To buy a baby...?

J1993

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Would you rather...

A) Buy a foal

B) Buy a horse aged 4/5


The foal is a filly with good bloodlines would be weaned at the end of September. Would be £2500 - Would stay at a yard with Full grass livery with the YO checking twice a day 20 mins from where I live but 30 mins from work. This would cost £80 a month with haylage provided in winter. All fields have automatic waterers and mains electric fencing - not sure on shelter yet.. need to find out!! I know the stallion the foal is bred from very well and it has bred some very nice youngsters. I would like to think the horse would be for life and everything I have ever wanted - if done correctly. The plan would be to keep on the full grass livery for at least the next 3 years doing the odd bits and bobs with it.. leading, grooming etc. Send to be professionally backed around 3.5 and turned away over the next winter then hopefully bring back into work and get cracking! I do have 2 fabulous instructors who would be there to help.

A few other bits.. I have a full time permanent job and won't be out of work so can afford it. I sold my horse last year as I started a new job which I wanted to concentrate on and decided to buy another when I was settled in the new job and had extra £ behind me. The original plan was to buy another but most I like are around 5-6k and I just don't have the initial payment to buy. I could save up the costs of the foal each month but I am a bit of an if the money is in my account then I may as well spend it kind of gal so i do believe it would take me another 12-18 months if not longer to save the rest. The biggest negative for me is waiting for years to be able to ride, the thought of being able to ride sooner is very appealing. I do have a few horses I ride for other people so I doubt I would have nothing at all to ride but its never the same as riding your own...

Questions..

WWYD?
Does my plan sound like it would work???
Can you tell my mind is practically made up??

Please either put me off or tell me you only live once so do it!
 

Jo1987

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I would go for a 4/5 year old, paying for a baby I couldn't ride would grate on me. And I find foal behaviour very annoying, the same reason I have 7/8 year old rescue dogs rather than puppies!
 

WelshD

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I would go somewhere in the middle personally. I've just bought a 'just about' three year old and its exciting making plans for the near future. I have paid the purchase price and will send her for backing late winter and by that time my finances will have recovered enough to send her to a professional. Her age was ideal, had she been ready to be backed with groundwork established she would have been double if not triple the price
 

Gloi

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I'd do it. I like babies and watching them grow up :) I have one at the moment, though I also have an oldie and a 4yo.
 

paddi22

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it's a risky thing. a lot can go wrong physically in 3 years, what if it gets a bad kick after 2 years. At least with a ridden horse you would have had the pleasure of riding it for years. Plus all the breeding in the world doesn't mean the horse will be good / have the right brain for what you want it to do. I've two babies at the moment but don't pay livery or anything for them, so am happy to take the risk with them. I couldn't fathom waiting paying for, and waiting, three years for an unknown personalty, when you can get a better idea what an older, equally nicely bred horse is gonna be like.
 

s4sugar

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I would never buy a youngster without my own land but so much can change and you may not like the character your baby grows into,
You will end up with a backed 4 year old that has cost the best part of seven grand - if you are lucky.
Better to buy one you can get on with.
 

splashgirl45

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I would go for the older one...the foal is quite a lot of money and there is no guarantee that she will have the temperament you want or stay sound. 4 years is a long time to wait IMO. at least with the older one you can see what you are getting and can do more .....many years ago I bought a 15 month old and really enjoyed bringing her on ( lost her age 24) , but I still had my older horse to ride and compete so didn't feel the need to rush my youngster or do too much too soon...
 

ycbm

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The foal is going to have cost about £8,000 for you to get it to a ridden four year old, if nothing serious goes wrong. And it might not make it.

Does that help you make up your mind?
 

paddi22

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plus if it can be ridden at four, what if its slow to develop mentally or physically.

I've seen so many people get babies and then be broken hearted when they either got random things like wobblers or else personalitywise just weren't what was hoped for. At least with an older horse you know what you are roughly getting. I wouldn't fancy paying 80 quid a month for a risk. If it was breeding I absolutely dreamed of and was a rare chance of getting at a good price, then if i didn't have my own land i'd take a risk and find cheap grazing with other babies as near as I could and throw it out till it was three. I amn't fussed about getting great livery fields, i like to throw them out somewhere with ditches, rivers and rough ground so they learn their feet and use their brains. I've a super brave little youngster now who happily leaps over drains and ditches without a second thought. I wouldn't go the option of an expensive livery yard. I just get sheltered, rough fields, with suitable company, and keep an eye on it.
 

matt_m

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Buying a baby and watching him/her grow and moulding him to be everything you want is a lovely and wonderful experience BUT beware sometimes it doesn't work out that way and s/he just doesn't turn out to be what you wanted - it's impossible to tell even with a good knowledge of pedigrees and a good eye for knowing how a foal will mature. So it can sometimes be a big let down.

If you're buying one that is 4/5 to start you do have to ponder the question why hasn't it been started already has somebody tried and had difficulty which will affect the horse's reception to backing a second time?
 

TGM

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If you really want to get a baby then look at buying a two year old, they are usually cheaper than either three year olds or foals. But you do have to have a bit of an eye and be quite brave, as it is often an age when they are not looking their best!
 

be positive

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To add to all the comments above, saying go for a slightly older one that will be ready to ride in the next year or two, I would say that grass livery with no shelter, if there is none, will be tough for a quality foal to cope with the first winter if the weather gets bad, you can rug but I would not be happy to rug a foal 24/7 with no option to come in to dry off and have some respite, the second winter is not so bad as they are tougher but for their first I would want either a decent shelter or the option of being in at night for the worst of the winter.

I have my own land and would still think twice about buying a foal, I would prefer something less quality that was less risk.
 

FfionWinnie

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No, get something you can ride now. Foals are fine but it's not a cheap option at all, nor is it an immediate option. Are you sure you actually want another horse?
 

Queenbee

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I am so pleased I got beast, I saw him at two weeks old and he was delivered bang on six months, I was lucky though, I had Ebony to ride right up until the month before he went off to be backed. Having him now, I would never regret getting him but the worry of 'would he turn into the horse for me' was a huge one, when you have a baby 4/5 there is still a lot of growing up for them to do and you to participate in, but you can at least get on their back and see if you click, if they feel right for you... waiting on a baby to grow and see if its going to be right for you is pretty scary!!

Some would probably say that if you work so much then a baby is probably not for you, however - IMO they take a lot less input than older horses as any training sessions with them need to be kept short and sweet... however, I would caution a baby, it did work for beast and I, but only because he has the type of character I love to ride - it took me over three years of waiting and nail biting to find that out!
 

J1993

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Thanks for all the replies.. definitely lots to think about. Either way I won't be able to ride my own for a while due to funds and I am enjoying riding other peoples at the minute. I usually come across one to ride and then get asked by some others to ride theirs so can pick and choose. Even have some shows lined up! If I'm honest I don't feel particularly bothered having my own to ride at the minute I don't feel like my heart is in it. The thought of having my own 'project' makes me a little excited. I do understand what you mean about not knowing if you get what you want. I thought by seeing it move you would have at least 'some' idea? The shelter thing over winter does concern me too for a 6 month old baby. I am going to see the foal and the turnout next week so can then think about it further. I also have a friend who has land she has offered me to use with her horses but its further for me to travel. I am definitely going to think it through properly, if she sells then it isn't meant to be but she isn't going anywhere anytime soon! Thanks!
 

irishdraft

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I would definitely not buy a weanling in your situation no shelter and no company of the same age for a start correct me if I'm wrong, I bought 2 weanlings a few years ago but have my own yard they were not expensive & hardy IDs but still came in over night in bad weather spent most of their time playing. I ended up keeping one to replace my hunter mare but in truth he is not a good hunter but of course he isn't going anywhere now ! Also keeping cheap as chips still cost about £4000 to get them to 4 yo
 

Asha

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I love having babies around. It's so rewarding to teach them all the basics, and to watch them change grow and mature. The bond you get with them is special. The things I've learnt from having a few babies :

1. They are suicidal . If they can find a way , any random way to hurt themselves they will . I think I've paid for my vets shiny new car because of the babies.

2. They are a huge risk. you just can't guarantee they will be your type of ridden horse. They maybe bred to jump, but could be useless.

3 it's not a cheap alternative. They rack up the bills over the years.

I still love having them though !!!!
 

J1993

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Spoke to the field owners there are natural shelters - lots of trees and hedges. There is also another youngster who is currently 1. But I will obviously check first. Thanks
 

Sukistokes2

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<<<<<<I bought my baby at 11 months, he came straight from his mother to my little herd. He was a companion for my mare who was retired. She loved him and mothered him up until she was pts when he was 4. I was lucky I had my own land. There was a little herd for him to live with. He had been "wild" in a large herd for the first year of him life. The time flies by it didn't seem that long before I was backing and riding. I did loads with him as a baby,as he was untouched. Lots of grooming and handling and just spending time with him, walking him out and just socializing him. Just ten minutes work or handling every couple of days, loads of time for him to be a horse. It was fun and I really enjoyed it and I would not have missed it for the world. he was a gypsy horse and would never have got the start he had where he was, he is a happy, pleasant but cheeky chappy, sadly he never grew to the size I needed but I still own him and he is in a lovely loan home. I DO NOT regret the time or money I spent on him. However I was not spending on livery just on essentials and backing.
 

FfionWinnie

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Really if you do this he should be liveried with someone who knows that putting a weanling with a yearling to out winter with no decent shelter, is probably a disaster waiting to happen.
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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When we were competing we had 2 in training and one in the pipeline, then would sell one as they progressed, things can change in circumstances over three years, but it sounds as though you would be able to back your own, maybe send for further schooling once they are reasonably fit.
So I would not worry too much. If you are not really keen on doing much at this time, don't commit to a horse that is ready now.
You really need a stable of some sort in case of emergency, weanlings should be in a herd situation where there is a mother figure to ensure they don't get too bumptious.
It will be usually be cheaper to buy when you want to start them, or at least a lot less risky. So only buy if you absolutely are sure,
 
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J1993

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The set up is 2 minutes from a livery yard with stables etc I can use in case of an emergency this offers part/full livery also. The owners are also experienced bhs instructors who will be checking twice a day. The 'herd' is just mares of varying ages including youngsters so not sure why that is a disaster? Unfortunately I don't have my own land and it will be unlikely in the future so it's a case of do I do it now or in the future. The thought of having a baby growing up whilst I haven't time (at this minute) and the commitment is a nice thought. I do believe less time would go into a baby than a developed 3/4 year old but I am happy to be told otherwise as obviously I don't know.. it's my first one! I appreciate anyone's comments good and bad as everyone has different experiences which I want to bear in mine. Monthly costs arent an issue to me, if it doesnt work out then it doesnt work out. My biggest off put at the minute is the foals first winter in the field as I planned to leave unrugged. Thanks again for everyone's comments!
 

paddi22

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i'm sure their level of care would be fine. My concern would be that the end product wouldn't be what you wanted. It would be heartbreaking if it didn't have the temperament or jumping technique etc that you expected. My other concern would be that if you have no experience of handling babies you might do more harm than good. I've babies here i'm happy to mess with, but they are hardy, cheap ones. If i had a super quality foal i'd prefer to let professionals handle it instead of me.
 
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Asha

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I don't think it sounds like a disaster at all. I've had weanlings go out with mixed herds without any issues at all. I've done it gradually, by starting them out with a friendly one, and gradually added more to the mix. It's gives them a great start in life. The fact he has other youngsters to play with seems ideal. The only thing to check would be how well the land copes in the winter, last thing you want is a baby standing in mud if we have another wet winter. I try and keep my babies out as much as possible, but I do bring them in when it's very wet. As you have stables down the lane, seems a good compromise. Good luck
 

Annagain

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What worries me is how you say your heart's not in it at the moment and you don't have time for a ridden horse. Raising a baby properly, getting them used to being handled, teaching them manners etc takes just as much time as riding an older horse - moreso in some ways as you need to do little and often so need to be there every day, twice if you can. I don't think leaving him in a field just being checked over and not worked with would be the best start for him
 

joulsey

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What worries me is how you say your heart's not in it at the moment and you don't have time for a ridden horse. Raising a baby properly, getting them used to being handled, teaching them manners etc takes just as much time as riding an older horse - moreso in some ways as you need to do little and often so need to be there every day, twice if you can. I don't think leaving him in a field just being checked over and not worked with would be the best start for him
Why would you be wanting to work a yearling as such? Once basic handling such as leading/typing/feet are set in stone there should be no problem turning her out. There's no need to be handling them twice a day. I think leaving yearlings in the field not being messed with and spoiled is the best start IMO
 

honetpot

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If you really want to get a baby then look at buying a two year old, they are usually cheaper than either three year olds or foals. But you do have to have a bit of an eye and be quite brave, as it is often an age when they are not looking their best!
If you know what you are doing this the age to buy, just before or after Christmas.
In my experience this is when the reality of owning a youngster is kicking in, the foal fluff has worn off to be replaced with attitude and the giraffe two's.
You can sometimes pick up a nice animal for what it cost as a foal or less, but you must be well prepared.
I think no one wants to buy a three year old, often being sold due to 'lack of time' . As long as they have not tried backing it and made a hash, virtually full grown and a clean sheet. I show them inhand as three year olds a couple of times and then depending on how they are growing give them a little work and fully back at four.
I only pay what I can afford to loose. Not a lot.
 

dollyanna

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I bought my guys as foals and have watched them grow, I have loved every minute and was almost quite sad to start riding because it meant the end of that period. BUT I wanted them because I wanted them, not because I wanted to ride, they are companions for me as much as anything and I was more than happy, whilst I did have an eventual aim for them to be a pair, to accept that they may not work together, one or both may not want to drive etc etc so ultimately they will do the jobs they enjoy doing.
In your situation I think I would be inclined to buy something older as others have suggested, it didn't bother me at all not riding, whereas you have already said you would be frustrated by this.
 

Annagain

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Why would you be wanting to work a yearling as such? Once basic handling such as leading/typing/feet are set in stone there should be no problem turning her out. There's no need to be handling them twice a day. I think leaving yearlings in the field not being messed with and spoiled is the best start IMO
I didn't say "working", I said "working with". I agree you wouldn't be doing it all the time, but when you are introducing new things they need little and often. I just think they need a bit more than the OP's in a position to give at the moment.
 
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