When to buy first horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 07-29-2016, 02:03 PM
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This is always a tough decision.


I got my first horse when I was 15 years old, when college came around I went away to college. But my parents took care of my horse while I was away so that I could keep him but I always felt bad they took up ownership basically even thou I was the one wanting horses in the first place.
It was extremely hard to leave my horse for months at a time while I was away. I do have to say that me and this horse's relationship has never been the same since. He is a "one person horse" and was extremely bonded to me. After I left he did fine but never acted the same towards mw as hard as it is to believe. He isn't as friendly and would rather stick to himself now then be around me. I do miss the horse he was before I left my atlas that is all the past. He is still my #1 but since being out of college I have added 2 more horses on, and it is a lot easier now with a stable and consistent job. I honestly wished I would of waited until after college to jump into ownership.

Hero Act - 2002 Thoroughbred Gelding / Gunner - Quarter Horse Gelding / John Deere - Mini/companion Gelding
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-29-2016, 08:27 PM
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I got my first horse when I was 11 and it made for some great times in my teen years. I sold him after two years to progress to a more competitive horse, and sold that one once I got a young project horse.

Some people think that you should keep a horse forever...I don't. Getting a horse now does not mean you can't sell it before college, or take it or lease it or whatever. If your parents have the money and are happy to pay then I think go for it.

I worked from around 14, just casually. Really though, most parents are less worried about financial contribution and more about the effort and dedication you put into study. Can you manage to excel at school while having a horse?

Leasing is all very well, in my experience though I haven't come across that many good lease horses, finding buying a much better choice for a suitable mount. That depends on your area though. If you do buy don't go for something too aged as it will be difficult to sell on if you need to.
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-30-2016, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much to everyone who has weighed in and offered advice and personal experience! It sounds like the best option is to try to max out with my current horse and then possibly look for a more full-time lease if my schedule and abilities allow.
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-31-2016, 02:23 AM
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Personally if I were you, I'd look for another horse to lease if there is anything else available that may be younger and you can move up the levels with but still be safe. Especially if you find a horse who maybe has a decent base but has competed novice and get the horse and yourself going. You'd definitely need a horse with some training, especially to meet your timeline goals.

I agree mixing college and horses in general is a bad idea. Just because of the debts that accumulate over 4yrs and owning a horse is about 15k+a year if you're at a nice barn, taking regular lessons, medical, farrier, chiropractor, supplements, etc, etc. Keeping a performance horse going is expensive. And depending on your major how much time you'll actually have to spend with your horse and ride.

The first time I went through college, I did not own a horse. I was paid to ride several horses and had a free lease on my trainer's old eventer who long story short is extremely quirky and hasnt been ridden since the last time I rode him 3-4yrs ago. Like trying to ride a cat. My first horse was my old eventer I got when I was 13? who was VERY quirky and kinda crazy, rode like a frake train cross country. Cool horse though. Ended up finding him a new home for college when I was 20 and done being a working student.

Now going back through college. I own my own but I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to dedicate to a horse of my own because when my hand heals, Ill have 6 horses on my plate to ride not including my own (4 youngsters I broke/helped break, 2 other dressage horses) and Im a computer science major. So when my horse sells my family has tried to convince me to just ride and develop the horses Im paid to ride but Ive been developing, retraining, etc horses for 8yrs. Developing, training, sending them on and starting over, so for me in my position owning my own is best and cutting back on other horses to focus on developing my next horse and hope after she's broke and we work together for the next 5yrs we'll make it to PSG.

It's a complicated dynamic for horse people, especially if you have limited funds and time but amibiton and goals. We all have to make sacrifices and make a list of priorities, pros and cons of big choices. Unfortunately there are going to be a lot of tough choices to make and lots of cross roads.

My point is you have to be realistic about the money you have, what time you have left until you start college and be realistic about meeting your goals. Setback happen and if you want to do training level by the time you graduate, youll probably need a different horse. You also need to be firm and communicate your goals to your trainer and tell her what it is you want, so you're both on the same page and you can hear her feedback or suggestions.

Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 07-31-2016 at 02:32 AM.
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-31-2016, 02:55 AM
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My advice is stick to leasing right now, your current horse or another then drop the lease when you head off to college. Completing college should be your primary goal when you go or you're parents are just wasting money one your education. Once you get settled in and have the routine/schedule down pat then decide if you have time/money for a secondary focus, horses.

Lets be honest, horses are a money and time sink that you may not be able to afford while at college. You don't know yet how many credits you'll be taking, how much homework and studying you'll be doing, some classes require labs (even more time), then there's the social aspect of college you might want to participate in (not a requirement but certainly and expectation). Will you have to at least put some hours into a job? That will depend on how much your parents can afford but plays directly into how much time and money you have for a horse.

Then there's the buying/selling or buying/dumping on your parents goodwill. If you and your parents are willing to buy and sell a horse you can consider it but why when you can lease? Buying and dumping on your parents? They may say they are OK with it but trust me, there will very likely be some hard feelings about it 4-6 years later unless they are into horses themselves. Next factor into buying and dumping on your parents is the horse you leave likely will not be the horse you return to. They'll be older, out of shape, not used to having to work (and may resent being asked to) and in general wasted potential from being a yard ornament.

Then there's the whole after college thing that's been brought up. You'll likely be moving to, hopefully, a new job after graduation. Just because you graduated from college and got a job doesn't mean you can afford a horse. Many careers don't pay well and you'll flat not be able to afford a horse or it will be a big struggle. Many careers do pay well and you'll be able to afford several horses but here's the catch, more than likely you'll have to earn your stripes at lower wages first to get that good pay down the road. College education doesn't mean you'll walk out the door of your college into a 6 figure income, you might only be making 30-35k/year starting out. Trust me, in a lot of areas 35k/year will mean no horses in your life and a struggle to pay the basic bills. Heck, 60k/year in a lot of areas will still mean no horses in your life while in others (where good jobs are scarce) you'll be considered well off and can afford horses if you are lucky enough to land that good of a paying job.
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