I don't think there's any harm in having a look but as others have said be very open and honest about your abilities and requirements. Take someone experienced with you if you do go and be prepared to walk away. It is unlikely that the sort of thing you want is there but it isn't impossible.
Another thought - could you hint at the riding school that you're after something - maybe one there would be suitable?!
There are good horses out there for 'free' as it were, even if you have to be very lucky to find one. We were given a fantastic horse, lots of other people wanted to buy him but his owner wanted to know he would have a good home for life, and that he would get it with us. My instructor was offered five horses last year by people who could no longer afford to keep them. Ok some were because she has a reputation for being brilliant with troublesome horses but she said a couple she was really tempted by, there was absolutely nothing wrong with them, just she already has four of her own to keep and there is no way she could stretch to another. I've hacked out with one of them and she was a lovely well-behaved little mare. Obviously you have to be very careful, but equally it doesn't hurt to keep an open mind.
thanks for the perspectives all. I know that buying a horse is a risky business (been warned by my riding instructor) and it was just a thought that there may be perfectly good horses who for whatever reason, had to be rehomed, more so in this financial climate. It makes sense that those that needed resue are perhaps there for a reason in the first place. When i get my horse (eventually if my riding is any measure!) i will need to make absolutely sure i have the right one because i get attached easily and it will be a life long commitment. I got a proper horsey kiss today right on the lips from my riding school pony.
Its a way off yet anyway, but i appreciate the replies. thanks.
Well if you are very, very lucky you may stumble upon the right horse in a charity.
For me producing a safe hack for the novice rider is quite a demanding task. In fact I think that a low level PC/RC horse is easier to produce as the type of rider who wants that kind of horse is more likely to be able to cope with a bit of excitable energy and minor messing about which are likely to shatter a complete novice's confidence. A safe hack has to have a confident but not bolshy temperament and have had at least 2 years experience of life, the universe and everything (because that is what you will come across when you hack!).
It's not impossible that this kind of horse might end up in a charity but it is unlikely. Well loved, bombproof family friends tend to remain family friends or be passed on through word of mouth to other families who look after them well because they do a needed job so well. The kinds of horses that tend to be set aside are the very young, the very old, the very temperamental and the sick.
For example Redwings have over 500 horses waiting for rehoming, but not a single one is suitable for a novice owner to do hacking and light schooling on. the WHW has 1,500 horses to rehome, three of which come up in the search under 'hacks' but they are all for experienced/confident homes.
Like you said no rush. If you are keen why not share someone's for a bit then you have regular stable and riding experience. Some horses may just have been gifted and not through the dreadful cruelty that others have. My mare is rescued, she was never meant to stay but she has been through a lot. Starved, hit and then foaled, you could see hips, spine etc. she was dreadful. Yet she is bonded with us but she has her baggage.
Charities are very interesting.... Not sure I would trust them...... Depends on who.... Some of the smaller ones yes others hmmmmm
As a beginner its probably a good idea. Zazzles argument is valid, until you factor in the fact that many people selling horses are totally unscrupulous and especially in this day and age will tell you anything to get you to buy their horse. As with a dog rescue, a horse rescue will have had extensive interaction with the animal and have a fairly good idea of its character. It will also be thoroughly health checked and be suited to your needs. Way more than you can guarantee with a purchased animal. As a beginner, the rescue will set out the horses requirements, require certain things are done regularly by professionals and check up on you fairly often. The horse will remain the property of the rescue and return to them when you are done with it. Personally, I wouldn't rehome from a rescue, but that is just me. I don always do things by the book, and like to make my own decisions regarding my animals care. I trim my own hooves, for instance, most rescues will require this to be done by a farrier. It's probably a great way to start out as a horse owner, because you will get their support and advice.
I don't see why not if you are honest about your ability. Surely a decent rescue centre will have more reason to make sure you are a good match with an animal that they have spent time and money nursing back to health and schooling, than a random stranger who wants rid of the horse and may or may not be honest in their advert? They will only loan to you and don't want to have to take it back when they have other horses needing help. I used to have good friends who ran a horse sanctuary (they are retired now) and they got enough safe ponies through their hands to also do riding for disabled children from their property.
Vicar, now that you have had the on-the-fence answer, I am going to be the voice of dissent.
If I were a novice, no, I would not be looking at a rescue horse as a first horse. I would want a horse whose history I knew something about, and I would have wanted my instructor to also know the horse and whether it is personally suitable for me. If I trusted my instructor, I would allow her to guide me on the specifics of the horse, and to point out horses for me to try.
Unless you have a very experienced eye for horses, getting a horse from a rescue or the sales is a huge gamble. There are too many unknowns/risks with rescues (and sale) horses. There will be posters who follow who say "I got a horse from a rescue/sale, and its a success story' but remember that might be some years down the track, and is the exception, not the rule.
Even as an experienced rider, I would not get a horse from rescue or the sales, period. A 4* eventer that I know rescued a horse from a sale to turn around, retrained it, and then passed it onto a novice rider that I know. After a few months, it was obvious that the horse was not suitable for the novice rider, and she had to get another trainer to help her to sell it at a loss.
Please keep asking questions, I can tell you are learning lots .
Well, you're definitely the kind of person that charities love (it's much easier to get a happy hacker than a showjumper/eventer), but don't cut yourself out from competing - there are generally training shows around, nd you just pay for the round, it's not a competition as such. You can enjoy improving your skills, without worrying about placings/rosettes etc. A lot of the training shows start at 80cms, and some of the riding club type ones will start with a 60cms course.
i just thought it may be prudent to rehome than buy....not for me but for the horse!
i wont be competing. it will a pleasure horse only - so hacking out. thats it. i will never be good enough to compete. i just want a pet really that i can ride, walk trot and canter. maybe a bit of light jumping if i get to a decent enough standard.
the joy for me is being in the fresh air, snuggling a horse who is up for a love and thats about it.
so i thought maybe i would suit a horse in need at some point....i intend to get a horse for life and never sell.
Answer to your question is 'not necessarily' (I'm good with the 'on the fence' answers, me...).
I used to volunteer with a horse charity, and while some of the poor beasties that came in could only have gone to a very knowledgeable / understanding home, there were others that hadn't been maltreated per se, but the owners couldn't afford to keep them, so dumped them at our gate left them with us, or others again that, despite previous poor treatment hadn't been ruined by it.
Any decent charity will want to know a good bit about the person enquiring, and see them ride more than once, before handing over anything. They also should know the horse fairly much inside out before putting them up for re-homing.
You've got to first work out exactly what sort of horse you want ie type, size, age, colour, sex and be honest about what you plan to do with it in terms of competing or just hacking.
Once you know what you want there is no reason to think that a suitable horse from a rehoming charity wouldn't be ok. They will definitely be more picky about who they rehome to and they may only loan it to you. They may also have some caveats about what you can do with it. However a reputable charity should make sure that you're well suited and capable.
The choice may be smaller though because there are often reasons why their horses were abandoned in the first place and rideability may be one of them.
or would you buy one that you know fits the spec you need?
i get Your Horse magazine and last month there was a huge article on horse charities that need help.
it seems there are loads of horses that need homes who have been rescued. Would it be any more risky to rehome a horse than to buy one? im not ready yet - but im really making progress on stable management now i volunteer at the stables, my riding does not match quite yet but in a year or so i am anticipating having my own horse or pony.