Sharing Considerations

SaddlePsych'D

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I've debated whether or not to post this as it might be thinking too far ahead (because I've started riding again after several years off and feel a bit like I did as a horse mad kid, except now I'm in my late 20's and have my own funds and transport...:oops::cool:). Although I'm not about to rush into anything, so from that point of view I do think it's a good idea to start getting a more solid idea of things I actually need to consider around sharing a horse.

Firstly I wondered if there's things to be wary of when looking as a first time sharer (I get the sense from reading on here that buying/selling can be tricky and people are not always honest but is there any equivalent within sharing that I need to be careful of?)

The other thing is whether there are times of year that are better to be looking. Where I am there does seem to be a lot of shares offered but also quite a lot of people looking.

Finally, what's a good gauge of 'readiness'? I'm a novice and feel it's important to be upfront about that, but equally don't want to sell myself short. From the horse care side of things I helped at a few different RSs for about 4-5 years, and I did some of the ABRS stable management certificates. I'm a bit rusty but I hope wouldn't take too much time to pick things up again. Riding wise, I'm back having lessons and this would be something I'd want to be able to do with a share horse still. I'll also have a conversation with my current instructor about sharing being my mid-long term goal to get her take on what I need to be doing.

Sorry that's a bit long - any thoughts/tips/things I need to have in mind would be much appreciated!
 

silverunicorn

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I'm also a novice rider and getting a share has really helped me so far. I think that as long as you have all the basics (which you certainly seem to) and the horse is suitable you should just go for it. It's not the same commitment as buying, so if it's a bad match you can end the loan.
 

Firefly9410

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There is lots to be wary of sadly. Always see the horse ridden first before you get on. Try to find out why exactly the horse is available for share try to pin them down not vague stuff like not enough time. You get some people who want the horse schooled /broke in/ got fit after injury or time off then when the horse is going nicely you find it is no longer available for sharing. Find out what the turnout is like at the yard in winter and how often the owner rides because really if they are in all the time the horses need riding daily but lots do not get it. If you are going to arrive to a keyed up jumpy horse that has had no exercise or turnout for a few days you at least want to be aware in advance that this might happen and not find out after you got bucked off. A lot of people downplay problems saying for example a horse takes a look at things out hacking but really it jumps sideways a bit. Or says they can be a bit cheeky when really they are a total thug if not handled assertively. Be honest with the owner about anything that you cannot deal with or makes you nervous so even if they have not admitted a problem they hopefully will not choose you for a sharer if they know in their heart it would not be a good match. Equally do not expect to find an amazing ride perfect mannered horse available to share. If they are that good the owner might not be willing to risk a more novicey person messing them up. Probably you are ready now if you rode in the past. Most sharers are able to lead a quiet horse safety groom and tack up with a simple snaffle bridle but not necessarily confident with it and can stay on at walk trot canter and a small jump but might not have any idea how to school the horse and maybe not ridden on roads before. Obviously there are exceptions but this is the average that I have seen. If it goes well the sharers boost confidence gain skills and knowledge the horse gets more exercise and the owner gains a valuable helper. If it goes wrong the sharer loses confidence and the horse can get messed up if it was not already!
 

SaddlePsych'D

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There is lots to be wary of sadly. Always see the horse ridden first before you get on. Try to find out why exactly the horse is available for share try to pin them down not vague stuff like not enough time. You get some people who want the horse schooled /broke in/ got fit after injury or time off then when the horse is going nicely you find it is no longer available for sharing. Find out what the turnout is like at the yard in winter and how often the owner rides because really if they are in all the time the horses need riding daily but lots do not get it. If you are going to arrive to a keyed up jumpy horse that has had no exercise or turnout for a few days you at least want to be aware in advance that this might happen and not find out after you got bucked off. A lot of people downplay problems saying for example a horse takes a look at things out hacking but really it jumps sideways a bit. Or says they can be a bit cheeky when really they are a total thug if not handled assertively. Be honest with the owner about anything that you cannot deal with or makes you nervous so even if they have not admitted a problem they hopefully will not choose you for a sharer if they know in their heart it would not be a good match. Equally do not expect to find an amazing ride perfect mannered horse available to share. If they are that good the owner might not be willing to risk a more novicey person messing them up. Probably you are ready now if you rode in the past. Most sharers are able to lead a quiet horse safety groom and tack up with a simple snaffle bridle but not necessarily confident with it and can stay on at walk trot canter and a small jump but might not have any idea how to school the horse and maybe not ridden on roads before. Obviously there are exceptions but this is the average that I have seen. If it goes well the sharers boost confidence gain skills and knowledge the horse gets more exercise and the owner gains a valuable helper. If it goes wrong the sharer loses confidence and the horse can get messed up if it was not already!
Thank you that's really helpful. I hadn't thought about things like turnout/seasonal routine changes, or to be thorough about getting the reason for the share being offered.

It's interesting looking at ad's and wondering what the language people use means (like 'cheeky' as you say). Then there's 'no novices' which to me could say anything from 'this is a strong/spooky/young horse' to 'please no people who want to use my horse to learn to ride from scratch' - the first one of course would not be suitable for me but the second could include horses that might be suitable, but as you say those owners understandably don't want their horse being used in that way.

What sorts of references/evidence might owners want in helping them decide if they'd want me to be a sharer?
 

FlyingCircus

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I share my connemara simply because I dont have time for 2 and prefer to focus on my more challenging youngster, but would never want to sell him.

I get potential shares to catch in, tack up, ride in school and out on a hack with me before I give go ahead for a trial. In doing all that I'll be seeing how confident and capable the person is. I don't want to share my horse to someone who will make him worse (give him bad habits, injure him etc) so I consider this whilst checking suitability
 

HashRouge

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Honestly, for me sharing has been easy peasy and I wouldn't worry about it in the slightest. Just start looking! I found two of my shares on Facebook, two through word of mouth and one on Preloved. Two of them didn't last very long for various reasons, but the first horse I shared for almost two years and horse number four I am still sharing after just over a year. Horse number five I have just started riding as I want to do a bit more and have lessons, which horse number four isn't suitable for. So I'm sharing two atm! I have basically just turned up, tried the horse and the owners have seemed to like me, and been invited to have a trial. The good thing about sharing is that you really can have a trial and if it doesn't suit for whatever reason, you can walk away.
 

SaddlePsych'D

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The trial thing does sound good - it can take a bit of time to get to know the horse and feel more confident so that would probably be really helpful. I'm hoping if I give it longer with my lessons I'll have experience of learning the buttons of different horses. Then it would be less anxiety provoking going to try a horse. Similarly, I think I definitely need to refresh the basics of tacking up etc so that I'm more confident when going to try potential shares.

As with just about everything I do, it's usually my confidence holding me back (which is why I'm trying to figure out the balance of overlooking what I have to offer as a sharer vs not wanting to be a too novicey 'time waster'). I do keep an eye out on Facebook though to see what comes up, I hadn't thought of Preloved so will have a look on there. If lessons keep going well over the next few months maybe it will be a good time - do people tend to offer shares year round?
 

Wishfilly

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I've shared a few times over the years when I haven't had the time or funds for my own. Some people are quite happy to have novice sharers- particularly if the sharer is making a contribution towards keep. Some people who want sharers partly want a sharer for the company, and so are happy to spend a bit of time teaching you the basics. If you are confident being in sole charge (usually with the back up of livery yard staff etc) there will be more choice though!

There are people out there who essentially want a horse schooled/brought on/fittened for free, but these are usually relatively easy to suss out from the adverts- I think people advertising for sharers have to be a bit more honest because they will be interacting with you regularly, so if they lie they will soon be found out! If you are honest in return, you can usually work out whether the horse will be a good fit before trying. I'd always ask to see a horse ridden first, though, before I got on, just in case!

I've mostly found shares in the past through word of mouth, but Preloved is the site that a lot of shares seem to get advertised on!

I'd say that more shares get advertised going in to the winter, but you can definitely find opportunities at any time of year. I think it may still be difficult for people to take on new sharers at some yards due to Covid restrictions, though!

As well as sharing, another option can be getting a part-loan through a riding school. Some of these are a bit of a con (charging lots of money for not very much riding), but some are reasonable value and you get the benefit of having supportive staff around to help you with the stable management side of things, and often a discount on lessons.
 

SaddlePsych'D

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I've shared a few times over the years when I haven't had the time or funds for my own. Some people are quite happy to have novice sharers- particularly if the sharer is making a contribution towards keep. Some people who want sharers partly want a sharer for the company, and so are happy to spend a bit of time teaching you the basics. If you are confident being in sole charge (usually with the back up of livery yard staff etc) there will be more choice though!

There are people out there who essentially want a horse schooled/brought on/fittened for free, but these are usually relatively easy to suss out from the adverts- I think people advertising for sharers have to be a bit more honest because they will be interacting with you regularly, so if they lie they will soon be found out! If you are honest in return, you can usually work out whether the horse will be a good fit before trying. I'd always ask to see a horse ridden first, though, before I got on, just in case!

I've mostly found shares in the past through word of mouth, but Preloved is the site that a lot of shares seem to get advertised on!

I'd say that more shares get advertised going in to the winter, but you can definitely find opportunities at any time of year. I think it may still be difficult for people to take on new sharers at some yards due to Covid restrictions, though!

As well as sharing, another option can be getting a part-loan through a riding school. Some of these are a bit of a con (charging lots of money for not very much riding), but some are reasonable value and you get the benefit of having supportive staff around to help you with the stable management side of things, and often a discount on lessons.
Thank you that's helpful - I hadn't thought of through riding schools so will look in to that. I think the one I am at is a livery yard too so maybe something would come up there (don't know how likely that is though). I really like the idea of a more social share or at least on a social yard, partly because it would feel safer than being there on my own but also because I don't really know any horsey people in real life - it would be good to have the company!

I think I'm getting good at spotting unsuitable ones (bringing back to work, young horses etc) - I want to be able to do things in the school and work towards some dressage tests but I know proper schooling in these senses is way beyond my capability! I do get a bit confused by ones described as otherwise suitable but then say 'no novices' - I suppose if I am just really honest about what I'm hoping for and my confidence/ability level the worst they could say is no. I guess they might have had people who don't know much at all turning up overstating themselves - there's a very honest ad in one of the groups advertising a horse that rears for sale and they edited it essentially pleading with inexperienced people to stop contacting them as they'd had lots of inappropriate people interested (I was not one of them!).
 

Wishfilly

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Thank you that's helpful - I hadn't thought of through riding schools so will look in to that. I think the one I am at is a livery yard too so maybe something would come up there (don't know how likely that is though). I really like the idea of a more social share or at least on a social yard, partly because it would feel safer than being there on my own but also because I don't really know any horsey people in real life - it would be good to have the company!

I think I'm getting good at spotting unsuitable ones (bringing back to work, young horses etc) - I want to be able to do things in the school and work towards some dressage tests but I know proper schooling in these senses is way beyond my capability! I do get a bit confused by ones described as otherwise suitable but then say 'no novices' - I suppose if I am just really honest about what I'm hoping for and my confidence/ability level the worst they could say is no. I guess they might have had people who don't know much at all turning up overstating themselves - there's a very honest ad in one of the groups advertising a horse that rears for sale and they edited it essentially pleading with inexperienced people to stop contacting them as they'd had lots of inappropriate people interested (I was not one of them!).
I would definitely let your instructor know you are thinking of looking for a share- they may be able to let you know if something suitable comes up on the yard! With riding school part loans you do have to be careful, as some charge a lot for not very much, but over winter especially you can find some good deals.

I think with the ones that sound suitable but say "no novices", it's likely that they want to be able to leave you alone with the horse pretty much from the outset, so they want someone they can trust to be reasonably competent. I think there's no harm in asking, sometimes- as you say, the worst they can say is no! You do also hear some stories of people turning up to adverts for shares not knowing how to tack up, or not able to catch a horse in safely! In general, I think it's better to be patient and wait for the right set up to come along, anyway.

Just as it hasn't been mentioned yet, once you find a share you should make sure to get public liability insurance if you haven't already, particularly if you're going to be riding on the roads. If a horse you're riding or "in control of" causes an accident, you can be liable for damage caused, so it's worth getting. The easiest way to get this is probably BHS gold membership, but there are other options too!
 

J&S

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For you, at this moment, or whenever you want to start looking, the very best bet would be to find some one with two horses who needs a rider to accompany them to get both exercised. You might find one of these when the hunters are first brought up and need lots of walking exercise. Riding out with an owner will give you a good insight into the horse/s and hopefully lead onto you feeling confident and happy on your own. I echo getting insurance, BHS Gold does cover you to ride other peoples horses, or WHW is a little cheaper.
 

SaddlePsych'D

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In general, I think it's better to be patient and wait for the right set up to come along, anyway.
Yes I think this is the thing - I can feel myself getting all excited about it (and hopefully I'm not far off where I need to be). I'll keep an eye on the ad's for now, most are people advertising they want a horse to share rather than offering a horse to share anyway, and have a word with my RI about it. I'll get my turn with it soon enough :)
 

SaddlePsych'D

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For you, at this moment, or whenever you want to start looking, the very best bet would be to find some one with two horses who needs a rider to accompany them to get both exercised. You might find one of these when the hunters are first brought up and need lots of walking exercise. Riding out with an owner will give you a good insight into the horse/s and hopefully lead onto you feeling confident and happy on your own. I echo getting insurance, BHS Gold does cover you to ride other peoples horses, or WHW is a little cheaper.
That does sound ideal, and presumably in that scenario I'd be helping with chores when they were there anyway?

What do you mean by hunters being brought up? I've not heard that before. Is this horses that belong to hunts or people who have their own hunting horses?
 

DiNozzo

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That does sound ideal, and presumably in that scenario I'd be helping with chores when they were there anyway?

What do you mean by hunters being brought up? I've not heard that before. Is this horses that belong to hunts or people who have their own hunting horses?
Brought up means being brought up to full fitness after the spring/early summer off after a winter of hunting. Or sometimes young horses being taught to be a good hunt horse (being polite in company, safe on roads, good at gates etc)
 

conniegirl

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I would say be brutally honest with yourself about your level of riding.

Then the best way would be to pop up a wanted advert.

Be wary of anyone with young horses they don’t have time for or horses that have had share adverts for a long time.
Do not be scared to ask exactly what the owner means by “novice”.

For example i have been thinking about a sharer for my lad, he is an angel and suitable for a novice but because he is such a good lad and well schooled. However i would likely be advertising as no novices as the last time i let a “novice” on one of my horses (a different horse to current) they pony club kicked a well schooled show horse who promptly gave them a walk to canter transition (i was both horrified and elated! Horrified they had kicked him like that, elated that all he did was pop sweetly into canter) which left them behind and resulted in the horse getting socked in the mouth.
It was at that point i asked her to get off and spent the next few weeks reschooling the walk to canter transition to build the horses confidence back up.

That said if someone sent me a video of them riding nicely and i thought they were reasonable riders i’d be inclined to take the chance again
 

SaddlePsych'D

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I would say be brutally honest with yourself about your level of riding.

Then the best way would be to pop up a wanted advert.

Be wary of anyone with young horses they don’t have time for or horses that have had share adverts for a long time.
Do not be scared to ask exactly what the owner means by “novice”.

For example i have been thinking about a sharer for my lad, he is an angel and suitable for a novice but because he is such a good lad and well schooled. However i would likely be advertising as no novices as the last time i let a “novice” on one of my horses (a different horse to current) they pony club kicked a well schooled show horse who promptly gave them a walk to canter transition (i was both horrified and elated! Horrified they had kicked him like that, elated that all he did was pop sweetly into canter) which left them behind and resulted in the horse getting socked in the mouth.
It was at that point i asked her to get off and spent the next few weeks reschooling the walk to canter transition to build the horses confidence back up.

That said if someone sent me a video of them riding nicely and i thought they were reasonable riders i’d be inclined to take the chance again
It's helpful to hear the experience from the other side too - I can see why that would put you off! Some of the ad's are good because they say very clearly not for novices because spooky/strong/nervous which I know are not going to be right for me. Others seem more ambiguous because they sound ideal apart from the 'no novices' bit so maybe that's people in a similar position to you.

The video thing sounds like a good idea. If anything my problem can be not being assertive enough when I don't know the horse, which I guess could be a problem to a greater or lesser extent depending on the horse. My RI described me as a 'quiet' rider - I'm not 100% sure what that means (I should ask her!) but it sounded like a good thing.

The excited bit of me is saying 'go for it, will probably be fine' (and it might), the brutally honest bit is saying wait a few months which is my plan for now.
 

SaddlePsych'D

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Brought up means being brought up to full fitness after the spring/early summer off after a winter of hunting. Or sometimes young horses being taught to be a good hunt horse (being polite in company, safe on roads, good at gates etc)
Thank you, I know absolutely nothing about hunting! I wouldn't know where to start on this suggestion - it sounds like something for more experienced riders (definitely the young horse bit anyway).
 

SaddlePsych'D

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I have a further question on appropriate insurance for sharing - am I covering myself for injury to myself and public liability or is it also for vet cover (e.g. if the horse was injured while I was riding)?
 

Wishfilly

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I have a further question on appropriate insurance for sharing - am I covering myself for injury to myself and public liability or is it also for vet cover (e.g. if the horse was injured while I was riding)?
Vet cover should be covered by the owner's insurance. Groom's insurance (which covers for injuries to the horse when riding/handling) does exist, but I've never heard of anyone insisting on this for a share.
 

SaddlePsych'D

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Thank you :) I've seen an ad which mentions needing public liability and vet insurance so wasn't sure what that meant. Was planning to wait a bit longer but this particular ad looks suitable so considering enquiring.
 

Wishfilly

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Thank you :) I've seen an ad which mentions needing public liability and vet insurance so wasn't sure what that meant. Was planning to wait a bit longer but this particular ad looks suitable so considering enquiring.
It's worth asking what they mean by vet insurance if you think the horse is otherwise suitable- and why they think you will need this. Normally, their own insurance should cover any injury to the horse.

If they mean cover for injuries whilst the horse is in your care, then I think the easiest way to get this is groom insurance through the BGA- there's some info here: https://britishgrooms.org.uk/Freelance-groom-liability-insurance

I don't know how much this would cost- so it might make the share prohibitively expensive. If it's something they've asked for in the past, they might have other suggestions for policies as well.
 

SaddlePsych'D

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It's worth asking what they mean by vet insurance if you think the horse is otherwise suitable- and why they think you will need this. Normally, their own insurance should cover any injury to the horse.

If they mean cover for injuries whilst the horse is in your care, then I think the easiest way to get this is groom insurance through the BGA- there's some info here: https://britishgrooms.org.uk/Freelance-groom-liability-insurance

I don't know how much this would cost- so it might make the share prohibitively expensive. If it's something they've asked for in the past, they might have other suggestions for policies as well.
Thank you, I will do a bit of research on cost and ask for clarity around what they want covered - I can sort of understand cover for injury in my care but for general health could imagine it getting a bit complicated (and also doesn't feel like the responsibility of a sharer?).

There was me saying I'd wait and I've gone and arranged a viewing for later today! Bit nervous but I think as long as I'm clear about what I'm looking for and honest about what I've done then we can work out if it would be a good match/go for a trial.
 

Wishfilly

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Thank you, I will do a bit of research on cost and ask for clarity around what they want covered - I can sort of understand cover for injury in my care but for general health could imagine it getting a bit complicated (and also doesn't feel like the responsibility of a sharer?).

There was me saying I'd wait and I've gone and arranged a viewing for later today! Bit nervous but I think as long as I'm clear about what I'm looking for and honest about what I've done then we can work out if it would be a good match/go for a trial.
Having general insurance in your name would be complicated and AFIAK, this isn't recommended, even if the horse is on full loan. They may just want a contribution towards premiums, though, which is reasonable. I'd ask exactly what they are after and why- hopefully you will get some clarity.

That's really exciting- go along to the viewing with an open mind, try not to be desperate for it to work out! Remember, you're both deciding if you suit each other- and if it's not a good fit, that's ok too!
 

chaps89

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Groom's insurance wouldn't be appropriate as it's usually for those working in a professional capacity - ie, being paid.
Petplan does a rider insurance, sure other companies will too.
It covers the rider as an individual for personal accident, 3rd party liability, emergency vet fees if the horse is injured in the riders care, cover towards tack if it's damaged whilst in use by them and so on.
So it's a bit more comprehensive than something like BHS gold membership.
I've found all of my shares through word of mouth but did at one point put an ad up on preloved that got a few responses
 

Firefly9410

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Thank you :) I've seen an ad which mentions needing public liability and vet insurance so wasn't sure what that meant. Was planning to wait a bit longer but this particular ad looks suitable so considering enquiring.
Possibly means the owner is a cheapskate and not prepared to insure their own horse! Or that maybe they intend for you to pay any vet fees incurred whilst riding. I would be wary of this. If you pay vet fees and it is your horse you can choose which diagnostics and treatment. If you are paying vet fees for someone else's horse it could end up costing you thousands for a horse you can no longer ride and do not own. Madness! Insurance does not pay out for every thing and there is an excess to pay first too. It can also lead to argument for example if the horse is ridden then turned out and comes in lame with maybe a strain then was the injury sustained while riding or in the field so who pays?

You could put a note on the notice board or Facebook group for your current yard if there is one asking for a share horse. Liveries thinking a sharer would be handy to have but not wanting a stranger so would not advertise might consider you if they have seen you ride before or spoken to you. Get chatting and making friends!
 

SaddlePsych'D

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I'll make sure I clarify the situation before agreeing to anything - it might just have been worded wrong in the ad or I've misunderstood. The petplan rider insurance sounds like what I would have had in mind rather than general vet cover.

There's a part of me thinking it sounds a little too good to be true (schoolmaster type, suitable for beginner/adult getting back in to riding) but worth checking out I think. Nothing lost if it's not the right one for me or me for them, and good experience of the viewing process. Will report back later to let you know how it went!
 

TotalMadgeness

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I've been a sharer and a sharee... My horses are described as 'not for novices' yet they are as easy as they come. I just don't want them made sore/uncomfortable by someone who can't sit correctly, or use quiet aids. So I always ask anyone interested in riding mine to send videos & provide a reference. They also have to hold public liability insurance - the horses are covered for everything else.
 

SaddlePsych'D

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Well I've been to view and thought it went quite well. I'm feeling a bit apprehensive but I think probably because it's new to me and feels like a big step from only riding in lessons!

That said it sounds like I wouldn't ever be on my own at the yard and one of the people there does lessons if I wanted them. The horse was really lovely, responsive when asked, and forward but seemed to have good brakes. It sounds like the sort that will give more when asked but otherwise look after a novice rider. I was really honest about not wanting reactive/spooky as this just gets 'the fear' into me quite quickly and I want something that's going to build my confidence. Owner seemed happy to go ahead based on watching me ride and from me explaining my past and recent experience, so would be trusting they know their horse fits what I described in terms of confidence building. They are looking for two sharers and the other person I think is also a novice and the one they had before was a younger teen, so it feels like probably they are quite chilled and so is the horse.

Am going to have a think about it and chat to my instructor tomorrow but it feels worth doing a trial and taking things from there. How exciting! And also terrifying at the same time (is that normal?!)
 

Cloball

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Groom's insurance wouldn't be appropriate as it's usually for those working in a professional capacity - ie, being paid.
Petplan does a rider insurance, sure other companies will too.
It covers the rider as an individual for personal accident, 3rd party liability, emergency vet fees if the horse is injured in the riders care, cover towards tack if it's damaged whilst in use by them and so on.
So it's a bit more comprehensive than something like BHS gold membership.
I've found all of my shares through word of mouth but did at one point put an ad up on preloved that got a few responses
Be warned if you ou out an ad on gumtree I have had some very suspect/hilarious responses.
Someone emailed to ask if they could clean my dirty boots.
Someone emailed to say they had a powerful stallion I could ride (that was all the info given). Something told me there wasn't an actual horse 😂.
I have had some great shares and some less great ones which is why it is worth finding out exactly why no one wants to ride it (although it's not always entirely true).
 
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