What a dilemma......

(21 Posts)
mrslaughan Mon 28-Jul-14 13:26:19

But a nice one.....sort of....but need to know if I am just putting barriers in my way.

I will try and make the back story short, have ridden on and off through out my adult years - but have ridden several times a week consistently over the last 3 years. I have had 2 shares. First an arsey cob (mare - top of he paddock) took that attitude into her work with me. The a lovely retired evener - who could also be sharp, but taught me lots (also top of his paddock, also brought this into his work). Anyway I ended my last share due to soundness issues.

In terms of my riding I had hoped to be out doing my first dressage competitions this summer, but due to above mentioned soundness issues, it hasn't happened.

First thing to know about me is I do tend to over think things and under estimate my own abilities, I am told this constantly by instructors and people I ride with.

Anyway last week I went to look at a horse loan - its not right for me. It was at a yard where a very good friend of mine has her horse in competition livery, she really rates the women who runs the yard. Describes her as someone who will tell you what she thinks - can be brutally honest. Incidently she didn't think the horse on loan was right for me either.

Anyway she did say she would happily help find me a horse, and to let her know. Anyway she rang me on sunday - saying she knew it was out of the blue, but she wanted to let me know that a horse she really likes at the stud next door is being sold - she knows it well, likes it, but it is not top level show jumping material which is why she is wouldn't buy it and why they are selling it.
We talked more about it, its temperament is really fab, calm, watched a video of it at its first show jumping comp and it was calm and steady in the arena (probably why they don't think its right for them).

But here is the thing - its 4years old (and a warmblood) - I know I need to know how long its been broken for.......but i am really stuck on that. I have ridden cobs etc that age......

If I did buy it, I can afford lessons and support - which I know I will need. But I just keep on thinking...yes but she's 4......

Don't just tell me I am mad!!!! please tell me why!! the pitfalls and the positives...

I haven't been to meet her yet as I know she is v good looking.......I am sure she is my dream horse, but I don't want to end up with a horse I don't want to ride.......

britnay Mon 28-Jul-14 15:06:20

Only way to know is to try her out. First in a school where she is kept, maybe a wander down the lanes outside as well. Secondly, see if you can take her for a lesson at your friend's yard (I presume this is where you would be keeping her anyway), then you can see how she reacts out of her comfort zone.

My first pony (after only riding for 18 months) was an unbacked 2 1/2 year old. We learnt a lot together, it was brilliant! ;)

momofmonster Mon 28-Jul-14 15:26:32

I agree with PP - my 2nd pony was a 4 yr old that had been broken in 2 months before we bought her and we taught each other everything. Then my first horse was a yearling!

I found the benefit of having a youngster is that you can help mould this horse into the type of horse that you want - some older horses i have owned have gotten bad habits from previous owners.

Booboostoo Mon 28-Jul-14 15:58:28

Absolutely not and I would not trust the woman who recommended a 4 year old for a first time owner. Here is why not and if I don't convince you pop onto a horsey forum like Horse and Hound and read the desperate stories of the people who don't know what to do with their out of control youngsters while the recover in hospital from the injuries their horses gave them.

First of all however nice the horse's temperament it is a youngster and has no experience of the world which means that at some point, sooner rather than later, it will freak out. At that point it will rely on the rider's experience to sort things out and if your react wrongly that will be the start of a long term problem.

Almost all youngsters will go through a teen age phase. The ones that are good to start off will usually try it on around 5 or 6 years old, again how the rider reacts will shape how the horse develops.

If you have any competition aspirations you will not fulfill them with a 4 yo. A young horse does not know how to jump or work effectively and has to be taught be a rider who has a feel for what they are trying to achieve.

You risk denting your confidence, finding yourself with a horse that scares you and losing a lot of money inthe process.

Find a been there, done that alrounder. Age could be 10 plus so that the horse has had time to see the world and prove itself calm and sensible. A horse that will have the experience to look after you and one that you can have fun with. You need a horse that will hack out sensibly alone and in company, good in traffic, sensible in open spaces, that can do a decent prelim/novice dressage test, go round up affiliated SJ and have a go at a hunter trial. You will have enormous fun, trust me!

mrslaughan Mon 28-Jul-14 16:02:31

Thanks ladies - spoke to my instructor and her advise was exactly the same - ride her, you will have a feel ....if I feel like I can push her into trot, and then canter, then fine, if not walk away.

just a little excited!

mrslaughan Mon 28-Jul-14 16:04:48

Ohh Boo - just read your post! You are the voice of reason!

thinkingaboutfostering Mon 28-Jul-14 16:18:02

Go and try her. Watch her owner rise her first in all paces. If possible take hour instructor with you and get them to ride too and then have a go yourself. Maybe go a couple of times to try her and see what you think then. My second horse was a 6 month old foal but is been round horses for 15 years at that point.

QuietTiger Mon 28-Jul-14 17:08:58

Although to a great extent I agree with Booboo, I would also say go in with your eyes open and a lot of back-up/support and be hard headed and unemotional in your decision making, but don't discount a youngster.

Our story - I'm experienced, had horses on and off for years, currently have 3. My mum has ridden on and off for years, but never had a horse. I bought a 3 year old Welsh cob 2 years ago, who has just been backed. He came home from the place he was being backed a week after I found out I was pregnant and can't ride for 9 months. Dhorses are kept at home. My mum is riding my horses for me.

DHorse is young, inexperienced and needs bringing on and is now 5. He is also sane, sensible and reasonably unflappable. My mum is 65, inexperienced with youngsters and doesn't have the skills to bring horse on herself on her own, but rides well.

We are very lucky because we have access to a very, very good instructor, who is experienced with youngsters and who is very close to where we are. She is close enough that my mum can safely hack up to her school for a lesson, and instructor is close enough to us that she can get to us easily.

We've come to a compromise with Dhorse (because I can't ride him at the moment), in that he sees the instructor 3 times a week. Once to be schooled by her, once for my mum to have a lesson, and once for the instructor to hack him out so he can be put into new outdoor situations safely. My mum also hacks out with her friend once a week.

Dhorse is coming on well, because of the level of instructor input and support we have. I have no concerns about Dhorse and his development, because he is having "professional" input. I would however be flapping a bit if my mum was trying to do it on her own.

Go, look, try, have a long conversation with your instructor and then be prepared to walk away. smile

Butkin Mon 28-Jul-14 17:21:12

I'd be tempted to at least have a ride on her - both in the school and on a hack. Then if you decide to progress get her vetted and take bloods to check for sedation.

My first horse was a 4yo and I learned to ride on him and eventually rode him at HOYS. As others have said he didn't have any bad habits and all horses - even 10yos - can have whoopsys.

It really depends on the type of animal. We've got DD on a green 4yo 13hh show hunter pony we've had professionally broken for us. and only just took him to his first show this weekend. He's a project to bring out seriously as a 5yo. We know he'll have his moments but he's keen and willing which is better than jaded.

Sounds like you're also a pretty experienced beginner as well so I think she may suit you as long as you realise that you'll only get into competitions in the long run rather than right now.

Let us know how you get on.

mrslaughan Mon 28-Jul-14 17:44:48

I know what your saying Butkin - The 19 year old I was riding, would take any opportunity to unseat me - and got me off in a rather dirty way (I did forgive him, but rode him differently after ;-/ he taught me a lot!)

Horse would not be kept at yard I ride at now, as it just wouldn't be right, but would stay at same yard, but move barns and be overseen by a mother and son team who offer a huge amount of experience and whose job is to bring on young horses. So I would not be without support, the level would depend on what I needed.

What I don't want to happen is end up un - nerved and feeling like I own a horse that I can't ride.

I will go and have a look and report back.

Booboostoo Mon 28-Jul-14 17:48:11

OP I am not trying to rain on your parade but I bought the wrong first horse and it was 5 years of injuries, loss of confidence, enormous bills for trainers vets and behaviourists and the emotional heart ache of having to put her to sleep at the end of it all. Her problem was not age but temperament so no one will guarantee you an older horse will necessarily be suitable but stack the odds I your favour.

Write a list of what you want to do with the horse, not what attributes it should have like colour, breed, etc. but what you want to do with it, e.g. Hack, jump, dressage, show or whatever. Then find the horse that can do that job. My second horse took me affiliated SJ, dressage and unaffiliated eventing - it wasn't easy, i still needed lessons and to learn how to ride him but it was an achievable challenge.

Apologies to other posters but in my opinion ponies are different from horses. For an alrounder first horse I would consider something with pony in it, e.g. TB cross Connemara is a nice combination for a jumper because that makes the horse a bit more amenable.

Sorry to go on and on but if you are considering the youngster you will need facilities (arena, off road hacking, all year turn out), very regular help (what quiettiger describes is ideal), access to transport ( to teach the youngster to load and take him out and about), and a lot of patience as your main goal will be to bring on the horse at its pace.

Finally (and I promise to shut up) ask yourself who created all those older horses with problems? Did anyone really start with the ambition to ruin a blank slate or is bringing on a horse a lot more difficult than people assume?

mrslaughan Mon 28-Jul-14 22:09:18

OK an update already - she had her prof rider, ride it today (she has seen it worked, but they hadn't ridden it) , anyway he feels it is a little too green - rides greener than it looks.......

Zazzles007 Tue 29-Jul-14 01:57:32

I'm with Boo on this one - your first horse should be ideally a been-there-done-that sort of horse, about 10 yrs old so you (or someone) can vouch for its personality. Unless you have a fair bit of experience riding young and sharp horses, I wouldn't buy a 4 yr old warmblood, especially as you have said that most of your experience has been with young cobs - different story altogether. There is a reason for the saying "Green on green equals black and blue".

It also surprises me that as you've said the young horse in question is in a showjumping home, why have they suggested that you look at it, when you are looking for something to do dressage with? So its failed one career and they are wanting to move it on? Do they see you as a someone they can perhaps take advantage of for their own benefit? Apologies if that comes across as really cynical, its just that I know how some horse people can be. And Boo's assessment of young horses being sold onto inexperienced owners with bad endings is very correct, there are so so many stories just like that in the Horse and Hound forum.

Booboostoo Tue 29-Jul-14 05:20:48

It wasn't meant to be OP! Onwards with the search. Get on horsequest and horsemart and go see horses. The more you try out the better it will be as it will give you an idea of what is out there and if you really like one arrange for a second viewing with your instructor. Remember never to get on a horse the owner is refusing to ride themselves regardless of what sob story they give you - people will tell terrible lies to get rid of a rubbish horse.

mrslaughan Tue 29-Jul-14 11:39:18

Zazzles - She has been breed for show jumping, but they don't think she has the scope for them, will probably eventually jump up too 1.10, but that's about it.

britnay Tue 29-Jul-14 13:51:14

It sounds like you've got a good, honest lady helping you anyways smile

FlockOfTwats Tue 29-Jul-14 14:34:34

It can work, but you need to go into it with your eyes open and your realistic cap on.

Booboostoo Tue 29-Jul-14 16:12:15

Whispers (get a gelding not a mare)

Runs for cover chased by irate mare owners!

backinthebox Tue 29-Jul-14 18:00:00

Booboostoo writes lots of sense. Young horses can have perfectly nice personalities, but so can human toddlers and they still grow their toys out if the pram. Unless you have the time, patience, knowledge, facilities and backup to deal calmly with any kind of horsey tantrum or cluelessness, I would always go for something more experienced. I am not saying young horses can't be nice, but they do take some work. And then some!

mrslaughan Tue 29-Jul-14 19:22:59

Yes boo - really would prefer a gelding, havering said that 19yr old ex eventer was temperamental......I used to say it was his thoroughbred days......maybe his was male menopause?.....

mrslaughan Tue 29-Jul-14 19:24:53

If she had been suitable, the place she would have been kept has all the facilities and back up.....but at the end if the day I want to make my riding enjoyable and reasonably uncomplicated ( though do want a challenge!

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