Older riders - did you downsize at a certain age?

dreamcometrue

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I will be 60 next year and I have quite a forward and sensitive Welsh D mare. I am beginning to wonder whether she is the horse to take me through my next decade. More and more I am just wanting to hack out quietly.

So some good advice and experiences would be much appreciated.

Thanks
 

oldie48

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Well I guess it depends what you want to do. I bought a 15.2 TB for my 50th, a 16hhWB/TB for my 60th and earlier this year I bought a full up 16.2this year (I'm 66 at Christmas) but my passion is dressage and I wanted more power and movement. New horse is forward and sensitive but has a kind temperament and wants to please. Would I take him on a fun ride? No not at the moment. Am I happy hacking him round the lanes? Yes and it's got more enjoyable as i've got to know him. Who knows, in time I might do more exciting hacks on him. Actually, I found getting to know a new horse the most challenging thing as I didn't know how he'd react to different situations and my reactions are slower these days. Unless your present horse really worries you and is knocking your confidence or isn't a good match for what you want to do riding wise, i'd be inclined to stay with what you know.
 

NeverSayNever

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I will be 60 next year and I have quite a forward and sensitive Welsh D mare. I am beginning to wonder whether she is the horse to take me through my next decade. More and more I am just wanting to hack out quietly.

So some good advice and experiences would be much appreciated.

Thanks

hahah umm, well at the age of 37 , earlier this year I ‘downsized’ from my Sec D (who is as you described) and had exactly the same thoughts as you! I feel like a terrible wimp now :p !However, she really needed regular work and with a young family I needed something happy to be in the field that wasn’t going to have kittens when hacked out after a few days of doing nothing. I have a 4 year old now (!) Highland pony, who is just generally ‘easier’ and less sensitive. Still forward going but ticks all my boxes. She’s also only 13.1hh so I downsized a lot!
 

stencilface

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I'm 33, but I think after my current boy goes - he's with me for life, currently 14 years old - I will get something smaller and hardier after all the injuries I've had with him!

I fancy something small and spanishy, or a nice native like a connemara. I already have two dinky ponies for mini sf to grow onto, and think thats where my life is headed. I would love to have a showjumper one year, but if I could beg borrow steal one that woudl be great!
 

Ruftysdad

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I have downsized to a 14.3 Arab X as I found at my age 69 it was difficult to mount and dismount. Further I felt that if I fell off or had to get off for a gate it would be easier to get back on. I also needed
a narrower horse due to hip problems. I have never regretted it. I still ride 4 or 5 times a week and love it. I am on a yard with happy hackers and I am proud to say my 21 year old is the fittest there
 

mattydog

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Mine are getting bigger as I get older!! I am on horses no 4 and 5. First horse bought at 18 although I have ridden since I was 9. She was an unbroken 2 yo...all I could afford. Grew to around 15hh and the only one I ever sold on. Next was 16.1, had him for 28 wonderful years. He died aged 31. TBx, still miss him. Next was a 17hh Hano from Germany. Lost him 2 months ago to colic at 19. He was my horse of a lifetime. Now have a 17hh ID/TB x who is really hubs but he doesn't ride so I claimed dibs. Newest equine family member is a 16.3 hh sports horse bought as company for Olly and to try and fill the hole in my heart. Not sure I would feel right on a smaller horse.
 

Slave2Magic

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I am 48 and have hopefully downsized in temperament but I have rather upsized in height! My arab is 14.3 and a fun, bouncy ride. As I get older I wanted something abit more laid back. My ID cross youngster is 17 hands and growing.
 

Princess Rosie

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I've always had a preference for 16.2hh+ horses as loved the bigger ones, my last lad was a 17.3hh shire x and I now have a 15hh trotter x and I have to say that it is nice being closer to the ground again as I get older (I'm 41 but with a few physical limitations following a very bad accident on a friends WB a few years ago), I did feel a bit stupid recently when I tried to vault onto my mare and couldn't even get close but that's old creaky bits taking their toll! Even though I've never been a fan of mounting from the ground (but sometimes there is no alternative), I couldn't even get on my mare without a mounting block! I've had a chance to ride a few friends bigger horses recently and do you know I've turned them down as I love my little mare, she's whisked me back to my early teenage years of having a whizzy pony, can highly recommend it!
 

AdorableAlice

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Yes, all bar one have been big horses, but I have now downsized and down scoped big time.

A combination of age, lack of fitness, lack of confidence and severe illness made me think about what I wanted to do. I ride a maxi cob now, sensible and easy in all ways.
 

Orangehorse

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My sister had Mr. Perfect who was 16 hh and she was in her late 60s when he died, so she was looking to replace him with something about 14.2, which wasn't easy, but she found one in the end.
 

stormox

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3 years ago age 60, 5'4" and under 8st. I thought I ought to downsize so bought a 3yr old 15.1 conxTB...... broke him and competed him RC for 3 years - cudnt get on with him, found him lazy, stuffy and pony-like so sold him earlier this year and got an unbroken IDxTB 4yr old. Ive now broken him and am hacking out and schooling and starting polework. He's about 16.3 -17hh so mounting would be a problem if I wasn't near a block or a gate, but that's a minor thing. He is the nicest, kindest most giving horse and I am so glad I sold the "suitable" 15.1 Conie x and got a some would say "unsuitable" for a small 63yr old one :)
 

soulfull

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Yes
I've had WB's for the last 15yrs. Last one was too much for me, both size and temperament
I replaced with a 15.1h welsh cob mare. Who is sensitive forward but safe. I'm having the time if my life
I'm 50 next year but also disabled

If the time comes and I just want a gentle hack then that's what I will buy and be happy I'm getting to do what I want!!
 

Merrymoles

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Um - no. I've gone from a 14.2 built like a brick outhouse but still wired with a loose screw cob to a 15.2 bundle of nerves and desire to run everywhere cob...

That said, I have always ridden any size but I am 5'4" and did make a decision when I was looking that I wouldn't go above 16hh unless I had to as I have short legs and it's nice to have them reaching below the saddle flaps for once ;)
 

Cortez

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I've got a Master Plan which will see me getting the Last Horse in about 5 - 6 years time when I will be in my 60's; it'll be 15.1 - 15.2, over 7 years and have done all the "firsts": 1st trailer/lorry ride, 1st shows, 1st time out hacking, 1st time on the beach, etc., etc. I've broken youngsters all my life and just want to be on something that has no excuses. Oh, and it'll be Spanish; no time for anything else.
 

Spring Feather

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Yes I did 10 years ago. I do own a number of big horses (TBs and WBs) and I do enjoy riding them from time to time, but my general riding horses are my Quarter Horses and I wouldn't swap them for the world. The QHs aren't dull in the slightest and my main riding one is 15.3hh so not a midget but I find them a lot of fun and they'll do absolutely anything I want to do without question and that is something that I absolutely love. I'm too old now to be bothered with nonsense; when I go out riding I just want to do what I want to do without any complications along the way.
 
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yes, when I was 34 :p

last horse was 15.1h, I currently have a 13h Exmoor to ride and a young lusitano who I think will make 15.2. I am 5'5 ish and loved the big WBs when I was in my 20s. The Exmoor and the lusitanos are also smooth rides although they have quite different action.
 

Nessa4

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I did try to - spent months looking for a15hhish, 'been there, done that' quiet cob, around 10 years old. Ended up with a 15month cob cross, who is now 16hh, 3years old and an absolute delight. He is currently being started (while I frantically try to lose weight and get fit). By the time He and I are both riding fit I will be in my mid-60s - and seriously questioning my sanity!! Can't wait!!
 

ridefast

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At 25 I've just "downsized" - my 15.1h safe as houses cob has gone out on loan and I have a 12h welsh section A project, because I love blank canvases and I love little ponies. I also love being able to jump on from the ground, my cob was never meant to get above 14.2 and at 5ft1 whilst I enjoy riding big horses and have done for work, I much prefer a 12 - 14h stroppy pony than a 16 - 17.2 stroppy horse. Once I'm a bit more settled and secure financially I plan on upsizing to a 14/14.2 chestnut filly, new forest or NFx arab, my dream horse :) But for now I'm happy with what I'm happy with, my ponies are my pleasure and enjoyment. ETA - You need to have what you're happy with. If you are happy with your horse then carry on even if it doesn't "make sense" if you're not happy then look for what suits you and you feel right with.
 
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WindyStacks

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I'm 40 and have a 10 year old 17.2hh ISH - I can mount from the ground if I'm 3 miles from home and can't find a big rock! ;)

My plan is that by the time I'm 50 we'll both be looking for a quieter life and I'll trade down to a highland.
 

OWLIE185

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I am older than the original poster but recently purchased a 4 year old 15.1 'Traditional Irish Marsh Pony' who I use for hacking and is nicely laid back.
 

dreamcometrue

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Wow, some of you mature ladies are inspirational.

My mare is a smidge under 14.3hh but I am only 5'2" so going a bit smaller but a lot calmer is what I was thinking of.

I have had her over 3 years. We have mostly hacked alone but sometimes in company, dabbled in very low level dressage and done some fun rides and she has been fantastic but there is no doubting that she can be a handful and I am not as confident riding her as I was with my old gelding.

I'm finding it difficult to make my mind up because I know she is a great little horse and some people have said "better the devil you know".

Maybe the crux of it is that I miss my boy still and the feeling of complete safety that I had with him.

Thank you for all your replies, they have been so helpful. I think for now I will bide my time and see how I feel in the Spring. Winter always makes me introspective :)
 

stormox

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OWLIE- what is a 'traditional Irish Marsh pony'??? sounds a wind-up... :D the native breeds to Ireland are Irish Draught, Connemara and Kerry Bog Pony......... and maybe you could say Irish Cob although theyr much the same as cobs anywhere.
 
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madmav

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I'm the older end of the market, but at 5ft 9in, sizing down to a little un isn't really an option, unless I employ roller skates. But I reckon a nice 15.2 will do me fine when I need to find another horse.
Do remember someone saying long time ago in a horse article that she bought her mother an Arab as they are more sensitive off the leg so less slog to get them going (as long as she could stop her,too!)
 

debsflo

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I am 51 and considering this very issue. I currently have a 22 year old mare and am considering an oversized connemaras or similar that I can hack out and have fun on without the worry of a big sharp horse.
 

Honey08

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I'm mid 40s and adore my mare, I've had great fun eventing and competing with her over the last ten years, but I've lost my drive to compete and do think sometimes when hacking out that I'd actually like something that doesn't go everywhere in passage next! She's 16, so I should have a good few years with her still, and hubby's horse is 11, so I've probably got at least another ten years before it's a reality.
 

Patchworkpony

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With age I downsized from spirited Welsh Cobs to Fells as my back found it difficult to climb on anything bigger. They were all great fun BUT as my OH said they are the springer spaniels of the horse world and every one of them was eager to get on with the job, sharp, impatient and required a strong minded rider. I would love another one but at 67 I'm not sure I've got the energy to deal with their sheer exuberance and determination. I am exactly where you are now as I still want to ride but don't relish falling off at my age. It's frustrating that our passion completely depends on us being fit and able. I also love gardening but when I have an 'off day' I can walk away from it but you can't do that with horses.
 

tankgirl1

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I'm 34 and have gone from a Sec D who wrecked my confidence, to a 14hh gypsy cob ex broodmare who I am amazingly managing to back and bring on myself! We have just started hacking out together, and while she is green, she has a wonderful temperament and my confidence is growing in spades!
 
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