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I recently posted on here about some issues I was having with a potential horse share.
To cut a long story short, I was looking for a safe and sensible horse suitable for a novice and I thought I had found just that but it turned out the horse was not really what I was looking for, so I told the owner thanks but no thanks. The owner was actually really keen for me to continue and give the share a trial period but it just really wasn't right for me and I knew that deep down so decided to cut my losses and walk away.
A lot of people on here who responded to my post were very quick to say I didn't have the experience, sounded too novice, etc and I respect those views - at the end of the day the reason I came on this discussion forum is to get a range of opinions. But now I would like to ask the question how much experience do I need to consider a share?
The reason I ask is that I have been offered another share, on the following terms:
-the horse is bombproof, suitable for novice, has taught a lot of nervous people to ride. - It is kept at a large yard where there is always someone around to ask and a knowledgable yard owner on site. - To start with I would only have the horse on 'share' one day per week and I would have a lesson with the on site instructor, so I would not be riding on my own until I felt 100% confident with the horse. If I wanted to I would have the option of having more 'share' days in the future. - the owner has another horse herself so if I wanted to hack out she would accompany me. -the yard do BHS horse owners qualifications so I could do those if I wanted to.
On this basis, do you think I should consider this share? In terms of experience I used to ride as a teenager between the ages of 12 and 18 and I also used to help out at a livery yard at weekends. I am now in my 30s and I had several years out of the saddle, although I have just had a few lessons this year to get back into the swing of things.
Yes I am no expert but I know the basics and everyone has to start somewhere........how experienced do I need to be to consider the share I have described above?
The reason I would like a share as opposed to just going to a riding school is that I have struggled to find a genuinely good riding school and also I like the idea of building up a relationship with a horse rather than just chopping and changing horses at the riding school. I also like spending time around horses rather than just turning up, riding then going home.
I'd go for it, but with a couple of caveats: don't hack out by yourself, don't ride even in the school if no-one's around, keep having lessons, and be prepared to admit to yourself if it's not working (which from your post sounds like you'd do anyway). Like you say, everyone has to start somewhere and as long as it's a kind and steady horse you should be fine.
My DH had only had two lessons when we bought his horse and he's learnt on her. She is very steady and I teach him, and he loves her very dearly. I hadn't ridden for 30 years, had 6 months lessons to get back into it, and bought a nice little cob who I adore.
Sounds like you really want all that goes with having your own horse, rather than just the riding, and as long as you have the right horse and plenty of experienced support I'd say this is the best way to go. It's not as though you're wanting to join Team GB, just enjoy some happy hacking so the basics are enough.
I got a horse for very novicey DP who had had a few months worth of lessons at the local RS, however: - I rode the horse exclusively for first 3 months to assess its suitability - DP had weekly lessons on the horse - DP never hacked on his own and I rode a fairly reliable horse out with him, we were very careful what we did on hacks - I continued to ride the horse once or twice a week to keep up with its schooling and always popped on it immediately if we had any problems on a hack (as soon as the horse got worried about pigs, DP didn't do that hack anymore but I spent ages getting the horse to chill next to the pigs).
If you have the right horse and that kind of support then it's perfectly do-able. Otherwise you'd need about a couple of years worth of lessons until you were able to cope with the more challenging horses at an RS, in the school and on hacks, on the flat and over small jumps, ideally also hacking alone, as well as having had basic stable lessons before you should consider a share (of course this is a 'how long is a piece of string' type question - it all depends on how often you ride and how quickly you progress).
Should have said, I also ride DH's horse regularly to keep her from picking up his bad habits, but with a share the owner would still be riding so that should be ok. As long as you get on with her and trust her I think you should be fine
I have to say it sounds like an ideal situation to me, you seem to have most things covered safety-wise and it also sounds like a nice place with good facilities so you won't be forced to ride in unsuitable/dangerous conditions (I have a friend who took on a share but only had a muddy paddock to have lessons in. First lesson the horse slipped and dropped a shoulder, friend ended up on crutches). I'd say go for it . Just make sure you take your cues regarding what you are ready to attempt from your instructor, not a posse of teenage girls at the yard telling you to 'just have a go'. I'm guessing they will bounce better than you .