When to buy first horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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When to buy first horse

I am looking for advice on whether or not it makes sense to try to buy a horse or at least seek a full-lease/lease to buy situation based on my riding and horse experience and goals.

I've been riding for eight years, half-leasing for four. I have been leasing an older (early twenties) horse that I have started eventing with for the past two years. I have completed several beginner novice events on him and am planning on moving up to novice in the fall. Prior to this, I leased several lesson horses but he is the first privately owned horse I've leased. I am the only one riding him, though his owner does help take care of him on the days that I don't ride and as it is a half-lease, offers a great deal of support re the horse's vet and farrier needs.

I have several catches/factors that contribute to whether or not it makes sense to look for a new situation (either buying or full/feed leasing).

First off, as I am in high school right now, there is the issue of the fact that I don't have my own income yet, and will be leaving for college within several years. As for the income issue, I know that my family can afford to own a horse, but for responsibility's sake, I know that I should try to figure out a way for pay for part of the horse's expenses if I make the transition to a more intensive lease (as right now, we are splitting some of my lease horse's expenses with his owner since I ride four days a week). I am 100% willing to get a job once I have my own transportation (drivers license), which I can get within a couple months. For college, there are several colleges within the state that I am interested in that i could realistically bring a horse to. My parents may be willing to split some of the costs of keeping a horse in college and I am definitely willing to getting a job pay for it. Looking forward, I assume I will be willing to make time to ride in college as I have seen other girls from my ranch manage to succeed in school and be competitive in eventng at the same time, but of course, that is another concern once I reach that part of my life...

The other concern I have with my current horse's situation is that i know that I would like to be able to continue to move up through the levels of eventing and I don't want my current horse's age to be an issue. He has been game for going BN so far and hasn't shown much of an issue due to his age, but i have some doubts about taking him above novice. It's kind of a precautionary concern right now I guess, but my goal is to go at least training before I graduate high school. I have several years left for reach my goal, but i don't know if he is the horse that would take me there, since he never competed above training even in his prime.

I get that there is obviously more factors against me trying to buy a horse right now than for, but I'm worried that I will be limited by the horse I am on right now as I progress. As most eventing kids my age do, I would love to continue to event as I grow up and would love to ride on NAJYRC teams and eventually at the upper levels. For a rider who does not own their own horse, it definitely feels like what the people my age who are already achieving my goals for the future have that I don't is a younger horse that they own.... I understand that it's not a magic ticket, but i do feel like having a younger horse would broaden my opportunities. It's kind of a difficult thing to express to my trainer as she coached my lease horse's owner's kids, and to my parents, as I don't know if they understand my goals completely since they are also new to eventing and obviously not as immersed in it as I am....

Sorry for the essay, but in general, just looking for some outside opinions on what i should do based on my personal situation and experience, and what i should try to do moving forward in order to achieve my goals.
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 11:52 AM
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I think your question isn't related to horsemanship at all, because you seem to be more than capable of owning a horse, knowledge-wise.

It seems to me that you are struggling with making a lifestyle choice, and no-one here can really help you with that, other than relating their own experience in your particular situation. So, I think the question would be "How did your horse affect your studies if you had to get a job to support it?

I can't answer, I'm afraid, I only bought my first horse at 40, but I'm sure there are other forum members who have been in your situation who might be able to tell their story.

Best of luck!
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 12:37 PM
Green Broke
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Very short answer...lease a horse that can do what you want and buy after college when you settle into your own life.
Wishing you the best in all endeavors, Kiddo!

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 02:51 PM
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I agree with Dustbunny. I had a horse when I was going to college. But my program was only a 2 year program and I was working at the same time. I honestly don't know how I did it....went to school full time, worked, had time for my horse and a social life. I also didn't compete, and I can imagine that would take up more time and money.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 03:00 PM
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I agree with Dustbunny. At this point you would be better off leasing a younger horse, if that's what you think will help you progress. You seem knowledgeable enough, so that isn't the issue. Mid-high school isn't the best time to buy a horse because you'll only have a few years of riding it before a big life change. No reason you can't be competitive without owning a horse though.

Once you're out of college and have a steady income then would be the best time to buy a horse. I know, waiting is the worst, but you'll be better off not having to deal with the struggle of supporting a horse while dealing with all that college entails. If you're leasing you will still have a horse to ride and care for, but it will also be less expensive and save you money that you can put toward your own horse after college.

Hope it helps!
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 03:08 PM
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I agree with everyone else. Lease for now. That gives you horse access now without the financial responsibility/burden when you're college and when you first enter the job market after graduation. You can always pick up some lessons now and during this busiest part of your life or make friends with other people who have horses so you can visit and hang out when you need a "fix".

I think putting yourself in the position to be responsible for the care and keeping of a horse during and shortly after college is a mistake for almost anyone.
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The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 03:18 PM
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I agree that owning horses and college are rarely a good mix. I lucked out in college when a professor's wife had a difficult pregnancy and he needed help with their driving horses----it gave a me a great outlet to get my horsey fix with no financial obligation, a chance to learn to drive, and a few extra $$$$ in my pocket since he paid me for helping. It was only after I graduated and had a good job that I bought my first horse. My daughter took her show mare to college, but called me after 6 weeks wanting to know if she could bring her home----trying to keep up with her classes, have a social life, compete on the equestrian team, and care for the mare were too much.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 03:51 PM
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if you haven't reached the current leased horse's maximum potential then keep on going with the current situation. you know the horse & are comfortable with him so just talk with his owner about your goals and see if she thinks he's up for it, she may say lets run him up to novice but not beyond and will actually probably be better for the horse to keep working keep the joints moving

20 isn't over the hill just yet, you know the horse, you know the owner, so focus on improving you & the horse instead of buying/leasing a wild-card and possibly having to go back to a beginner course to get the new horse & you in sync
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-28-2016, 10:00 PM
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It sounds like knowledge and experience wise you are "ready" in my book. Sounds like you're worried it may not be the right lifestyle choice? If I were you, I would start off with a part time job and continue with your current lease, and see how that goes regarding time management. If that is going well, and current lease horse is maxed out level wise, then I'd consider looking for a full or free lease on another horse that is going the level you'd like to be competitive at. I'd look more into owning after college.
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-29-2016, 07:09 AM
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I think, if I were in your situation, I'd continue with what I've got.

You'll have a lot of changes in your life coming shortly. If you're light and fast it'll make things much easier on you.

A horse, no matter how much you love it, can become an anchor at the time you need to move swiftly.
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For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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