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Hi! I’m originally from Alabama and have been riding horses for as long as I can remember.

When I enter college on an academic scholarship I took a three-year hiatus from riding a horse ownership. But after I graduated from college, started undergraWhen I enter college on an academic scholarship I took a three-year hiatus from riding a horse ownership. But after I graduated from college, moved to Texas, started graduate school, got married and got my career running, I decided that my three-year hiatus was over.

I recently began searching for my first horse after my hiatus and it has been a NIGHTMARE OF AN EXPERIENCE.

As an English rider I understand the expenses that come along with horse ownership and training, but I’m not even looking to show!

And even though I tell Barns this and trainers, they are adamant about certain prices and things that I “need” even when I say that that’s not what I want.

They constantly try and push me into purchasing horses that are way higher than my budget of $4500. Every horse I DO find in my budget, something is “wrong” with it because it doesn’t meant the crazy standard I don’t even have. Or I’m pushed into buying horses that aren’t even what I’m looking for. I understand that $4500 isn’t a lot, but I’m a 23 year old grad student. I don’t have $10,000 to spend on a horse at this time.

I’m always upfront about my budget, about what I’m looking for, and the fact that I’m not interested in showing. I always say that I just want an English riding horse for leisure: no showing, no intense training, just a pleasure horse that I can jump and ride at my will, with weekly lessons to make sure I’m maintaining proper form.

I also have a monthly budget of not wanting to spend more than $1000 a month on board and lessons, but when I mention this to Barns, I feel like I’m being laughed at. It’s like they’re thinking With a budget like that I can’t even begin to consider horse ownership. I was even asked if I wanted to work off my expenses through a part time farm hand job even though I work full-time as a nonprofit program director! It was Like they were thinking “oh poor girl can only afford $1000 a month”

Sometimes I think all of this because I’m not as wealthy as the other riders here, and sometimes I think it’s because I’m black.

I feel so dejected and defeated. And I’m new to Texas, so I have no friends in the equine community here to trust(adding to the feelings of being defeated and isolated). I’ve been brought to tears several times through this whole process.
 

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Where in Texas are you? My barn seems to be very welcoming.

Apparently it's a very strong seller's market for horses right now, and I think you're going to have a hard time finding something in that price range. Why not lease for a bit until prices come down or you have more to spend?

FWIW I pay $2100 to board three horses, with five lessons or training rides (total, not for each horse) a week. So I think $1,000 is perfectly reasonable. But I suppose it depends where you are located.
 

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Are you willing to consider a sound, same horse that has been ridden western?

Honestly, I don't find transitioning horses from one to the other to be terribly difficult. And many backyard grade horses really blossom when they become fit and with regular grooming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m in the DFW metroplex. Specifically in the north Dallas area. Think Plano, Frisco, McKinney, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are you near one of the metroplexes here in Texas? Not trying to find out your exact location just to see if we could point you to a few places.
I’m in the DFW metroplex. Specifically in the north Dallas area. Think Plano, Frisco, McKinney, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Where in Texas are you? My barn seems to be very welcoming.

Apparently it's a very strong seller's market for horses right now, and I think you're going to have a hard time finding something in that price range. Why not lease for a bit until prices come down or you have more to spend?

FWIW I pay $2100 to board three horses, with five lessons or training rides (total, not for each horse) a week. So I think $1,000 is perfectly reasonable. But I suppose it depends where you are located.
I’m in the DFW metroplex. Specifically in the north Dallas area. Think Plano, Frisco, McKinney, etc.
 

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With your budget limitations, why not look for a partboard situation? Most of the ones in my area are based on three rides a week, with one of those rides being a lesson. Should get you back into riding, nicely, without all the full boarding expenses, the expense of buying your own horse, and more flexibility if a situation doesn't suit you. Plus it would help you to network to make an informed purchase in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
With your budget limitations, why not look for a partboard situation? Most of the ones in my area are based on three rides a week, with one of those rides being a lesson. Should get you back into riding, nicely, without all the full boarding expenses, the expense of buying your own horse, and more flexibility if a situation doesn't suit you. Plus it would help you to network to make an informed purchase in the future.
I just feel like a $1000 a month is more than reasonable for board and a once a week lessons with no training. I’ve never had an issue with that price before coming here. And even here the board seems like it ranges $600-$800. But trainers keep trying to throw in all these other training packages that I keep saying I don’t want, and jacking up the price.
And I honestly just don’t feel comfortable riding a lesson horse or leasing for an extended period of time. In the 11+ years I’ve been riding, I’ve always had my own horse. I like the flexibility and freedom to walk with my horse, groom it, hop on a trail, do ground work etc. with a lesson/lease horse that’s not possible, at least not to the extent I’m used to and prefer
 

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I have a friend of a friend who boards (or used to) up there. I will try to get in touch with her and see if she knows of anything. They're observant Muslim so any place they'd recommend I assume would be fairly tolerant.

I will say that I suspect the farther out from the metroplex you get, the cheaper you'll find it. But I mean, I'm in Austin and our cost of living here is higher than up there, so I am quite surprised you can't find something at $1k or less. OTOH the farther out you get, maybe the more, you know, provincial it will be. Have you tried something maybe to the south of Denton? Or would that be too far out of your way? Seems like things might be cheaper, more relaxed, and more open minded in that area.
 

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I lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area when I graduated college and found a lot of negativity when buying and boarding a horse. A lot of people looked down on me because I rode English and bought a young horse to train. There is a lot of prejudice in that area as well. You are up against some tough traditions. Stay strong and keep looking. I finally found a super nice quarter horse race horse farm and rented a house and boarded my horse there. They were all the time telling me my horse was no good and would never amount to anything, but I proved them wrong over time, so it ended up OK.

I love American Saddlebred horses. I do think they have a lot of courage and heart . . . and they are super fun to ride too.
 

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Im close to you, now i haven't boarded at a lesson barn before.... But i have looked into lessons. The area you named tends to have some super fancy looking English barns/facilities. I was considering checking out a place that looked mid range in Garland and a couple other mid range looking ones. However i have noticed places on the outskirts of where you are looking to be mid range or lower cost depending on the direction.

I haven't made it far enough into looking into lessons to visit a new barn in person yet.... And uhhh get a feel for the intolerance level of the people there. But i definitely wouldn't want to be locked into a boarding contract with a bunch of jerks.

I also think you can find a horse that you are looking for in that price range but prices have shot up this year in price. I think it's funny that it seems easier to find English lessons/barns herr.... But harder to find English/jumping horses.
 

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Also if you would accept a nervous youngish horse who bucks when cantering, I could probably hook you up. She bucks because she's green, or so I'm told. She does jump, but isn't too happy about it. I'm pretty sure her owner is looking to sell. Let me know if you want me to find out.

That sounds terrible when I write it out, but I don't know, maybe you are willing to put some money into getting someone trained up? She's a very pretty and sweet mare, she's just really nervous.
 

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With your age and experience why are you not looking independently for a horse?

I bounced to Craigslist DFW area and came up with many dating back a few days to months and some from today.
You will have to chase down any that pique your interest but you know enough and are capable to not need to be spoon-fed by a trainer who sees $$ in commission and ongoing training of you or the horse and hopefully both.
Then for a place to board....go to the local feed stores and read their community board cause I bet there are places around.
When you only want a nice place to ride at or trail access, not the H/J show barn atmosphere there is much to investigate.
If you have a vet, a farrier ask them for leads and places cause they know all, often know of horses and barns.
If you have dog/cat, ask those vets and their staff cause chances are...they know of animals and facilities local too.

I don't detect you at this point wanting to do more than enjoy having a horse to ride and own...
Maybe a lease/share-board would also work for you in the right location having less expense and a few days to ride?
But the entire thing needs to feel comfortable or don't, just don't.
I hate to be pressured and fastest way to drive me away when looking for a boarding situation or new horse is show me animals that don't/didn't meet what I wanted or needed...

See what other media is available local with listings for barns, horses for sale....
Craigslist is far from being the only....local online magazines can offer a lot of resources too..
But feed stores, farriers and vets for all kinds of animals are all resources to utilize when searching...
Whatever you do make sure it makes you happy, the animal and their current training level, the animal itself is what you search for...and the price is right for you as are amenities in training and barn environment.
One size does not fit all and your "taste" in all things horse is personal...don't fold to pressure!!
Best of luck...

ETA: just remembered you inquired about boarding, and in that listing also found several who give lessons on yours, theirs, at other locations or home on their farm..

🐴...
 

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I agree it sounds like owning is the right option for you and $4500 might be on the low side, but maybe you have the skills to get a project horse. Buy the horse once you have a good place to board. $1000/mo for board and lessons seems like it should work (if board where you are is no more than $600).

Sounds like barns you have visited are too snooty - not unusual ... many people who ride with me have switched to my barn from English show barns for that exact reason. It’s primarily a western barn but they do have a trainer who does dressage lessons and we can ride English or western and most of the more experienced riders do both. Are there any options like that - a relaxed barn (ie maybe primarily western) where you could ride/do English lessons?
 

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If you can afford $1k for board, why not just wait several months, save that money, and then use it to buy a horse? In the meantime you could get back into the swing of things by taking lessons.

Sorry, I know you said this was a post for venting, but I have a hard time not offering idea.s
 
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I just feel like a $1000 a month is more than reasonable for board and a once a week lessons with no training. I’ve never had an issue with that price before coming here. And even here the board seems like it ranges $600-$800. But trainers keep trying to throw in all these other training packages that I keep saying I don’t want, and jacking up the price.
And I honestly just don’t feel comfortable riding a lesson horse or leasing for an extended period of time. In the 11+ years I’ve been riding, I’ve always had my own horse. I like the flexibility and freedom to walk with my horse, groom it, hop on a trail, do ground work etc. with a lesson/lease horse that’s not possible, at least not to the extent I’m used to and prefer
It's a shame you're not in my area! I have a part boarder for my horse who has pretty unlimited access to do all the things you'd like to do. My horse isn't a lesson horse these days -- just a solid old schoolmaster, privately owned by me -- and I'm thrilled when my part boarder wants to try new things, or just spend good bonding time with her.

I'm sure if you keep at it, something will work out! It just takes one though, right, to be the right one? Worth waiting for. :)
 

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Ditto @horselovinguy - I think Craiglist is an excellent tool to use when looking for horse-related things, boarding in particular. My previous and current boarding barns were both found on Craigslist, one was $200/month for full-care minus pitching in for weekend chores, the other is $225 for full-care. Obviously the actual prices are going to vary dramatically depending on where you are, but my point is that the best deals are often found on Craigslist or other low key local advertising resources. Neither of them were show barns and neither would show up anywhere on a google search - they were both run by retired ladies who didn't need to make a profit, just enjoyed seeing the horses. Neither had drama, both were very quiet, and my horse was/is extremely well-cared for. Places with nearly identical amenities would have cost $600+ if I was only inquiring about show barns or places with internet business pages.
 

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I might would join some social media equine groups in your area. It’s a good way to find barns and honestly you might get lucky and find someone who has property and would be willing to let you board at their place (I have a friend that was able to get something like that). In my experience, a lot of barns don’t advertise well. I don’t know the economy in your area either but in all the places I’ve lived, $1000 is considered very expensive board.

In terms of your own horse though…. Would you feel comfortable getting a project? Honestly in your situation I might would look for an OTTB either off the track or restarted depending on comfort level. Either that or start looking a bit more outside your area or save up a little while longer. I’m sorry you’re feeling really dejected! I feel like I’m the horse world you really have to hunt for things though.
 
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