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Sharing/owning/loaning
19

LucyHoneychurchsPiano · 06/01/2014 13:06

Having returned to riding a few months ago (and loving it!), I'm starting to consider the pros and cons of my own horse at some point in the future. I was thinking that a share initially may be sensible and then (assuming that goes well) either loaning/buying eventually. Is this a crazy idea, will I feel out of my depth?

Does anybody have any tips/advice? What sort of routine do you have? What sorts of livery facilities would you consider essential and what are good questions to ask? The horse I frequently ride is on working livery - I imagine there are disadvantages, such as access, as well as advantages to this?

Also, is the BHS horse owners' certificate worth doing? I'd want to make sure I know how to care for a horse well and this looks like a fairly comprehensive way of learning. However, I'm wondering if it's a bit like having your first baby - you plan and read loads of books and then you find you're totally unprepared after all!

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thetravelbook · 06/01/2014 18:04

I returned to riding a year ago and now share a pony. I have her one day per week and am responsible for bringing in (she lives out), checking, grooming, exercising, feeding, rugging and turning her back out.

It has been a massive learning curve so I am so glad I took a share rather than a full loan / buying. My advice is:

  • make sure you get a share where the owners are approachable and willing to answer silly questions. My pony's owner has another horse so is often at the yard so I can ask her stuff and that is a massive help.

  • my pony is kept at a large livery yard with full time staff - this has proved invaluable on a couple of occasions when she has been injured as I don't have the knowledge to deal with that myself. So I would go for that rather than a horse kept in a field with no one else around.....

  • if you want to hack, a larger yard might have more people you can hack with rather than going it alone. I hacked in company for the first few months now I have started to go out alone.

  • make sure you agree (preferably in writing) what your responsibilities etc are and what you must pay for.

  • get insurance - Petplan do a policy for people who share and it costs me about £8 per month. Covers me and the horse (up to certain limits )
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thetravelbook · 06/01/2014 18:57

Also, be very careful when looking for shares. I found people were willing to lie and say horses were suitable for a novice even if they weren't. Other people didn't exactly lie as such, but I think some more experienced riders forget what a novice rider straight out of riding school is (or more to the point, is not) capable of.

I tried out one horse which stuck its head between its front legs and bolted when I asked for canter. The owner maintained that this horse was a novice ride Confused

I would take a friend to look and always, always make sure you see someone else (ie the owner) ride the horse before you get on.

Also I would 'downgrade' from the kind of horse you ride at the riding school - you might be ok on the forward going, slightly spooky TB in lessons with your instructor, but when you are on your own it is a different matter.


Sorry I have assumed you are a novice here, please disregard if not.

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LucyHoneychurchsPiano · 06/01/2014 19:46

That's such fantastic advice Travelbook - so useful, thanks ever so much. How long have you been sharing for?

I shall have a good nosy at insurance now, very good idea. I agree, I'd also feel more comfortable with other people around to guide and advise. It seems like a big, daunting step! Are you glad you decided to go for it?

Did you look at many horses? I don't mind a bit of a plod as I think there's enough to learn without having a naughty horse to deal with as well as everything else. I imagine there's a big difference between riding RS ponies and the horse you share? I'm pretty rusty and it doesn't take much to knock your confidence to begin with, so a nice calm pony would be perfect - finding one sounds easier said than done, though!

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thetravelbook · 06/01/2014 21:21

I have been sharing for almost a year now. It has been great, but made me realise that I still have sooooo much to learn and that I am a complete novice.

I looked at three horses which were all completely unsuitable. I had almost given up hope when my pony's owner responded to my ad.

My pony is a plod - she is lazy in the school, a bit better on hacks, but she is safe and sensible. She is old now so I can't do too much whizzing around on her, but she is great for my confidence, and we can still have a few cheeky canters on hacks.

I think the main difference with riding a schools is being on your own and not having someone to tell you what to do.

I have also had problems for example my pony used to share a field with another aggressive horse and I used to be so scared of bringing her in Blush as this other horse would barge me and charge around..... Not something I had ever had to deal with at a riding school. Thankfully I found a nice lady at the yard who came and helped me catch my pony then thankfully the scary horse moved to another yard!

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SlowlorisIncognito · 06/01/2014 21:40

Do you have any stable management experience at all? If not, could you get some experience at the yard you are taking lessons on before commiting to a share. In my experience, most share owners look for a sharer at least partly to save themselves time. This means they are not always able to teach you the basics such as how to tack up/groom/change a rug ect. Would you be confident esentially in sole charge of a pony for a couple of days a week?

Also, what is your riding ability like, now (instead of when you were last riding?) ? Can you walk, trot, canter independently and securely? Can you jump? Have you hacked out much?

Many privately owned horses/ponies have much more energy than school horses as they are worked much less. They may feel very sharp/forward going to you. Be completely honest about your own ability, and ask to see any horse you are interested in ridden by someone else before you get on. If you are unsure with other aspects of horse care then ask to see someone else catch and handle the horse before attempting to do so yourself.

It may take a while, but hopefully you will eventually be able to find what you want.

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LucyHoneychurchsPiano · 06/01/2014 22:12

Travelbook your plod sounds great - confidence building is so important, isn't it? When I'm even slightly tense or anxious I can really tell the difference in my riding. How did you find telling the owners' of the other horses that they weren't suitable? I'm such a pushover...

Slowloris I only have the tiniest bit of experience in the stable management aspect - I'd definitely want to make sure that I know what I'm doing before taking a pony on. Either at the yard or getting in touch with one of the ladies who run the BHS course so I'm well prepared. I know nothing replaces hands on experience, but I am also reading up as much as I can in the meantime.

I'm really happy with walk and trot and am just getting back into cantering confidently (was slightly tense last lesson as the horse I rode bucked my friend off and terrified her). I haven't jumped since I started again in November. Am happy hacking, but would feel much more relaxed in company, at least to begin with. I'm definitely rusty and my body is different after four children so am easing myself back into it - but still can't help browsing the horsey ads and daydreaming!

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thetravelbook · 08/01/2014 18:06

To be honest when horses were not suitable I just said that I thought they needed a more experienced sharer and said that the horse was too much for me. It's important to be honest. I had one owner try and persuade me otherwise but just told her firmly but politely "no".

I think before you share you should be confident in canter on a well behaved horse and should be able to catch, groom, tack up, rug, feed, pick hooves, identify basic problems as a minimum.

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Pixel · 08/01/2014 19:29

That's exactly what I said too "I think he's too much for me", although it was one I was looking to buy rather than loan. I couldn't bring myself to say "your horse is a lunatic" Blush

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LucyHoneychurchsPiano · 08/01/2014 20:57

Pixel - that's a v good diplomatic way of putting it, I'll remember that! Much better than telling an owner that their horse is deranged Grin

Travelbook - yes, I'd want to feel comfortable that I know enough to be competent in each aspect. I've emailed a couple of local women who run the BHS course so will see what they say. Re my riding, I want to give it a while longer to get back into it properly before looking. Am happy cantering (though it's nicer when I've actually asked to canter!), but felt a bit apprehensive on the horse that bucked his rider off. A shame as I loved riding him before and am now less relaxed on him than I was previously. The lady who was chucked off won't ever ride him again, I don't think, so I will probably have him when she's riding with me. She's very nervous now, but was v brave and faced her fears and got back on a horse last week.

Was it fairly obvious that the horses weren't unsuitable? What was it that put you off?

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5OBalesofHay · 08/01/2014 21:52

Native pony is what you need. Mine is an angel who looked after me when I was a nervous returner. She is low maintenance, cheap to keep and gives lovely cuddles. She is also seriously fast and fun,pops logs out hackinh but checks with me before we gallop. she also does a nice bit of dressage. Only 14hh, round and hairy but I love her to [email protected]

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Pixel · 09/01/2014 00:05

Possibly not welsh though? Am probably biased because all the ones I've known have been, shall we say 'feisty'? Lovely characters and not at all mean, but definitely minds of their own!

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LucyHoneychurchsPiano · 09/01/2014 11:49

50Bales - aww, she sounds lovely. I was thinking that a native would be good; nothing too glam and flashy, but even tempered and not too silly would be ideal and we could bumble along together.

Pixel - oh yes, I concur absolutely! One that immediately springs to mind was a rather charming Welsh mare who was fine in all respects, but was apparently 'not keen on rain'. This wouldn't have been too bad except we were hacking in Wales, so when it, inevitably, chucked it down we certainly made it back to the yard first! Good job she knew the way Grin

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5OBalesofHay · 09/01/2014 15:58

God no, not a Welshie! Although I am thinking of one for teenage gd. But she's brave and does proper riding.

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5OBalesofHay · 09/01/2014 16:00

Sorry, meant proper riding unlike my happy hacking, not being rude about anyone else's riding.

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serenamoon · 10/01/2014 10:49

Well, difficult! I'm always on the look out for horses for share/loan that might be suitable or purchase but horses that are available for novices are few and far between.

In terms of experience I've done the BHS horse owners 1-3. I personally really enjoyed them and definitely learnt stuff I didn't know before, even after being around horses and helping in yards etc. You learn anything from feeding to first aid to lunging if you go to 3 which is always helpful if you've not been lucky enough to learn this stuff from a yard.

I also worked in a yard in the states for about 5 months and learnt a lot though their horsemanship is very different to ours here. And on occasion I help out at my current riding yard just to be around horses, get used to ones not perfect turning out etc. I've also done a part loan of a riding school horse before and that certainly helped as immediately I had so many 'I have no idea what I'm doing' questions!

I still feel pretty useless though and know nothing so should I get my own or loan, I would definitely bring to my current riding yard so I had people to hack with and help if I have no clue what I'm doing! I would definitely become very confident hacking on riding school horses and schooling before being serious, though it's always good to look! The risk you take with rushing is if you get lumbered with a not suitable horse and have bad experiences it could destroy your confidence before it's fully built up. Still worth keeping an eye out though for anything that does come up incase there is a 1 in a million horse out there.

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LucyHoneychurchsPiano · 13/01/2014 10:38

Serena - that's great to hear re the BHS course...shame neither of the women I contacted have replied yet Sad I'm not sure if anywhere else nearby runs them, will have to look again. Location, in general, is a bit of a problem, really. I seem to be over the wrong side of the county for all things horsey!

I'm certainly not going to rush into anything and want to be really confident all all aspects before taking the plunge. Had a rubbish lesson yesterday; horse was slipping in the wet and then was startled, dislocating my hip in the process. I'm afraid I was a bit useless after that and it has knocked my confidence. Normally I cope fine, but the pain was pretty intense. Oh well, I guess these things happen. I had a lovely cuddle with the pony afterwards, but I felt so cross with myself for being pathetic Blush

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LucyHoneychurchsPiano · 13/01/2014 10:44

50Bales - just noticed your thread, we had our wedding reception at a lovely place in Woodhouse Eaves. Small world, isn't it?

Good luck finding someone (I'll let you know if I hear of anyone if you've not found a sharer/loaner yet) Smile

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Lasvegas · 17/01/2014 13:33

I would second what travel book said in her first post, that is me to a tee. including pet plan. looking back when I moved from a RS to a loan there was so much to learn. especially in winter, rugs and haynets etc.

If I could go back I would have asked my RS if i could shadow their teenage helpers for say 3 months, half a day a week, so that I got used to tacking up, cleaning tack, picking out hooves etc. That way i would have been learning stable management but around horses 'I was used to'.

Also it is a good idea to make friends with someone else on the yard then then can when you are ill or busy help with your horse and vice versa.

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LucyHoneychurchsPiano · 20/01/2014 14:45

Great advice - all so, so helpful. Thank you everyone.

I've heard back from some people re the BHS course, but am waiting for more info from the second lady as the other one is at an awkward time. Obviously, it would be amazing to find somewhere to help out and learn that way, but the owner's certificate looks like a reasonably good, albeit pricier, alternative to gain some really useful knowledge. My RS has loads of kids already helping so there's probably little point asking there. Maybe I'll make a horsey friend who'll be willing to show me the ropes so I do feel more confident asking at the RS? That would be brilliant. Either way, it looks like there's an absolutely massive learning curve in moving towards a share. I'm still really keen, though - just being around horses makes me ridiculously happy Grin

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