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I love him so much.....but he's not mine!

24 replies

JokersGiggle · 15/05/2014 08:22

I rode and worked at a riding school for years and fell in love with a school pony. He's old but I really love him. Had a massive falling out with the owner 3 yrs ago (I got kicked in head, had 2 Weeks off as doctor had said, got back and she'd given my job away Sad and contract gone missing) so I had to leave "my" little guy behind. THe standards at the yard are low Sad . For a year and a half I managed to see into the field they all live in to check on him and get updates from people I know there. After I left he pined for a while and got really bad to ride.
But 18 months ago the last of the people I know left and 10 months ago they put up really good fencing with the smartwater stuff so I can't get a good view into his field Sad (the liveries got together and got the fence, not the yard owner)
I don't even know if he's still alive! Frantically trying to save up to get him but just lost my job so things have slowed down.
I honestly think if I try to by him, if the owner recognises me she won't sell him to spite me, she's that mean ( she once gave her own horse a horrendously strong laxative just to stop her husband riding him, her husband normally rode on a Tuesday but that Tuesday she didn't want him to)
So my questions -
How much should I have saved up before buying him (he's worth about £100 as he's old and worked to the bone but I'll pay up to £1000/£1500)
Anyone know a good but cheap place to keep him at in the Chilterns?
And finally can anyone think of a good reason to phone and ask how he is? Then do it for me?! There are still some staff who i know there (but they're horrible) who might recognise my voice (highly unlikely but I don't want anything to risk my chances of finding out about him ) Sad
I'm prob being silly and should let it go but I love him and hate to think of him old and tired working 5hours straight being kicked in the sides by beginner teenagers.. I promised him as I left that I'd be back for him, he helped me through so much I just want to give him a happy retirement.
At the yard the moment the horses stop being able to work for hours straight they go to the meatman Sad he won't be advertised for sale when he's old he'll just disappear.

OP posts:
JokersGiggle · 15/05/2014 10:55

Just phoned the yard, pretended to be calling to find out how my daughters fav horses are since we've moved away. Found out that he's alive!

How much realistically should I save before I start the process of convincing them to sell him to me?

OP posts:
EnlightenedOwl · 15/05/2014 21:29

Get someone to act on your behalf who isn't known to them. Hard cash talks. Offer say £300 and take it from there. If its a school get your "representative" to book a lesson as a way in. They can then take a shine to the pony and put some hard cash down.

JokersGiggle · 16/05/2014 08:01

That's a good a idea, thanks

OP posts:
BridgeOfWhys · 16/05/2014 08:20

I second that. Get a friend to go for a few lessons ask specifically for him (say she's heard of him through a friend). Offer money. Simple!

I hope you get him.

JokersGiggle · 16/05/2014 14:30

How much should I have saved first?

OP posts:
Floralnomad · 16/05/2014 14:32

It's not the cost of buying the pony that is the issue it's paying the ongoing costs so work out how to afford that first.

EnlightenedOwl · 16/05/2014 18:44

don't pay any more than £500 so save that much. Don't be tempted to pay more. At the end of the day you'll be paying his upkeep and even if he is old and clapped out he will still cost to keep (he might also come with some hefty vets bills). Hard as it is don't pay a ridiculous amount because you're emotionally attached to him.
Start around £300 to give you some leverage I reckon seeing the colour of money will do it.

JokersGiggle · 16/05/2014 19:49

Its not the buying that worries me, its the thought of surprise vets bills ect. Should I have £2000 in an account set aside for his needs or is that just being excessive? I can afford his keep but a hefty unforseen vets/dentist bill could cripple me. Having not been part of the yard for ages I don't know his exact health.
Also can't work out the logistic of getting him from the yard.
The owner used to say she never sold school ponies. I saw someone make an offer on one when I worked there but they pulled out. Think seeing the money would do the trick but can't see a way to get him from the yard, get my friend to take a friend who has a box? Won't the look strange? Have a box waiting? He hasn't been loaded in 15yrs, so would walking him to the new yard be better? ( it would be a 1.30/2hr walk)
agh this is so stressful!

OP posts:
FlockOfTwats · 16/05/2014 20:16

My friend had a (A couple of IIRC) bad experience with insurers and she now keeps a set amount of money aside for emergencies so i don't think that's unrealistic - It works for her anyway, i've never (In nearly ten years) seen a horse of hers go without treatment, or even hesitation in calling a vet. She's not massively well off either - She was a single mum of 3 and her husband is a retired athlete and council worker.

And considering she has a habit of bringing home sad cases from market its not like she's just got lucky and not had any problems that need seeing to.

SlowlorisIncognito · 16/05/2014 20:18

If he is old, then you should be prepared for health problems to start to show up, especially if he has been worked hard. Even if he is healthy now, it is very likely something would come up. If he is so old you would only pay less than £1000 for him, then he probably doesn't have much of a ridden career left. Are you happy paying keep just for a field ornament?

I understand being attatched to a horse and not being able to see him, but the owner has no obligation to sell, and maybe it would be better if you just walked away, rather than opening yourself up to further heartbreak- especially if you have to have him put to sleep in the near future. Is a move at a relatively advanced age really the best thing for the horse if he has been there for 15 years?

If you are worried about unexpected vet bills, how would you pay for his care if you had a sudden unexpected bill of another kind (e.g. car related)?

FlockOfTwats · 16/05/2014 20:18

And you dont have to be there to get him in a box? I've sent people to pick up mine without being there. I only ever went if i fancied the road trip!
I wouldn't walk him that far TBH - What if you encounter difficulties on the way?

Most horses will eventually go in a box. Even if you have to bribe them on or give them calmer. If you hire someone experienced they will be used to getting difficult horses to load. Anyway, just because he's not been on a box for 15 years doesn't mean he will be difficult, he might walk straight on.

SnotandBothered · 16/05/2014 20:31

I don't know anything about horses, but I think you should do this:

Talk to a vet. Explain what you are buying and ask them to estimate initial costs. Of course they can't account for any surprise issues, but you cannot legislate for everything.

Get someone to book a ride on him and then get friend to make an offer on your behalf. Tell them to start with an offer of £200 on the basis that they think he is worth no more, but he is gentle and possibly suitable for a child. Not to be too keen and all guns blazing.

And hire someone experience to collect him in a box. You could be waiting up the road, and, as I understand it, horses have an amazing long term memory, so if he is anxious in the box, and you can be collected a mile up the road - you could travel with him and comfort him. He will be so happy to see you!

I am rooting for you.

SlowlorisIncognito · 16/05/2014 20:38


I hope you don't mind me saying, but it is very hard to estimate the type of costs you could encounter with an older horse. Most of them will develop some kind of issue, especially if they have been worked hard- e.g. arthritis, muscle problems, other lameness issues, and so on. For a lot of these issues, there are ranges of treatment options at different levels of cost. It is very much a "how long is a piece of string" type question.

Every horse is different, and every owner will be different in the types of treatment they will persue before they either permenantly retire or have their horse put to sleep.

SnotandBothered · 16/05/2014 21:22

Slow I am not suprised to hear that. OP sounds so sad though and desperate for someone to give her 'number' to save up for that I thought maybe an experienced VET who deals with horses a lot, might be able to put a vague price-tag on upkeep barring 'surprises' but of course, you have to allow for surprises.

I full accept that I know NOTHING about horses (no reason why I am even in The Tack Room) but I just want OP to find a way for her and that darned horse to be together so much :)

EnlightenedOwl · 16/05/2014 21:53

Ok. Can you save £2000? If you can great
Use say £300 to buy him
That still gives you a pretty good cushion
Be practical. If he manages six months in a field being happy he's a lot better off than now. Have an idea in your head of what you know you can afford to spend and don't feel guilty if you can't afford a huge vets bill.
he will probably go on a lorry or trailer with a bucket of feed to lure him in.

JokersGiggle · 17/05/2014 20:55

He's 22 and been at the riding school since 5yrs old.
I'm pretty certain he does remember me, the last time I got close to his field he came over to me snickering. I was the only one who was ever kind to him.
I've got a friend lined up who can help, she's got a box and knows of the yard (from its bad reputation)
I don't expect to ride him, I want to give him a happy retirement. I've worked out monthly costs for DIY at my friends stable and can comfortably cover that.
Called a vet today to ask for advice and once he'd realised he couldn't talk me out of it he suggested between £2000 & £3000 but the more the better.
Hopefully by the end of the summer he'll be mine.

OP posts:
ADishBestEatenCold · 18/05/2014 12:55

Just wanted to add an optimistic note!

I once bought a riding school pony that was almost thirty years old. I specifically wanted a very old pony and he had a reputation for being a million percent reliable around tiny children. The school owner was willing to sell him because he had gone 'stale' in the school (hardly surprising, after a lifetime of it), was showing signs of age related 'complaints' and possibly even of mild depression. I paid two hundred and brought him home.

Anyway the point of my tale is that as soon as he arrived he settled into a rejuvenated life of semi-retirement, teaching the children the basics (despite his age he even taught them to canter) and being thoroughly spoiled. He was with us for eight years, died at home and ... here's the thing ... he didn't ever cost me one red cent in unplanned veterinary or care costs!!! He had the usual sort of care costs that you would incur in any case ... annual veterinary check, worming, teeth, farrier, feeding, supplements etc., but not another penny.

Your 22 year old will not automatically cost a fortune to keep (although I do agree that one should always be 'prepared to spend').

Pixel · 18/05/2014 21:45

So far ours have reached 35, 31 and 28 (he was still fit but went blind), and we currently have a 30 yo and a 25 yo. I can't say any of them have really cost much more in vets bills than the usual outlay you'd expect, apart from eye ointment and some bute. One of them did recover from a broken hock which obviously incurred some vets bills but that was when he was younger, nothing to do with old age.

JokersGiggle · 19/05/2014 07:49

Thank you for the positive points Smile I know he's got in going foot problems so I'll have to keep on top of that, but I don't know if he has anything else. He'sdefo depressed Sad , I've decided to get him, cripping vets bills or none.
Plan is for end of summer once me and dp have moved and I've sorted out help to get him and a stable ect Smile

OP posts:
LostInMusic · 19/05/2014 12:11

I just wanted to say how wonderful I think it is that you want to get 'your' old boy back - I really do hope that you get him. He sounds like he definitely needs to be loved and pampered - bless you for wanting to do that for him in his old age! :) Good luck!

JokersGiggle · 19/05/2014 14:18

I just really feel like I owe him so much. He was the first horse I rode, the first I jumped, I've never fallen from him, he never bit or barged me ect, he was the first I rode and jumped bare back.
He got me through my grandmothers dementia diagnosis and death, my mothers breast cancer and recovery and my brother coming out.
I owe him a happy ending.
I don't want him being shot cos he's no longer useful. He's useful to me. He'll be useful to my children (when I can carry to term...if that ever happens)
dp said that on paper he isn't mine (yet) but in the ways that matter he's mine. I love him.
we WILL love happily ever after!

OP posts:
Booboostoo · 23/05/2014 17:26

Sorry but I think you need to be more realistic. Insurance companies won't give you decent vet fees cover for a 22yo (if they are willing to insure you at all) so all the costs will be up to you. A colic operation can easily cost between 2-4k and if you may need to add incidentals like emergecny transport, stabling, etc. While some horses sail through life with no vet bills, the majority do need quite a lot of attention, e.g. cushings is very common in elderly ponies and the costs of daily medication can be crippling. You also need to cover recurring costs like farrier, dentist and if you want to ride him saddler and possibly physio to help him in his old age.

Urvy · 05/06/2014 20:01

Oh good luck op. please do it, you'll manage. I am rooting for you.

buggerboooo · 06/06/2014 14:21

How sweet. I do hope you get him! My first horse is 18, we have had no medical costs for her yet, but she is a perfect first horse and worth her considerable weight in gold!

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