Getting (re)started: buying a horse 30 yrs after selling last one - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Location: UT
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Getting (re)started: buying a horse 30 yrs after selling last one (long)

Hello - This is my first post! I started riding in middle school, leased a horse in high school, and bought an 18-year-old QH/TB mare in college. At that point I had been taking dressage lessons regularly. By the time I got my mare (I started out leasing her) I decided to start jumping. All of this was pleasure riding. I had no aspirations to compete. Kimchi loved jumping, but she was very colicky. She was sound, would spook when a deer crossed our path on trails or in the ring. She was not the easiest to bathe or saddle, but in all, she was a great horse. Ultimately I decided to get a younger horse, but that didn't happen because I had to give up riding.

Fast forward 30 years and I am now in a position to get back into riding regularly. I spent a great deal of time looking for the right instructor and barn. My first concern was to see what I remembered and how I handled a horse that wasn't bulletproof. I started dressage lessons about two months ago. To date I have tried two instructors and three horses -- all very different. I could handle the horses just fine, but my riding/leg signals are rusty. I'm still good at grooming but need more practice saddling.

All that to say, I'm trying to sort out what might be a good horse for me. I have no plans to buy immediately, but am browsing just in case something comes along. Here's what I've liked so far: not much. There is a gelding that piques my interest, but I'm wondering if he'd be more work/trouble than he's worth. A little about him: 7-yr-old TB. Originally intended as a race horse. The owner died not long after he was born so he was gelded and put out to pasture for roughly five years. The current owner (seller) bought him, trailered him about 700 miles to her home town. She started riding him but shortly after had to move and couldn't take the horse. About a month ago he completed 30 days of training. She describes him as surprisingly quiet for a TB, affectionate, easy to catch, and sound. She said he is trained but would need another 30 days to be considered finished. She was preparing him for eventing.

Now, I'm wondering if a horse like that is worth my time considering. I don't have a problem putting another 30-60 days of training on a horse while I continue lessons, but wonder if my current experience warrants a more experienced horse. My intention is to ride 3-4 times a week and continue with lessons 1-2x times a week.

I have not seen the horse yet. He is a four-hour drive away. I have asked to speak to the trainer to get a better sense of the horse's training and temperament.

Should I run or is a horse like this worth considering?
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Last edited by Pearl5; 09-05-2017 at 02:00 PM. Reason: edit title
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post #2 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 02:46 PM
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That is really an impossible question, without knowing more about everything. There is no reason this horse would not be a good match for you, especially if you have more training put on him while you are having lessons, OR it could be a disaster in the making.

The best person to help you shop is your instructor, I bought, and then sold many horses while shopping on my own, because basically I SUCK at horse buying, my heart convinces my head that I really do love this one or that one and we can work through the issues. The two horses my trainer found for me, on both occasions my very first thought is "YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING" both times she had it spot on. She found me a safe steady Eddy to get back my skill and confidence, then found me a 'stretch' horse that it has taken me two years to really start riding well.

Good luck with shopping, think lots, and if anything seems wrong, run away.
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post #3 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 02:52 PM
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It all depends on his temperament and your ability. If you can keep him in training for at least another 30 days and you have gotten to the point that you are comfortable and have no problems being boss hoss and he is as quiet as the owner claims and is healthy and sound then I'd consider him. Lessons 1 to 2 times a week with another couple of rides added should get you where you want to be and ready when his training is done. Then all you are doing is learning together when you are ready and putting the miles on him. I would speak to the trainer that has him and have the instructor you settle on go with you if possible. Would you leave him with the trainer he is with or move him closer? If so you may want to talk to a few trainers and have the one you choose evaluate him. Also make sure to get a PPE.
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post #4 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 02:58 PM
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Don't rush into it. When you convince yourself to buy something, it won't work out and then all of these wonderful horses will come out of the woodwork; all of which would have been more suitable from the start. If you're in a position to take lessons and ride with a trainer, and it sounds like you are, do that for now. Ride a lot of different horses. If you are seeing the improvement in your skills that you want, mention to the trainer that you are interested in looking for a horse and then give it some time. What a good trainer has in mind for you may not be what you thought you wanted, but keep an open mind. Trainers and professionals also tend to find out about horses coming up for sale before they hit the open market, and some of the best horses change hands this way. If you are really considering the TB, have your trainer go look at him and ride him, then if she thinks he's suitable, do the same.
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post #5 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 03:18 PM
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It depends on a lot. He sounds like a nice horse but there is a lot to look into. I would meet him for starters and bring someone with you for a second set of eyes. If you still like him and are seriously thinking of buying him have a PPE (pre purchase exam) done. It also depends on your ability and also your temperament.

Just the other day when I was crossing the pasture to give my horse hay another horse came up to me. As this was my second episode of him being around me when I have food I pretty much knew that he was going to come after me and I forgot to bring a whip with me. He said "give me that hay" and I said no and then he proceeded to come at me with teeth and hooves. I tripped and fell in the water, got covered with fire ants looking for a dry spot. By now he's eating the hay so I went back to the barn and came back with a whip and smacked the living **** out of him and reclaimed my hay. This would scare quite a few people into not ever going near him again. And, he does do that which is why he continues to be the way he is. Personally I hate the horse, he has a look in his eye that says he would just assume shred you than be near you. He's not my horse so I just keep him away from me. If he were mine, he would be getting different lessons.

Are you timid around handling horses or are you confident and not much scares you. If you are the latter than a young green horse would probably be fine with extra training and a trainer working with you. If you are the former type then go with a broke been there done that horse.

There will be only one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.
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post #6 of 34 Old 09-06-2017, 10:44 AM
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Keep taking lessons and ride numerous horses. Once youare 100% sure you know what you want from your own riding partner, then you areready to consider buying. Other thanasking your trainer’s blessing, your gut-feel should know if any horse in questionis right for you.

I was out of the horse world for 11 years, after a decade ofriding, training and showing. I startedwith a 6 month lease to make sure horses fit my new family life (GREAT decision,)then purchased a long-yearling (POOR decision.) It doesn’t matter how accomplished a rider Iwas the first go round, my body this second round does not ride/move/respond like it used to! Said horse is now astill-greenish 6 year old pasture puff, and I’m finally able to work with a protrainer this fall to fix the holes in his training. My gut knew I should have bought a broke horse at that time, but my heart saw his potential and reconciled it against my old training prowess instead of my lesser riding ability at that time.

~Reserved Cash, 2011 AQHA gelding~
~Lark, 20-something Arabian mare~
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post #7 of 34 Old 09-07-2017, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your insight and suggestions. I had a (bareback) lesson today on a 16.2 Irish sport horse. He was quite the spitfire and I did okay.

Cynical25, I get what you're saying. One of the reasons I've spent so much time looking for the right instructor/trainer and barn is because I know I'd need lessons and time to get some muscle memory back. Something similar happened when I started dancing again after a decade -- the mind was willing but the body ...

I really like my instructor. She started out training horses for Hunt pleasure through eventing. Now she said she will only train the horse if the rider is a student of hers. She is also more than happy to go with me when I find a horse I like.

Never heard of a PPE so glad to have that piece of information. I'm in no rush and the seller is slow with getting back/returning calls, so it could be a while before I even get out to see the horse. In the meantime, I'm checking out ads to get a sense of how people phrase ads so that I learn to read between the lines. (it's a lot like online dating).
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post #8 of 34 Old 09-08-2017, 10:29 PM
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Yes at this point I would just start looking at horses. Always consider your safety first. Never go see a horse alone unless you know the seller. There are some real weirdos out there. That said, you will start to get a feel for what is in your area. From there, if you wish, you can start looking at the national ads and maybe get some better type horses to look at.
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post #9 of 34 Old 09-09-2017, 03:26 PM
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I personally would stay away from that TB because that is a very very green horse. Getting back into riding you want it to be fun and doing a little math from your post, you aren't a spring chicken anymore. The sad part is the older you get (I am not far behind you) the less you bounce. You are better off (IMHO) getting an older horse that has been ridden for many years (like a 10 yo that has been ridden for 7).
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post #10 of 34 Old 09-09-2017, 04:52 PM
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Read the responses....some good thoughts and advice shared.

What I would say about this horse with 30 days training on him...
So, that could be 30 actual rides or in all probability...20 rides at most!
{5 rides x 4 weeks = 30 days training board!}
A horse ready to do eventing....this story smells really funny.
30 days of good training possibly brings you to a horse who is learning leads and flying changes not jumping courses...
Are you that ready to ride and continue the training of a barely broke horse...

I know after my hiatus from riding, I was and still am not what I was years ago, period!
My horses now are fully trained, a joy and pleasure to ride and I have FUN when riding them, any one of them.
I bought my horses that way and am really glad I did.

So, my other advice would be....
You want to see a video of this horse being rode.
And if you decide to go see the horse...
Someone there gets astride in front of you BEFORE you get to ride...
If the horse is not ridden in front of you, any horse you look to buy is not ridden by the owner or representative showing the horse for walk away immediately.
A horse that someone is not willing to get on and at least walk, trot has a hidden problem and you don't want it.

Now, with all that said....
Look closer to home for a horse....a first time horse is not hard to find.
A upper level trained and competition horse could take you far from home, but a entry level, they exist in many areas.
The age isn't a issue, the amount of training claims being made about are...the story doesn't add up.
If you have race tracks within 50 miles of your home then you will also have rescues and re-homing groups of those horses. If it has to be a Thoroughbred....
Please don't look "breed", look ability and personality.
For your safety, to have a learning experience and to again enjoy and have fun think seriously about buying "green" when you are also "green".

So if you buy the horse and then need to put on another 60 days just added another $1000 - $1500 to his cost plus his board at your barn.
So, if you can budget to spend an extra say $2000 to whatever you are looking to spend...
So...I'm guessing $3,000 - $4,000 at least for a horse buys a really nice fully trained, ready to go, dependable sound mount by me...not a bunch of questions of "what do I have?"....

Regardless of where or what you buy...
If you go to look at a horse and the people are not willing to get on the animal...leave!
No excuses for that that I tolerate...
That is a red flag...
Just think about that...


The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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