Horse Share(25 Posts)
Still all excited about the potential share I tried on Wednesday, but I'm trying another one this afternoon who sounds fantastic too, only downside is there is no school there (although due to be one soon) but apparently super hacking. Will keep you posted! I don't think I've had a single night this week when I haven't had horsey dreams, I feel like a ponymad 9 year-old!
Ok, so further update! Thank you all for your brilliant advice. I think I may well have found "the one!" I've just come back from trying him out and am all happy and excited. The yard was really nice with really great facilities and some lovely hacking with no roads. The horse was lovely, he's a gorgeous gelding who was a very successful event horse until he retired a few years ago. The owner seemed really nice and is at the yard herself most days with her other horse, so I know I won't be left completely alone at least not initially. There is an instructor on site, and the owner herself teaches too, and when I was trying him out after she had ridden him first, she gave me a few pointers which is so helpful. I had forgotten how different it was not riding an RS horse/pony, so responsive and eager! I said I'd go away and think about it all very seriously, as have others to try, but she's happy to give me lessons for my next few rides if I want them with her. She's also keen for me to do some RC events with him, so I'm really happy, and glad I took the plunge.
Don't get too hung up on age! I would much rather put a novice on my 6 year old than on the 11 year old I had till recently.
My tip is once you have found a nice horse, make sure you have good communication channels with the owner. I have 2 sharers for my horse and pony (we are mothers who work!) and we have a diary where we each write what we have done with them and what they were like, eg 'Sharer 1, 1 hr hack on Horse, some hillwork, quite lively!' or Sharer 2, 30 mins schooling on Horse, very lazy.' It means I can keep track of what my horses have been up to and each of us can see what they have been like recently, even if I don't have chance to chat with my sharers. We do try and keep in touch as much as possible (we have regular socials, and sometimes borrow another horse so we can ride together, and if one of us takes the horse out the others are likely to go along as support.)
It feels like a big leap to make a commitment to ride and look after a horse on regular basis, but once you get into it you will come along very quickly. I shared 3 horses before I finally bought my own, and it was a great learning experience.
oh I wondered how you were getting on, sounds like you will be spoilt for choice
Just to give you an update. I contacted the nice owner with the nice sounding young horse and said that it was perhaps best not to proceed as I didn't want to waste her time, and much as her horse sounded fab and would be great in a year as my second share, I perhaps needed a bit more of a schoolmaster/confidence giver type first. She was lovely and said she knew of one so was going to ask them this w/e for me and let me know, so am waiting to hear back. In the meantime, I'd popped an advert up online for a sensible, bombproof schoolmaster, and have alarmingly been offered a number of shares with "bombproof rising 4s!" But I have found 2 who sound suitable, one who I'm trying out in a few days who was an event horse but is described as a schoolmaster and is 20 all family members ride him, but is still competing (dressage and jumping) and doing RC stuff who sounds fun, but strong and massive at 16hh3. The other one is a 15h1 9 year old who again does RC bits and sounds calm and nice. Both have access to instructors etc so should be able to have a few lessons if starting a share and then take it from there. So fingers crossed! Just feeling a bit nervous about it now!
Just wanted to add another point to bear in mind.
I would have classed my ish mare as a novice ride, and happily put a novice on her thinking yes she's good as gold, although I've not had her long her she's never spooked, at anything! But she is forward going . Even though her breaks are pretty good.
So I put a novice friend on her the other day and she was a little bugger, us riders that have been doing it a while some times easily forget what would be classed as a novice ride, even though for me my girly is brilliant & I have no issues, discovered she will take the micky if she knows she can x
I responded to ads but also put my own ad on Preloved and Equine Ads.
I eventually found my share horse when the owner responded to my ad which she saw on Preloved.
I did have to fend off a couple of unsuitables!
Thank you Princess for all your advise, I'm hugely grateful for it! I'm waiting to hear back from the owner as asked her a load of questions, and will take it from there, in the meantime my quest continues to find a suitable horse.
Princess and Lasvegas and anyone else's who shares how did you find your horses? I'm tempted but put a "seeking" advert up on Preloved rather than just looking/responding to adverts, not sure if that's a better way or will I get mobbed with owners of mad horses?
Yes, please keep that point in mind.
What happened in my case, was that I emailed an owner about her horse and asked whether it was suitable for a novice. The owner didn't answer my question directly, she just said that she was a novice rider too, which didn't actually answer my question about whether the horse was suitable for a novice. I also asked in my email whether the horse was safe and she replied saying something along the lines of "he can be quite safe", not he is safe!! Make sure you pick up on these kinds of things when you are speaking to owners.
This owner didn't outright lie to me, but really what she should have said (in my opinion) was "no sorry, my horse is not suitable for a novice".
I went to see this horse and nearly fell off as I was unable to control it when it started messing around. I later found out that the owner didn't have the confidence to canter or jump the horse or to hack out because the horse was actually quite green and not suitable for a novice. It was also quite bolshy around the stable.
Despite the fact that I was clearly not experienced enough to share her horse, the owner was desperate for me to share it. I think in her case she was more desperate for the help than for the money as it was on DIY livery and she didn't have the time. I also think because the owner was inexperienced herself, she was unable to see the problems I was having with the horse (which an experienced person would have spotted straight away).
The other things that put me off this horse (although the fact it was far too green was already a dealbreaker for me) was that it was stabled at a very small yard where there was no one else around 90% of the time so I would have been riding and handling the horse completely on my own, which as a novice is not a good idea. Also there was nowhere safe to ride (just a sectioned off area but the surface was not even so I think that could have been quite dangerous). So these are also things to consider. The share horse I have now is on a large yard with an on site yard manager and instructor and about 30 other horses live there so there would always be someone around to ask for help if needed.
I also went to see another potential share horse and did not even bother test-riding it as it bucked and spooked with its owner (again I had been told it was suitable for a novice). So glad I asked the owner to ride it first before I got on. When viewing any horse, always, always make sure someone else rides it first and watch it in all three paces and if you intend to jump ask to see it jump as well.
Please don't be put off by my above bad experiences, as I did also come across lots of honest people who just told me straightaway the horse was not suitable for a novice, and I eventually found my lovely share horse.
Personally I wouldn't go for a horse which the owner had said can be spooky at my level (I am not a very confident rider though) as I think it would really knock my confidence when riding alone. I went for the most gentle, steady-eddy I could find!
Questions I would ask:
1. If the horse is only ridden at weekends, does it get much turnout?
2. What does he mean by: "He only spooks at things which you would expect a horse to spook at ie unusual objects in unusual places but is the soundest horse I've ever had to hack ... Never spooks on the road". What would he expect a horse to spook at? Ask for specific examples.
3. Is there someone present at the yard at all times for advice / support if you need it? Is there an onsite yard manager etc? Would the owner themselves be available? When I started my share the owner accompanied me and watched me ride the first few times until I was comfortable, and even now she is generally around the yard herself as she has another horse there and she is happy to let me know when she is going to the yard so I can time my visit to be there at the same time as her if I like.
4. Is there a safe area to ride? A school etc.
5. Are there other people to hack with? What kinds of hacks do they go on? (the owner of my share horse has told me who goes on slow steady hacks and who is safe for me to go out with! I am going to avoid the speedy hackers for now).
6. Before you ride the horse, ask when it was last ridden. Especially at the moment with the bad weather, it could be that the horse has not been ridden for a while. Ask if it is likely to be fizzy as a result.
Hope that all helps. Good luck!
Also as well as checking Preloved, Equine Ads, HorseMart etc, also might be worth calling local stables to see if any of their liveries are looking for sharers.
I think that Princess's point about people being in financial difficulty and so desperate to find a share, regardless of suitability, is definitely one to keep in mind when seeing this horse. Good luck.
OP I am same level as you on cantering and small jumps. recently started a share as I was not progressing any further with riding school horses in a group lesson. sharing a non school horse has been amazing for learning, more hours in the sadle on the same horse who is lovely forward going cob. I think you should also consider if there are other people at the yard who you can hack out with. it is better to go with people who say for eg we go down a hill then let him canter up the hill. There is a gate at the end so horse will stop at the gate.
Thanks Princess, that's great advice, I v much appreciate it. I'm in Wandsworth so looking around the A3, Surrey, Kingston,etc....
Whereabouts are you? I am also near a M25 motorway bridge......
Ps good luck! It's worth waiting for the right one.
I'm in the same position as you (15 years out the saddle) and I have just started a horse share (my first share). A couple of pointers based on my experience:
- be parepared to try a few horses. I saw 3 unsuitable horses and had many more conversation with owners about other horses before I found the right one.
- there are some people out there who are so desparate for your money or your time that they will be prepared to let you share an unsuitable horse. I nearly had a nasty fall from one of the horses I had a test ride on (the horse was far too green for a novice) but the owner still wanted me to be her sharer and said my lack of experience did not matter. I said no thanks!! I was really shocked she was actually considering me as she had seen me ride and had seen that I couldn't control her horse very well. I think she was just desparate for a sharer to ease the financial burden and help with chores as horse was on DIY.
- riding on your own is different from riding in a riding school lesson. I am less confident when on my own so take that into consideration. You might be ok in a lesson on a spooky horse but how would you feel on your own?
- consider whether the owner will be arounfld to support you or will you be thrown in at the deep end and on your own? The owner of the horse I share generally tends to be at the yard as she has another horse there and she is really supportive so I don't feel out of my depth. I am also going to have lessons on the horse too.
Personally I went for the most straightforward horse I could find, a real bombproof confidence giver. She is 18 years old and has taught many nervous people to ride. She can be a bit lazy and a bit of a plod, but she is really helping me get my confidence back. I personally would never have gone for a horse which can be spooky, but I am quite nervous!
I would say go and see him. Could you not say yes I'll share but only have lessons on him for the first few months.
I had ridden for years and returned straight in to horse share after a 2 year break. She was 5 nearky 6 but was the loveliest horse ever. She was not at all spooky for a horse of her age. We built up a lot of trust. I had lots of lessons on her and we came a real long way together.
She also had a beautiful nature and would be groomed/cuddled all day long.
Unfortunatly she had to be pts as she developed health issues at 8 years old (5 years ago). Her owners spent a fortune but thing couldn't be resolved. I haven't ridden since.
I'd definitely go and look and if you're all happy perhaps do it on a short trial basis. The age wouldn't put me off and if you're only having him a couple of days and having a lesson on him that will be good for both of you . If he is on full livery does she want a lot financially?
He sounds like a lovely horse, and the owner sounds very clued up, so I'd go to see him, ask her to be very honest about whether your riding is up to it (she won't let you ride him if she thinks you'd ruin him) and take it from there, especially if there's a good experienced rider you can hack out with
Thanks for your opinions, please keep 'em coming! It's helpful to get different perspectives. To me he sounds lovely, and the owner seems to be really straight and honest about him which I appreciate, and I've been honest and open about my ability and expectations. I think if I'm deeply honest with myself, he'd be ideal for me in another few months time, I just don't want to miss this opportunity and then spend months and years trying to find the "right" share. On the flip side I do feel I need more hours in the saddle to get to that point! Bit of a Catch 22, but he is the first horse I've seen since September (started looking ages ago!) that I can get to without too much fuss, minimal duties, doesn't sound nuts, isn't charging a fortune, great sounding yard, etc..
oh yes there is that saying about green and green leading to black and blue or something
My general rule is don't put a novice on a novice. I think perhaps, at least to start with, you should try and find a horse that will look after you (rather than the other way round), something with a bit more experience etc. This horse sounds lovely, but if you are a little nervous with him, esp when hacking, he may well start playing up.
oh he sounds nice
I wouldn't be put off by his age, you get old heads on young shoulders sometimes (and conversely ...) good luck, let us know how it goes
I was just wanting some opinions/views on horse sharing and when a person is "ready" for a horse share, or is it a case of how long is a piece of string?
I've come back to riding after a 15 year break, and have been having weekly 1 hour lessons for the last 6 months (along with the occasional hack) and am confidently cantering and doing pole work and small jumps, but I don't feel I'm making "progress" anymore. I change RS horses every couple of weeks just to mix it up, but I feel the only way to build on confidence/competence is to spend more hours in the saddle, and I think financially the only way to go is a share, but I don't know if I'm ready.
I've been looking around to see if something suitable comes up, and I think I've found a lovely sounding horse (have yet to see him.) I'm looking for 2 days per week, and to continue having regular lessons on share horse as well as quiet hacks etc... He is on full livery at current yard, which makes things a bit easier in terms of time and DCs, which is appealing, but my main worry is that he is only 6, and currently only ridden at weekends, so I worry he may be a bit too green.
His owner emailed me the following;
"fantastic to hack - he opens gates, stands to do girth etc, crosses railways and the M25 bridge without batting an eyelid. He is used to "nanny" other horses even though he is younger. He is very brave for his age. He only spooks at things which you would expect a horse to spook at ie unusual objects in unusual places but is the soundest horse I've ever had to hack ... Never spooks on the road, goes passed bonfires, pigs, barking dogs and if he passes other horses on a ride on his own he isn't bothered.
He is forward going. I don't find him strong to hack but to school he feels strong because he is greener in the school and leans on your hand a bit. This is because he's young and doesn't know how to hold himself. He is spookier in the school but Never bucks or rears - its normally a few strides running forward - there is one "spooky" corner which the horses tend to dislike.
He absolutely loves to jump. As a typical Irish hunter he is used to jumping large rustic fences so he is a point and shoot kind of horse! Great for xc but he is a little too forward over SJs and can get long and flat so he's doing polework and grids at the moment.
He is the easiest/loveliest horse to stand groom and tack up. People think he's a dog not a horse as he's so soft"
What do you think? I'd like to go and see him, and I've emailed the owner who sounds keen, but I don't want to be a time waster, so thought I'd ask your opinions first.
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