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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

I’m looking for some advice. For the past year and a half, I’ve been involved with and taking care if a variety of old, sick, and too-green horses. Through this, I’ve learned a lot, but havent gotten hardly any riding time in.

So now I’m looking for a “real” horse. Meaning, an easy, calm, broke, healthy horse I can use to work on my skills both on the ground and in the saddle. (Even as I continue to care for other peoples’ old, sick, green horses!)

Anyway, I’m looking at one guy, “Louie,” who is a real sweetie. He lives at the same ranch as the other horses I care for. He’s 4.5 hands, 11 years old, mellow, no health issues... Easy, easy.

That said, I rode him 2 days ago for his “try out,” and can barely walk! I am So Out Of Shape for riding. Which is funny because I actually teach yoga. So I’m in great shape otherwise.

But bottom line—my skills are definitely at “beginner” level. Like...I know the basics of how to ride and longe, as well as some general horsemanship, but...I’m a newbie.

Now, here is my issue: people SAY I should look at more than one option. And I know that makes sense. But the only other real option I have is a trail horse named Harry who is also aged 11-15, also small, and also broke.

His owner (ranch manager) is really busy and hasn’t been super motivated to get me in to see him. To be honest, I’m starting to feel a little guilty at the notion of making her take the time to show me Harry. Especially as I’ve been taking Louie out to groom and do mild groundwork.

The thing is—I’m not a very good rider. So what, exactly, am I going to see that’s so different between these two horses? And since I dont have access to HArry’s pasture, I’m not going to be able to put in the time with Harry (pre-buying) that I am with Louie.

It’s like deciding to buy a hand-me-down car you’ve driven for a few weeks already, versus buying a used car you only test drove once....if you’re a driver who’s only just recently passed her driver’s test! HAHA.

I’ve spent enough time around horses to know when a horse is too temperamental for me. Or too green. Or too big and athletic.

Louie is a really comfortable height. I can get on without a block. If I fell, it woudlnt be far. And while he’s a bit lazy (because he knows he can take advantage of me as a newbie,) I do not get any sense he’d buck me off or run off with me. The worst he’d do would be to say, “Meh. I’d rather eat grass.”

I guess my question is—do I take the time and bother to see the other horse? (Inconveniencing someone who I get the feeling doesnt want to be inconvenienced?) Or do I stick with the obvious solution?

(It doesnt hurt that Louie comes with tack, as well as 50% ownership of a tack shed. And doesnt need to be moved. All small, but also not-so-small issues.)

What do you guys think?

As horse owners yourself, would you be annoyed if someone came out to see a horse you are selling “just as a comparison”, already sort of having made up their mind to buy a different horse?

Thanks in advance.

(BTW, this is Louie. He’s a good, handsome boy.)
 

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This is a perfect perfect scenario for a novice - buy a horse that you know. Do you have to buy now? It could turn out that you really prefer a more forward horse once you get more experience but you could always sell him or train him to be more responsive (the later doesn’t work for all horses).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Horsef

I don’t *have* to buy right away, but it’s my birthday tomorrow, so I guess I’m thinking about it. :)

For sure, once I get more confident, I can ask to borrow one of the ranch’s horses. See if I like more “go.” But that’s down the line. And I may never get more advanced than clomping around the trails at a walk or trot.

I know from learning to surf that beginners make terrible choices when it comes to “equipment.” They want to start on a performance board. What you WANT is a big, floaty beginner board—At least 8 ft long.

I did what every dumb person does learning to surf, and tried all sorts of board. In the end, 4 years later, my main, go-to board is pretty much the same, floaty 8ft beast I bought myself when I started! Yeah, I can ride something smaller, lighter, higher performance. But, generally, I don’t want to!

Thanks for the advice. Mainly, I’m just thinking this through. IT’s not just about the horse, it’s about the people involved...since I live in a very small island. :)
 

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Not everyone is like me, but when I am buying a horse, I wait for that "gotta have it" feeling before I buy. My opinion is that you should look at both horses. You might be settling for Louie, and when you climb on Harry, your mind and heart says, "Yesss! THIS is the ONE!"

I have learned that not everyone gets this feeling, but when and if you do, you will never be sorry. I think it helps to look at several horses and see what happens. You might try Harry and discover you don't feel nearly as comfortable as you do with Louie and then you'll know that Louie is "the one."

Happy Birthday! I hope it's a great one! I once bought a horse secretly and kept it over at my neighbor's place for a year. My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said I wanted my neighbor's horse (which was actually mine and had been for a long time). He agreed I could have the horse, and then she didn't have to be a secret any more. That was a wonderful birthday for me.
 

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Your comfort level and trust have much to do with, "Will I ride or make excuses"....
You're already handling Louie, have trust in him and your ability on the ground and astride.
Its not so bad a decision to go with a horse you know and are comfortable with.
Louie strikes me as a horse who is taking care of his rider...as you progress and get better in skills so will Louie get happier to do more, go faster and challenge you.
The fact Louie is riding for you and not taking full advantage of your inexperience says more to me about this animals disposition than anything else, and that matters much to me.
Louie is a cute horse with no glaring horrible faults.
The fact he has tack that fits and he rides in now that would come with him to me is a plus you don't need that expense or trying to find....
If you like Louie, feel happy to ride and do what you are currently and will do for awhile while you learn more...buy him.
You know the horse, have spent time with so know if he is sickly or not, has health issues or not....
If you have a vet friend who could do a simple wellness check so you know heart, lungs and eyesight are good...I would call it a done deal if all those check out and buy myself a birthday present.


Happy Birthday!!
Whether it is Louie or another we all deserve a special gift just for our-self once in awhile...
Enjoy yours.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@knightrider

It’s funny you say that. The “I gotta have it” feeling is what I’m scared of! Most of the times in my life I’ve had that, I’ve ended up realizing that the thing I THOUGHT I wanted wasn’t what I wanted at all!

Just last year, I traded in my old truck for a brand new Subaru Forester. I drove that about 4 months before I realized that I preferred driving my husband’s old truck, and now the Forester mainly sits in the driveway, waiting for my daughter to get her driver’s license.

Seems like more often for me, when I say, “This is fine for now,” I end up loving the thing. My favorite car ever was a Chevy Aveo I bought solely because it was the cheapest hatchback with under 50K miles for sale in Seattle.

Likewise, my favorite dog I’ve had is a chihuahua shih tzu mix that I got only because it was the only small, low-allergy puppy around.

Given a chance I would have chosen something different...and likely worse. >.<

(This is maybe a ME issue. LOL)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
just thinking...

I spent $600 once on a dress I didnt wear One Single Time.

$300 for some “must have” boots I couldnt walk in.

$1100 on a surfboard I couldnt ride.

my trail of poor “must have” decisions is long...
 

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@Horsef

I don’t *have* to buy right away, but it’s my birthday tomorrow, so I guess I’m thinking about it. :)

For sure, once I get more confident, I can ask to borrow one of the ranch’s horses. See if I like more “go.” But that’s down the line. And I may never get more advanced than clomping around the trails at a walk or trot.

I know from learning to surf that beginners make terrible choices when it comes to “equipment.” They want to start on a performance board. What you WANT is a big, floaty beginner board—At least 8 ft long.

I did what every dumb person does learning to surf, and tried all sorts of board. In the end, 4 years later, my main, go-to board is pretty much the same, floaty 8ft beast I bought myself when I started! Yeah, I can ride something smaller, lighter, higher performance. But, generally, I don’t want to!

Thanks for the advice. Mainly, I’m just thinking this through. IT’s not just about the horse, it’s about the people involved...since I live in a very small island. :)
If you live on a small island, then go for it. I’m speaking from experience here (I live in a non-horsey country). It is rather difficult to find the right horse when there are so few of them. You found one - get him. It’s unlikely that there are two “right” ones in a small population.
 

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It’s like deciding to buy a hand-me-down car you’ve driven for a few weeks already, versus buying a used car you only test drove once....if you’re a driver who’s only just recently passed her driver’s test! HAHA.
Great analogy. My son is getting his driver's license and will be buying his first car soon. Guess what, we - his parents - are actually going to be choosing the car for him. He has a (small) say, but we have vastly more experience than he does so we will be doing the tire-kicking. What I'm trying to say is that this is where you need unbiased opinions from people who know horses.

Louie may look great to you right now because you really want a horse and you know him so you want to believe he is perfect for you. Maybe he is, but he may also have a lot of issues you don't know about because of your lack of experience. To return to the previous analogy, he might be easy on gas and look nice in your yard, but is the transmission going to blow in a week? Have him vetted to be sure you're not buying a horse with issues you can't afford, bring a friend who isn't connected to this barn (I realize that might be hard) and who really knows horses or if you have to, hire someone to evaluate him for you. That can include a ride. I did this with my daughter's riding coach - paid her to come check out horses with me. It was well worth it.

If that's not possible, can you lease him for a while? Maybe a lease-to-own so you have, let's say, six months to make payments and if at any time in those six months you decide he's not the right horse for him, the contract ends and you don't own him. It might sound like a bad deal, but I promise, owning a horse with health issues if far more expensive than losing a few hundred dollars.
 

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:happy-birthday8:

When I am looking for a horse, I am always wishing to find a horse that belongs to someone I know and trust. A horse I can take my time with, a horse that I get along with, that I don't feel pressured to buy by some high pressure sales pitch.

Louie fits that description. It seems like you want to love him, but are worried you are settling...

Sometimes, the right horse is right in front of us. Try not to overthink this, buying any animal is always a risk. But this one, IMO, sounds like the perfect horse for you to learn on. Plus I think he already likes you! The bond with grow, and you can be happy.

I have several times picked horses because they are in the stable I wanted to be in. It always turned out well.

Leasing him might be an option too...give you time to see if he is as nice as you think he is.

I really like the way he looks, seems like the perfect type of horse to ride and enjoy. Solid citizen.
 

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Happy birthday! And, I love @AnitaAnne's advice. It is exactly how I went about buying my first horse. It was actually one of the first times I ever posted on HF, I think, because I was getting such conflicting info in real life. (Here's the thread if you have any interest). Long story short, I was free leasing a mare that was a "therapy horse dropout"- she was owned by the therapy program and they couldn't justify keeping her because she wasn't contributing to the program at all, except for the rare adult beginner lesson. The director of the program, who had set me up with the lease and occasionally gave me lessons, offered me the first chance to buy the horse before they offered her publicly. The other instructor, who I more often rode with, thought she was too old, and not going to be a good horse to push my riding to improve (I think that's what a lot of HF posters felt too :wink:). I had only been back in riding for a couple of years at that point, and was coming to realize that my goals were less about competitive dressage and more about trail riding. Instructor #2 (and HF) did at least convince me to go test ride a few other horses. When I did that, it was absolutely obvious that my confidence was so much higher with the lease mare, and I did end up buying her. That was 8 years ago, and while she's retired now after a serious bought of Lyme infection, she was definitely the right horse at the right time for me. There's something about that familiarity and comfort when you're getting back into riding again- to me, "confidence builder" is a great quality in a first horse!
 

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I think if you could work out a lease to own, that would be the best option for Louie. I knew the owner (and breeder) of my horse, she was a longtime friend of the family. She offered me a two month free-lease, just to try him out... and then also allowed me to make payments with a lease to own contract.

He was only my second horse, and my first youngster. My first horse was an awful match... he was too big, too green, and way too hot for me. And once I bought him, I was stuck. I ended up selling him to a more experienced acquaintance for a third of what I paid... so that she could put some training hours in and rehome him. He went on to be a very successful eventer down south... and made someone very happy. But I lost confidence, money, and even interest in owning my own horse at that point. I continued to ride with family, but pushed aside the thought of having my own.

It took years before I decided to give ownership another go. Even so... there were some instances early on with my current guy, where I felt unsure if he would be right for me. I was a little overwhelmed, and I was glad I hadn’t committed all of my money to him at that point. But, the previous owner (as a friend) was able to give guidance, along with my vet, and we were able to work through our early issues.

I continued to make payments until we had settled our contract, and by the time I officially owned him... he had long held my heart and my confidence. I’m very sure he is the right horse for me... but I’m also happy that I was never “trapped” with him like I was my first horse who ended up being an awful match for me.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@Acadianartist

I have a vet coming out tomorrow to do a soundness check. Also, as far as Louie goes, I’ve asked his ex-owner (previous) as well as the Farrier, and both said he is easy, easy, easy.

This is a small island, so it’s pretty easy to get opinions. Literally everyone is happy to tell you what they think about other people and their horses. LOL. And everyone In the horse scene knows everyone else and their horses. Lots of opinions!

The biggest thing, though, is I like his owner. She’s taken care of the horses in my care when I’ve been out of town. She’s not a crazy person—which is saying something here on Kauai!

There are a lot of delusional, clueless horse owners out here, but Louie’s owner is one of the good ones. She gets him vaccinated, and de-worms him regularly.

Anyway, yeah. I’m kicking the tires a lot. Won’t rush, but I think I’ll decide in my head that he’s “mine” unless the vet finds something weird.
 

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@Acadianartist

I have a vet coming out tomorrow to do a soundness check. Also, as far as Louie goes, I’ve asked his ex-owner (previous) as well as the Farrier, and both said he is easy, easy, easy.

This is a small island, so it’s pretty easy to get opinions. Literally everyone is happy to tell you what they think about other people and their horses. LOL. And everyone In the horse scene knows everyone else and their horses. Lots of opinions!

The biggest thing, though, is I like his owner. She’s taken care of the horses in my care when I’ve been out of town. She’s not a crazy person—which is saying something here on Kauai!

There are a lot of delusional, clueless horse owners out here, but Louie’s owner is one of the good ones. She gets him vaccinated, and de-worms him regularly.

Anyway, yeah. I’m kicking the tires a lot. Won’t rush, but I think I’ll decide in my head that he’s “mine” unless the vet finds something weird.
Well, then it sounds very promising! I have to say that I bought a horse from a friend and he has turned out to be my heart horse. I could not be happier with him. Knowing the previous owner is a real advantage in many ways. If he vets well, I think you should seriously consider it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sweetest and Bestest Horse EVER!

Wanted to post an update about my little guy, Louie.

So, the vet gave him the thumbs up, and the vet tech was surprised how cheaply I was getting him. So I decided to go ahead.

We’re not “closing the deal” until February 1, but I’ve been grooming him, walking him, and today I even rode him on my own bareback, with just a halter.

And he is the SWEETEST., BEST, Most LOVELY horse ever!!

SUCH a good boy.

He comes right up to the mounting block. He didnt try to ride off with me back to his field. He’s learning not to eat grass when he’s with me, and that he really does need to go where I tell him.

But his trot is so smooth I don’t even need to post. I probably wouldnt trot LONG while bareback, but I’m sure I could handle a small distance. Not to mention, he’s easy to dismount. Barely too far off the ground. If I had a stump or a bucket, I could even get on fine.

He is the PERFECT horse for my level. Yeah, I need to work with him on lunging. But right now, we’re just gonna lope around and get in shape together. The best thing is that he isnt too wide. Which is great because I have narrow hips.

I swear, it’s like he’s part of me. Really, could not have asked for a better boy.

Anyway, I’m glad I just decided to go for it. As always, it takes me a while to figure out that I love something. And I do love him. Dearly. <3
 
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