Torn: to buy or not to buy a horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-20-2019, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Torn: to buy or not to buy a horse

For the past two summers I have been working at a summer camp with the horses. During these two summers I have fallen in love with an old grey horse , I might even go as far as to say that he is my heart horse... I have been riding since I was very young, but I have never owned horses and between the ages of around 14-19 I took a hiatus from horses. Last summer I very seriously considered purchasing one but in the end decided not to because my parents were very unsupportive (keep in mind I was 20 at the time, and the horse would have been my sole financial responsibility, but my mom was still very against the idea). Well, I spent the past year riding for a competitive team at my university, taking lessons, and all around just becoming a lot more invested in my riding and being around horses in general. And then, at the end of the summer at my camp job, something pretty disastrous happened. I'll spare you the details, all you really need to know is that it affirmed for me that I will never work there again, and I became desperate to try and bail my favorite horse out. Obviously I cannot buy 54 horses, but I don't know how I could live with myself knowing I abandoned my favorite horse... This horse has taught me so much and given me some much needed confidence, I almost feel like I owe him something.

I tend to be a somewhat nervous rider. I'm a fairly anxious person in general and I have leased horses in the past and quit riding them simply because they made me a little uncomfortable. Even camp horses have made me uncomfortable despite the fact that I know fully well how to handle them and discipline them, I get nervous. I don't place well on my IHSA team because we ride a new horse every time, and I have a hard time feeling comfortable on a horse I've never ridden before. I get nervous and tense. This horse is different. Yes, he's a horse. He still has moments where he spooks, times where any other horse would make me nervous, but on him I feel comfortable. I trust this horse, I acknowledge that he is still a prey animal and still has the potential to be unsafe, but I don't have a constant uneasiness when I am with him. We are just two friends hanging out.

Obviously I am having a hard time balancing my logical side and my emotional side. I'm applying to veterinary school right now, I'm a full time student, I don't work all that much, and I really don't have a ton of free time. But on the other hand, I feel like this horse is a gem and I can't let him slip through the cracks. As horse people who I'm sure, have all had special horses who have 'spoken' to you in your pasts, what kind of advice or recommendations do you have. Will I regret it for my entire life if I load him on a trailer in 5 short weeks to go back to the terrible leasing facility he came from and never see him again, or will I regret it more if I purchase him?
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-21-2019, 06:54 AM
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My vote is to buy him if you can afford his upkeep. If you get into vet school you won't have a lot of money then, and you sure won't have any time to ride him much. But if you can find a nice pasture-board place to park him for awhile I would say go for it.

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post #3 of 12 Old 09-21-2019, 11:51 AM
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I say go for it. Like Avna said even if you don't have time during vet school you can find a cheap pasture boarding place or even lease him to someone that YOU pick out and let them handle his care while you're in school.

And yes, I have certainly had the horses who speak to me and if possible I usually try to find a way to bring them home. It has not always worked out and I've had to re-home some of them, but it was so worth the effort.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-21-2019, 03:55 PM
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This is a hard decision. I think you really need to look at your life and time and see if you can make it work. If you really want him, what sacrifices do you have to make in order to keep him? You're at the time of your life where you start making big decisions on how you want to live your life. How would he fit into it? Will you be able to pursue your career? Will you be able to make time for him? How will you be able to afford him? Are you still financially reliant on your parents? Their opinion will matter quite a bit if you are.

Look at other options for the horse as well. It sounds like your primary concern is where he will end up, so maybe you can advocate for him in another way. Since you didn't list the details of what happened, I'm not sure how this would work, but there have been several campaigns to place masses of unwanted horses (the 52 thoroughbreds that keeps popping up comes to mind). You may also be able to find another home for him. Try reaching out to others in your horse community for ideas. Maybe just post something on facebook about trying to find him a home, and in a few years when you're financially stable you'll take him (unless the home ends up perfect for him?). Maybe some horse friends will all pitch in and have part ownership? I think if you're creative you may be able to come up with a solution for him.

Good luck, I truly hope you're able to work something out for him. He sounds like a gem.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-21-2019, 06:45 PM
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A heart horse is a special animal; your heart may break without him.

Start looking now for inexpensive places to keep him and rescue him. If you are determined, you can make it work...some places you can work off board, or maybe you could give pony rides on him for a bit of money.

We only regret what we don't do...
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-21-2019, 07:22 PM
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Where there's a will, there's a way. Life is short, get the horse. That way you won't always have in the back of your mind, I should have got him. I remember when my husband and I were younger, and he took out his retirement savings to buy a brand new Harley-Davidson. We ran into an older, retired couple at a rest stop while we're riding that bike. We got to talking with them and I was kind of on the crabby side and told them what he had done with his retirement savings and buying the bike. They said spend your money while you're young & you can still enjoy it, as long as you can by with what you earn, buy the toys when you can still enjoy them. I have never forgot that.

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post #7 of 12 Old 09-21-2019, 11:49 PM
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I bought a horse prior to graduation from college. But i had a job and my schooling was paid for through scholarships.

If you are going to vet school you will need a loan unless you are rich. I was quoted $120,000 for tuition for a 4 yr veterinary degree. Simply getting a master's degree is $20,000 for in state tuition. If you are going to vet school you won't have any free time, let alone for a horse.

But if you can afford to buy the horse and pay full board somewhere for the next 4 years, then i say do it. When you do have an hour or two free, you can visit whenever you have a chance.

If you live in the south, pasture board for $250 a month including feed, could possibly be arranged. That is what I paid during college for board.

Time to get out an excel chart for the next 4 years and decide if you have the money for living expenses, rent, gas, car repair and maintenance,your medical insurance, tuition, other bills etc.

You only live once and you don't want to live with regrets. If you can make do financially, go ahead.

Do keep in mind, everyone here is an enabler. No one is going to say don't do it, except your parents. But I would start by taking a hard look at your financial situation.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-22-2019, 10:13 AM
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I am 100% in the same boat as you. I am pre-vet, will be applying to vet school after next semester, and I just bought my heart horse in the beginning of the summer. I made a very similar post along the same lines, asking if this was a reasonable thing to get myself into - I knew her for a couple years when I was younger, then various circumstances separated us, and remarkably, even though I was now living in a totally different state, I found her again online.

I found very cheap pasture board near me and I paid someone to trailer my new mare 400 miles to me. Everything miraculously fell into place... With some definite roadblocks along the way, but it was 100% worth it. I also rode on my university's equestrian team and quit that because the team was extremely cliquey, the trainer played favorites, and we spent only about 15% of our time actually riding - we only got to ride twice a month, if we were lucky.

Anyway, not the point - my point is that I quit the team after freshman year, was lost without horses during my sophomore year, and got my mare just before my (now) junior year. I have definitely been able to find the time to ride, even between taking 19 credits and working part-time. I'm not sure if vet school will be the same, but I'm prepared to find someone else to ride her during the busiest parts of vet school. I do not at all regret getting my heart horse with vet school looming ahead. If you feel this horse is definitely your heart horse, you will absolutely find a way to work it out, even if it's not so easy.

Let me know which vet school you get into, maybe we'll end up at the same school and can ride together some time
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-22-2019, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4horses View Post
I bought a horse prior to graduation from college. But i had a job and my schooling was paid for through scholarships.

If you are going to vet school you will need a loan unless you are rich. I was quoted $120,000 for tuition for a 4 yr veterinary degree. Simply getting a master's degree is $20,000 for in state tuition. If you are going to vet school you won't have any free time, let alone for a horse.

But if you can afford to buy the horse and pay full board somewhere for the next 4 years, then i say do it. When you do have an hour or two free, you can visit whenever you have a chance.

If you live in the south, pasture board for $250 a month including feed, could possibly be arranged. That is what I paid during college for board.

Time to get out an excel chart for the next 4 years and decide if you have the money for living expenses, rent, gas, car repair and maintenance,your medical insurance, tuition, other bills etc.

You only live once and you don't want to live with regrets. If you can make do financially, go ahead.

Do keep in mind, everyone here is an enabler. No one is going to say don't do it, except your parents. But I would start by taking a hard look at your financial situation.
This is sound advice. I often have to rely on others to help me make more financially sound decisions. As I am currently horse shopping as well as truck and trailer shopping after a few years of not owning horses I have attempted to leap into purchases without thinking of any logical thing because I just want it so much. So while yes I do think that you should look into this, I have to say that I also agree with this advice of making sure it will work for you. Find the place to keep the horse first (that's what my boyfriend just made me do) then go from there.

P.S. if you do decide to go through with it share some pictures!

Rhonda
to ride on a horse, is to fly without wings
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-22-2019, 06:06 PM
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Is it more important to you that you yourself own the horse, or that the horse get out of a bad situation?

If your main priority is just getting him into a better place: help the horse find a home with someone else who will treat him a lot better than the facility. Or if you do buy him, you could see about either putting him out on a free lease or at the very least find a trustworthy part-boarder to take the pressure off yourself. School will eat your life and your finances more than you know. And you really will need everything you have to survive that degree. Vet school is HAAAAAARD. You will be broke, and you will have no time for anything else. But if you put everything you have into your degree, you'll have great things to look forward to!
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