To buy or not to buy a green horse. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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To buy or not to buy a green horse.

Hi there, so this is my first forum question/posting ever, woot. A little background, I have been riding for about 20 years, on and off through college, but back on for the past 2ish years now. Most of my riding has been with lesson horses and I leased a lesson horse as well back in the day. I have never owned a horse. I know a lot about riding (both English and Western) and have been learning ground work and more training techniques the past few months, but I am definitely a beginner when it comes to training. I am starting the search for my horse and I found a few I really like. Of course they are young, and pretty and pretty green, one has only a few rides in. So I guess I am looking for advice. I want to find a horse that I can train, but I wonder since I don't have a whole lot of experience training if it is a good decision. I really enjoy ground work and all the training series I have done with my riding instructor thus far, but once again they are with lesson horses who know what they are doing. I don't want to get in over my head or end up ruining the horse that I buy, but I feel buying a greener horse might be the only way to actually learn, I'm not sure if there are places where I can just learn training techniques on green horses (Sounds like a liability issue, haha). So anyone one have experience similar to mine, experienced rider/beginner trainer buying a green horse? I am open to any suggestions on what you think I should do, or any feedback is great. Thanks
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post #2 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 11:34 AM
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There's definitely ways to get experience working with green horses without buying one. Maybe you can take one on under your instructor's wing, for example.
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post #3 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 11:55 AM
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Nope, I have a "hop on and go" horse...who's still a bit greenish, but does everything I ask of him with a positive attitude. However, every summer I ask my BO for a half lease on a green horse that she trains, so I can take lessons and/or "homework" on it. I have no idea how to set up a comprehensive training program, identify training issues in real time, and use proper techniques to address them. I wouldn't take one on by myself before doing 3 or 4 from start to finish as "apprentice", and even then only one that already has rudimentary gas, brakes, and steering installed.
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post #4 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 12:07 PM
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For your first horse, I would recommend you get one that is trained. Don't worry, there is always more training to be done! I love doing ground work and liberty work with my horses. People think it's just teaching basic things, but you can actually make it a lot of fun by creating obstacle courses, working on manners, create games, and even work on bending and collecting on the lunge line. No matter how well-trained your first horse is, you'll still have ample opportunity to build on that.

If you want to learn to train a young, green horse, find someone who does that and ask if you can assist. Sort of an apprenticeship. There is way too much to learn as a new horse owner to throw in training a young horse in the mix for the very first horse you get. After a few horses, maybe you can get a youngster to train. That's just my 2 cents. There's too much that can go wrong when you get a green horse as a first horse.
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post #5 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 12:38 PM
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I think if you have access to someone who can help you, that could work. While it's daunting to train a green horse, the one good thing is that green horses come with less 'baggage', and can be more clear in their responses to a handler, as long as YOU are very clear in your approach .

That means, to me, that you are able to see each training goal as something that can be broken down into smaller, more easily achieved steps if your hrose becomes confused or overwhelmed by the whole.
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post #6 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 02:53 PM
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I don't think it's impossible, no. Would it be a lot of work? Yes.

I think a good alternative is leasing, this way you can get some experience. Maybe you should lease a horse that isn't necessarily a lesson horse...a horse that isn't as 'dead broke', so to speak. This way you will get some experience, but a trainer/someone can guide you and you won't be in it alone. Then you'll gain some knowledge, but you may find out THAT is too much work & you may say screw it, I want a horse that is trained already.

I'll be honest, when I first got my horse (she's a 5yr old OTTB), she was VERY green. I've always ridden difficult horses/greener horses, but I never actually trained any myself. She didn't even know how to lunge, it took a lot of time and patience. I spent months on end doing just groundwork with her, then it transferred to the saddle. I eventually hit a plateau with the training, and I decided to reach out to a really, really good trainer & she helped me a TON with her. She has like over 30 years of experience and is an amazing horsewoman. There are things I know I wasn't capable of teaching my horse (I accepted that, there is ALWAYS something new to learn). While she still needs work of course, she has made huge improvements since I got her.

It's your choice, but you don't want to bite off more than you can chew.
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post #7 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 03:02 PM
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I think you need to ask yourself if you have immediate access to a reliable, extensive network of knowledgeable people willing to help you and advise you... a lot. I don't mean folks hanging out at the barn - I mean actual, seasoned horsemen, be they trainers or not, who can and will listen and offer you sound advice.

Then ask yourself if you have the TIME to work with a green horse daily.

On one hand, yes, they come with less baggage. OTOH, you could be the one giving them baggage.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #8 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
For your first horse, I would recommend you get one that is trained. Don't worry, there is always more training to be done!
Yes, so true! I know you said you leased a lesson horse for a year, but why not lease a horse that is a little less experienced for a year, maybe one that has some light training needs you can work on with an instructor, and then see if you still want to buy a green horse after that.

I bought my green horse as a rank beginner (I am now just semi-rank, LOL) so it's not exactly the same, but I knew I didn't have the knowledge to bring him along so I took him to a trainer. For what I've paid so far in training, I could have bought a whole 'nother horse, and a settled one at that. Also, I knew that because he was young, whoever was going to train him would be teaching him habits that he would most likely have for the rest of his life, and I wasn't really comfortable with the possibility of screwing him up somehow if I worked on him by myself. Something to think about for yourself -- you have to understand where he is, where he needs to be, the tiny steps that will get him there, what constitutes as a try, then good enough, then really good in each step, and that's for every single thing you need to teach him. Every.Single.Thing.

ETA you also have to have the time to see the horse almost every day. If you board it might be hard. Green horses often need more frequent short lessons rather than longer, more-spaced-out lessons.
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post #9 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 03:57 PM
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Here's some things to think about.

Don't buy a green horse to train before finding out whether you like training or not. Although you train every time you interact with your horse, as the saying goes, that is not the same as the process of finishing a green horse. You have to have a mindset of 'it takes as long as it takes'. You have to be willing to find out that your horse perhaps is not at all suited for the job you had in mind for it, after a long period of basic training during which you had no way of finding that out. You have to be able to take a lot of pleasure in tiny increments of progress -- because that is where your pleasure is going to reside for a long time. You won't be able to just hop on and go out with your friends and have fun, because your horse will take up all your concentration at times, and there will be situations that a broke horse can easily handle that you won't even be able to approach at first.

My first horse in 40 years had never been backed. BUT I had a very good mentor who lived right around the corner, I took lessons twice a week, I had time to ride almost every day, and, very important, my horse has a fundamentally sane and agreeable personality who has forgiven me a thousand times. I had also trained a lot of other animals, and as a teenager had started my filly, so I had a training mindset already.

If I were in your shoes, I would buy a youngish TRAINED horse, and find a trainer who is willing to let you start working with her green horses under supervision.
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post #10 of 27 Old 12-05-2018, 04:05 PM
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I would suggest working with someone who has good solid experience with green horses. You will need a mentor, someone who can come and physically help you and guide you.

Another option would be to volunteer at a rescue center that has a retraining program. The experience will be invaluable. There are a lot of skills you'll need before you get your own green horse, skills you can learn about on YouTube. But the hands on part is critical and there is no shortcut.

Many young people get a good foundation as a working student in the bigger training / show barns if you have them in your area.
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green horse , training a younger horse

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