Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow- horse ownership(7 Posts)
Am hoping for some pointers on how to end up capable of owning my own horse. I have been horse mad since the age of about 10 but sadly family finances meant that owning a horse was an impossibility. I had lessons at a stable near my mum's for a couple of years. Volunteered at the stable every single Saturday just to be around horses. Eventually my mum couldn't afford lessons anymore so I couldn't volunteer there anymore either.
Started riding again when I had a job and could afford it. Has been really difficult to find a good stable in London that is not just about kicking and pulling, has qualified instructors not just teens etc. I live in SE London now and finally ride at a centre I am happy at.
As riding has been so on and off, I am still pretty rubbish in the school. Have taken every opportunity to ride on holiday/ on specialist riding holidays recently so while I can confidently canter across country and have even galloped the odd stubble field (terrifying but amazing!), I still couldn't identify which canter lead I am on in the manège.
My instructor suggested I could get a horse and keep it on working livery there (many pitfalls I know) which got me thinking- how do I build up the experience to become a competent owner? I would be willing to pay for an older horse who knew it all and could give me confidence but who would want to sell to someone so inexperienced? I can just about groom and tack up but that's it. Was thinking of doing some stable mgmt courses through a college though time limited as have a toddler and work full time atm. This is a long term ambition and may take years to get there but would like to feel like I am working towards it! Does anyone have any other ideas on what would help me become an owner one day?
I don't know much about SE London re horses, but being a sharer would help in the long run.
Yes do some stable management courses/bhs stable.
Once you have them start looking about for sharers advertised. Some might offer a couple days riding and yard duties for a monthly fee. I would think having dc and full time job that that would be the max you could manage for a while.
Very impressed that you are thinking about this so carefully, most people I know just want a horse, buy one, and run into all kinds of difficulties!! You'd be surprised how little some people ask when selling on a horse.
I think the suggestions above are good - in particular starting with a part loan would be a great way of wading in gently rather than diving in to the deep end, plus obviously it is a lesser commitment in terms of time and money.
I would be careful selecting where any horse is kept (whether yours or on part loan) as I've seen this make or break horse ownership for some. For instance, I'm on a VERY small yard with few facilities - works fine for me, but we've had new owner/horse pairs move on in the past and really struggle as there really isn't anyone around to ask advice.
When I first had a horse, I was at the riding yard where I had been having lessons, which meant there were knowledgeable instructors to help out, safe places to ride without hacking out, and I could continue having lessons, either by myself or you could just pay a small amount to tag on to a group lesson on your own horse. There was also a great social side to the yard as it was a large, busy yard. They even did BHS courses once a year and held/ arranged transport to local shows.
The other thing I'd say is make sure you factor still paying for lessons into costs - I see so many people buy a horse and never have a lesson again. Having lessons on my own horse was so different from riding school horses; previously I was being taught how to ride; afterwards I was taught how to school my horse, if that makes sense? With a new horse, they will often test your boundaries and it is very easy to get into bad habits with them so I think lessons, at least to start off with, are a real confidence booster and help you establish your relationship with your horse.
I'd also go for a lovely schoolmaster type, something you can enjoy riding that will happily school, hack, pop over a pole if you want to, and that is good to handle from the ground, rather than anything flashy or too young.
Sorry for the essay, but hope it is helpful. Best of luck achieving your horsey dream!
Meant to say thanks for all the responses everyone. Have found to my delight that I can already do everything required in the BHS stage 1 ridden exam (depending on how 'perfectly' you have to do it!) so will start that next year once settled into my new job to learn the horse care side in particular. Am keeping an eye on loans on local FB group to see how often suitable horses come up. Need to make more time in my life first!
I know this will sound old fashioned but you can learn a huge amount about stable management from books. I was a pony mad child with completely non-horsey parents and I learned pretty much everything from books. I then went to help out at the local riding school and started putting it into practice, but it really helped to have an idea of how to do things so I wasn't starting from scratch. You could also try asking on your local horsey FB group or riding club if there is anyone who has more than one horse that needs a hand with chores (poo picking fields etc) in excahnge for riding out with them, or they may be able to help you in the school too.
For riding and schooling tips you cannot beat Horse Hero - you can pay monthly (£4.50) and there are hundreds of videos on there suitable for riders of all levels - it really is the most amazing resource and well worth the money;
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