Nervous about potentially buying my first horse......

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20 December 2017
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Thanks to an unexpected pay rise at work, I find myself a lot closer to purchasing a horse than I expected; and I am now quite nervous about it! The barn I ride at, has pasture board (the cheapest option) which means horse would have 24/7 turnout and I can do some work at the barn to offset some of the cost, as I'm there for a lesson anyway, it's not a hardship to stay a couple of extra hours.

But I find myself getting a little anxious now it's looking like it will happen, instead of a long term dream! I can be a worrier at the best of times, and I can't even put my finger on what I am getting my knickers in a twist about!

I did have a question about feed, I have included it in my budget but if a horse is living out on pasture (hay in winter) do I need to buy feed as well? I will not be competing or anything, just a couple of lessons a week with a pootle around the tracks in the summer. I am assuming it depends on the horse?

Also, as the horse will be living out 24/7 if I buy one that hasn't done that before, is that an issue, would it stress him out?
 

Shay

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You are in Canada so the insight from a mainly UK based board is going to be slightly different. For example we can't advise on whether you need supplementary feed or not - in the UK you probably would. In Canada - no idea! As you say it does depend on the horse. The best place to ask would be the yard you are currently at.

Most horses do adapt well to living out 24/7 - although not all do. It can also depend on what the herd dynamics are like. Mixed sex or single sex, space, shelter options etc.
 

HeyMich

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Very exciting!

I would ask around at your yard and quiz any other local horsey people you already know. They will know the climate and regional conditions best, and be able to advise you whether 24/7 is appropriate for the type of horse you are looking to buy. To be honest, the cost of a bag of feed is tiny compared to livery, vets, farrier, insurance etc...

Good luck, and let us know how you get on!
 
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We recently bought my daughter’s first horse and went through a wobbly phase just beforehand - I think that’s normal as it is a big step! I’d have another look at your budget and then add a bit (a lot) to cover all the things you will have forgotten about/not realised you’d have to pay for and make sure that it’s still comfortably affordable. My daughter’s horse was living out 24/7 but has spent the winter out with a herd during the day and in at night and actually seems happier and more relaxed with this arrangement but they are all different and what suits one horse won’t necessarily suit them all. Good luck!
 
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Is there the option to part share or loan a horse for say a year before fully committing to owning?
I was thinking about that, there are some off property leases that pop up sometimes. I plan on asking my coach about that in my next lesson and get her thoughts.

Thanks for the replies! I know my question was a little 'how long is a piece of string' and there are a lot of variables. I think because this is becoming a reality, I am 'what iffing' a lot. The barn I am at are great, and I know once I actually get said horse/pony I will have a lot of support.

I've budgeted for feed, based off some research on the internet. If it turns out I don't need it, then I have some extra in my pot :)
 
Joined
18 April 2015
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Great that you are thinking of your first horse, good for you! It is very special when you get your first one:) Not wishing to be a wet blanket but a word of caution - budgeting for horses never really works. There is always the extra vet visit, damaged blanket, piece of broken tack....I could go on. If budget is an issue why not try to find a horse share? It would give you the knowledge of the actual costs without the big risk.

Of course asking other owners what their horses cost them is also a good start, but again a word of caution. Many might be like me who would say 'oh it isn't that expensive, just the box and shoes really'. Of course I conveniently forget the 2 blankets that I had to replace this year, the special shoes, the blood tests and the vitamins. Not to mention gas to travel to the yard every time I think it may have got colder / warmer / wetter so I have to change blankets.

You have no need to rush with anything. Keep taking lessons and if you do decide to buy be patient and only buy a horse who you are absolutely confident in. Not one who will be 'good in a year or two after some training'. Look for a horse that suits your current standard of riding, not what you aspire to. I made that mistake myself, spent a fortune on training for a horse who was never going to be right for me. Having 'traded down' to an older and calmer horse I can say that I have improved my riding and had more fun in the last month than I did in 6 years with the last one. He was not a nasty horse, and never really did anything wrong, but he was too powerful for me so I was afraid of him - of course he knew this!

I wish you every luck with this and I hope that you will have years of enjoyment, but just be cautious and take your time to make any decision.

Good luck!
 
Joined
20 December 2017
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So I put some feelers out on an free off property lease, as I know a few horsie people from the centre I teach at. I fully expected for this to take a few months, but was surprised with an offer of a lease from a lady I’m on the Board of Directors with!

He’s a 16.1 Pinto TB cross, she bought him for her daughter but she had a car accident and isn’t really able to ride.

I’m going to see him/try him on Saturday and have a long list of questions my coach has told me to ask.

Quite excited and nervous all in one go!!

Currently constantly repeating “must not fall in love, must not fall in love”
 

MrsJingle

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How exciting for you - and what a a stroke of luck to be offered a loan horse so quickly. Is it possible if the first viewing goes well that your coach would agree to come along and give their opinion too, especially if they are able to see you riding the horse? I am sure you are more than capable of making your own decisions and assessment, but sometimes the excitement can be overwhelming and another objective but experienced pair of eyes might be very useful. Good luck!
 
Joined
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I agree with Mrs Jingle - it is very exciting (well done you!) but a second pair of eyes is always good. Also don't feel obliged to make an instant decision - nothing wrong with asking to go back to try the horse for a second time:)
 
Joined
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How exciting for you - and what a a stroke of luck to be offered a loan horse so quickly. Is it possible if the first viewing goes well that your coach would agree to come along and give their opinion too, especially if they are able to see you riding the horse? I am sure you are more than capable of making your own decisions and assessment, but sometimes the excitement can be overwhelming and another objective but experienced pair of eyes might be very useful. Good luck!
Thank you! Unfortunately my coach can’t come down, she’s teaching all day. I plan on asking the owner to take some videos of me riding and then me and my coach can look them over on Sunday and talk it through before I make any final decisions.
 
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20 December 2017
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So it looks like I won't be able to ride him on Saturday, he's been out of work for a while and the owner only has an outside ring that is frozen solid (we're having a cold snap in Vancouver, very un West Coast like!). How can I best ascertain he's a fit for me? I trust the owner, she's a trainer herself and I do know her so don't think she'd palm off a nutter just because. But what should I be looking for or questions to ask?

I'll be seeing my coach on Friday and will talk it over with her as well, but wanted to get some insight from you lovely horsey people :)
 

MrsJingle

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17 September 2009
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Is it possible to wait until the weather is better to ride him and get the video for your trainer? If owner is not prepared to do this then personally I would walk away, horse trainer or not, doesn't make anyone trustworthy IME :( Even a loan horse can be very costly if it goes wrong and they wouldn't be the first to 'get rid' anyway they can because of undisclosed issues ridden or health wise.

This is your first horse, make it a great experience in anyway you can - not a long litany of hastily bought/loaned horses we read of that have destroyed newbies confidence and enjoyment. Sorry if that sounds a bit bleak and hopefully this will all be just great but proceed with caution IMO.
 
Joined
20 December 2017
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That's a good point, she's only not prepared to have me ride him Saturday because of the arena being frozen. I have to remember that this is not an urgent decision and I can take my time! I will go meet him on Saturday anyway, and then arrange to try him once it warms up (hopefully soon, I picked Vancouver because we don't get cold winters!).

I was getting excited and when I do that I have been know to jump in feet first ;-)

The owner isn't pushing me to take the horse or anything, just my own excitement kicking in!
 
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Joined
9 April 2017
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How exciting! Good luck on your journey in buying your first horse, the number one thing I learned was to buy something that I wanted and not necessarily what my instructor wanted as even though should definitely take their opinion on board, I got completely scammed the first time I bought a horse!

When you go see him try get some time to see him in his stable, make sure he's happy in his environment and then help tack him up yourself. Just make sure you take the time to get to know him a little, this your first chance to meet your potential new best friend!

Good luck on Saturday!
 
Joined
20 December 2017
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My coach has said she will come with me when I can try Patch (there's a also a possible 2nd horse for lease, hubby is worried I will come home with two!) so for now, just going to say hi to the horses and discuss how the lease would possibly work. Then all being well, when it warms up in the next week or so, I can have a ride on both with my coach and then see who would be the best match!
 

MrsJingle

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17 September 2009
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Excellent - it just gets better and better now two to choose from :) Your hubby does right to be worried - it is generally how things tend to go once you start out on this horse owning lark lol!
 
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