If I did not live up to my end of the bargain, if I let my grades slip, I didn't do my chores...the horse was gone!!
No going back, no do-overs.

I was held responsible for that animal staying or going and knew it.
I wanted that horse so grades were 90 or above in everything, chores done and never forgotten, homework I fit in someplace...and still I babysat to earn and pay something toward his cost.
And I returned to certain community service work I loved...
I was busy, never in trouble. I had to much to lose to do something stupid is what I told friends..

Try proving to your parents over time you are responsible enough and dedicated enough for a live animal to be in your care...

That is where I would begin...start proving to them you're ready for the challenge.
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The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-17-2020, 01:39 PM
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Adding to the other contributors thoughts...
I never leased a horse first.
I took lessons from the time I was about 9 year-round.
I spent school holidays hanging around at the barn working and learning to care for, how to and just being immersed in horse.
Horse-crazy had started long before this and was getting worse by the older I got.
When I hit middle school, then that was 7th was intense.
My life was horses and revolved around everything I could read and learn, to ride better, be better a care-giver cause I knew my dream was going to come true one-way or another and I better be prepared for it cause my parents were "nice horsey, pet the nose"....big changes a coming.
13 years of age my life turned in responsibilities huge as I mentioned above in the other post...
Today...cough, dreams are still in existence.
My horses now live in my backyard under solely my care.
I make the decisions about them and live with my decisions good or bad.
My family all loves the horses, so don't mind the extra family work needing done.
There is no vacation going for a cruise...I can better spend that money on the horses.
You yourself will need to move over a lot to have a without cause Trigger needs or you want something special.
Don't ever realize though that for you to have your parents have done a huge amount of moving things around in their lives too, they give up so you can have...animals must eat and are dependent on us to provide it.
Growing up my family moved over so the horse could arrive in their daily activities and arrangements made if we had to go out of town as a family...animals come first.
Good suggestions were given and add what insight my life changed to as my horses were in my parents friends yard as a kid, not it was a responsibility to get to him to take care of him pedaling a bicycle or walking.
Just remember, everyone gives up more than you realize so you have a dream become reality...
Make your dream a reality but do it with the most knowledge already learned so your horse is well cared for from day one at home.
Having a farm is great, but it is different animal to animal to take care of and provide for to keep them healthy and happy.
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The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-14-2020, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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UPDATE: I have managed to get riding time with my neighbour on her horses. My mum is really nervous about me going though and doesn't really want me riding horses at all. My old riding school has shut down due to covid-19 and now I'm riding at a smaller stable with trickier horses to ride but I think this could be good and help me improve. I've had a talk with my dad about getting a horse but he just pushes the question away, this is strange because he usually seems very interested in me riding. My friend is taking horse riding for PE GCSE and her parents think that she needs a horse so she can participate in competitions to improve her grades (she is very happy about this) When my mum was involved in this conversation she said that I'm never going to get a horse even though this wasnt about me. She just seems so against this idea and I don't know what to do.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-14-2020, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Izyib4 View Post
UPDATE: I have managed to get riding time with my neighbour on her horses. My mum is really nervous about me going though and doesn't really want me riding horses at all. My old riding school has shut down due to covid-19 and now I'm riding at a smaller stable with trickier horses to ride but I think this could be good and help me improve. I've had a talk with my dad about getting a horse but he just pushes the question away, this is strange because he usually seems very interested in me riding. My friend is taking horse riding for PE GCSE and her parents think that she needs a horse so she can participate in competitions to improve her grades (she is very happy about this) When my mum was involved in this conversation she said that I'm never going to get a horse even though this wasnt about me. She just seems so against this idea and I don't know what to do.
One aspect that your parents may not want to worry you about are the finances. Your father in particular may be worried about his future earnings due to this epidemic. I understand why your parents may want to keep you out of the loop, but be aware that what is currently happening is unprecedented in recent history and adults are rightfully worried about the future. Also remember that your parents (rightfully) may not want to worry you with their anxieties so even if it seems that you family can financially support a horse at the moment, you may not have the full picture. This really isn't the right time to make large financial obligations. A lease horse might go down better, so you could try that route.
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-14-2020, 07:20 AM
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This is a good life lesson that sometimes no matter how badly you want or think you need something... that some people wont give it to you. How should we react when we are told no? At your age I probably would have sulked and had a tantrum but that got me nowhere :P

Instead I had to work with what I was given and finally at the age of 28 I got my first horse. There was NO WAY I was gonna be allowed one, much less bought on, at your age :< It really sucks. I could have gotten a horse at 17 myself but I ended up focusing on my career instead.

Remember with COVID many people have lost loved ones. They have lost jobs. If it was hard to convince people before to invest in anything, it's even harder now. From what you say your father is more open but remember your parents, I assume, are married? They have to look after their friendship and relationship too. Your father can't simply get you a horse against your mother's wishes. Something this big needs to be a family decision and everyone needs to agree.

So your mother does not believe you are capable of looking after a horse you say? Be honest with yourself - how independent are you? Everyone has a different upbringing. But at 14 I was washing all my own clothes and bed-sheets each week. Making my own breakfasts and packed lunches. Everyone in my family hated cooking :P I was ironing my school uniform. After school I had to take our 5 dogs to the park for exercise. I was in charge of unloading the dishwasher and keeping the bathroom & mirrors clean. I had a weekend job and volunteered at a yard. Still didn't get a horse and gave up asking after a while...

Are you sure your family can afford a horse? I know you have funds but be honest now, if something major happens who will fund the vet bill? Your parents. This is money they earn and it is theirs. They might prefer to go on holidays over spending money on your horse. They might prefer a nice car over spending it on a vet bill. That's actually completely reasonable. They work for it. When you have your own money you can decide what you want. At your age I find it hard to believe that you will have thousands needed to support a horse completely alone. At 14 I don't think you can even sign up for insurance to help compensate for the lack of savings if something terrible did happen. But 2-3 years isn't that far away. Keep saving hard and you'll be in an even BETTER position then to independently own a horse.

Meanwhile can you ask to pay to share your friend's horse? It might work out better if you are at a similar level? My friend, in her 30's, paid to use someone's horse every Sunday to learn on because she couldn't afford a horse. Continue to be responsible, put your head down. Volunteer, don't make a scene. Prove you can look after yourself ;) I know its sad not to have parents that will invest in your horse career and hobby. It's an expensive, dangerous hobby. Other people are lucky. Life isn't fair. You will be OK. :)
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-14-2020, 11:11 AM
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As a parent who rides. I can say that a 14yr old that thinks they can "afford" a horse is probably not really aware of the true cost of owning a horse. You think you hae the space and ways and means of caring for a horse but your parents may think differently. I have raised 5 kids that have been involved a little bit with horses. Currently my youngest is the only one still interested. She is 20 years old and has learned some hard lessons these last few years. She went to college locally her first year - so she got to ride and help take care of her own horse. We raise our own hay so she had to be here to bale hay and stack it in the barn. Her second year of college she went away to school - and looked into boarding her horse down at school. It was really expensive. The spring of her sophomore year her mare got very ill and had to spend 10 days in an equine hospital. It was thousands of dollars - and still her mare did not make it. We could not afford a new horse for her so she had to use her savings and buy one on her own. She boarded that horse with her at school - and had to take on another job in order to afford her horse. Last year (her junior year) she opted to leave her horse at home because board at school was expensive. This year (her Senior year) she has worked 65 hours per week at a summer job in a factory in order to take her hose back to school with her this year.

What I am saying is that at 14 your life is going to change very rapidly in these next few years. You will go from being a child to being an adult in 4 short years. What will you do with a horse after school is done? If you do not go to university will you be able to still afford a horse?

Look into a lease or a trade arrangement for now. Horse ownership is very expensive and you may need to wait until you are out on your own to make your dream come true
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-14-2020, 02:25 PM
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I remember I was dying to get a horse at your age too, and I did when I was 15, but I can tell you that it is not all sunshine and roses, as it may seem. Horses are incredibly expensive and anything can happen on any moment. I've owned for a longer time now, but looking back, I really wish I would have leased first, as I really had no sweet clue of the expenses/ liabilities I was taking on. I have been very fortunate in the past to have my parents help me with finances; however, I'd be lying to say that there has not been tension over horses in the past.

carshon's point about university is a very real one. Like her daughter, I also opted to stay home, so that I could stay near my horse. Don't get me wrong because I love my horses, but I really regret not taking the opportunity to study elsewhere or study abroad - both of which would have given me ample opportunities for furthering my riding and career. This did not really bother me until my later years at university, where I realized everyone else went to other universities with better teaching or went to train/work under a higher level instructor in X region. Many of those people have had it much easier with success. Looking back, leasing would have been a better option for me by far, as I'd get to enjoy/learn on horses without the associated liabilities of owning one.

Now for the grim liabilities because although it is often mentioned, it is not always imaginable to potential new owners, but regardless, it is a reality. Horses can pick up health/lameness issues, even if you are careful. Sometimes those issues are obvious and other times that can continue subtly until they are chronic. Last year, one of my horses was diagnosed with DSLD (look it up if you don't know what it is), which ultimately means he has to be retired at age 14 from riding and there is no cure. We do very very light work (trails) occasionally, but this is HARD to deal with since he was my dressage mount and really succeeding prior to DSLD. The maintenance for this has been expensive both in finances and time. I've paid $4000 in vet fees, partly for diagnoses and partly for 1 series of shockwave to help. I've also paid $1000 to build a new paddock, with better footing, so that he would not be standing in mud, which is hard on those ligaments. He now needs Previcox, which again is another expense. Then, on top of that, I go to the barn daily (I board) to clean out the paddock and ice the ligaments. I'd love to travel, to take other opportunities out of town, but in a lot of ways, I am trapped because it is not easy (nor cheap) to move both horses and especially hard on the DSLD one. I'm even considering selling my second horse because it has become so time consuming to work with both and I have other horses to ride, aside from that. This is just one scenario out of many that is a possibility, where the horse goes permanently lame and needs to be retired. Sometimes, you may find a good retirement home for a horse like that, but MOST of the time, you are stuck with them and there are many unsavory characters in re-homing that would make the horse suffer. Of course, it doesn't always happen, but I'd say it is more likely when you are green in horse experience and don't notice issues at early stages - it gets experienced owners sometime too! And others, such as DSLD are unavoidable, regardless.

Now for the positives, owning a horse can be very rewarding too. But, most of those experiences can be obtained through leasing anyway. There are different sorts of leases - free, partial, full. I have friends who have leased all or most of their time and they have come leaps and bounds as riders. One girl I know has traveled the world for different working student positions and the past few years has traveled for paid positions. Last year, she just got hired at a big time showing barn to train/show the horses there. She only recently bought a horse to board where she now works. A partial lease will give you lots of time to ride, without having to take part in much of the care (vets, farriers, stalls - depending). A full lease will give you more freedom and a free lease will be just like you own the horse except you are not stuck paying for them, if you decide to back out. Lots of leases have the option of showing and even if they don't initially, I've found that many owners are more lenient once they have more trust in you. You may even find a horse to lease long-term if you are lucky, or you may have the opportunity to ride different mounts, which will continue to build your skills in training/riding.

Having experienced both leasing and owning, I think you may actually feel quite fulfilled with leasing for a while. and taking lessons on that horse to further your skills.
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