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What are your thoughts on this horse

(59 Posts)
offlikearocket Mon 06-May-13 11:43:30

I took up riding last year having always wanted to ride since as long as I can remember and have ridden on and off over the years but only odd lessons etc. I am now in a position to own my own horse and will be doing nothing fancy just hacking and enjoying looking after a horse. We are lucky enough to be moving to a house with land so that I can keep a horse and eventually a pony for DD. The riding school are selling the horse which I ride, she's coming up 17 this month and is tired of being in the school, she is also used for RDA, she's a 15.1h welsh Sec D x clysedale and very easy to do in all ways, it's been a bit difficult to learn on her as she is just unwilling in the school and I'm not young so getting her into trot means I'm often knackered by the time we get there. However, totally different story out on a hack, she seems to love being out and is forward going I hardly have to ask for trot or canter but we do hack out with other horses so not sure if this is an influence. I really like this horse as she's safe and easy and all I want to do is hack and probably start DD off on lead rein with her, it's just I'm concerned about her age, realistically how many years do you think I may get from her under saddle? Would it be worth it? Also how much do you think she would be worth, I know this is a bit of a guess but just some idea would be good. I think that if I buy her I know I will have to give her a home for life and that's not necessarily an issue but as I'm 44 I think I will want to ride for a lot longer than she will and that's the dilemma really...I will have 3 acres of land and if I bought another horse in a few years time would this area of land support 3 horses?
Please let me know your thoughts and any considerations I have overlooked. Sorry for the long post!

Eve Mon 06-May-13 11:50:42

Sounds ideal.

Get her vetted , even though you know her, a few riding schools are less than honest about selling horses on if they suspect issues.

Also, if she been in the riding school a long time, may become difficult outside that environment....maybe a trial period.

At 17 with good nutrition and looking after you can ride her for many years yet, my sons horse is 16 and still eventing & loving it. I know roses still being ridden at 25+.

3 acres will support 3 but with periods of rest, can you stable them for periods to stop wet ground getting trashed.

Price... I'd say £1000-£1500 ish depending where you are.... Buyers market at minute. Maybe less if you haggle hard & get a trial period.

burberryqueen Mon 06-May-13 11:58:28

she sounds great as a mum's hack and would have a good few years of fun in her still, maybe even 10 years with light hacking. I would allow an acre per horse, as Eve said perhaps with rest and rotation. I would not pay more than £400 for a horse of that age and with that experience, but that's probably cos of where i live. As Eve said, it is a buyers market, I bet the riding school would offer a loan with a view to buy. Good luck she sounds lovely.

lovebeansontoast Mon 06-May-13 14:53:23

Sorry, I don't mean to rain on your parade but I'd say be really careful. This mare, lovely as she is in the riding school, is used to living with lots of other horses, and hacking with others as well. When you get her home you will be keeping her in very different conditions. She will be living by herself (most horses find that a real challenge), and you (I assume) will want to hack her out on her own.
She may become a lot less "safe and easy" given those completely different conditions. Also bear in mind she works in a riidng school, which probably means several hours wourk a day. In your home it's likely to be a lot less than that, which again can make her more fizzy. If you are to seriously consider her, I'd want to hack her out on her own, and ask about a loan so that you can try keeping her by herself. In itself that isn't ideal. Could you look at a companion for your new horse? This is exactly the scenario when horses can completely change personality, which wouldn't be great for you.

Have you ever shared a horse, or looked after one by yourself? What help will be available for you?

I ask this as I did just what you're doing. I bought a horse after riding in a riding school. I couldn't believe the amount of stuff I didn't know until I bought my own. I was lucky, I had mine on a large livery yard and had lots of help.To be honest, if I'd had him at home I'd have been completely at sea. It can work, with a lot of knowledge and help, but isn't ideal for horse or you. I don't doubt I'll be shouted down here, but you did ask for thoughts and considerations, so those are mine.

Agewise, I wouldn't be so bothered. I assume you would have her vetted, so they should find anything serious out. So, in summary:
1. Try her hacking on her own
2. Ask for a possible loan to find out if she would live happily by herself
3. Get some knowledgable help
4. look for a companion
5. If you take it further make sure you get her vetted

Littlebigbum Mon 06-May-13 16:15:03

Yes she sounds great and will made a great companion horse in a few years. But if she has not hacked own on her for years you will find that very hard to teach her. Ask one of the girls a the stable to hack her out alone before you even think about it. And it is so true that riding school are horse so use to exercise that when you get them home they can be fizzy nightmares even at the age of 17.
Best of luck and keep us updated.

DolomitesDonkey Mon 06-May-13 19:25:08

I think (assuming x-rays don't reveal hidden nasties) that she's ideal for this stage of your riding career. However, I'd consider keeping her at the riding school 6 months until you are a little more confident with the care aspect.

I expect she will be pretty much retired within 3 years as you and your daughter both move on to faster! wink

burberryqueen Mon 06-May-13 19:35:18

also i just thought of something which is that as an ex riding school horse it will be hard to build a relationship with her, as essentially riding school horses have been fussed over by so many people that they really don't care anymore as long as they have their hay etc.

chocolatecakeystuff Mon 06-May-13 20:34:47

I'll second that burberry

My big girl is ex riding school... I paid (well the ex paid) £200 for her.

The biggest things I'll say... is she's now fizzy as she doesn't get worked much.

She's been lame a fair few times since I've had her (6 months) 2 abcesses & now a kick to the leg.

She loves routine

Hates being alone

I've alsi found her very difficult to bond with, she doesn't seem to 'need' me like the others do.

That said she's (mostly) a dream to handle on the ground, and when ridden regulary is as spook proof as I've ever come across. And lovey to ride, again when in regular work. She needs riding at least 4 times a week or she gets silly.

The other thing, she knows all the tricks of the trade & will happily take the piss if she knows she can.

suchashame Mon 06-May-13 21:05:10

I think lovebeansontoast is actually being quite sensible to bring those questions up. Yes this mare could give you a good few years riding 22 year old can still jump out the field if she wants lol . You never can tell as my 17yr old has arthritis in hip...retired from driving but fine hacking out.

Imo its rarely good to keep a horse on its own particularly if it's been used to company.... however also to consider is that it can be difficult to separate one of a pair as well to hack out till they get used to the routine of getting out and returning...

Another option could be having a different species as a companion for her...that might work better.... my welshie adopted a lamb a while back lol.

It's quite a responsibility as well as fun... and frightening. I got my first horse of my very own at forty and that was awesome even though I had loaned and shared horses on and off since teens. There is a huge lot to learn and its handy to have knowledgeable people around. Are there people around to hack out with till you get more experienced. ... I did not hack out alone for quite a while till sure my new horse was steady in traffic and with all sorts potential common scary stuff.

Echo the othres with asking for a loan viw to buy first if you decide she might be the one. Clydies are stereotypically calm and steady...welshies can be but are also know n to be quite "independent" of spirit... take a while to bond and you ask things of them rather than tell....but once you have that bond they are yours for life lol.

I think you have already fiund o e of the issues too with riding school horses in that because they are used to so many beginners giving " crude" aids they get a bit "blunt!" In response.... you can alter that but it will take time

Exciting times...good luck

Booboostoo Mon 06-May-13 22:14:15

I would echo the advice you have had so far.

Try her out hacking on her own at least 3-4 times to get a good idea of what she is like on her own.

Consider keeping her at the riding school. It's quite a big ask to go from the occassional lesson to having your first horse and keeping her at home.

17 is not ancient but it is elderly and she may have a more restricted life as she gets older. It's more of a risk than buying a 12 year old horse, but I tend to be fatalistic about horses as they can (and do!!!) injure themselves all the time.

Do get a vetting, although personally I would not bother with x-rays for a horse that age and price (at that age if she passes a vetting you don't need x-rays to know she is a good one!).

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 07-May-13 12:51:08

We have had lots of ex school ponies. Most have been evicted for being bored/stale/depressed/dangerous. We generally give them at least a months R&R before doing much with them. They all get wormed and deloused. Isolation is good for a short while until you are sure they aren't harbouring anything. Then light work building up gradually until you get to know each other better. Ponies generally take on the stamp of their owners, so they often end up totally different from how they were in the school. Expect at least one change of tack whilst you both find your feet and realise you don't need that Dutch gag/flash strap/martingale....
I too would never have a single horse. They need company. How they fit into the herd dynamic with you and their companion will also affect their behaviour.
She does sound like a nice pony though, and having bonded with her already is a good start. When/if you get her home though, do expected her to test her/your boundaries, expect a lot of crap rides, disheartening days, days you wonder why you did it and less days where you feel great about yourself and your horse. This WILL improve. It takes a lot of time and dedication but eventually you will know each other inside out and things WILL be great! smile

Callisto Tue 07-May-13 12:55:13

I wouldn't touch an ex-riding school horse, you would have to pay me to take one on. Dead to the leg, iron mouthed and knows every trick in the book. Plus she will be a nightmare to keep on her own and I would bet money she won't hack out alone.

Going to a riding school once or twice a week is so different from owning your own at your own home. What happens if she colics/goes lame/jumps out of the field/is completely unmanageable. Will you get back up from your husband if she decides to colic just as you need to leave for school run (it's happened to me)? I think you at least need a course of stable management lessons before you take a horse on, and even then I would keep it at a good livery yard where you can get advice and back up if things go wrong (and they will - always do with horses).

Also, it is a buyers market right now for good reason. There is a fodder crisis, a real shortage and farmers in Ireland have started to import silage from the continent. No fodder for cows means less hay, straw and feed for horses. Hay and straw prices are already sky high and will undoubtedly go up even more this year. It is a real issue and one every wannabe horse owner needs to consider.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 07-May-13 13:18:06

I think it depends where you are. Straw is dirt cheap here £15 a Heston, and hay is the cheapest It has been for years. I think that's a little unfair to riding school ponies. We rode all of ours in the school for some time before we got them. friend worked there, we used to help run PC. A lot of them were like that in the school, but once they escape, have a rest, regroup and get some decent tack, they are much better. This applies to the PC rejects we have too. The trouble is, in the school, the ponies know waaay more than the riders and just switch off to the pulling/kicking. Getting away from the school gives them a chance to wake up.
I'd suggest, if you have 3 acres, getting a livery who you trust, to give you advice and support and company for your horse.

Callisto Tue 07-May-13 13:38:20

Wow, you're lucky Saggy. Hay has been going up for the last 5 years here, and there is a shortage as the grass just isn't coming through quickly. The first silage cut isn't going to happen any time soon either.

You may be right about the riding school ponies, but then you have way more experience than the OP and can do things like make sure the tack fits well and bit down confidently that the OP may not even think of.

chocolatecakeystuff Tue 07-May-13 14:41:48

Mines far from dead to the leg, she's very forward going so they're not all like that. She's pretty soft in the mouth too.

She did have a few months off when I got her though as saggy says.

Hopefully the op can get some stable management before bringing any horses home .

mrslaughan Tue 07-May-13 15:56:14

I agree with beans on toast.
We have someone on our yard who has taken in a 20plus horse from the riding school . She just uses him for light hacking and she loves him, and he is having a lovely semi- retirement. But he is still on same busy yard, with the same horses.
If she passed a vetting and you could keep her on the same yard, I would say it's a no brainer.
But you need to find out how she would cope with living and hacking on her own.

mrslaughan Tue 07-May-13 16:18:34

I agree with beans on toast.
We have someone on our yard who has taken in a 20plus horse from the riding school . She just uses him for light hacking and she loves him, and he is having a lovely semi- retirement. But he is still on same busy yard, with the same horses.
If she passed a vetting and you could keep her on the same yard, I would say it's a no brainer.
But you need to find out how she would cope with living and hacking on her own.

DolomitesDonkey Tue 07-May-13 18:59:56

See I would X-ray as I bet her legs are shot to shit. Personally I wouldn't buy an ex school horse - unless it was being sold on because it was completely unsuitable for the school... However, it sounds ideal for OP.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Tue 07-May-13 20:00:06

Why would its legs be shot to shit?

WillowKnicks Tue 07-May-13 20:44:59

We bought DDs pony (he was 16) from the riding school, as they didn't need him. Owner just shoved him at us & told us to take him on a week's trial & he's still here 2 years later! Looking back we were exceptionally lucky as we didn't have him vetted & he has never ailed a thing!! He was a bit skinny & unkempt & resisted having the bridle put on at first but a few weeks of TLC & he came around no problem.

Yes he can be tricky & refuse to move for less experienced children but he has a very soft mouth & is very responsive to DD. DD does PC, SJ & mounted games on him & he is as bombproof as they come out hacking & once we get on the bridleways, they go off on their own quite happily. Apparently, he does squeal the whole time he's on his own, when I go out riding & he's left on his own but think that would be true of most 'pairs' when split.

Personally, I think he is a gem of a pony & guess what...riding school pester me now to sell him back. I even once heard owners wife saying that she should never have sold that pony!! grin

DolomitesDonkey Tue 07-May-13 21:47:09

17 year old riding school horse, I just don't reckon it'll get through it's MOT.

ohbuggerhelp Thu 09-May-13 12:14:09

I wouldn't touch an ex-riding school horse, you would have to pay me to take one on. Dead to the leg, iron mouthed and knows every trick in the book. Plus she will be a nightmare to keep on her own and I would bet money she won't hack out alone.

Tosh and balderdash.

My kids jumping pony is ex riding school, 13 2, always , always in the ribbons, jumps like a stag, too sharp for all but two kids on the yard and I've been offered several thousand for him many times over..

My old ( now retired) gelding was ex riding school, whipped ass at ODE, hunted and could jump a course at a metre with his eyes shut.

Perhaps you just have shit riding schools up your way? hmm

ohbuggerhelp Thu 09-May-13 12:17:08

Oh, and he's now 22 and two back people have said he has the back of a five year old! And despite being semi retired, he still jumps my post and rails if the mood takes!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 09-May-13 12:36:26

I've only ever met one horse that was dead to the leg and hard mouthed. It was a rock solid new forest, that has done years of PC. I'd take a RS pony over a PC pony any day!
I don't think you should really write off any specific type of horse. Every one needs to be judged on its own merits. We have any number of weird, mid shaped, rejected, apparently knackered ponies and horses who all lead happy fulfilling roles. More often than not a change of location, a rest and some sympathetic treatment turns them into a new animal.
You know what they say about a gift horse...

DolomitesDonkey Thu 09-May-13 12:44:49

I'm afraid I don't believe in "dead to the leg". When I horse flicks its tail and whips its neck around to bite at a fly - you'll have a hard job telling me that horse can't feel a heel!

IME, ALL horses work well when ridden well.

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