Advice on Buying my First (real) Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-20-2020, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on Buying my First (real) Horse

Hey Guys,

I’m looking for some advice. For the past year and a half, I’ve been involved with and taking care if a variety of old, sick, and too-green horses. Through this, I’ve learned a lot, but havent gotten hardly any riding time in.

So now I’m looking for a “real” horse. Meaning, an easy, calm, broke, healthy horse I can use to work on my skills both on the ground and in the saddle. (Even as I continue to care for other peoples’ old, sick, green horses!)

Anyway, I’m looking at one guy, “Louie,” who is a real sweetie. He lives at the same ranch as the other horses I care for. He’s 4.5 hands, 11 years old, mellow, no health issues... Easy, easy.

That said, I rode him 2 days ago for his “try out,” and can barely walk! I am So Out Of Shape for riding. Which is funny because I actually teach yoga. So I’m in great shape otherwise.

But bottom line—my skills are definitely at “beginner” level. Like...I know the basics of how to ride and longe, as well as some general horsemanship, but...I’m a newbie.

Now, here is my issue: people SAY I should look at more than one option. And I know that makes sense. But the only other real option I have is a trail horse named Harry who is also aged 11-15, also small, and also broke.

His owner (ranch manager) is really busy and hasn’t been super motivated to get me in to see him. To be honest, I’m starting to feel a little guilty at the notion of making her take the time to show me Harry. Especially as I’ve been taking Louie out to groom and do mild groundwork.

The thing is—I’m not a very good rider. So what, exactly, am I going to see that’s so different between these two horses? And since I dont have access to HArry’s pasture, I’m not going to be able to put in the time with Harry (pre-buying) that I am with Louie.

It’s like deciding to buy a hand-me-down car you’ve driven for a few weeks already, versus buying a used car you only test drove once....if you’re a driver who’s only just recently passed her driver’s test! HAHA.

I’ve spent enough time around horses to know when a horse is too temperamental for me. Or too green. Or too big and athletic.

Louie is a really comfortable height. I can get on without a block. If I fell, it woudlnt be far. And while he’s a bit lazy (because he knows he can take advantage of me as a newbie,) I do not get any sense he’d buck me off or run off with me. The worst he’d do would be to say, “Meh. I’d rather eat grass.”

I guess my question is—do I take the time and bother to see the other horse? (Inconveniencing someone who I get the feeling doesnt want to be inconvenienced?) Or do I stick with the obvious solution?

(It doesnt hurt that Louie comes with tack, as well as 50% ownership of a tack shed. And doesnt need to be moved. All small, but also not-so-small issues.)

What do you guys think?

As horse owners yourself, would you be annoyed if someone came out to see a horse you are selling “just as a comparison”, already sort of having made up their mind to buy a different horse?

Thanks in advance.

(BTW, this is Louie. He’s a good, handsome boy.)
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-20-2020, 07:51 PM
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This is a perfect perfect scenario for a novice - buy a horse that you know. Do you have to buy now? It could turn out that you really prefer a more forward horse once you get more experience but you could always sell him or train him to be more responsive (the later doesn’t work for all horses).
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-20-2020, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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@Horsef

I don’t *have* to buy right away, but it’s my birthday tomorrow, so I guess I’m thinking about it. :)

For sure, once I get more confident, I can ask to borrow one of the ranch’s horses. See if I like more “go.” But that’s down the line. And I may never get more advanced than clomping around the trails at a walk or trot.

I know from learning to surf that beginners make terrible choices when it comes to “equipment.” They want to start on a performance board. What you WANT is a big, floaty beginner board—At least 8 ft long.

I did what every dumb person does learning to surf, and tried all sorts of board. In the end, 4 years later, my main, go-to board is pretty much the same, floaty 8ft beast I bought myself when I started! Yeah, I can ride something smaller, lighter, higher performance. But, generally, I don’t want to!

Thanks for the advice. Mainly, I’m just thinking this through. IT’s not just about the horse, it’s about the people involved...since I live in a very small island. :)
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-20-2020, 09:25 PM
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Not everyone is like me, but when I am buying a horse, I wait for that "gotta have it" feeling before I buy. My opinion is that you should look at both horses. You might be settling for Louie, and when you climb on Harry, your mind and heart says, "Yesss! THIS is the ONE!"

I have learned that not everyone gets this feeling, but when and if you do, you will never be sorry. I think it helps to look at several horses and see what happens. You might try Harry and discover you don't feel nearly as comfortable as you do with Louie and then you'll know that Louie is "the one."

Happy Birthday! I hope it's a great one! I once bought a horse secretly and kept it over at my neighbor's place for a year. My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said I wanted my neighbor's horse (which was actually mine and had been for a long time). He agreed I could have the horse, and then she didn't have to be a secret any more. That was a wonderful birthday for me.
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-20-2020, 09:29 PM
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Your comfort level and trust have much to do with, "Will I ride or make excuses"....
You're already handling Louie, have trust in him and your ability on the ground and astride.
Its not so bad a decision to go with a horse you know and are comfortable with.
Louie strikes me as a horse who is taking care of his rider...as you progress and get better in skills so will Louie get happier to do more, go faster and challenge you.
The fact Louie is riding for you and not taking full advantage of your inexperience says more to me about this animals disposition than anything else, and that matters much to me.
Louie is a cute horse with no glaring horrible faults.
The fact he has tack that fits and he rides in now that would come with him to me is a plus you don't need that expense or trying to find....
If you like Louie, feel happy to ride and do what you are currently and will do for awhile while you learn more...buy him.
You know the horse, have spent time with so know if he is sickly or not, has health issues or not....
If you have a vet friend who could do a simple wellness check so you know heart, lungs and eyesight are good...I would call it a done deal if all those check out and buy myself a birthday present.


Happy Birthday!!
Whether it is Louie or another we all deserve a special gift just for our-self once in awhile...
Enjoy yours.
...
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The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-20-2020, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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@knightrider

It’s funny you say that. The “I gotta have it” feeling is what I’m scared of! Most of the times in my life I’ve had that, I’ve ended up realizing that the thing I THOUGHT I wanted wasn’t what I wanted at all!

Just last year, I traded in my old truck for a brand new Subaru Forester. I drove that about 4 months before I realized that I preferred driving my husband’s old truck, and now the Forester mainly sits in the driveway, waiting for my daughter to get her driver’s license.

Seems like more often for me, when I say, “This is fine for now,” I end up loving the thing. My favorite car ever was a Chevy Aveo I bought solely because it was the cheapest hatchback with under 50K miles for sale in Seattle.

Likewise, my favorite dog I’ve had is a chihuahua shih tzu mix that I got only because it was the only small, low-allergy puppy around.

Given a chance I would have chosen something different...and likely worse. >.<

(This is maybe a ME issue. LOL)
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-20-2020, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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just thinking...

I spent $600 once on a dress I didnt wear One Single Time.

$300 for some “must have” boots I couldnt walk in.

$1100 on a surfboard I couldnt ride.

my trail of poor “must have” decisions is long...
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-21-2020, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManicDaisy View Post
@Horsef

I don’t *have* to buy right away, but it’s my birthday tomorrow, so I guess I’m thinking about it. :)

For sure, once I get more confident, I can ask to borrow one of the ranch’s horses. See if I like more “go.” But that’s down the line. And I may never get more advanced than clomping around the trails at a walk or trot.

I know from learning to surf that beginners make terrible choices when it comes to “equipment.” They want to start on a performance board. What you WANT is a big, floaty beginner board—At least 8 ft long.

I did what every dumb person does learning to surf, and tried all sorts of board. In the end, 4 years later, my main, go-to board is pretty much the same, floaty 8ft beast I bought myself when I started! Yeah, I can ride something smaller, lighter, higher performance. But, generally, I don’t want to!

Thanks for the advice. Mainly, I’m just thinking this through. IT’s not just about the horse, it’s about the people involved...since I live in a very small island. :)
If you live on a small island, then go for it. I’m speaking from experience here (I live in a non-horsey country). It is rather difficult to find the right horse when there are so few of them. You found one - get him. It’s unlikely that there are two “right” ones in a small population.
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-21-2020, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManicDaisy View Post

It’s like deciding to buy a hand-me-down car you’ve driven for a few weeks already, versus buying a used car you only test drove once....if you’re a driver who’s only just recently passed her driver’s test! HAHA.
Great analogy. My son is getting his driver's license and will be buying his first car soon. Guess what, we - his parents - are actually going to be choosing the car for him. He has a (small) say, but we have vastly more experience than he does so we will be doing the tire-kicking. What I'm trying to say is that this is where you need unbiased opinions from people who know horses.

Louie may look great to you right now because you really want a horse and you know him so you want to believe he is perfect for you. Maybe he is, but he may also have a lot of issues you don't know about because of your lack of experience. To return to the previous analogy, he might be easy on gas and look nice in your yard, but is the transmission going to blow in a week? Have him vetted to be sure you're not buying a horse with issues you can't afford, bring a friend who isn't connected to this barn (I realize that might be hard) and who really knows horses or if you have to, hire someone to evaluate him for you. That can include a ride. I did this with my daughter's riding coach - paid her to come check out horses with me. It was well worth it.

If that's not possible, can you lease him for a while? Maybe a lease-to-own so you have, let's say, six months to make payments and if at any time in those six months you decide he's not the right horse for him, the contract ends and you don't own him. It might sound like a bad deal, but I promise, owning a horse with health issues if far more expensive than losing a few hundred dollars.
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-21-2020, 10:34 AM
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When I am looking for a horse, I am always wishing to find a horse that belongs to someone I know and trust. A horse I can take my time with, a horse that I get along with, that I don't feel pressured to buy by some high pressure sales pitch.

Louie fits that description. It seems like you want to love him, but are worried you are settling...

Sometimes, the right horse is right in front of us. Try not to overthink this, buying any animal is always a risk. But this one, IMO, sounds like the perfect horse for you to learn on. Plus I think he already likes you! The bond with grow, and you can be happy.

I have several times picked horses because they are in the stable I wanted to be in. It always turned out well.

Leasing him might be an option too...give you time to see if he is as nice as you think he is.

I really like the way he looks, seems like the perfect type of horse to ride and enjoy. Solid citizen.
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