Looking to get back in to horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-01-2015, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Looking to get back in to horses

I'm Lauren. I'm looking to get back in to horses after not owning them for 4 years.

A little background info. I'm 23 and got my first horse at 12. He was a 15 year old OTTB. He taught me a ton about horses. My first ride he reared up and rolled over on top of me. I was told the horse was beginner safe and had rode him previously at the owners farm with no issues. That was a long road but he was the best horse even though he had his moments. With him, my family also got another OTTB mare for my sister 7 years later. She needed a lot of saddle time and I told my step dad this. My sister rode her a few times, got dumped and never rode her again. Every now and then when she was gone I would get on the mare and put some saddle time on her. I briefly owned a BLM Mustang mare I was going to break and train with the help of a trainer for my senior year school project. However, we tragically having to put her down due to an injury she had recieved birthing a foal at the BLM facility that was unknown to me. My second horse that I could ride was an older criollo mare that retired from polo. She was a good mount but had arthritis and couldn't be riden hard.
When I was 19 we had to put down my TB gelding, and 6 months later my parents sold my criollo mare and my sisters TB because I had went off to college.
Now that I am married, and my husband and I both are out of school and have steady jobs, I want to get back in to horses.

My question is this. How do I go about getting a horse the right way?
I currently have NO tack, no anything.
I have a budget I am saving for the right horse, considering I never really had a "well broke" horse before. Probably about $5k and will have that saved by May.
I've never really had lessons, just picked up what I learned from videos, books, and trial and error. I can stay on a horse, walk, trot, canter, posting while trotting, lead changes, but nothing fancy like dressage moves or jumping.
Therefore, I consider myself an intermediate rider. Is this accurate?
What I'm looking for. A gelding between 5-12 years of age, well broke over 16hh. For an intermediate rider. Clean legs. Looking for a QH, APHA, TB, fresian cross. For my track record, would his type of horse suite me?
I will be boarding the horse because I now live in the city until we can purchase property. And the facility has trainers available.
I am interested in learning to jump.
Should I buy tack first before purchasing the horse?
I found a saddle I like but unsure of seat size. I believe I had a 14in western and should need a 16 in English saddle which is what I want. Should I go for youth leathers? I'm only 5'2. I have no problem buying my supplies before hand.
Also, when going and trying a horse out, do I bring my own tack? I've always used the owners, except when we went to see my sisters horse because it had been sitting in a pasture for 2 years.
Should I get lessons before buying a horse, even though I am not super new to horses?
Any tips, advice is appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-01-2015, 07:59 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Harrisburg, PA
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I would say refresher lessons are in order. This is going to accomplish two things:

1: Get you back in the saddle and in the swing of riding. Riding uses different muscles, and while it's like riding a bike in some ways, there's still that "oh crud how does this work again" moment in the beginning while your body and brain try to sync up and remember what the heck they need to do.

2: It will establish a relationship with people in the horse community. The best horses don't get sold via ads, they get sold by word of mouth. Horse people talk to other horse people. This can help with anything horse-related as well.

Also, I would not look for an "intermediate" rider horse if you are getting back into it after a 4-year hiatus. Use your lesson time to ride as many different horses as possible and THEN see where you are at, what your desires are, what kind of horse meets your needs as they are now. As well, everyone has a different definition of the word "intermediate/beginner/advanced/experienced". In some circles, you'd be considered an advanced beginner.

I would look for a confidence-builder horse that is at least 8-10 years old. You want a horse that knows how to do what you want to do. Young horses need consistent handling and riding, and a re-rider with holes in their own training is just not a good match for most young horses. A schoolmaster horse knows the game, knows what needs to be done, and are usually okay to sit for a little while if life gets out of hand. I would probably even look for older if the horse is in decent health and sound. Don't discount the "oldies" - they can be worth their weight in gold.

You want a trainer who is going to help you fill in any holes in your training from never having real lessons. While some people can and do learn to ride without ever having a formal lesson in their lives, having some "formal" education can really help your riding in the long run and also fill in the gaps you have.

Also - DON'T BUY TACK. Don't buy tack until you have the horse! It's tempting to go ahead and just buy everything, but you may wind up with a horse and a closet full of tack that doesn't fit. This is another place a good set of lessons is going to make you a better rider and horse owner.

Last edited by Mulefeather; 02-01-2015 at 08:06 PM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-01-2015, 09:16 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
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It might be worth having a few lessons to get back into the feel of riding. You might not wanting to be getting a strange unknown horse for your first ride in a while.

I would definitely wait until after you buy a horse to buy the saddle. You have no way of knowing if the saddle will fit until you have the horse, and the breeds you are looking at vary a lot in type. Working out sizing the best thing is to sit in the saddle, preferably on the horse, before buying. In some brands I fit a 17 inch well, others I'm looking at an 18 inch, and I sat in a 16 inch on the weekend that I could have gotten away with. So just wait, don't worry what leathers you need until you get the saddle - that is the easy part.

As far as level goes... that's a hard one. There is no real definition of beginner, intermediate and advanced. While you may not have the technical skills of an advanced rider, you might have the ability to deal with a tricky horse.

Saying that, I'd go with something fairly easy. Personally I'd lean away from an OTTB, they tend to be a bit trickier, and have higher maintenance costs, but you seem to know what you're looking for.

If you're looking at learning to jump then get a horse that's done a bit of jumping. With your budget there is no need to get an inexperienced horse. Look for one that's done some of the things that you might be interested in learning later down the track.

Lessons are never a bad idea at any level of riding. If you're not quite sure what you want in a horse even, taking lessons for a while will probably allow you to focus on what you want to do. From where you are now, your perspective on horses could have changed a lot from when you were younger. Having lessons will give you the opportunity to ride a range of horses and identify what is important to you, it will also allow you to get to know some people in the industry which could lead you to a great horse later down the track.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-01-2015, 09:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: CT
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Yes, I would recommend you knock off your rust with a few months with a good trainer and many lessons, and then reevaluate your skills to make sure you are able to get a good horse for what you are able to do... And want to do!
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-01-2015, 11:19 PM
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Location: Seattle, WA
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I may be in the minority here, but just saying you have the budget to BUY a horse does not mean you are ready to OWN a hrose. do you have the ongoing budget to pay monthly upkeep? do you have the budget to have several hundred, if not a thousand dollars, in back up for vet emergencies? can you still meet all you other needs , financially , or will owning a horse take your income away from the "family"?
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-02-2015, 06:03 AM
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Location: Orange County, NC
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Originally Posted by DTS View Post
What I'm looking for. A gelding between 5-12 years of age, well broke over 16hh. For an intermediate rider. Clean legs. Looking for a QH, APHA, TB, fresian cross. For my track record, would his type of horse suite me?
I assume you want a gelding to avoid dealing with "mare-ish" mares, but I suggest that you don't entirely rule out mares from the start.

Some of the best dispositioned, finished horses that we've had were mares that were shown extensively when they were young and then spent 4-5 years as broodmares. They may need a minor conditioning "tune up", but they don't forget their training, have plenty of years left in them, and can often be found for a very good price because the owner has already more than recouped their investment in foals.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-02-2015, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2015
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I have emailed a few barns about getting lessons started.
As far as money goes, yes I have the money to keep the on going expenses.
When I had horses when I was younger, I paid for everything. My parents didn't like horses, which is why once I went off to college, they didn't want to take care of them. I was allowed to have them as long as I paid for the expenses and took care of them.
I bought my horses with my own money, paid for feed, vet, farrier, tack, supplements, etc. I understand the expenses that come with a horse. Now that I have a well paying job, I'm in an even better position than I was to take care of a horse.
It will not take money away from the family because it is just my husband and I and our 2 dogs, who have their needs well taken care of.
I also don't want children.
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