Am I a novice rider?

FestiveFuzz

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Thank you for this advice. I was starting to lose hope on this site, considering all I’m recieving is set backs. I will talk to the RS more in-depth before I go any further
If you've lost hope at the "setbacks" you've received in the form of comments on here an OTTB is definitely not for you!
 

Kaylum

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My first horse was totally unsuitable when I first got him. I had been riding different horses in different situations. To get a very unschooled, horse that would bolt and rear and to be honest was very dangerous horse taught me a hell of a lot about horses. So if your prepared to educate yourself about everything horse and actually put the work in including the ground work and health issues that come with them they can teach you a hell of a lot. If your after an uncomplicated easy ride then dont bother but I guess you know that already.

Best thing I ever did. He was the worst kind of horse for a first horse but also the best. Taught me how to school a horse, get them out and about looking at things, desensitization to traffic etc etc. He went onto be a fantastic showjumper.

It doesn't work out for everyone as we are all different and so are the horses but these days everyone wants straightforward bombproof instead of learning how you help an equine to be that horse or at least be a happy horse.
 

Theocat

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My first horse was totally unsuitable when I first got him. I had been riding different horses in different situations. To get a very unschooled, horse that would bolt and rear and to be honest was very dangerous horse taught me a hell of a lot about horses. So if your prepared to educate yourself about everything horse and actually put the work in including the ground work and health issues that come with them they can teach you a hell of a lot. If your after an uncomplicated easy ride then dont bother but I guess you know that already.

Best thing I ever did. He was the worst kind of horse for a first horse but also the best. Taught me how to school a horse, get them out and about looking at things, desensitization to traffic etc etc. He went onto be a fantastic showjumper.

It doesn't work out for everyone as we are all different and so are the horses but these days everyone wants straightforward bombproof instead of learning how you help an equine to be that horse or at least be a happy horse.
...whereas my first horse, also a rearer, destroyed my confidence and set my development as a rider right back. My whole journey with horses has been different - and not for the better - because of that experience.

I am glad it worked out for you, but it is just as likely to go the other way. If I had had a safe confidence-giver as my first horse, that had help me develop as a rider, I would have been much better placed to deal with difficult horses in the future!
 

criso

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Of the half dozen people I know who bought an non ideal first horse. One like kaylum it worked out for and made them as a rider; two had falls and lost confidence and gave up riding; the rest didn't end in disaster but didn't go well either. They tried their best but but made little progress. They had to watch friends going out to compete every weekend they stayed at home. Their riding stagnated. In the end sold it on and bought a different horse.
 

Cat91

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The problem I have, as you understand, is I want more than just riding. I want, as cliche as it is, to create a bond that sharing or riding schools didn’t give me
I will just say that I rode at riding schools from 3 years of age to 23 (and I only stopped because the place I rode at closed down and there wasn't anywhere else I'd want to ride at close enough) and shared 2 horses - one for 8 years, the other for 4 - and I had 3 of the closest bonds I've ever had with horses through those experiences. I only rode the riding school horse twice a week but he used to whinny for me and followed me around like a dog. He wasn't like that for anyone else. I cried like a baby when my first share horse was sold because I adored him, and the reason I ended my share with the last horse was because I finally bought my own, but I was gutted because I loved him too. So don't write sharing off.

I think what people are trying to say is that you have to be realistic about your experience in all aspects, what you want from the horse, and how much time/money you have to put into it.

I was lucky enough to be around privately owned horses from 8 years old. I spent a lot of time helping out with friends' horses, all of whom are quite a bit older than me and are very knowledgeable, so I learned a lot from them, but I still have a lot to learn - most people do. I don't know everything about everything to do with horses, a lot of people don't, and it's a bit unrealistic to expect someone to know everything, but that's what we have professionals for - to ask for advice when we need it (unfortunately took advice from the wrong saddle fitter but that's a whole other thing).

My current horse is the first horse I've ever owned. I bought him straight out the the field as a four year old having not even had a rug on and while he's been easy in some ways, he's been an absolute PITA in others. He has been the biggest learning curve for me and although I absolutely adore him and am determined to work through things and make it work, would I do the same again? Probably not. My honest advice for you would be to get something that you can just get on and have fun on. 'Bombproof' doesn't mean boring, it means 'Isn't going to kill you if you take it somewhere out of its comfort zone'. Some of the best horses I've ridden are ones I'd class as bombproof. They had enough go in them but I didn't get on them having to worry about where to go and what I needed to avoid.
 

oldie48

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I think OP has gone on holiday but fwiw, a proper schoolmaster, ie one that knows his job but doesn't do it for you, teaches you such a lot. They can be awkward so and sos, have a load of tricks up their sleeve but ridden well will teach a relatively inexperienced rider so much about feel. Good ones can cost a lot of money but are easy to sell on, generally they have proved they are tough enough to do the job although they may need to step down a level due to age. If money is no object, then that's the way to go for an ambitious rider moving on from RS horses.
 

spookypony

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Thank you for your reply! I think, because I have seen and taken part in the training of horses, I am eager to do the same. I would like to put my stamp on a horse though, and, unfortunately, I find many schoolmasters to be looking for a quieter life that I feel I would not be able to offer. I wonder if there is a middle ground?
With the greatest of sympathy for your dream, do you know what your "stamp" is at this point, though? Are you aware of various schools of thought on training SJers, the rationale behind them, understand where your own training fits you, and able to throw all philosophy out the window and go back to square 1 if it's not working?

If you've never owned a horse, or been solely responsible for all decision-making regarding a horse's welfare before, then you'd at least be a novice in terms of horse management and/or ownership. Couple that with a possibly problematic horse (there's a reason it's called a "project"), and you have issues on at least two fronts. If you took on a green horse (of any breed) and kept it at livery under the direct supervision of someone experienced to guide you, this might possibly work as a transition to greater independence. But please, make sure you have the agreement of that person, the livery arranged, and that you buy the horse together with the person who will be working with you!
 

Muddywellies

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Please listen to some excellent advice here from people who know what they are talking about. Believe me, life is hard enough without you looking to saddle yourself with possibly lots of stress and expense. I’ve come across so many people who overestimate their experience, only to find it all ends in tears. Most TBs I know are sharp and over reactive, dumping their riders time and time again, they are expensive to keep and very hard to sell on. Honestly, steer clear. If you truly want to enjoy horse ownership there are plenty of nice riding club horses out there who will hack quietly for you, be great fun xc, do a lovely dressage test whilst not dropping weight overnight and losing a shoe every second Thursday. Oh and do research ulcers and consider the percentage of racehorses with them. Insurers won’t cover an existing condition so be prepared to part with £5k (plus) - speaking from experience here.
 
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Hello jessica6880,

I am new so unsure of how this works, but I believe out to pasture means your account is disabled or inactive? There is a chance you won’t see this but nevertheless.

I feel for you Jessica, I do. I have read the replies and it seems to me that you riding ability should not be questioned, however, only you would know that. The responses are assuming that you are an inexperienced rider regardless and therefore not suited to thoroughbreds at all, but you have tried to say countless times that you have ridden thoroughbreds and have a large knowledge of riding in general but it’s fallen on deaf ears. Unfortunately, and it appears here, most people are lucky enough to go straight from riding schools to their first pony and therefore progress that way. It seems for you, you have managed to progress greatly through this school you mention, possibly even more than some here. But again, only you would know that and I wouldn’t waste time trying to get people to see that.

Now, this in mind, you are a novice owner. Perhaps people are confusing the two. Thoroughbreds are highly volatile even for the experienced owner, my sister herself has had a few and each did not result well. They are prone to illness and varieous forms of disease, and that’s just the riding ones! Racers can often come with a tone of problems to exaggerate these pronenesses. I would avoid thoroughbreds especially. Having said that, a project or other impressionable horse would not be an issue provided you have knowledge. After all, most horse owners in general (and most on here) don’t know the first thing about training, if you do, great. As you mention, it would only be fitting the jigsaw pieces together. This would not be hard at all provided you’ve had a hands on approach in the riding school, which you have suggested you have.

The initial comments make me upset and I can’t imagine how you would be feeling, but don’t take it from people sitting behind their computers. Their advice is valid, even if a little rude and especially to those who don’t know what their doing, but only you know if it applies to you.

Experience comes with knowledge. Knowledge implies that you know there is more to your topic than you can ever know. Foolishness leads you to believe you know it all. I believe this may settle your mind a little. Not everyone is right, but not everyone knows best.

Best wishes,
Suzi
 

be positive

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SuziM I realise you are a new member and have no idea of who on here is experienced or otherwise but I can assure you that all the replies were done with the best intentions by some extremely experienced posters and were not intended to upset anyone, if you read the OP, copied below, there is no mention of schooling horses, ex racehorses or horses of any type and that is why the first replies were fairly blunt and to the point, 'helping train the ponies' for a RS is a long way from retraining a racehorse or any horse labelled as a project.
Later replies pointed out the drawbacks, as you have also done, and encouraged the OP towards something less challenging as her first horse, my view has always been to buy the best you can afford and to enjoy having a horse, there are still usually enough challenges along the way to keep it interesting without starting off with a disadvantage especially if the rider is young and has ambition to go somewhere with their riding, you can learn plenty from a fairly uncomplicated horse if you have an open mind and want to progress.

The OP has left which is a shame as there is a wealth of knowledge on this forum ready and willing to help anyone who asks.

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.
 

Snitch

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Hello there! I am looking for suggestions of decent first horses. What sort of temperaments are certain breeds known to have, what they typically were used for and those sort of things. I know each horse varies but I’m looking at the larger picture.

I used to ride as a child and had a cob for my first horse, however, I have not ridden since i was 25 due to an accident. So I feel inexperienced in directing my daughter so suggestions would be greatly received!

My daughter is 14 and we have finally decided to buy her her first horse. She has been riding since she was very little as my sister was good enough to give her lessons. Since then she has been loaning an Arab X for 2 years, so is aware of responsibilities and all that. We are looking to buy our own now, but ideally something known for being gentle and easy. She wishes to go into eventing so possibly something this way inclined.

Any suggestions would be greatly received. Thank you!
Hi Suzi, welcome to the forum! I’m sure you’ll receive some really good advice on here, although not from me I’m afraid, as I am a novice rider.
 

windand rain

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Suzimare you almost said word for word what my first post said No one was rude but as I also said no one will learn from others experiences unless the are agreeing with what they want to do. It is very clear in this case that was what was going on. Please hang around you will learn an awful lot from this site I know I have although I have been at it for 55 years. I will add that it would have almost been criminal for a gang of people to encourage a novice owner to take on an OTTB as a first horse regardless of their riding ability
 

Peter7917

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I love tb's. Stunning horses. That said, after fifteen years of horse ownership, im still not sure I would be able to do one justice.

I do ride a friends tb occasionally. This is a well schooled horse. Schooled up to elementary and regularly competed at 1m10. Hes amazing but if you get it wrong he will certainly let you know! He's got endless talent but put him to a fence on the wrong stride and you're in trouble.

Get yourself a nice tb x native type instead.
 

oldie48

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I love tb's. Stunning horses. That said, after fifteen years of horse ownership, im still not sure I would be able to do one justice.

I do ride a friends tb occasionally. This is a well schooled horse. Schooled up to elementary and regularly competed at 1m10. Hes amazing but if you get it wrong he will certainly let you know! He's got endless talent but put him to a fence on the wrong stride and you're in trouble.

Get yourself a nice tb x native type instead.
TBs vary as much as any other breed, I've had one 2 full TBs and one who was 7 / 8 ths TB. They were all completely different, with decent farriery their feet were fine and none of them was difficult to keep weight on. The ex intermediate eventer (don't know if he ever raced) needed to be looked after but provided he was rugged and fed when necessary he was fine, he was quite lazy, the steadiest hack ever and very capable of doing a lovely test. TBH I do like a fair bit of TB in a horse and many of the modern lighter framed WBs have a fair bit of TB in them. However, I wouldn't have an OTTB if I was given it (and I was offered a lovely one a few years ago, but would never have been suitable for me).
 

TPO

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Kinross
Hello jessica6880,

I am new so unsure of how this works, but I believe out to pasture means your account is disabled or inactive? There is a chance you won’t see this but nevertheless.

I feel for you Jessica, I do. I have read the replies and it seems to me that you riding ability should not be questioned, however, only you would know that. The responses are assuming that you are an inexperienced rider regardless and therefore not suited to thoroughbreds at all, but you have tried to say countless times that you have ridden thoroughbreds and have a large knowledge of riding in general but it’s fallen on deaf ears. Unfortunately, and it appears here, most people are lucky enough to go straight from riding schools to their first pony and therefore progress that way. It seems for you, you have managed to progress greatly through this school you mention, possibly even more than some here. But again, only you would know that and I wouldn’t waste time trying to get people to see that.

Now, this in mind, you are a novice owner. Perhaps people are confusing the two. Thoroughbreds are highly volatile even for the experienced owner, my sister herself has had a few and each did not result well. They are prone to illness and varieous forms of disease, and that’s just the riding ones! Racers can often come with a tone of problems to exaggerate these pronenesses. I would avoid thoroughbreds especially. Having said that, a project or other impressionable horse would not be an issue provided you have knowledge. After all, most horse owners in general (and most on here) don’t know the first thing about training, if you do, great. As you mention, it would only be fitting the jigsaw pieces together. This would not be hard at all provided you’ve had a hands on approach in the riding school, which you have suggested you have.

The initial comments make me upset and I can’t imagine how you would be feeling, but don’t take it from people sitting behind their computers. Their advice is valid, even if a little rude and especially to those who don’t know what their doing, but only you know if it applies to you.

Experience comes with knowledge. Knowledge implies that you know there is more to your topic than you can ever know. Foolishness leads you to believe you know it all. I believe this may settle your mind a little. Not everyone is right, but not everyone knows best.

Best wishes,
Suzi
Suzi if the OP has even half of the experience that they later said that they do then they would already know the answer to the question that they asked/had no reason to ask that question.

Furthermore they would be surrounded by people at the SJer producing RS who regularly buy and sell, with OP producing the horses, and have more the adequate contacts to source a suitable horse. I'm lead to believe that the reason the OP has been put out to pasture would have been to do with possibly having more than one account, this is known as trolling.
 
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Suzi if the OP has even half of the experience that they later said that they do then they would already know the answer to the question that they asked/had no reason to ask that question.

Furthermore they would be surrounded by people at the SJer producing RS who regularly buy and sell, with OP producing the horses, and have more the adequate contacts to source a suitable horse. I'm lead to believe that the reason the OP has been put out to pasture would have been to do with possibly having more than one account, this is known as trolling.
Oh, I see. Sorry, I did not know this. Your points make a lot of sense, and I should have realised that; I was just trying to help.
 

TPO

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Oh, I see. Sorry, I did not know this. Your points make a lot of sense, and I should have realised that; I was just trying to help.
Nowt to apologise for, you were just trying to be nice to OP, as were the majority originally until OP started being rude in reply and the tale got a little too tall.

If you stick around you'll see the odd "troll" appear but most of the old timers on here can sniff them out and ID them. I'm completely oblivious and needed "out to pasture" explained to me!
 

SatansLittleHelper

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An awful lot of the people on this forum "could" be described as blunt....but in reality they are being honest. You may not feel that you are are getting the info you want, but trust me, you are getting what you need....and there is a huge difference.
If you read any of my own threads you will see I've made several rather spectacular f##k ups and I'm aware I've driven people on here nuts at times. People have been "blunt" with me, very very blunt lol. BUT...I'm trying to listen because
A) Ive asked the question..!!
B) There are people here that have forgotten more than I will ever know about horses
C) While some people may come across as rude, it's the curse of the written word. I personally feel that most of the people here are genuinely helpful and I can only imagine how frustrating it is to give sensible advice and then people ignore it anyway (believe me, I'm guilty!!)

FWIW I dont do TB's but there are many here that do and you'd be wise to take the advice offered.
 

Horsekaren

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i could actually have written your post but if you add on the end had a 10 year break.
I didn't realize how different riding school ponies where, they are bored, doing the same thing, likely bombproof as they the same things, go to the same places ect every day.
Even horses that were advertised as Novice rides where not at all! Bombproof means nothing... I viewed a bombproof cob that bolted against traffic down a very busy road. I also wouldn't think bombproof as slow, id see it as (in theory) they have had good training and been desensitized to things.

I've seen young girls buy horses that were just way to much for them, it is sad as the horses then get past from pillar to post, go out of work, get locked away as the owner cant handle them. A lot is taken for granted with school horses i think. One girl couldnt even tie her horse up without it making a huge fuss, she had no idea what to do so it was simply locked away in a stable stressed out to its eyeballs... then sold on for next to nothing, 4 months later sold on again ect

Similar but kinder story for another girl who in my eyes is a very good rider, the horse didnt get locked away but went out of work from being an eventer, was sent off to be re schooled and sold

Having only owned one horse i wouldn't look at anything other than a novice horse with good ground manners. I just dont have the experience.

Maybe it could work if you were willing to send them away to be worked on professional and be involved yourself.
 

BOWS28

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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!
Hmm, if im honest i think you may be over estimating yourself. You have only ridden riding school horses yet you have a passion for TBs... I'm not saying its not possible. I'm 23 and have had my girl and paid for on my own since i was 17. It's hard and your social life massively takes a back seat but it is so worth it. If i'm honest with myself, i was over horses to start with. But i had the balls and stickability to just stay on. Yes she helped me to develop my riding and i wouldn't be the rider i am today without that little mare. I don't have horsey parents either and if im honest, i'm very lucky it has all panned out how it has. I've seen similar situations take the opposite turn!!
 

Bexx

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Ok so you are after experiences, I'll give you mine.
At 19 I was working in a local RS who also bought and sold horses and ponies. I was a confident lightweight jockey and was always used to test out the new ones coming in, school them a bit, take them to local SJ before they were sold on so I didn't think I would be classed as a novice.
Confident in my own ability I bought an OTTB that I planned to school up to event. As confident as I was, I struggled with him on the ground during the winter, he was spooky and didnt settle in to our yard well. I struggled with his weight. He had me off in the school and on the road in more than one occasion and eventually broke my elbow. I sold him to someone much more experienced that I was who did a much better job. It was then that I realised that even though I was Guinea pig for all these ponies, has schooled up a few and competed them locally, I was still very much a novice, however it was too late and my confidence was ruined. It took me 5 years to get over a jump again. I am now eventing at 100 but I could have been here a lot sooner had I bought a more appropriate horse. The horse I got my confidence back on was a total school master, this did not mean he was boring, he improved my riding no end as if you didnt ask correctly you didnt get
 

Jenni_

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I'm sorry to be blunt, but your whole approach to this cries 'Novice' to me.

I rode in riding schools for 10 years before I began loaning / sharing horses. Got part way through my BHS teaching qualifications, did two years at Equine College, competed up to Elementary dressage and Newcomers BS and I STILL feel like an novice rider and owner after 2 years of owning my own horse, at nearly 30. Who, by the way, is half racehorse. Why? Because I wasn't 100% equipped to deal with the quirks thrown at me, and I suffered a few injuries and confidence knocks.

I still actually have lessons on Riding School horses - they are worth their weight in gold for recalibrating my riding and boosting my confidence. In my opinion, no one is ever too good to sit on a riding school horse - especially when some of them are still jumping 1.20!

And as for not developing a bond with a RS / Share horse - I ride the same RS horse 1/2 times a week all summer, on long rides, and sometimes in the winter. I know him inside out and he does things for me that he wouldn't do for anyone else. We definitely 'know' each other.

I have an amazing young lady who helps me ride my horse - she has built up a fantastic relationship with her and knows most of her cues and signals just as well as me.

If I were you I'd loan a schoolmaster as a first horse.
 
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Whilst I agree with others about taking someone to look at a TB with you, I would extend that to any horse, should you be tempted to look at a non-TB. Even after many occasions of searching for your own horse, it's easy to overlook something that a second person might spot. Good luck with you search and hope you find the right partner.
 
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