A Possible First Horse. Good Idea? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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A Possible First Horse. Good Idea?

I really need to stop looking at Craigslist until I save up all the money I wanted to....

Anyway, I have a real soft spot for older or sad or "in need" animals. I've come across an ad that I would love to respond to, but I would like an opinion on this particular guy as a first horse. First, the link: Horse needs companion home!

Here's what it says:
Hello, I have a 22 year old gelding that needs companion home only. He is lame and can not be rode. He does have ring bone and side bone that has not been fused. He is in good health other then being lame. If your interested or want more information please respond to my post. Thank you
And the photos:

Now, I understand that this will not be a horse that I'll be able to ride, especially being 200 pounds. This guy would probably be good to learn general care and such on, assuming that he's a calm guy of course (ad does not say anything about personality). I'm okay with having a companion only horse at this point as I still need to learn how to ride properly. I feel if I am really slow on learning, at least I'm not ruining it for a horse who probably isn't used to being a school nag.

My biggest concern is the lameness and the bone thing. I don't know a thing about ring bone and side bone. I will be researching it shortly. I assume that if I do get this horse and work him just enough to stay healthy and safe then I could probably have five to ten years with him.

If I do decide to buy him, are there any questions that I should definitely ask?
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 01:54 AM
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Firstly I would not BUY this horse! I would NOT pay money for that horse!!

I can understand being a sucker, I'm one myself! However please remember horses are expensive, and a horse with health issues is going to be even more expensive, so research, research, research!! Also talk to the horse's current owner and vet, and then your own vet!!! So you'll know exactly what you are getting into.

He is likely to live another 5+ years, maybe 15 or more! Are you prepared to care for him for however long he lives? I repeat, horses are expensive!! And I'd assume you'd eventually want to get a horse you can ride, so can you afford it x2?

I know I'm not covering much, but what it comes down to is can YOU manage it both physically and financially? If you can, I think that's great, but if you don't think you can it may be best to pass.

You will sadly have to learn you can't save them all, be careful not to let your emotions guide you, it's way to easy to find yourself way over your head! Be sure you are ready and this is truely what you want before jumping in.

Hope that helps!
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 02:39 AM
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I couldn't see on the ad whether they were asking for money for him or if he was free to a good home. Unless they were asking for a small amount just to avoid him being brought for pet food then I definitely wouldn't be paying anything for him.
If you have the space and the $ to care for him especially once you are ready for a second horse then you could think about providing him a nice retirement home. I don't know much ring bone however so don't know what that could cost you to maintain.
If you do some research on it and are still keen then I would definitely get some information on his temperament and find out what he is like to handle.
I am the same as you and wish I could help every older/lame horse that I come across but our small block doesn't make that a possibility unfortunately.
Good luck and let us know how things go!
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 03:43 AM
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I would not buy this horse as a first horse.

Horse ownership is a huge learning curve. It costs more money than you think and it takes more time than you think. This is more true with a horse that needs special care.

This horse is old, which doesn't just mean you can't ride him, it also means that his feed costs are going to be higher, and that will increase as he ages. He might need more rugging, the time will come when he may need to be on medication permanently.

I feel for older horses, and if I had a horse and it was great to me over the years I'd take care of it as it got older, regardless of the cost and time, but I would never consider taking on an elderly horse for the sake of it.

You might get five years out of him, you might also find that in six months he develops problems and you have to go through all the heartache of deciding whether you should put him to sleep or not. You could spend all the money you're saving for a riding horse for you on vet bills for this horse.

There are thousands of horses out there that need homes. You go to horse sales and you see loads of horses who are going to go to their deaths. There are plenty of young, healthy horses that need homes too.

Horses can be really hard and some first horse owners can get disillusioned with the hard work and no pay off, and that's when they can ride! Save for a riding horse, and then in a year if you still think you want to help a horse I can guarantee you there will be horses needing homes just as badly then, but at least you'll know what you're getting yourself into.
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 05:21 AM
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Older horses tend to require more care and more experience than a younger horse. They are prone to more health issues, and are not necessarily calmer in their old age - some still have a ton of spunk.

You can get great horses for a cheap price, if you are just after a nice quiet "nag" (e.g. not a show horse).
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 07:42 AM
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You would need to find a good vet to do a pre purchase exam and talk to that vet. Honestly though, I would pass on this horse. Too many medical expenses and he can't earn his keep.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 08:29 AM
Green Broke
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It costs just as much to have a horse you cannot ride as it does to have one you can.

And the medical bills can add up too, for meds, therapies and what have you.

I would NOT get for my first horse an animal that has major health issues, is older, or is untrained.

I understand your soft heart, but you will be doing yourself a disservice by getting something like this.

And the comment about usable horses, young horses and healthy horses going to slaughter every day was true.

You need, for a first horse though, a SAFE and beginner friendly horse that is already trained well and that you can ride.

Horses make me a better person.
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Honestly, I get the impression that this horse will probably be either free or very little to buy. From what I was reading last night (in my state of exhaustion as I worked both my jobs yesterday), ringbone and sidebone are similar to osteoarthritis. If I remember correctly, TheHorse.com had an article that said many horses with either condition can live long lives and even be ridden if they suffer only mild effects.

I do understand horses to be expensive, which is why I'm working two jobs to save up the money (and hopefully will have a raise here in October, which will help). I figured that it couldn't cost me more than $1000/month in general to keep a horse and I was basing that on a very hungry draft horse. My personal expenses do not usually run more than $500, so I would be able to scrape up the other $1000 every month at this point.

I would be boarding and the particular place I'm currently looking at would probably run me $400 or so a month I think. I'm not entirely sure as they do not have prices listed. When I visited earlier this week, I talked with a couple of boarders and I was under the impression that the place was priced within average range for my area. If I guessed the boarding price correctly, that would give me around $600 a month to work with. I'm not sure how much corrective shoes are, but if they average $100 say and are needed every two weeks, then I could spare it. That would give me $400 a month to pay for anything else. I also know my personal expenses would be covered if an emergency came up or I could sell a few highly collectible items rather quickly if needed. I always have people asking me if my second car is for sale.

In a way, if feel a non-riding horse may be better as I have very little free time between jobs and would have to hope the horse is an early riser in general. Granted, I do have three days "off" a week where I'm only working one job, so a horse wouldn't suffer too much for attention.

I do appreciate everyone's opinions, which is why I'm here. I'm just trying to explain my situation a little better. I know even if I bought a horse I could ride this year, I still wouldn't be able to/want to as I am green for riding. I rode maybe ten years ago, a few times. I do not currently take lessons and I know I shouldn't just hop onto a horse and assume I won't get hurt or hurt the animal.

Do you guys/gals really think that a horse such as this one would be a major expense health-wise? I know there's not a lot of information, but let's pretend that his only issues are the side and ring bone and his age. Let's pretend that he is a safe, bomb-proof, easy keeper otherwise. I just hate to pass him up if it would be possible to give him a home is all.
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post #9 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 06:16 PM
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I would still pass on this horse, given your situation. Working two jobs is insane, I know, I work full-time and am also at university full-time, so I know what you mean about having no spare time. When I got my horse, I searched for a horse who didn't need regular work. My gelding gets ridden once a week, sometimes once a fortnight. He enjoys being ridden, doesn't get fizzy, and on the days I don't ride him, he just chills in the paddock being a horse.
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post #10 of 15 Old 06-24-2013, 06:36 PM
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I have three pasture ornaments and wouldn't trade them for all the tea in China. Have they cost me money? Yes. Have they provided me with any return on my investment? Yes if you count the hours of listening, absorbing tears, providing a shoulder and learning experiences for children and those wanting to learn about drafts. They are worth every penny spent on them. If you are prepared for the cost and upkeep and truly accept that this horse isn't rideable by you then if you feel you can do each other a good turn have him vet checked, make sure you have adequate agreements for boarding and know that you have time to devote for him then God Bless you. When I reached a point where I had to give up my first horse I gave her to a handicapped child whose parents just wanted something safe she could brush, feed and care for as well as provide companionship. They had a small pasture and lean to so board wasn't an issue but as an older horse feeding her was expensive and her supplements weren't cheap either but those two had a very happy long term friendship.
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