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Tell me about the most inexperienced person you know to have bought a horse...

21 replies

ooobee · 14/01/2013 11:48

I heard a story the other day about someone who bought a TB ex racehorse after having only ridden about 20 times in their life Shock but it all worked out so there was a happy ending. I'm sure that is just luck and it could have easily ended in disaster.

I would love a horse of my own (I share at the moment) but have always considered myself far too novicey. But then I hear stories about other novices and think maybe I should take the plunge. I am definitely not going to take the plunge yet, but maybe after I have had my current share for another year or so I might consider it.

Tell me about the most inexperienced person you know who has got their own horse and how did it work out?!

OP posts:
issyocean · 14/01/2013 12:07

When we emigrated to Australia in the 70's my parents who had no knowledge at all of horses bought my sister and I an ex stock pony 14.2 aged about 10.We were 7 and 8 and had only ridden once before. We very quickly learned to stay on ,we couldn't afford a saddle until we had him about a year and we couldn't stop him.He was an old bugger and knew every trick in the book.

We learned from books and from experienced people that we met along the way and had the most amazing time.We rode at rodeos and went mustering as well as doing pony club ect.

My sister and I had a lot of horses/pony's and had the opportunity to ride a lot more (our farrier produced stock horses and we rode for him) but none ever captured my heart like my lovely Fanta who died in my arms aged about 30.He taught us everything.

Abbicob · 14/01/2013 12:43

A lady arrived on our pure diy yard having never owned a horse before and was too terrified to get it out of the field as other horses were in the field with it.

She asked everything (such as how to groom/which brushes to use etc..) and we were more than willing to help, however it was a relief all round when she moved to a full livery yard further down the road.

She is very happy now.

horseylady · 14/01/2013 13:09

A mother bought her very young daughter a pony and expected her to know how to do everything after a handful of lessons and reading magazines.

Theyve now sold that pony and bought a yearling. And moved to a yard where part livery is offered. I think novice people are fine, if they acknowledge they are novice, buy a suitable horse and seek assistance. There's no point moving somewhere saying you know enough when you don't and expect others to help you out!! I also the bhs owner certificates are helpful. And doing work on a yard if you are serious.

It seems to come as a shock to some people the level of commitment involved in owning a horse on DIY!!! Especially when you should go up twice a day (if stabled!) and that 11am and 1pm are not really the two times to do that :)

bishboschone · 14/01/2013 13:16

I worked at a riding school/ livery yard in my youth . I saw many young children and teenagers have horses bought for them when they had only ridden a short while. One girl I remember well got a new horse every year as she was bought very expensive dressage horses but becuase she couldn't ride very well he couldn't keep it up so they forgot what to do and she got bored of them . It was sad to see these beautiful horses come in and go out fat with no muscle but they werent neglected so I guess it was ok. Another girl I helped a lot and rode the pony that was completely unsuitable for her . He dad was very grateful but they wouldn't sell her because they loved her . They muddled through becuase they were on a yard and had help but I don't think it would end well had they been on their own .

Itsnotahoover · 14/01/2013 16:33

My ex had 3 lessons, got on my horse (a very lively little tb ex-racer), booted her like she was some kick along riding school pony and ended up in a crumpled heap with a broken nose! So he went out, of his own accord, and bought himself a horse for £450 or thereabouts, without consulting me!

A 16.2 tb x id, 7 years old, just over from Ireland, and needing fattening up a bit. Yeah right! Bloody thing was more like a 3 year old, barely broken and, once he was in condition and the right weight, an absolute nightmare. He alo grew to around 17.2!!!

Needless to say, the ex couldn't even think about handling him, and decided he didn't want to ride anyway, so muggins here ended up having to school this enormous green horse that I really wouldn't have chosen, as ex refused to sell him on!

We compromised in the end and he went out on permanent loan to a friend who had fell in love with him, and 5 years later he's still with her.

Booboostoo · 14/01/2013 19:29

I think you are asking the wrong question. Plenty of inexperience AND experienced people make the wrong choice when buying a horse, so don't rely on stories of unlikely success.

What you should think is what you need to have the best chance of finding the right horse. For a first time owner I think it's good to have:

  • a very clear idea of what you want the horse to be able to do. Not colour or breed (unless you want to show) but practical things that you want to do, like hack confidently alone or do a Prelim dressage test. Be realistic and practical in your goals.

  • think about what kind of horse would fit the needs above, remain realistic no matter what! If a four year old is unlikely to be able to do the kinds of things you want safely, don't be tempted to buy a four year old. You MAY get away with it, but you probably won't.A long mane, a shiny black coat, a beautiful face never saved anyone when the lunatic horse they belong to dumps you in front of traffic.

  • find a good instructor who can get to know you and come with you to assess the suitability of horses for sale. You will need to pay extra for this but it is money well spent.

  • try a few horses and go in with your eyes open. Don't hesitate to travel to the other end of the country to see a horse, even if it is a completely wasted trip. It's one day out of your life for what could be a 15 year partnership.

  • find a good yard with an experienced YM who can help you out with everyday problems.

  • be prepared for a transition period, almost every new horse/rider partnership has small problems to start with. Don't be disheartened and seek help immediately!
Pixel · 14/01/2013 20:09

Mmm, my sister and I when we got our first pony Blush. We'd never had a proper lesson, just the occasional pony trek on holiday and we went out with the local riding school about ten times. The lady who owned it used to get up onto the Downs and just go hell for leather and we were expected to keep up. We learnt to stay on! We saved up for years and then bought the first pony we looked at Blush (again) because we thought our dad wouldn't take us to see any others. We couldn't get him to turn left when we tried him in the field and he ran away with each of us in turn on the way home.
However, we'd read avidly every book and magazine we could get our hands on. My mum was brought up with working horses, so although she only knew the basics of riding she was well versed on the care of them and we had good people on the yard who took the time to help us. The pony turned out to be fast and prone to zooming off from a standing start without being asked but he was bombproof and honest, no nasty tricks. We found out later he was an ex games pony! It was the best time we ever had, Dandy taught us everything and we had him for 20 years until he was 35. I've got precious photos of my daughter riding him as a toddler.

Abra1d · 14/01/2013 20:14

I know a girl, aged about 13, who bought a pony with some saved-up money. She had never ridden before. She couldn't even get the tack on the pony and had no suitable clothes. She didn't even know where she was going to keep the pony in winter (no smart rugs around then).

Fortunately, a wounded, ex-RAF veteran in a wheelchair happened to meet her and he used to come around and give her lessons.

Within a year she won loads of rosettes in a local show and was showing up all the posh girls from the local riding school.

Anyone else read Jill's Gymkhana? :)

Pixel · 14/01/2013 20:16

Ha ha, I saw where that was going about half way through Smile.

Abra1d · 14/01/2013 20:18

Such a great book. I still read it every ten years or so as she's such a good role model for girls--takes risks, gets on with it, works hard on her dreams.

Pixel · 14/01/2013 20:27

Actually I've seen a few novices who've done ok but plenty who haven't as well. Depends on a lot of things. My sister's friend bought a nice cob and we helped her as much as we could, teaching her how to look after him (she didn't even know how to tie him up safely). Unfortunately all it took was a few rides out with unsuitable people, which she wasn't ready for, and her nerve was gone. Her lifelong dream ruined within six months, and it was a shame, she was a nice girl, listened to advice and wasn't afraid of the chores. Thing is, there was nothing wrong with the horse she bought, she took her time looking and took an experienced friend with her, all the things she was supposed to do. He was sold to the RDA where he ended his days as a firm favourite!

ThatVikRinA22 · 14/01/2013 20:35

im a novice who wants my own - but i know my limitations at the minute and so i work at the yard as a volunteer to gain knowledge and experience. i cant ride for toffee yet! im learning from scratch so when i achieve some level of competence then i will get my own.

i would love to loan the pony i am learning on and we really have a thing going....(it is love - well for me anyway!) but i guess i should get a bit of riding under my hat first! my riding instructor tells me horror stories every week - she has just taken a horse in that was a bag of bones - the loaner wasnt feeding it and the owner never checked on the loaner! she has nursed her back to health, schooled her and she is now in the school. I think its irresponsible to get a horse if you know nothing unless your on full livery.

Butkin · 14/01/2013 22:50

Booboo talks a lot of sense. However in answer to your question I was very inexperienced with horses when I bought my first one. I'd ridden a few times at a riding school as a youngster, had gone for some hack outs from a riding school and had maybe a dozen lessons when I decided to make the plunge.

However I took experts with me and bought a 4yo cob which I thought would take me hunting - my aim. He not only took me hunting that first Winter but I ended up riding him at HOYS! I know most people aren't as lucky as me but I did by a very suitable, sensible, well put together horse.

Callisto · 15/01/2013 08:16

I bought Jill's Gymkhana for DD as a stocking filler. She has already read it twice (and has taken to saying 'terrific' and 'goly gosh') and I spent a very happy Sunday afternoon reading it again for the first time in quite a few years.

Callisto · 15/01/2013 08:17

'golly gosh' even.

ooobee · 15/01/2013 09:43

Really enjoying reading your stories Itsnotahoover I think your story is the best Grin

I never read Jill's Gymkhana but I used to love the Saddle Club books as a child.

OP posts:
Abra1d · 15/01/2013 14:31

I am glad it's still being read by others! In a way it's a good recession read as a lot of it is about people making do with little money and few material goods but having lots of fun.

Sorry, ooobee, we've digressed from your OP!

Pixel · 15/01/2013 15:45

I used to love the Jill books, I've still got the whole lot, but actually, re-reading them as an adult I found Jill to be an unbearable little snob.
(I still have much love for Ruth Hollis in Fly-by-night, she's not as bossy! Smile)
Callisto did you get an updated version of Jill's Gymkhana for your dd? I'm wondering if and how it differs from the one I've got. For a start I doubt the pony is called Black Boy but I recall lots of 'useful' advice about gripping with your knees and pinching Anne's mum's chairs to make jumps. Not the sort of thing to be encouraged nowadays Wink.

Yes, back to the thread! I've got to say that experience doesn't always equal responsible. Plenty of horses suffer at the hands of people who should know better whilst others thrive in the care of a sensible and willing-to-learn novice. Even if there was some kind of test before you get a horse I'm willing to bet there will be those who pass the test but still don't look after their horses properly because they are too idle or heartless or mean with money, or whatever. Sometimes attitude can be more important than knowledge as long as the beginner surrounds themselves with the right sort of support.

Abra1d · 15/01/2013 17:01

I think he's still called Black Boy--at least in the new edition I bought a year or so back. They had updated some of the references to money, though, so there weren't guineas, etc.

Grunzlewheek · 15/01/2013 18:00

Buying your first horse is a huge learning curve however much experience you have with other peoples horses, but that shouldn't stop you, just make sure you have plenty of help on hand.

Floralnomad · 16/01/2013 10:02

I think the Jill books were ' of their era' IYSWIM. When I got my first horse (TB ex race mare) at 14 my sister and I were competent riders but had never looked after a horse ( had done pony week etc) and my parents were not horsey at all . You could write a book about some of our early efforts ! But we were at aDIY yard , took all the advice on offer ( ignored most of it) and all turned into competent horse owners fairly quickly . The worst type of owners are novices who think they know it all!

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