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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I'm coming out of my journal for the first time as I'm looking for some advice. This could end up a lengthy post, so I'll try to condense my thoughts. I don't really have any horse-y friends I can discuss this with, so hoping HF can fill in!

I'm an adult advanced beginner/(low intermediate?) rider of about 4 years. I've part-leased in the past but for over a year I've just been a weekly lesson student due mostly to finances. I like the barn and feel I've progressed under my trainer. But - I've started to get antsy. I'm not content with arena riding for a 30-minute-a-week (down to the minute) lesson. I daydream every day about being at the barn and forming a bond with a new horse. But the barn I'm at is expensive to ride more, and my trainer has gotten a little repetitive with her lesson plans - I've been able to tell my lessons are more of an afterthought to the one-hour advanced jumping lesson right before mine. I don't blame her, and I don't even think it's intentional, but it's tangible. I feel like I'm right on the cusp of progressing levels (hence my description of adv. beginner/low intermediate), and think with more riding and a trainer that will take every lesson seriously, I could get there.

So, along with my mind wandering so have my "eyes". I'm part of a lot of my state's horse Facebook groups. Last week I came across a versatile, safe mare for half-lease at another nearby barn for an absurdly low price. It'd be a difficult lease price to find within 45 minutes from me, and the barn is only 20 minutes away. I had a gut feeling it could be the right choice for me, so I contacted the owner and I've just got home from my test ride, which was full hour lesson so I could judge the instruction at the barn as well.

So here's my conundrum: I love the *idea* of leasing this horse and riding more often. And yes, Pros: She was extremely safe and calmer than most geldings I've known. The barn was cute and quiet for a Saturday; the instructor was young but I did like her focus on centered riding. Cons: I found her trot transitions a little challenging (she kept braking until I really adjusted my riding to her style).

But the biggest "con" is this. She is a 15.3 OTTB (never raced - flunked out of training for her excessively calm demeanor). I am 4'11" and have been riding a 13.2 pony. I'm anxious. I'm hesitant. And she felt HUGE. Saddling her felt like I nearly needed a step stool. I had to contort my leg to get in the saddle. I did manage to get her canter but it felt like flying. The flying is fine - but what if I fall?

I kind of like my 13.2 pony. I like how we can whip around corners. I like how when she scratches a fly she doesn't nearly pull me from my seat. But - I do think the pony doesn't love my balance sometimes. This mare didn't once seem put off-balance by my seat. I asked the instructor if I looked absurdly small on the OTTB and she said I looked fine - not too small at all.

So, the short of it: the price is right. The location is right. The horse is safe and I think I could really grow (as a rider, not in inches) with her, but if she feels uncomfortably large for me, should I try to make it work, or should I accept I like shorter/less intensely strong horses and try to find something else (albeit less riding for more money)?

Has anyone else gone from ponies to horses and initially felt very uncomfortable, but got used to it?

Thank you for any advice! I need to make the decision soon and should really get back to the owner today with an answer - at this price point, I am not the only one interested. :)
 

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Although I really like the small guys (I am 5'1"), I am also sure that if you like everything else about her you won't find her height a problem. 13.2 to 15.3 is a really big difference especially if you have not ridden a lot of different sized horses. You will adjust.
 

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I'm also a fan of short horses, but if I were in your shoes, I'd lease the 15.3 mare.


It's a lease, not a purchase. You're not locked in for the next 20 years. Even if you do look absurdly small, so what? You may get used to the height, or you may not. You won't know if you don't try. If this horse can help you advance as a rider, that's much more important than her height. In another year, you may be so comfortable with the height you won't want to ride another pony. Or you may be ready for that advanced jumping lesson on the pony. Either way, this lease could be a step in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much! With just these first 2 replies I've decided to move forward with the lease.

Especially this part: "You won't know if you don't try." My life has been improving so much the past year because I keep trying new things that are uncomfortable at first, or scary. Once I get past that discomfort/fear, there has been so much beauty and fun.
 

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Interesting! I've never considered it from that perspective before.
IDK, when I fell off Pony, I had time to figure out what was going on, sort of jump out of the saddle, and land on my feet. I'd rather fall off Pony than a bigger horse!

Having said that, I see that OP has already made the decision. I think it will be fine. When I went from riding ponies to riding some of horse-sized horses (like 16hh), I also felt like I was way off the ground, but I got used to it pretty quickly. This mare sounds like a good deal -- have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
IDK, when I fell off Pony, I had time to figure out what was going on, sort of jump out of the saddle, and land on my feet. I'd rather fall off Pony than a bigger horse!
Great reflexes! I've fallen off 2 ponies and 1 short horse. None of my landings were graceful, but most of the time falling off one spooky pony who started to get me off every ride - it bruised nothing but my pride.

I (knock on wood) have a stickier seat now, at least. I hope I don't have to test the theory of if I'd have time to land on my feet after falling off a 15.3 horse. Hahaha...oh goodness.

So yeah - nothing is set in stone yet and I know other people were interested in the lease and trying her out, but I've messaged back the owner that I'm interested in moving forward - so we will see!
 
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