Is it possible? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Is it possible?

This might be a weird question. But has anyone ever or is it possible to buy a horse and not have horse experience? I have a bunch of books and watch a bunch of videos on YouTube. I have attempted to take lessons several times, I am told I’m too old for their program (I’m 33), or I’m too big (I’m 5’6” and between 185-200 lbs) or I am totally ignored.

I am attempting one last time to get lessons. But if they don’t pan out I’m done. I want to in the future just buy my own horse and go from there. Would that be an ok thing to do? It’s been 20+ years since I was actually on the back of a horse but I totally love them and really REALLY want one.

Thanks for any opinions/advice.
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post #2 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 05:29 PM
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i would look into loaning first- knowing how to ride and knowing how to look after a horse are totally different, not to mention expenses.
i seriously doubt that your too old for a riding school, ive never heard of an age block being placed on classes...
have a look on facebook for local trainers near you, they might know good stables or loan oppertunities- also make sure if you loan its a suitable horse as you are a begginer, nothing too young or quirky
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post #3 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 05:34 PM
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The saying, "we were so focused on whether we could that we neglected the question whether we should" applies here. Yes, it is possible; many people do it, actually. However, just because it can be done, it doesn't mean it should.

Where are you? I think you are looking in the wrong direction if they won't take a 33-year-old, 5 foot 6 inch (1.6 meters) person who weighs between 185 - 200 pounds (84-91 kilograms). That is not too old, too tall, nor too heavy. There is so much more to horses than just riding; horsemanship is also a very good skill to learn. There shouldn't really be an age, height, or weight restriction for learning about how to care for and understand horses.

I admire and encourage your enthusiasm, but handling horses can be a dangerous endeavor, especially if you don't know what you are doing. Horses are (usually) a reflection of how they are treated. Even if you get a perfectly "dead-broke" horse, horse's don't magically stay dead-broke. You need to find a trainer. Horses are wonderful, beautiful, and generally forgiving animals, but it is unfair to simply do a hit-and-miss messing around and rely them to compensate for all your mistakes.

I think it would be a better option to lease (not a lease to buy) a horse and get a trainer if you cannot find a program. That way, you can adjust the level of "ownership" - you won't be so overwhelmed. You can start of by a quarter or half lease. Once you get used to that, you can try a full lease before buying your own horse. Horses are (or should be) a long term commitment. That's another why lessons are a good idea. If you change your mind, you aren't shoveling money out the wazoo. Most of price of a good beginner horse come from training. Again, I won't know where you are, but here, well-trained horses go into the thousands. The cost of the initial buy, plus the care (food, possible boarding, vet bills, farrier bills, etc...), plus paying a trainer is absolute $$$$ for something you may change your mind on.

If you are so very set on buying a horse, the only option I recommend (which I don't really recommend) is to but an older, very well trained horse and get a trainer to help both of you as soon as possible.

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." - Confucius

Last edited by LoonWatcher; 05-24-2019 at 05:44 PM. Reason: Grammar. Rewording. Adding.
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post #4 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 05:36 PM
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I think there is only so much you can learn from a book and so much to gain from hands on experience.

Of course, there is a difference in owning a horse and boarding it at a full service barn where you don't have to do anything except pay the bill vs. keeping a horse on your own property.

Someone can be a terrific rider but know diddly squat about horse maintenance. And that goes both ways. Can you find a job or volunteer position at a stable to get more experience?

I am in my late 30's and started taking riding lessons again only 3 or 4 years ago myself.
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post #5 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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I do have someone who I might end up getting lessons from. I am sadly quite a ways away from...everything. We travel 30 miles just to go grocery shopping. This is the only person left within 35 miles of the house. There are more stables closer to the state capital, but that’s about a 45 minute drive, and it’s some very hilly roads. Not something I want to drive during the winter. I am really hoping this pans out for me, but if it doesn’t I am hoping getting a horse is still do-able.
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post #6 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 05:46 PM
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It's possible, though it can end up badly sometimes.
My story: I got my first pony, a Paso Fino, a couple years back. He was a freebie; quite old and headstrong as they come. Before that, and even since, I haven't had any kind of real instruction. No lessons, not even unofficial/friends helping out. I currently have three horses (well only two of them are actually mine, the pony is more the family's official "kid pony" for whoever wants to take it up lol, but I've been working with her too). An older QH mare, and APHA filly who is going on 4 years. I got her as a long yearling and she is in the process of being started right now. I haven't had any "outside help" available to me, other than books and the internet, and we're doing alright. :) So I would say that if you do your research, are persistent enough to fight through failures, and perhaps have a good measure of luck on your side that yes, it is possible
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post #7 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 05:47 PM
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My horse experience was incredibly limited. When we went to the beach, our landlord's nephew let me ride his outer banks pony whenever I wanted, and when we went to the mountains once, I went on a guided trail ride twice.

I was 26 when I bought my first horse. She was 4 years old, but very gentle and well broke. A good friend who was a knowledgeable horsewoman found her for me. She (the horse) took excellent care of me. I also boarded her with the friend for the first couple of years. She wasn't an instructor, but she sure helped me a lot.

I'm now approaching 63 and still "untrained", but have been blessed with fantastic horses over the years.

However, I think leasing is an excellent idea. I would also call every place you can to ask about lessons. It's ridiculous they won't take an adult. Finding someone who can help you through the first couple of years can make a huge difference in the success of having a horse. There are far too many people selling horses who will tell you their horse is perfect for a beginner when it actually isn't at all. So having someone knowledgeable can literally save you!!
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post #8 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by SilverDapples View Post
I do have someone who I might end up getting lessons from. I am sadly quite a ways away from...everything. We travel 30 miles just to go grocery shopping. This is the only person left within 35 miles of the house. There are more stables closer to the state capital, but thatís about a 45 minute drive, and itís some very hilly roads. Not something I want to drive during the winter. I am really hoping this pans out for me, but if it doesnít I am hoping getting a horse is still do-able.
I hope it does work out.

Getting a horse simply because, by what it sounds like you are implying, more "convenient" is not a good idea. If you are unable or unwilling to take the time now, how is it going to be if you get your own horse? Proper horse ownership, in the long term, is something that lasts all-year-round and takes more than forty-five minutes (or an hour and forty five minutes if you include the lesson).

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." - Confucius

Last edited by LoonWatcher; 05-24-2019 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Grammar. Clarification.
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post #9 of 30 Old 05-24-2019, 06:30 PM
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So much "No!"

First of all, you'll be keeping a herd animal on your property in solitude, and with very little experience in

(a) staying on a horse while it's moving about in all kinds of unpredictable ways,
(b) communicating with a horse in using and reading body language, and
(c) providing for safe and appropriate living conditions. (I'm going to assume that since lessons are "far away", so will be opportunities to board.)

I started learning to ride four years ago. I was 46, 5'11" and 190 lbs. I took lessons and leased at 4 different barns before stumbling accidentally into horse ownership. I now take lessons at a fifth barn. My second and fourth barn were 45 mins away. Winter is only a problem after snow and before plowing. You'll be missing one or two lessons during January/February at most. (My current one is in walking distance, but it's a different kind of lesson.)

When I remember how clueless I was when I showed up at my first barn (I only wanted to learn walk-trot-canter for a guided trail ride in Iceland at the time), I cannot imagine how I could have been a horse owner at that time without guidance, and not end up in the hospital and the horse on the meat wagon.
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post #10 of 30 Old 05-25-2019, 04:07 AM
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I hope you find somewhere to have lessons. I know it can feel hard sometimes finding the right place where you feel like you are a valued client, but it is worth trying out lots of places, and yes, some of them you will need to drive a ways for, which can feel painful when you would much rather spend that time and money on riding time.

I had a pony for a while as a child as a clueless horse owner in a non-horsey family, and it was lots of fun but I really had no idea what I was doing. Then I had around 20 years off riding and started lessons again about 2.5 years ago at 36. I have had weekly private lessons and tried four different places for lessons, and I volunteer one half day a week doing some horse care. Even now, I am such a beginner, and it is so easy to have mistimed aids, make mistakes, miss things that should have been corrected, or not know what to do when something out of the ordinary pops up. When that happens, it is so reassuring to have a helpful trainer/coach on hand to talk you through what to do.

I have friends who have said to me for the amount I pay on lessons, why don't I just buy a cheap horse and ride more. Personally, I cannot imagine trying to own a horse for years; I have so much more to learn! For me, it comes down to the kind of experience I want to have. Do I want quality or quantity? I have done quantity with poor quality in the past with my clueless ownership of a freebie naughty pony and I don't really want to do that again. Now that I am getting older, I want to be riding in as safe an environment as possible so that there is less risk of getting hurt. And I much prefer quality over quantity. So for me, that is riding only in lessons until I have learned enough to lease, and will see after that.

Another thing to think of as a beginner, it is actually fun and very educational to ride a range of horses. If you own, you will just have that one horse to ride. In my lessons and the trail rides/treks I have paid to go on, I have now ridden about 14 different horses over the past 2.5 years, and all of them have taught me something different. Not owning gives you a lot of freedom to try out different horses, styles of riding, and trainers/coaches.

Good luck finding someone. Just keep on asking and trying places. Maybe even some of the ones you have tried in the past, the trainer/coach may have changed and they might be an option to try again.
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