Teen horse lover and newbie - questions about riding and a future in horses! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Red face Teen horse lover and newbie - questions about riding and a future in horses!

Hello.
I just joined this forum, so, I hope this is the right place to post a set of questions like this! If it's not please let me know and I will move it or repost.

I'm eighteen years old (I feel so old, I'm still a kid, I swear), and I've loved horses since I was a little kid. I taught myself the ins and outs of horse ownership, and wanted my own so badly. Living in a fairly urban area of Arizona, that was never an option, though.
I took horseback riding lessons when I was eleven. English was always the discipline that interested me. But I left because my instructor, wasn't erm, the greatest, and it was very expensive for my parents.
Anyways. Flash forward. I'm eighteen. I've dabbled in things, I'm very artistic, but I still love horses. I really want to get back into the equestrian world. I miss horses so much. My questions might be silly, but I am fairly ignorant in this area, so forgive me. But they are summarily:

-Am I too old to take English lessons again? I have some experience in ice skating and stretch often, so my legs are pretty strong, which I know can come in handy.

-How does could I get into competitive riding after I have trained for a while? I loved jumping in particular. I am a very competitive person, and an ambitious one at that. Would I be too old; are there age limits in competitive riding?

-Alright. I'm embarrassed to ask this but I have nowhere else to go, so here I go: Does one need to be sufficiently experienced in horses to go to an Equine College? I am at the age where I'm figuring out what to do with my life and where to study, so... I just don't know if I could even go to an equine learning institution and/or major in equine studies with so little experience.

I am so anxious for some insight from people who have equine experience and knowledge. Thank you SO much in advance for your help!
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post #2 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 12:26 AM
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Never to old to take lessons in any discipline!

Now as to the competing question that completely depends on how fast you progress in lessons and how far you got when you were younger. It could take 6months or years. Jumping is a great sport but it does take skill. If you got your own horse you could try some small clinics after getting lessons and if you feel confident or found the right trainer you could try and find a lease or half lease if you are financially able to do so.



As to the equine college ? Not sure what you mean? Do you mean like a vet school or?
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post #3 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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That makes me happy!

I don't have a horse; wish I did. I would have to use a horse from where I take lessons.
To get involved in competition (which, I know, would be a while away), does one have to join a certain club, or group or something like that?

No, not a vet school.. There's and equine college where I live, or an "Equine Studies Center" as they call themselves. Mainly for students to major in equine studies and work in an environment with horses (there's a barn right out the back!). I'm sure it includes veterinary studies, but it's not limited to them; I think it's open to competitors, those studying veterinary sciences, or the equine business. But I've never visited so I don't know much about it. So I was wondering if, to major in equine studies like equine science or equine business, you need to already own a horse and be experienced.
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post #4 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 01:53 AM
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I believe certain groups (IE: 4h, pony club) host their own shows....I could be wrong but I think you need to be a member to participate. However, there should be a lot of open, local shows in which anyone can enter. (this is my best guess....I do not show).

Most Equine Science courses I'm familiar with have entrance requirements (such as 'such & such' grade in Math, Bio & English). They normally also have a requirement for volunteer hours. Depending on what program you are interested in, a riding test would likely be required as well.

If you have an equine college close to your place, just go on their website. They should have the admission requirements posted.
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post #5 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 06:10 AM
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You're never too old to ride and you're never too old for lessons.

Horse riding is something best though of in hours rather than years in my opinion. An average lesson taker might have 50 hours a year, over 10 years 500 hours. But if you rode three hours a day five days a week for a year you'd have ridden over 700 hours. I'm not saying ride that much, but just that a lot of people judge themselves on the years they have ridden and mark themselves as behind, or advanced, when these amounts are quite meaningless.

Competition usually requires your own horse. You generally don't have to join a club although clubs do run events and being a member will discount your entry fee. Not sure what its like in the US but i imagine its similar, we have a national body that I guess accredits jumping and these "official" events do require you to be a member of that body to work your way up. They don't start low though, close to four feet here, so you'll probably compete a fair bit in unofficial competitions first which can be run by local clubs or even stables.

The only division in jumping is usually height, sometimes there are ones for young/green horses amd sometimes young rider (usually under 18) Your age doesn't really matter at all once you're an adult.

In some horse sports things are more divided on the size and breed of horse,junior events divide by age.

Equine college... my advice would be not to go. I don't think its worth it personally. There is no standard, some you'd need experience others you don't but i would urge you to really consider it first. There are few horse careers that ever earn you enough to own and compete your own horse comfortably.
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post #6 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 11:32 AM
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Hi there, welcome to the forum! :) NO question is a stupid question, feel free to ask whatever you like!


-Am I too old to take English lessons again? I have some experience in ice skating and stretch often, so my legs are pretty strong, which I know can come in handy.
NO! Never too old to take lessons. Go for it! I am almost 25 & just started riding again a few mos ago, you'll get the hang of it. And strong legs will get even stronger in the saddle!

-How does could I get into competitive riding after I have trained for a while? I loved jumping in particular. I am a very competitive person, and an ambitious one at that. Would I be too old; are there age limits in competitive riding?
Some barns have schooling shows, which are really fun & good practice for shows that aren't schooling shows. For competitions, however, you may have to use your own horse or a horse you are leasing. It depends where you ride really and your area.

-Alright. I'm embarrassed to ask this but I have nowhere else to go, so here I go: Does one need to be sufficiently experienced in horses to go to an Equine College? I am at the age where I'm figuring out what to do with my life and where to study, so... I just don't know if I could even go to an equine learning institution and/or major in equine studies with so little experience.
I am not very familiar with equine colleges, there aren't any around my area but you could always research them. You'll make the right decision, but make sure you weigh your options because that's a big one!

Ride more, worry less.
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post #7 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 11:47 AM
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I predict you are going to hear a lot of people tell you not to plan on a career in horses. Frankly, they are right. Actual livelihoods in horses are:

1. large animal veterinarian (many years of study and many thousands of dollars required just to hang out a shingle)
2. trainer or instructor (need many years of practice, natural talent, probably some kind of loose apprenticeship with a superior trainer, and a lot of hustle)
3. boarding barn owner (a great deal of horse keeping experience, major capitalization, and a great head for business)

There are thousands of casual riders and amateur competitors who make their living elsewhere. This is the well-trodden path. You can start at any time with any kind of experience. I started riding lessons (english) when I was 59. I'd had riding experience as a kid, that's all. Look for a career with a reasonable prospect of being something you can imagine yourself doing for awhile and which doesn't require you to live in a city. Personally I recommend looking into the trades (plumbing, electrical, construction). Pretty good pay, useful work, hard to outsource, easy to relocate. Women often overlook this option.

I also suggest you find a stable to work for part time in exchange for lessons. There's nothing like mucking stalls and bucking hay for finding out if you really like horses. A very substantial amount of time one expends on horses involves poop. Fixing things and handling poop. Every once in a while you get to ride . . .
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post #8 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 12:25 PM
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I'd say find a good college with an equestrian team, and major in something employable that you're good at that's unrelated or distantly related to horses. If you ask around, you'll learn that horses are a lot more fun when they're your hobby rather than your livelihood. IHSA (intercollegiate horse show association) is a great organization that lets beginners like you learn to compete and show in college. There's a huge variety of skill levels, from people who have never touched a horse in their life to pro horsemen/women, and the best thing is, it's cheap and you don't need your own horse; you ride the college's horses. I know the University of Arizona has a good club, not sure how far that is from you, but you could check it out!

"Never give up for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." ~Harriet Beecher Stowe
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post #9 of 23 Old 09-22-2016, 05:06 PM
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There is a joke going around: how do you become a millionaire in the horse business? Start off as a billionaire :)

As for being too old, I first touched a horse when I was 37, now I have my own three years later (my riding is still atrocious but I'm exceptionally untalented)

Good luck, I hope you enjoy it.
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post #10 of 23 Old 09-23-2016, 09:04 AM
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You are certainly not too old, and you definitely could start showing competitively at some point. There is an equestrian college about an hour from me, and there are a few different majors. I think the best thing to do would be to go tour one! Someone I know is going for some type of equine therapy...not massage therapy, but something different. It sounds like it could be a lucrative career, and also not something you'd have to know a lot about riding previously to do.
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