The Horse Forum banner
1 - 20 of 83 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everybody! Looking for some wisdom on a decision.

After laying my heart horse to rest almost 15 months ago, I feel that I'm in a good enough place to start looking for my next equine partner.

Here are my thoughts: I had my sweet mare for 7 years (got her at 19) and honestly, as I'm sure you all feel, 7 years is just no where NEAR long enough to be with them. If it were up to me, she'd live forever- but since I don't have an immortality machine, I'm at a place where I want my next horse to be much younger.

Here's where my request for advice lies... I'm no spring chicken. At 47, do I want to keep a horse 27-30 years to where I'll be nearly 80? I suppose there's always the possibility one of my daughters will get bitten by the horse love-bug and want to keep her, but that's risky.

As a fifth, and final horse, I really want a long-term partner. I want to train him/her myself, my way (along with my trainer). I looooove the slow journey of horse training so I'm in absolutely no rush to bring them along quickly in any way shape or form. Ideally, I'd bring her along enough to ride some trails. Depending on her demeanor, maybe some local LD.

Currently, I have my eye on a solid black TWH yearling filly (born on my wedding anniversary which is cool!) that's just as cute as a button. My heart wants to scoop her up now, but I know that isn't wise.

The OTHER scenario that I'm weighing and seeking wisdom on is to go for a 5-10 year old. A little older, can still train, etc, etc. But...... here's the kick in the pants for all you dear readers- I'm looking for a solid black. At my age, I want to gift myself the black beauty...

don't shoot!

Yes, I'm totally shopping for color. And like I said, this will be my last horse and I want what I want, okkkkk? ;) So how surprised are you to hear that the slightly older, all black horses are out of my price range in my area?

The filly is $2500, my max would be $3-5k, so price is somewhat of an issue when it comes to breed, gender, etc. As a side note, there is a decent Fresian for 5k which is fairly cheap, but there IS a reason he is that low and I'm not really sold on whether or not it's something I would want to tackle...

At any rate, any older folks out there like me that would be willing to share about their experience with pulling the trigger on getting a baby? How did it work out? Did you regret the decision? What would you have changed had you the chance to do it over again?

Would you have waited and gone for the older horse? Was purchase price a factor in your decision? Did it end up being wayyyy too much?

I'd love to hear anything you're willing to share.

__

As a side note: if I decide on the filly, I would see if she could stay with the breeder another year before taking her and putting her into a new herd. Just my thoughts on that...

Thanks for reading!

-Joy
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,527 Posts
If you get the filly, she needs to come home now. That first year is critical. You can take them to shows and hang out just for the exposure, go on campouts. Take them for walks, teach them manners, and start roundpen work at a walk or slow trot. Teach words, walk, whoa, back, wait, come, etc.

Otherwise if you aren't able or willing to spend that kind of time, I would go for an older horse.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you get the filly, she needs to come home now. That first year is critical. You can take them to shows and hang out just for the exposure, go on campouts. Take them for walks, teach them manners, and start roundpen work at a walk or slow trot. Teach words, walk, whoa, back, wait, come, etc.

Otherwise if you aren't able or willing to spend that kind of time, I would go for an older horse.
Thank you so much, I appreciate the input. I've heard varying opinions on how much training should happen on a yearling... but nevertheless I do have the time so that's not a problem :)

Maybe leaving her for the year isn't a good idea 🤔
 

· Registered
Joined
·
235 Posts
I’m 68 now. I got a 6 month old TWH colt at 65. (I love working with the youngsters.) We started him lightly under saddle this past summer as a 3yo. My son refers to him as a puppy dog. I did end up selling him because he got too tall for me. I’m 5’ and definitely not as flexible as I used to be and he’s 16 hands and probably not done. My neighbor bought him so I still get to see him frequently and will get to ride with them this summer.
I bought his full sister as a 5 month old weanling. She will be 2 in May. Again a real doll to work with. Now, don’t get me wrong, they can have their moments but as a whole they have both been so wonderful to work with. I really believe that it makes a big difference when you can mold their personalities while they are young. Both of these 2 have strong personalities but are very easy to read and deal with. My filly will swish that tail when she is upset but most of the time all I have to do is speak to her with my “mother voice“ and she settles right down. As a baby she was a real snot so I had to really consider whether we would work well together but she has turned out to be “the princess” and an all around good girl. The breeders probably wouldn’t recognize her because her attitude has changed so much.
Do I regret it any? NO. Would I do it again now. No. I will be 70 when I begin riding her and my confidence isn’t what it used to be. But my age/lack of confidence in my riding abilities are the only reasons that I wouldn’t.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m 68 now. I got a 6 month old TWH colt at 65. (I love working with the youngsters.) We started him lightly under saddle this past summer as a 3yo. My son refers to him as a puppy dog. I did end up selling him because he got too tall for me. I’m 5’ and definitely not as flexible as I used to be and he’s 16 hands and probably not done. My neighbor bought him so I still get to see him frequently and will get to ride with them this summer.
I bought his full sister as a 5 month old weanling. She will be 2 in May. Again a real doll to work with. Now, don’t get me wrong, they can have their moments but as a whole they have both been so wonderful to work with. I really believe that it makes a big difference when you can mold their personalities while they are young. Both of these 2 have strong personalities but are very easy to read and deal with. My filly will swish that tail when she is upset but most of the time all I have to do is speak to her with my “mother voice“ and she settles right down. As a baby she was a real snot so I had to really consider whether we would work well together but she has turned out to be “the princess” and an all around good girl. The breeders probably wouldn’t recognize her because her attitude has changed so much.
Do I regret it any? NO. Would I do it again now. No. I will be 70 when I begin riding her and my confidence isn’t what it used to be. But my age/lack of confidence in my riding abilities are the only reasons that I wouldn’t.
Thank you so much for this! I am very impressed with your comment and you give me a lot of hope and insight into what I was wondering. Every horse I've ever had was 13 or older, so I don't have any real experience with the young ones. I've worked at barns who had them but never any further interaction other than feeding and turning them out. I'm intrigued with the idea of bringing one up from so young and I really like the thought of shaping their personality, or at least even considering the possibility of being able to do that! I also feel like having a young one will help keep me young in a sense, and keep me active. I'm not unhealthy by any stretch and my hope is that I can stay that way for as long as possible. I loved how active my mares kept me! I miss that.

I love that you were able to rehome your colt with a neighbor! How wonderful to be able to see how he's doing! I tend to be a negative thinker so I need to be more positive in my thought processes in that we never know what opportunities can arise should anything happen where I wouldn't able to keep the horse all their life. We never know who we'll meet or where we'll be 10-20 years down the line, so I need to stop being so fatalistic 😆

It's good to have such a wonderful place to go for ideas and advice! Thank you for sharing your experience. It makes me hopeful and excited that a yearling could be the way to go 🥰
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,527 Posts
I have 2 young horses right now, and getting them both raised correctly is a job in itself. It makes many hours to make a good horse. Both get ponied off my wise mare to gain experience. My colt is more advanced than my 2 yr old because I raised him. She is a bit more nervous because she has not had as much experience as he has. She came from a breeder, and while the breeder did nothing wrong she just didn't get that much one on one attention. I don't think she was ever taken out on trails so she lacks that exposure.

My colt- I know exactly how he thinks! He's an open book. The mare and I are still getting to know each other. She still has to learn the rules- like backing away from the feed bucket and waiting for me to dump it. She has figured out the backup part, but doesn't understand waiting at all. Like, if I back up, i should get fed immediately...

The colt is playful and no one in the herd plays with him, they just pick on him. I'm trying to be his buddy, but not encourage him to nip/wrestle with me. He is bottom of the herd, and easy to make back off, but very friendly and boisterous. I try to redirect that towards toys and make sure he learns manners. Working on no nipping, no crowding. I'm his very very best friend. Wish the other horses would be nicer to him, but he definitely has manners around them! They don't tolerate any infraction from him.

Are your riding and training skills up for taking on a younger horse? It's not just time, it's knowing how to train, or how to correct or prevent bad habits from developing. Can you afford a trainer if you get stuck on something?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8,058 Posts
I am a couple of years older than you and just adopted a four-year-old that I was fostering. He was mostly unhandled (and in fact was severely neglected). My goal was to start him under saddle, which I have done. We're still in very early days of riding. My goal was also to take things very slowly, but he ended up picking things up so quickly that we went pretty fast.

He wasn't my ideal in terms of size (he's about 15'1) and in fact I still wish he were a bit shorter, but his personality is the best. I have never started a horse before, or worked with one with very little training, but his friendliness, intelligence, and willingness to please made it possible for me to be really successful on the ground with him. He has not shown any inclination, thus far, to act up under saddle, which at my age is important. I am also working with a trainer who comes every few weeks.

I guess I'd try to assess the personality of the filly. I don't have any experience with a horse that young, so I don't know if her personality could change as she gets older, though. I get wanting color, but her personality IMO is much more important than her color. I'd want to know if she was curious, friendly, and enjoyed learning. Probably I'd want one that wasn't very dominant also. I'd ask them to let me work with her on the ground a couple of times to see how that went. Would I be able to teach her something? If not, I'd keep looking. I think you should be able to find a horse that is the color you want and also has a suitable personality.

So that's just me. If you're looking for a horse this young, you're going to spend a lot of time with it on the ground. Make sure you're going to enjoy that time. That you will BOTH enjoy that time.

As for the age thing, I guess I am trying not to think about it too much. At least I know that when I'm old and fragile I will have a horse that I trained, and that knows me and I know him, and I can expect him to be well-behaved and kind to me.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
You're 47, you're not old. There are equestrians competing at the Olympics that are in their 70s. Horses are a sport/hobby you can enjoy for MANY years! 😎

If you are looking for a journey to experience with a partner, a bond you can build over time, and are in no rush to get in the saddle, then go for a young horse.

I've owned horses from all ages--foals that were born on my farm, to aged seniors that spent their last days here. This is my most recent experience.

Back in 2019, I bought a Friesian colt (my dream horse!). He had the bloodlines I wanted, was the right price and wasn't too far away geographically. I visited him once when he was 1 month old, and he wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn't get near him. But I went forward with the sale and waited for him to be weaned. During that time, the breeder tamed him up, halter and trailer trained him. She did a really good job! I brought him home at 4 months.

He's been so much fun, our bond is incredible, and the journey has been such an adventure. He's now going to be 4 this year and I'm looking at training him under saddle. The time feels like it has flown by. I've haven't enjoyed owning and training horses this much in a long time!

I think you are right to pass on the Friesian that is low priced. If he has a health problem that is reflected in the lower price, that's just going to be heartbreak for you.

You may be able to find a better price if you look at Friesians that are not registered with KFPS/FHANA. Or maybe even a crossbred.

I wish you luck in whatever you decide!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
I'm 48 and while I haven't got a young horse now, the 14-year-old I do have was a yearling when I got him. Before him I had two others that I bought as newborns (literally a week old) and raised, broke, trained, showed, etc. all by myself. There is nothing like riding a horse that you've trained yourself from day one. You know them inside and out, you know their strengths, weaknesses, etc. For instance, my gelding is a total chicken about certain things and takes a long time to get over something once it has given him a good scare. But he's also honest and kind and tries really hard to please. For this reason, I'm comfortable with his "OMG! HELP!" antics when trying to get him past (literally and figuratively, lol) something that has blown him up. He can spin, skitter, spurt, and snort all he wants, and I know he's got enough sense that we will have some measure of success and he's not going to kill himself or me over it. If he were a horse that I had bought a year ago with this behavior, I'd be wary of him and probably wouldn't keep him. But he's my goofball and I know all of his buttons and tricks, so it's no biggie.

Babies are fun. You have to be patient with them and have a good sense of humor though. In terms of training at a young age, I'm with the other poster who said if you get the filly to take her home. The best, most unflappable, bombproof, safe horse I have ever owned (he was my heart horse), I bought at 5 days old and that colt was handled daily from that moment on. He learned to lead in about 15 minutes. He was treated like the "big horses" in training/showing (only with 24/7 turnout). He learned to bathe, clip, tie, longe (very little...though we did do the yearling lunge line futurity...which in hindsight was probably not the best thing, but he was awesome at it), load, haul, you name it. He got loaded onto the show trailer with everyone else when he was about 8 months old and went to a big weekend AQHA show (I had a riding horse as well). When I wasn't actively showing my horse, I was leading him all over the show grounds, in the busy warm-up pens, etc.

Needless to say, by the time that colt was ready to start under saddle, I literally just had to step up on him and he was ready to learn the finer points. He went to shows and never flicked an ear at anything (I wish I'd instilled this in my current horse, LOL...I didn't haul him as much and it shows!).

Anyway, I believe if the yearling filly has a good mind, that could be fun. I know "black" is what you want, but honestly, "mind" should be your number one priority when getting a youngster. The saying "pretty is as pretty does" speaks volumes when it comes to horses. A beautiful horse that is hard to deal with is going to cost as much to feed and care for as a plain horse that is a joy to be with and ride. That prettiness wears off pretty quickly when you're frustrated and pouring money into something that is a pasture ornament. And that plain horse becomes the most beautiful thing in the world when it tries its heart out for you.

Good luck to you!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,915 Posts
I was 50 when I had my mare bred and 51 when the filly was born. There are no guarantees in life as to when you go. That being said, get and do what your heart desires. Either way, it's a good idea to make arrangements for your horses in case of you leaving this world before they do. It could be tomorrow or 30 to 40 years from now.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
13,069 Posts
Truthfully at your YOUNG age (I am 75, lol) You can go either way; the filly or something a bit older. It’s probably safe that will live to see the filly out of this life but prudent would be having something in a Will since none of us owns tomorrow:)

I offer you my deepest sympathies on the loss of your heart horse; it never gets easier. I have laid six horses to rest in my lifetime - all of them a heart horse in their own ways and five of them were 27 or older.

My grandfather’s philosophy for us kids, when handling his foals was “git to handling them afore they git to handling you”, lol. There is so much you can do with a young one before you ever get on them and to what degree depends on each individual horse.

My Arab/Saddlebred was born on my parents farm and with me until he passed at 29. I was 13 when he was born and under my grandfather’s tutelage, had him completely broke to ride before I ever got on his back. He knew whoa, go, back up and how to neck rein long before I sat him.

I didn’t saddle break him until he was ten years old because I rode bareback most of my life. Had I used a saddle, I would have had him saddle broke before he was old enough to ride.

Is the filly in the line of Carbon Copy by chance? Carbon Copy goes back a few generations and many folks don’t recognize the name:)
 

· Registered
My black horse is very silly and handsome. He is hard to train most of the time.
Joined
·
769 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
235 Posts
There is nothing wrong with holding out for the color that you want as long as the health, mind and personality are the best also. “You can’t ride color” is the saying that I’ve always heard and while very true, I’m sure there are black horses out there that will meet the requirements. As long as you use your head to evaluate truthfully all horses, you can find that black horse that you want.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Another possibility is an OTTB. They are not all hotheads! You have horse experience, you get to do training but they are already used to being ridden. Not everyones cup of tea, just thought I'd put it out there.
@ShirtHotTeez I tend to generally pass on TB's since I'm scarred from my first horse... such a TYPICAL first horse for the greenie that I was way back when. He was pretty forgiving considering, LOL! I was the classic example of the green on green scenario and bought the OTTB as a first horse :/

But all that to say that I would not rule them out. Always depends on the circumstance and the background of the horse. I'm definitely open to it! I'm shopping for color, remember? LOL ;)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have 2 young horses right now, and getting them both raised correctly is a job in itself. It makes many hours to make a good horse. Both get ponied off my wise mare to gain experience. My colt is more advanced than my 2 yr old because I raised him. She is a bit more nervous because she has not had as much experience as he has. She came from a breeder, and while the breeder did nothing wrong she just didn't get that much one on one attention. I don't think she was ever taken out on trails so she lacks that exposure.

My colt- I know exactly how he thinks! He's an open book. The mare and I are still getting to know each other. She still has to learn the rules- like backing away from the feed bucket and waiting for me to dump it. She has figured out the backup part, but doesn't understand waiting at all. Like, if I back up, i should get fed immediately...

The colt is playful and no one in the herd plays with him, they just pick on him. I'm trying to be his buddy, but not encourage him to nip/wrestle with me. He is bottom of the herd, and easy to make back off, but very friendly and boisterous. I try to redirect that towards toys and make sure he learns manners. Working on no nipping, no crowding. I'm his very very best friend. Wish the other horses would be nicer to him, but he definitely has manners around them! They don't tolerate any infraction from him.

Are your riding and training skills up for taking on a younger horse? It's not just time, it's knowing how to train, or how to correct or prevent bad habits from developing. Can you afford a trainer if you get stuck on something?
@4horses Although I'm currently horseless, this will be the fifth horse I've owned in my life and I've worked at several barns so I do have pretty decent experience, just not with the babies so that aspect will be new. My trainer, who I love, has experience in starting mustangs and she is a very natural method type trainer so we really click when it comes to forming a "willing" equine partner (think bitless trail/endurance riding) and she's the one with the "baby" experience :)

As others have posted, working with the babies will be mostly ground work for years and that's just up my alley because I looooove working from the ground, more so than riding. I'm not the type of rider that has to ride every day, more just when the fancy strikes. The majority of my horse time seems to fall in spending time grooming them, taking care of their hooves (working towards trimming them myself), keeping up on manners, taking pleasure in making sure they have a stellar diet, sailing the seven seas to find the best cutting of hay, things of that nature ;)

I take great joy in a slow training and by slow I don't mean once a week, but every day making sure alllll the holes are filled. Hopefully that makes sense. There is great joy in the journey and just simple companionship.

Also, I'm sort of an artist, so I like to hone my photography and make pretty videos and horses are some of my favorite subjects!

But back to what you were saying, the joy in the journey is to "get to know them" to find all the bells and whistles of their personality. Horses have always fascinated me so it would be a wonderful adventure to start with a baby and while getting to know them, maybe even install some of my own choice of bells and whistles and just seeing how much "yes" I can get out of them. Who knows, maybe it will be a nightmare! But the hardest ones make us better horse people, at least that's how I look at it.

And, I'm so sorry your poor little colt doesn't have any friends 😭😭😭 That's so sad! But I'm happy you are his best friend. And about the exposure- I want whatever horse I have to get a lot of it and the sooner the better so I will be definitely cognizant of that!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am a couple of years older than you and just adopted a four-year-old that I was fostering. He was mostly unhandled (and in fact was severely neglected). My goal was to start him under saddle, which I have done. We're still in very early days of riding. My goal was also to take things very slowly, but he ended up picking things up so quickly that we went pretty fast.

He wasn't my ideal in terms of size (he's about 15'1) and in fact I still wish he were a bit shorter, but his personality is the best. I have never started a horse before, or worked with one with very little training, but his friendliness, intelligence, and willingness to please made it possible for me to be really successful on the ground with him. He has not shown any inclination, thus far, to act up under saddle, which at my age is important. I am also working with a trainer who comes every few weeks.

I guess I'd try to assess the personality of the filly. I don't have any experience with a horse that young, so I don't know if her personality could change as she gets older, though. I get wanting color, but her personality IMO is much more important than her color. I'd want to know if she was curious, friendly, and enjoyed learning. Probably I'd want one that wasn't very dominant also. I'd ask them to let me work with her on the ground a couple of times to see how that went. Would I be able to teach her something? If not, I'd keep looking. I think you should be able to find a horse that is the color you want and also has a suitable personality.

So that's just me. If you're looking for a horse this young, you're going to spend a lot of time with it on the ground. Make sure you're going to enjoy that time. That you will BOTH enjoy that time.

As for the age thing, I guess I am trying not to think about it too much. At least I know that when I'm old and fragile I will have a horse that I trained, and that knows me and I know him, and I can expect him to be well-behaved and kind to me.

@ACinATX Yes, that's exactly it. I want a horse that I can spend a lot of time with and preferably on the ground as I'm not a hardcore super rider that has to ride every day. My joy comes in taking care of them, feeding them, grooming them, hoof care and trimming. Figuring out their personalities and what makes them tick is a lot of fun, so there is great joy in the journey for me. Definitely a long marathon, not a sprint, lol!

And for sure, I would never sacrifice a sound mind for color. A beautiful horse with mental issues isn't up my alley... that's why I need to decide at pushing 50 whether I want to go for the baby or just wait longer to save up the money for an older horse. I'm willing to do that for the very right one, but I'm so glad everyone has been willing to share their experiences being older and going for the very young ones. Like I had mentioned earlier, I'm fairly healthy and assuming I live till I'm 80, will I still want to be caring for a horse at that age? The horse will be old too! And my senior horse who I just put down required soooooo much care- there is NO way I could have done that even 15 years from now. 😰

It's a lot to consider. Just want to hear other's thoughts. And that is a very good idea to see if I could work with the filly a few times and see how she does. See if I can teach her something small, because you're right- it's important to know if she's dominant, or pushy, or easily agitated. Sometimes that's hard to tell with one so young, but I'd be curious to know.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yea, I had to chuckle when you mentioned your age. Make your will iron clad as to what you want done with your horse if you pass, and go for what you want.
@whisperbaby22 Yeah, I hear that. I know a few endurance riders in my horse circle that are in their 70s which is AWESOME. But I bring up my age based off of how much effort and care went into caring for my senior mare who I put down. There is no way I could care for a horse like I cared for her even 20 years from now 😰 The older the horse, the younger I'll be in caring for them when their old. Hopefully that makes sense. And assuming I don't die tomorrow, lol! 😝
 

· Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You're 47, you're not old. There are equestrians competing at the Olympics that are in their 70s. Horses are a sport/hobby you can enjoy for MANY years! 😎

If you are looking for a journey to experience with a partner, a bond you can build over time, and are in no rush to get in the saddle, then go for a young horse.

I've owned horses from all ages--foals that were born on my farm, to aged seniors that spent their last days here. This is my most recent experience.

Back in 2019, I bought a Friesian colt (my dream horse!). He had the bloodlines I wanted, was the right price and wasn't too far away geographically. I visited him once when he was 1 month old, and he wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn't get near him. But I went forward with the sale and waited for him to be weaned. During that time, the breeder tamed him up, halter and trailer trained him. She did a really good job! I brought him home at 4 months.

He's been so much fun, our bond is incredible, and the journey has been such an adventure. He's now going to be 4 this year and I'm looking at training him under saddle. The time feels like it has flown by. I've haven't enjoyed owning and training horses this much in a long time!

I think you are right to pass on the Friesian that is low priced. If he has a health problem that is reflected in the lower price, that's just going to be heartbreak for you.

You may be able to find a better price if you look at Friesians that are not registered with KFPS/FHANA. Or maybe even a crossbred.

I wish you luck in whatever you decide!
@Palfrey Thank you for the tips! I've definitely have been looking at the Friesian crosses... they are GORGEOUS! That's so wonderful that you were able to get your dream horse, so exciting and I love hearing stories like yours. And thank you for your kind words. That's really cool that you are at the stage of starting under saddle, waiting with bated breath to see how well your ground work is going to hold, lol!

I didn't think I'd get slammed so hard on my reference to my age 😝 I only mention it because of how much care went into caring for my senior mare that I put down. It was so intense that I would not be able to do the same for another horse even 15-20 years from now. That's why I want to know how wise it is to get a baby and not a older horse as getting an older horse means that I'll just be younger when they need senior care when the time comes. Hopefully that makes sense and of course, barring the the instance that I die in ten years... this is assuming I even live till 80! 🤩🤩🤩
 
1 - 20 of 83 Posts
Top