Am I crazy for wanting a weanling? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Am I crazy for wanting a weanling?

I took lessons for around four years and leased for two. The horse I leased was an Appaloosa gelding who was really just the sweetest boy (to me at least- he used to nip nearly everyone else). I usually rode him bareback or with a light English saddle and hackamore, and while it took awhile to get to that point, we had completely trusted one another. he was, for all intents and purposes, my horse, who I intended on buying. However, couple of years ago, he had to be put down due to a genetic neurological issue, and it completely broke my heart- so much so that I stopped riding altogether. At the same time, school and two competitive sports became a lot more hectic, and while I always wished I could ride again, it just wasn't practical until now. I take lessons once or twice at my local stable and surprisingly, it was like riding a bike. In my two years off, I had ridden some pretty green horses that belonged to friends, so a lesson horse was pretty straightforward.

Ever since I was little, I've wanted my own horse, and am now finally in a place where I can buy one and know I will be able to care for it for the next ten plus years. For me, horses were never about riding- they are so much more than that. My horse (or, the one that I leased) was my best friend, and for the most part, I did my recreational riding on trails, only doing lessons to ensure I had good habits.

I may sound crazy for a new horse owner, but I really want to raise a weanling. And no, that doesn't mean training- I am completely aware of how disastrous that can be. I want to be able to have a companion that I can watch grow up, and that's really the sole reason. It imagine it's difficult, but I think the challenge will be heaps of fun. Plus, after three more years of lessons, I'll probably be more ready to handle a young horse.

So, those are my thoughts. Since I'm a new member I may as well include the fact that I have three bunnies (which I am convinced are tiny horses) and a gigantic bernese pup.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Discouragrements?
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post #2 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 03:30 PM
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I think most people, in one way or another, are essentially going to say, "Don't do it." Obviously, people have minds of their own and will do whatever they want in the end, so I'll just give my thoughts on it.

I'm on the fence about it. On one hand, I've seen people raise very young horses and by the time the horse is 3, 4, 5, it's a downright dangerous mess. On the other hand, I've seen people raise horses to be good horse citizens.

My suggestion would be, if you have never raised/trained a horse, don't do it without a trainer. You can say you don't mean training, but every single time you interact with a horse, you ARE training it! I don't really know how much horse experience you have based on your post, but there's a reason it's not common for a lot of people to buy weanlings. Since you say riding is not the only thing you care about, are you ok with the fact that you will be spending time and money taking care of the horse until it's around 3-4 years old before it can even begin riding? Again, I'm going to vote 'no' on this, but if you DO decide to go this route, I really truly hope you have a trainer available.
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post #3 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 03:39 PM
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Yes, you are crazy.

Unless you are working under the direct supervision of an experienced horse trainer who has successfully started a number of colts, no one is going to encourage you to do this. What you have is a romantic unrealistic idea with a very high probability of going wrong. The trouble with 'going wrong' with horses is that you have created a danger to humans, and a sad fate for the horse.

There are so many rideable right now adult horses which would be your bosom buddy. Please consider one of them.

Short horse lover
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post #4 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Yes, you are crazy.

Unless you are working under the direct supervision of an experienced horse trainer who has successfully started a number of colts, no one is going to encourage you to do this. What you have is a romantic unrealistic idea with a very high probability of going wrong. The trouble with 'going wrong' with horses is that you have created a danger to humans, and a sad fate for the horse.

There are so many rideable right now adult horses which would be your bosom buddy. Please consider one of them.
Yup, you have to remember EVERY time you do ANYTHING with a horse it is training, and a foal, as any baby is just a sponge. An older horse will disregard 99% of the things you do wrong simply because they know better and know their place. A foal doesn't know "right and wrong" and is so much easier to confuse and mess up. The SLIGHTEST thing can throw them off, not only do you run the risk of creating a "bad horse" you also run the risk of having a very messed up horse *that thinks that's what you want*. It's not so simple to send them out for training when they are of age. EVERYTHING is training. You know you don't know enough to train so...
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post #5 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 04:39 PM
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I'm sorry, but taking lessons for four years and leasing for two just doesn't provide you with the knowledge you need to deal with a youngster. There are lots of people here with decades of riding under their belts who wouldn't even consider it. Even if you're thinking of buying a young horse and having someone else train him (which, by the way, is extraordinarily expensive because they have to work with a young horse practically every day), there are so many things you can do wrong. I've seen it happen all too often with backyard horses. Buy a trained horse and if you really want to train your own someday, apprentice with a trainer. Learn what to do and not to do, how to read a horse so you know that one technique that worked with the last horse will not work with this one, etc. etc. Horses have a phenomenal memory. And guess what, they'll remember that ONE time you did it wrong far longer than all the times you did it right. I know you said you weren't talking about training, but like the others before me, I would reiterate that everything you do with a young horse is training.
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post #6 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parcel View Post

Ever since I was little, I've wanted my own horse, and am now finally in a place where I can buy one and know I will be able to care for it for the next ten plus years.
Just curious as to why you specify ten plus years... what happens after that? Of course horses can be sold, but since they often live into their 30s these days, I'm wondering why you're only committing to ten years or so? It just makes me so sad when I see people trying to get rid of their older, retired horses. You don't sound like the type to abandon her animals, but when I got my horses, I made plans to keep them forever. Until they die. I'd like to see more people make that commitment.
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post #7 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for the input- I do suppose it would be extremely difficult, especially for a first horse. I know quite a few lot people that have raise miniatures from weanlings with great success and assumed it wouldn't be much different for a larger horse.

That being said, I don't really know what kind of horse I'm looking for. I'm don't like to use bits and would prefer a horse that hasn't undergone harsh training methods. How old does a horse need to be for it to be considered "finished"? I have seen three-year-olds advertised as such but have a very hard time believing it's true.

Also, how does one gauge "how much horse" they can handle? I have ridden quite a few OTTBs that definitely weren't bombproof, to say the least, but definitely wouldn't want to own one.
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post #8 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Just curious as to why you specify ten plus years... what happens after that? Of course horses can be sold, but since they often live into their 30s these days, I'm wondering why you're only committing to ten years or so? It just makes me so sad when I see people trying to get rid of their older, retired horses. You don't sound like the type to abandon her animals, but when I got my horses, I made plans to keep them forever. Until they die. I'd like to see more people make that commitment.
Oh, no, that's not what I meant at all! I just meant that if I were to get a horse in their late teens or so, I'd be able to care for it the duration of its life, even after retirement. Same goes for any age- I just used ten as a baseline. I would never give up a horse, or any animal for that matter.
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post #9 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 04:59 PM
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I think it depends a lot on the temperament of the horse, which will be very difficult to tell with a yearling, and how much experienced help you would realistically have.

Yes it is very romantic to think of a horse that you raised from a baby, growing up together and being the perfect team, but you have to take into consideration that the weanling may not grow into a horse you enjoy riding. Horses are as different as people in temperament, even full siblings! (Think how different you are from sisters/brothers/cousins!) So you can't always go by bloodlines for exact temperament and ability.

Anyone who works with green/unbroken horses will tell you it is a long, unpredictable, dangerous and sometimes frustrating slog to get them to be well-broke, dependable, solid horses. The actual breaking process is only the tip of the iceberg. It takes years of training, even getting them to go into a stall/trailer, how to behave amongst company, how to ride in open spaces etc etc etc

To be brutally honest, I think you much have much more fun with an experienced "been there dunnit" horse that someone else has put the work into.

My family have bred and produced our own showjumpers since before I was born. As for my own horse? After having a nasty fall on a green 4yr old, I got myself a well-used all-rounder that I can depend on, I can trust him so I have fun. That is the most important thing to me.
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post #10 of 22 Old 11-26-2016, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parcel View Post
Thank you guys for the input- I do suppose it would be extremely difficult, especially for a first horse. I know quite a few lot people that have raise miniatures from weanlings with great success and assumed it wouldn't be much different for a larger horse.

That being said, I don't really know what kind of horse I'm looking for. I'm don't like to use bits and would prefer a horse that hasn't undergone harsh training methods. How old does a horse need to be for it to be considered "finished"? I have seen three-year-olds advertised as such but have a very hard time believing it's true.

Also, how does one gauge "how much horse" they can handle? I have ridden quite a few OTTBs that definitely weren't bombproof, to say the least, but definitely wouldn't want to own one.
You DON'T know how much horse you can handle and you WON'T know if a horse is a good match for you or not. This is where trainers come into play for beginners and purchasing a first horse. If you've been working with one for several years, then this person would be able to better match you to a horse.

When I was looking for my first, I sent every consideration (video) to my trainer for feedback on what she saw. As a first time buyer/owner, we have great "ideas" and "fantasies" of what we want our first horse to be, but we don't have the knowledge to know whether or not we are picking the right one. Before I swapped any money, my horse was brought over with my trainer and vet standing right there. My trainer did the evaluation ride and my vet did the PPE.

I purchased a 17yr old horse and it was the best decision for me. She is SAFE and forgiving of a green rider and has an amazing temperament. I have learned an incredible amount in the year that I've owned her and I know that by the time she is ready to retire, I will be ready to move on to something younger and a little more challenging.

We have a couple 4 and 5 yr olds at my barn that were purchased by "unknowledgeable" newby owners. One doesn't get ridden at all and the other is barely ridden and is way too much horse for the owner - absolutely no ground manners whatsoever. The poor woman has to practically wrestle him into crossties trying not get run over. So while the idea of bringing a baby up is a nice one, unless you have YEARS and years of experience under your belt, you're likely to get in way over your head.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
- Maya Angelou
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