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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Out of the blue tonight, the owner of the horse I have been riding, then part-boarding, over the last five years, just offered to sign her over to me. Free.

Elle is wonderful. Push button, incredibly well trained with all her lateral movements, flying changes, etc. Schoolmaster, rarely spooky (though she has her moments, like any horse), very steady, the kind of horse who will give her all for someone who knows how to ask for it, but will still cart around a beginner kid with no fuss and no problem.

However. She's about to turn 24. She's on low dose previcoxx for maintenance, though she isn't exactly lame off of it -- just has some age-related stiffness. Usually goes barefoot, but has shoes on all fours right now because of very coarse footing at her current boarding barn.

The board where she is right now would be too much for me on my own, but she has a very keen partboarder who covers half and wants to keep going with this longterm. I would have to buy blankets and tack, etc. And she needs her teeth done.

I haven't been in great financial shape over the last five years because I started a new business with my partner, but I feel like we're finally making some headway there and are feeling a little more secure. I'm extremely frugal with my spending and don't treat myself to much.

It would cost me a little more in the short term but not a lot more. As with all things horse, it could cost me a LOT more further down the road. I hadn't planned on owning so soon. On the other hand, there's the saying "life is short, buy the horse" but life is full of surprises.

I don't know what to do. I feel kind of like I owe it to her owner to take her, as she's been very generous in letting me use and treat Elle like "my" horse for a few years now, without me actually footing any of the ownership-related bills. But I also don't know if it's wise. Then again, we don't own horses because it's "wise." :|
 

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Wow, crazy things happen in life. I know how nice this horse is. It's also a big deal, taking ownership. I owned a horse throughout my life, but things were a lot different back then. It was easier to find a cheap place to board, and I never had to deal with a lock down of the economy. Things are pretty intense right now.

A lot to consider. Take some time.
 

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Congratulations on your new horse and ownership.
I'm an enabler...
You already know your finances and have a partial lessee to help with expenses still looking to stick around..
So what would change since you've been affording expenses so far?


Elle sounds a wonderful horse to have and learn from.
A bit of maintenance costs but she still has years of riding ahead of her if you also recognize she has limitations as the needed maintenance medications help with.
Blankets, shop around and buy on sale..
Right now there are tons of horsey-yard sales and soon the holidays will be here and you will find more things being sold when new is acquired for gifts.
You don't need to buy the biggest names or expensive blankets on the market either.
A little creative looking for could uncover used and for a pittance too.

Have you asked if the blankets and tack are for sale since the owner is getting rid of the horse, might be willing to clean house of all that animals apparel and tack too for less than new and probably better quality than many can afford when starting out with tight funds.

My one word of caution being "given" a horse is the owner arriving back in some time and wanting it back..
Might I suggest a sale transaction for $1.00 to buy the horse outright, then no returns are hassled about since transfer of ownership took place for $ tendered.
Just some thoughts..
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Congratulations on your new horse and ownership.
I'm an enabler...
You already know your finances and have a partial lessee to help with expenses still looking to stick around..
So what would change since you've been affording expenses so far?
...
My one word of caution being "given" a horse is the owner arriving back in some time and wanting it back..
Might I suggest a sale transaction for $1.00 to buy the horse outright, then no returns are hassled about since transfer of ownership took place for $ tendered.
Just some thoughts..
:runninghorse2:...
That's actually what her owner suggested. :) She would be my $1 horse and her papers and everything would be signed over!

Hmm. Expenses. She's due to have her teeth done, which is a bummer, but her teeth are actually pretty good for an old girl and she can usually go at least two years between floating. The monthly cost of the previcoxx isn't bad I don't think. I'm not too worried about things like bits and bridles as they go on sale often, and I'm sure I could continue to borrow her current ones for a bit. I don't love her current saddle but it would be affordable and would do until I could upgrade. Hmmmmm indeed. You ARE an enabler! :smile:
 

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Life is short, eat dessert first
Love this!!!!
@SteadyOn you are talking to a bunch of enablers here :wink:

Yes, the horse needs some maintenance and isn't a spring chicken either. But you know her well, she seems to have an excellent mind and you even have a part-leaser hoping to continue the lease...
Horse ownership always carries some risks. But honestly, a lot of the pitfalls when getting a horse are already out of the way.

Go and eat dessert!
 

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Some people will say a 20 year old horse is old. Well, according to this, my old horse was old for 20 years since she lived to me 40. At 28 was still trailing over mountains and hills to the ocean and back. In her 40th year was still ridable. She still had that fast road walk although her canter was missing on one cylinder. Excellent horses are a great blessing and it sounds like you have one.
 

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Is Elle "just" a riding horse or has she been your riding partner, teacher and friend? That is where I would be swayed in your position. It sounds more like the latter and the above comment about helping her into retirement... I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. A lot of horses don't get great retirements so the chance to offer this AND get some good riding years on a safe and reliable horse that I've bonded with? And yeah some of the horses where I'm currently are at are still hacking out in their late 20's and probably without as much, mmm, maintenance and attentiveness as I'm sure you'd give. So imagine how far you can go?
 

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Just some thoughts to consider before saying "yes"...

What would you do a year from now, if out of the blue she had to be retired, and the part-boarder is no longer helping with board? Would you have the money to pay for her retirement, while being able to afford other ways to ride, whether it be part-leasing, lessons, or whatever?

It's a question to consider, because not all horses will be rideable until their last day. I too know many 30+ year old horses that are still ridden, but I also know many that are just out in a pasture, living out their days.

I'm also hesitant because you mention not being in great financial shape recently - do you have an emergency fund for when something goes wrong? Or an unexpected bill? A simple dental visit can quickly turn into $$$ if anything beyond routine is found. The last time I had a scheduled vet appointment for something non-routine, it turned into $500 of blood tests (which found nothing!).

I know what I would do if this horse was anything like my current 22 year old. I would say yes, yes, yes, and bring him home without looking back.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
She has definitely been an amazing teacher, partner, and friend, and she likes me -- or at least fondly tolerates me! She's a pretty reserved, stoic horse, but she has come out of her shell a bit just in the last year.

My emotions around her have always been complicated BECAUSE I don't own her. I've always stayed a few steps back because I know anything could change at any time. Two years ago someone else was leasing her to show her and I was wildly jealous but kept things professional and kept a lid on my emotions. I was still able to ride her but nowhere near as much and kept having to tell myself "She's not YOUR horse, nothing unfair is happening here." I've always tried to keep some emotional space from her because if her owner decided to take her and send her out of town for a different lease arrangement, that would be within her rights and not something I would have real grounds to be upset about.

Having more security and more control would be nice, and let me get emotionally deeper with her -- which as we all know is both good and bad, but mostly good. Makes having them so much better, and losing them so much harder.

I'm going to talk to her owner about my concerns. Maybe she'll have some suggestions/solutions. I think she would understand if I couldn't give her a LONG retirement, but I would make sure that when that time comes, her remaining time would be the absolute best I could do for her. As the daughter of a (retired, small animal) vet, I'm very big on quality of life over quantity of life, and that too soon is always better than too late. However, Elle is currently a total rock and isn't showing her age. She's conformationally nearly perfect and has held up beautifully, and thrives on work, so she likely has a lot of good years left.

I also had a conversation with a good friend from my teenage horsey years, who has a small barn and two semi-retired horses. She said that, in a financial emergency, she'd be happy to board Elle for as long as I needed, at just the cost of hay and feed. She said she wishes she lived closer so she could give me cheap board all the time. Very sweet of her!! Unfortunately she lives two hours away. But maybe it could be a viable retirement solution down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Going to have coffee with her owner later today. Thinking up a list of important questions to ask.

-What changes if I don't take ownership?
-What are all the boarding options in the area, if I have to move her? What's closest to me?
-What do her hard feed, supplements, medication, etc. cost per month?
-What does the farrier cost right now with her shod? Will I ever be able to get her out of shoes where she's boarded now?
-How much for dental, vaccines, etc. in our area?
-What are my options for her once it's time to retire her? Does she have any ideas for that? What would she, personally, like to see happen? What is or is not okay, in her opinion?
-Is there a middle road, where maybe I take on a bigger role in her care without actually taking on ownership?

This is all pretty wild. Also, it occurs to me how much things have changed in five years. Heh. When I first met Elle and her owner, I was such a mess in my first ride on her that the question of even a part board went out the window and I went with lessons instead. I barely remembered how to tack up. Now she trusts me enough to GIVE me the horse, which says a lot for how much things have grown and changed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, for anyone waiting for an update...

Coffee to go over the questions and concerns went really well, and helped me with a lot of my anxieties and doubts.

So.

To the shock of absolutely no one, I said YES. :dance-smiley05:

I let Elle's owner know this afternoon that I'm on board. My parents, whom I thought would be horrified at the idea of me taking on ownership, were actually pretty supportive. I wasn't depending on their opinion either way, but I certainly value it. And my best friend said "Did you ever think you'd be offered an incredible dressage schoolmaster for $1???" so those things kind of helped make the decision a little easier, hahaha.

Anyhow, meet MY HORSE. :loveshower::loveshower::loveshower:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Congratulations!!! I'm currently in bed but wanted to say that I cant wait for more pictures!!
As you wish! Here are a couple of post-ride pics, and one of her running around, leaping and farting. :grin:

She's a 16.1hh Oldenburg. I've been cagey about posting pics of her while she was someone else's, for privacy, but I don't see any reason not to now!
 

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