WIBU to do a horse share (as a non-rider)?

(33 Posts)
matildasquared Thu 27-Mar-14 14:34:40

Also, middle-aged.

I love horses and always have. I rode ponies maybe three or four times as a child, never really learned technique, just larking. Never had regular access to horses.

I moved to this very horsey village five years ago. Last year my husband bought me two riding lessons as a Christmas gift and I had a great time--although, at 43, I was disappointed at the amount of physical fear I felt. I wasn't afraid of the horse himself, as I could tell he was a gentle boy who enjoyed the exercise. It was just being up so high made me tense up. I'm ashamed to say that in the two lessons we didn't even advance to a trot. I was shaking all over and it took all my courage to sit up properly in the saddle as we walked around the track.

Given the expense (and my lack of progress) I didn't sign up for any additional lessons.

However I keep thinking of horses. I need a hobby too (to counteract stressful job). We have a postage-stamp garden and anyway couldn't afford to keep a horse or pony at present.

Would it be crazy of me to put up an ad or something offering my services to a local horse-owner? I'm imagining a scenario in which I could go and muck out someone's stalls every Sunday, for instance, and then maybe get up on the horse and do a gentle ride around the paddock, building confidence.

I am sure I could do a good job cleaning out the stables and brushing down the horse if someone showed me what to do. As far as riding, I figure if it's a gentle cob or something we could both just take it easy around the pasture--definitely not taking it out on the road or trail.

If you were a horse-owner, would you welcome an offer like this? Or would I come across as a crazy lady who would do more harm than good?

Barbeasty Thu 27-Mar-14 19:39:39

Have a look around. A stables/ riding school near us offer "back into the sadle" courses for people who are nervous or haven't ridden for a long time. They also have a simulator so you could get used to the height and practise techniques knowing your "horse" won't bolt!

firstbaby01 Thu 27-Mar-14 20:36:43

OP I think what your doing is great! owning a horse is not all about riding which I think a lot of horse owners forget. If someone approached me asking to love and care for one of my horses I would think of it as a lovely thing to do and would be more than happy for them to help out. I hope you find the right horse to look after

Joysmum Thu 27-Mar-14 21:42:49

Many riding schools want to charge for teaching any skills, whether riding or not. You can ask them for lessons in how to lunge and long rein for example.

There is so much more to horses than riding. Many riding schools do training towards gaining a horse owners certificate. Have a look on the BHS website for more details on that.

You could also look into getting driving lessons if riding isn't your thing.

Lastly, you could always find private owners who might want to share their knowledge and teach you handling, management, in hand and on the ground training but personally I think you're better off paying for lessons to at least get you the basics and then look for an owner with elderly and non ridden horses needing attention. Even those with horses that are ridden appreciate the benefits of on the ground training such as lunging and long reining so if you can get adept at this you have something to offer to fitten and improve ridden horses.

ADishBestEatenCold Thu 27-Mar-14 22:41:14

Best of luck, matildasquared.

As a horse owner I always very vigorously try to avoid having help from people, especially those without experience. I plead the safety issue, the liability issue, the time issue, and all of these things were and are true in a way.

I have to do a lot of work with our horses and I've got it all down to a head-down, get on with it, time and motion sort of an art. I didn't want to change my routine, I didn't want to take the time out to teach someone what to do, and I knew that it would slow me down hugely to have inexperienced help.

Then I met a woman who just would not go away! She absolutely adored horses but conversely was utterly terrified by them. She'd got it into her head that she would be able to help me with the horses, make my life easier, and at the same time would miraculously "get her nerve" (as she put it). I tried all sorts of avoidance tactics, struggling to stay on the right side of rudeness, but she just would not go away!!!

Two years down the line, she's still coming pretty much once a week. She's good company and, just a short while ago, I was reminded of the past as I watched this woman stand like a rock while our 'baby' a 3 year old 16.3hh warmblood came thundering towards her down the field, skidding to a halt at the last moment. My (formerly utterly terrified) helper then quietly popped a headcollar on this mountain of a filly and led her (prancing a little) into the yard! grin

I say go for it, matilda. Maybe not a share, at first, but somewhere you can lend a hand and learn.

Stinkyminkymoo Fri 28-Mar-14 07:45:05

You've had some great advice here smile

Yy to the volunteering but I also think it would be a good idea to persevere with 1-1 lessons. Your confidence will slowly build up and with the right instructor you'll be surprised at what you can achieve.

One of the most wonderful things about horses is that you never stop learning no matter how long you've been around horses.

I had my first horse for 7 years and 2 1/2 years ago I got an 8 month old colt. The unbelievable journey sorry! I've been on is indescribable and I can't believe little me has done it by myself (with amazing support from the yard of course!)

Do it, you'll surprise yourself! grin

Booboostoo Fri 28-Mar-14 08:23:56

I'd cautious if I were you OP. Handling a horse can be as risky if not riskier than riding one, especially if you don't know what you are doing. It's not the kind of thing you can just learn on the job (well at least not without a lot of injuries!). The usual route is to get stable management lessons that teach you how to groom, handle and tack a horse up safely.

Mucking out you can do to your heart's content, but is that really what you want?

Maybe try a new riding stables, perhaps a different instructor will make you feel more comfortable. Or if riding is not for you, how about driving? There are fewer places that offer driving lessons but it might be worth a try. Another option is in-hand showing, where you can enjoy preparing and looking after a horse without any riding. Smaller ponies can be fun for showing or a retired horse that is no longer ridden. Again though you'd need to get lessons to make sure you were safe and competent before you thought about a share.

Whereabouts are you OP?

I have a sharer for my horse while I'm on 'maternity leave' as it were and I would have loved someone to come and pat the old bag on the nose on the days I couldn't get up - I'm not so bothered about someone riding her.

My sharer is now a good friend too smile

matildasquared Mon 28-Apr-14 13:41:29

So thanks to you I'm now volunteering at RDA in the next town. Have learned loads about day-to-day care of various kinds of horses/ponies. There'll be a chance to ride later this summer. Very nice crowd of people too. Cheers!

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