Am I a novice rider?

jessica6880

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Hello! Sorry if this turns into an essay!

I am just coming up to buy my first horse and am particularly interested in OTTBs and Ex Racers. However, I notice that many are listed as not novice rides. I would like to know what this means more specifically?

A bit about me: I have been riding for over 12 years (I am 18) although have never owned one. I have worked at my local riding school for 5 years, helping to train new ponies and representing the school when competing. I have just never had the money or time to invest, however things have changed recently.

My concern is that, as I have not owned a horse I would be classed as a novice despite my history. Similarly, I have non-horsey parents so another concern would be that I would get shown up (per se) by my inexperience family.

I was hoping someone could lend me some advice- either to steer away from OTTBs and ex racers or towards and if so why? Thank you!
 

Bellaboo18

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I definitely wouldn't recommend an exracer as a first horse. Unless it's been reschooled and suitable for a novice. For the purpose of looking for your first horse I'd class yourself as a novice. Owning a horse is very different to a riding school. Set yourself up to succeed and aim for something bombproof.
 

JFTD-WS

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Some ex-racers - who are naturally more sensible, have had a decent re-schooling and a lot of general education - could be suitable for you. But yes, I'd say you're a novice if your experience is of RS ponies, and I wouldn't recommend "any" ex-racer as your first horse.
 

criso

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Do you have experience of ex racers, I love them but they're not everyone's cup of tea

In terms of adverts 'Not Novice Ride' usually means one of two thing:- some people put no novices for a young horse even if it's straightforward as it needs someone experienced enough to continue its education. More commonly it means that the horse can be tricky or have a quirk or two. This could be mild or the horse could be really quite difficult and only for the experienced confident rider. So regardless of breed, I would not go and view a horse with this on an advert for your first horse.
 

jessica6880

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I definitely wouldn't recommend an exracer as a first horse. Unless it's been reschooled and suitable for a novice. For the purpose of looking for your first horse I'd class yourself as a novice. Owning a horse is very different to a riding school. Set yourself up to succeed and aim for something bombproof.
Hi, thank you for your reply! I should have mentioned in my advert, i am looking to go on to do British showing, as I have fully outgrown riding schools we shall say lol! Bombproof ponies are therefore off the cards as I am looking to actually grow and get somewhere. Thank you anyway
 

jessica6880

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Some ex-racers - who are naturally more sensible, have had a decent re-schooling and a lot of general education - could be suitable for you. But yes, I'd say you're a novice if your experience is of RS ponies, and I wouldn't recommend "any" ex-racer as your first horse.
Hello! Thank you for your reply! As mentioned in my advert, I helped to train the riding school ponies. This includes all sorts of ponies and horses, including a 6 year old thoroughbred gelding who was retired for being “too slow”. I think perhaps you have been a bit misconceived by riding school? I know many think of horses at schools as suitable for very young children, I don’t mean this. Perhaps equestrian centre would be more appropriate? May I ask what you mean when you quote “any”? Thank you!!
 

Bellaboo18

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Hi, thank you for your reply! I should have mentioned in my advert, i am looking to go on to do British showing, as I have fully outgrown riding schools we shall say lol! Bombproof ponies are therefore off the cards as I am looking to actually grow and get somewhere. Thank you anyway
You can go on and do whatever with a safe horse. You're a novice don't make the mistake of thinking you're not. A 'bombproof' but maybe forward thinking horse will still be a jump up from a riding school horse.
 

jessica6880

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Do you have experience of ex racers, I love them but they're not everyone's cup of tea

In terms of adverts 'Not Novice Ride' usually means one of two thing:- some people put no novices for a young horse even if it's straightforward as it needs someone experienced enough to continue its education. More commonly it means that the horse can be tricky or have a quirk or two. This could be mild or the horse could be really quite difficult and only for the experienced confident rider. So regardless of breed, I would not go and view a horse with this on an advert for your first horse.
Hello! Thank you for your reply! Breed is not as important as my question may imply! I am looking, in more suitable terms, for a project let’s say. I have a passion (from experience) with ex racers so this is what’s come to mind. So would you advise staying away altogether from not novice rides? Thank you!
 

jessica6880

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You can go on and do whatever with a safe horse. You're a novice don't make the mistake of thinking you're not. A 'bombproof' but maybe forward thinking horse will still be a jump up from a riding school horse.

Ok, thank you. Bombproof I know to mean slow and steady. The sort of thing a new rider would ride? Safe I completely agree. I am new to this site so will post a new thread to add more information. It appears everyone has gotten the wrong idea
 

JFTD-WS

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Hello! Thank you for your reply! As mentioned in my advert, I helped to train the riding school ponies. This includes all sorts of ponies and horses, including a 6 year old thoroughbred gelding who was retired for being “too slow”. I think perhaps you have been a bit misconceived by riding school? I know many think of horses at schools as suitable for very young children, I don’t mean this. Perhaps equestrian centre would be more appropriate? May I ask what you mean when you quote “any”? Thank you!!
Very few institutionalised horses are the same as privately owned horses. Generally, the workload, and management, means you get a quieter, or less problematic, responsive or variable ride than when the horse is working less, and being managed independently by a private owner. Riding is only a small part of the puzzle - a novice horse owner has to develop their understanding and feel for good management. This generally isn't something gained in an RS where you're exposed to their way, and very little else. I did read your OP and I didn't miss the bit about "training" new ponies, nor was I misled by "RS". RS ponies are not machines, but most establishments choose horses they believe will be basically suitable for riders without a great deal of competence in the saddle.

I put "any" in quotation marks because I had already acknowledged that there may be some suitable (well trained, re-schooled, older) TBs who might be appropriate for a young novice owner. There are many more - especially those fresh out of training - who would not be remotely suitable.
 

windand rain

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Some TB's might be ok for a novice I was lucky I was bought a lovely 4 year old Irish TB for my first horse when I was 15 he was a superstar and never put a foot wrong but I will repeat I was very lucky it could have been a disaster. TB's also have a tendancy to be very expensive horses to keep and are certainly not easy keepers. They need a very knowledgeable person to feed and work them properly a lot end up in novice hands and quite frankly end up being very cruelly treated. They have quick minds so ned occupied, tend to be hard to keep weight on and break easily. The have a reputation for horrid feet so often need specialist foot care and generally speaking when properly fed, properly fittened and properly cared for they are too sharp for a novice rider especially an off track or too slow one. I would worry more that you are a novice owner not necessarily a novice rider (I haven't seen you ride) as they soon become victims of their breeding. If that doesn't put you off then try a few already in private homes. I get riders who are supposed to be in great RS to ride my ponies from time to time and in spite of them being very easy to ride straight fromRS riders find them really difficult to ride as they do not respond in the same way once privately owned
 
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jessica6880

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Were you expecting to be told an OTTB, fresh from the track, is an ideal choice for a first horse?!
No not at all! I am looking for advice, not a questioning on my riding ability! I am looking for a project horse specifically and am questioning whether to just go for a youngstock or other projects, however it seems everyone is focusing on my riding ability? That is not the question here , as has been stated I am more than competent in a saddle
 

JFTD-WS

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Well I think a lot of us are advising otherwise, because you don't seem to have the experience to know your own limitations yet. But as both I and WaR have said - there is a lot more to owning horses than riding them - and you are (or, indeed, will be) a novice horse owner, even if you are convinced you are not a novice rider.

I have to say though, why ask the question in your thread title if you didn't want honest answers?
 

jessica6880

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Some TB's might be ok for a novice I was lucky I was bought a lovely 4 year old Irish TB for my first horse when I was 15 he was a superstar and never put a foot wrong but I will repeat I was very lucky it could have been a disaster. TB's also have a tendancy to be very expensive horses to keep and are certainly not easy keepers. They need a very knowledgeable person to feed and work them properly a lot end up in novice hands and quite frankly end up being very cruelly treated. They have quick minds so ned occupied, tend to be hard to keep weight on and break easily. The have a reputation for horrid feet so often need specialist foot care and generally speaking when properly fed, properly fittened and properly cared for they are too sharp for a novice rider especially an off track or too slow one. I would worry more that you are a novice owner not necessarily a novice rider (I haven't seen you ride) as they soon become victims of their breeding. If that doesn't put you off then try a few
Hello! Thank you so much for your reply! This is much more what I was looking for! Thank you for your information about their temeperment! I know someone who has 3 thoroughbreds and has kept the breed for over 30 years. I have spent a few weeks with one of them an have noticed some of the points you highlight. I wonder if it would be an idea to bring her along to view?
 

jessica6880

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Well I think a lot of us are advising otherwise, because you don't seem to have the experience to know your own limitations yet. But as both I and WaR have said - there is a lot more to owning horses than riding them - and you are (or, indeed, will be) a novice horse owner, even if you are convinced you are not a novice rider.

I have to say though, why ask the question in your thread title if you didn't want honest answers?
Hi thank you for your reply! I ask the question due to the riding school connotations it is clear are prominent in many people’s minds. The reason I am ‘convinced’ I am not a novice rider is due to my unaffiliated competing record, hence my wish to go into British Showing which I cannot do on any riding school pony. I am looking for general opinions on riding school connetations which I have now figured out. It is rather annoying as I am being labelled as a novice which feels like I’m 12 all over again. This is evidently an issue as I am not looking for a novice horse, no matter if it is my first. I am currently about to embark on a gap year so time is not an issue to put all of the jigsaw pieces together in terms of ownership. I guess I should have asked about how to go about finding a project/ex-racer or what owners would consider.
 

windand rain

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Hello! Thank you so much for your reply! This is much more what I was looking for! Thank you for your information about their temeperment! I know someone who has 3 thoroughbreds and has kept the breed for over 30 years. I have spent a few weeks with one of them an have noticed some of the points you highlight. I wonder if it would be an idea to bring her along to view?
Without a doubt you will need someone experienced in the breed to guide you. You are probably in a big hurry to find one probably a cheap one but make sure you have any horse you think of buying is vetted, you ride it in all conditions as TBs often are difficult to hack out alone, a lot have freaked at travelling alone and even more have been half starved before they are sold. A friend of mine had one that had to go to the horse hospital for scans we had to take my welsh pony he wouldnt load without her, when we got there he wouldnt walk into the hospital without her and she had to walk through the crush before he would go near it It was very stressful as he had to have a hole drilled in his head and she had to be with him every step of the way
 
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I would definitely take someone with you to view who has experience of Thoroughbreds.

Do you have a plan on where you would keep the horse? The 'novice owner' part shouldn't be underestimated, regardless of the breed. You will need people around you to ask advice of, provide support, etc. If you are set on buying an OTTB, preferably keep it at a yard that has experience of managing them
 

jessica6880

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Without a doubt you will need someone experienced in the breed to guide you. You are probably in a big hurry to find one probably a cheap one but make sure you have any horse you think of buying is vetted, you ride it in all conditions as TBs often are difficult to hack out alone, a lot have freaked at travelling alone and even more have been half starved before they are sold. A friend of mine had one that had to go to the horse hospital for scans we had to take my welsh pony he wouldnt load without her, when we got there he wouldnt walk into the hospital without her and she had to walk through the crush before he would go near it It was very stressful as he ahd to ahve a hole drilled in his head and she had to be with him every step of the way
Yes that is very important! I am likely to go for a 5 stage vetting. Mentioning finding some half starved, I know exracer owners think very little of retired horses due to them being of no use to them. I feel this may make it all the more important to get fully vetted?
 

JFTD-WS

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This is evidently an issue as I am not looking for a novice horse, no matter if it is my first.
I can't say I agree with your reasoning, but I think we've reached an impasse there! So good luck with it, I hope it works out for you.
 

jessica6880

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I would definitely take someone with you to view who has experience of Thoroughbreds.

Do you have a plan on where you would keep the horse? The 'novice owner' part shouldn't be underestimated, regardless of the breed. You will need people around you to ask advice of, provide support, etc. If you are set on buying an OTTB, preferably keep it at a yard that has experience of managing them
Hello! Thank you! This is my intention, yes. I am lucky enough to have a second cousin as a British Dressage champion, although I see little of her. Similarly, as mentioned, I have a friend with thoroughbreds and her stable staff. I am likely to go for a diy livery, possibly with my thoroughbred friend or on a livery that specialise in training. Which would be reccomended?
 

The Fuzzy Furry

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OP, you want to go into British showing with a TB? What classes were you thinking of doing?
To my knowledge, there will only usually be hack classes, possibly RH with a heavier sort.

I used to rehab and re train tbs off the track, I like to think I know a bit about them, but this was 20+ years ago.
 

jessica6880

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I can't say I agree with your reasoning, but I think we've reached an impasse there! So good luck with it, I hope it works out for you.
It’s unfortunate your are unable to offer more advice, but thank you for what you have suggested. I will consider it all.
 

tashcat

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You asked originally if you needed 'steering away' from a tb which quite a few people have suggested you should, and then just commented to say instead you intended to ask where to source one? Little bit confused what you're after with this thread OP!

What do you mean by 'training' the RS ponies? Could you possibly expand on that a bit more?

I wouldn't personally recommend a tb - and I'm grateful I didn't get one until owning my fourth horse as there is so much more to owning a tb than being a sufficient rider imo.
 

jessica6880

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OP, you want to go into British showing with a TB? What classes were you thinking of doing?
To my knowledge, there will only usually be hack classes, possibly RH with a heavier sort.

I used to rehab and re train tbs off the track, I like to think I know a bit about them, but this was 20+ years ago.
Sorry, I have a horrible tendency to shorten British showjumping to British showing! I know this can be very misleading, especially on here! I should have corrected it sooner!
 

windand rain

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I can't say I agree with your reasoning, but I think we've reached an impasse there! So good luck with it, I hope it works out for you.
Just think very carefully before you buy as without meaning to hurt you a TB could be very dangerous in the wrong hands they are usually not forgiving. You would be far better off buying a first owner horse one that is easy to keep, is good on the floor and with a few quirks when ridden ad keep it at a very good livery yard
 

oldie48

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No not at all! I am looking for advice, not a questioning on my riding ability! I am looking for a project horse specifically and am questioning whether to just go for a youngstock or other projects, however it seems everyone is focusing on my riding ability? That is not the question here , as has been stated I am more than competent in a saddle
My advice is, for a first horse, avoid a project, don't have a youngster and don't buy an OTTB. Simple the very fact that you are asking for advice on here means you should not consider either. I hope I have answered your question. I wish you very good luck with buying your first horse and my advice would be, go for temperament first and the rest will follow.
 
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