Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
I think you'll find that whenever you get a horse it will be a steep learning curve. To get through that you need commitment, high levels of responsibility and strong and critical perspective. If you are one that shies away from challenges the horse world may be too confronting.
Beyond that, many people get horses at different skill stages. Some get one after six months of riding, others six years. Your "success" at horse ownership is going to depend a lot on getting a suitable horse and, if you are relatively inexperienced, having a good trainer.
If you don't feel that you're ready, by all means, don't buy. Be aware though that there isn't really a "ready" stage, lots of the essential things you learn while doing them. I would want any prospective owner to be able to handle a horse on the ground safely and confidently, to be able to rug, clean out feet, catch and have a working knowledge of feeding. For a ridden horse, I'd expect a new owner to be able to tack up safely and correctly, mount up and do basic walk/trot/canter in an arena, and be able to stop, turn and dismount quickly and effectively if needed. That would be my minimum.
Many people on here mention leasing, and leasing certainly can be a good introduction to ownership. However, in my experience leases are relatively uncommon, and safe and reliable private lease horses are rare. You may be able to lease through a riding school or trainer who has a range of novice suitable horses.
When I was 10 I managed to convince my parents to get me a lease horse. I'd been riding for two and a half years, with 1 - 2 lessons a week, and also a couple of holiday camps. We went looking around and all the lease horses we saw were generally untrained or green, and definitely not suited for a first horse. It was only after my parents realised this that they agreed to buy me a horse - it was, for us, a far safer option. So keep your eyes open for a lease if thats what you want, but still be very critical. The most important thing is the right horse, whether it's a lease or a buy, make sure it's right for you. To this end, get your trainer to assist in choosing one.