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Horse share as a family?

10 replies

Temporary1234 · 07/11/2020 15:47

Hi all,

I’m not well off. Don’t have riding experience much. Don’t have a field.

I can’t afford riding lessons for now. And can’t afford to buy or keep a horse.

But what I do have is a family where me and siblings and husband and his siblings are all passionate about horses.. with our little knowledge. Around 5 of us.

We are willing to all contribute to the upkeep price of one horse in the near future (say in one years time?). Probably pay for their full livery for 2 year or so until we learn fully how to care for it ourselves without supervision.

It’s a dream I have and I’m just trying to dream up an action plan. It’s one of those dreams I would change my career paths so I can afford!

Do you have any advice on how that can be achieved? Am I being naive and would the horse hate being owned by multiple people? One of us could be the main owner and the rest of us just sharing?

It’s mainly because I would like to have a relationship with the horse.

It’s a very far fetched dream now during lockdown and the economic crisis but we are discussing long term family investments as a family and so I’m just trying to put it out there

OP posts:
ElephantsAlltheWayDown · 07/11/2020 15:59

I know loads of people who share a horse with their child or partner, so it's definitely doable in that sense. 5 people would be a lot harder logistically. Even a super fit horse needs at least one day off a week, so would you all ride only once a week each? That's not a lot, especially if you're paying for full livery. Also if you switch to diy then you'll all have to make sure you're on the same page with what needs doing when.

As far as whether the horse would like being ridden by 5 different people... that's going to be down to the individual personality of the horse, but I would guess most horses wouldn't love it. Some horses prefer a one to one relationship with their person, most will be okay with a sharer, but 5 people is a lot and can't really provide consistency of care, riding ability, etc.

But no, I don't think it's a crazy idea. You'd just have to find the right horse and really really make sure everyone is communicating about stable duties so the horse doesn't accidentally get left in or goes unfed (or fed twice, I've had that happen!). Also full livery is expensive so it would be better to spend some of that cash upfront on lessons and learning about horse care. Learn as much as you can before buying the horse!

maxelly · 07/11/2020 19:24

I wouldn't have thought it would be too much of a problem for the horse's welfare to be ridden by 5 different people (not ideal maybe but if you pick the right horse it should be OK, after all riding school horses are ridden by multiple different people in a day never mind a week, and horses on full/exercise livery are also often exercised by lots of different staff members and cope fine). As the PP says, it's very common to have mother/daughter, husband/wife or siblings share a horse, but I have never heard of a 5 person share - aside from whether conflict could arise (I love my family very dearly but I know if we all shared a responsibility as big as a horse we'd be at each others throats pretty quickly - both in terms of finances, welfare decisions and also 'pulling weight' in terms of care duties and general organisation), I think unless you are all remarkably similar in height, weight, riding ability and personality type you are going to struggle to find a horse that will suit you all. Particularly if you are on a budget which will constrain you more.

Also, without wanting to be a downer, if you've never ridden you are going to need quite a lot of lessons before you are in a position to really enjoy and be safe riding your own horse independently, you don't need to be a high level competition rider to enjoy things like hacking out and low level dressage/jumping but most people probably need at least 6 months of weekly lessons plus a nice understanding quiet horse to get to that level. Buying your own horse is not really a cheaper way to learn, at least at first.

To do some rough sums, I would budget £5000 to buy the horse (you can buy cheaper but as above if you are all novices you need a very well trained and calm natured horse, these are worth a premium particularly if any of you are tallish/heavy-ish which again adds to the cost), then at least £7000 per year for upkeep if you are in need of full livery, possibly more if you are in an expensive part of the country. So for 2 years and divided between 5, the total outlay is nearly £4000 each. At that price you can definitely afford some lessons - at my yard that would buy you 2 years+ of lessons, or you could do a year of lessons, a stable management course and then look for a part-loan/share of a horse? This is a much cheaper way of getting the horse ownership experience without the costs, you can even find people who are willing to let you ride their horse for free in exchange for stable duties, or a more common arrangement is the sharer makes a small financial contribution e.g. £100-£250 p/month. Also you all taking lessons rather than owning a horse will mean you can ride together and enjoy time together as a hobby, if you have your own horse you will probably end up mainly going to the yard separately. Once you are all reasonably competent riders you can look into things like riding holidays or trips to go hacking in lovely scenic parts of the country as well - if there are enough of you you may be able to get group booking discounts which would be great.

Good luck, sorry to be a bit negative, happy to answer any questions about lessons or keep costs for horses if you do go down the ownership route?

ApplestheHare · 08/11/2020 06:42

Thanks maxelly for writing out almost entirely what I'd thought to say after reading the OP. You've saved my poor RSI fingers.

Temporary1234 lessons are definitely the way to start. Much cheaper and less of a financial commitment than five of you buying a horse and then paying for lessons on it. The reality may be that all five of you don't enjoy riding and don't stick with it, let alone horse ownership in winter when it mostly involves cleaning up poo and mud. I'm a rider of 30 years and still don't have my own because I'm not up for the level of responsibility ownership brings.

Wallywobbles · 08/11/2020 06:50

We are a family of 6 and we share 2 ex riding school ponies so not crazy. We bought them knowing we'd keep them for ever as we do have land etc. They are not ever going to be champions but everyone learnt to ride well on them and they are part of the family. My youngest DD aged 14 competes them. She's really learnt a lot about getting the absolute best out of them.

Tamingofthehamster · 08/11/2020 06:52

I feel that it’s not fair to get a horse to learn to ride on. You need to learn to ride then gets horse. Otherwise the horse will have a long long time of inexperienced unsupervised riders which is likely to do a lot of damage to him physically, especially as in assuming you couldn’t afford lessons and a horse. Horse riding isn’t something you just pick up automatically.

historyrocks · 08/11/2020 17:57

I don’t think sharing a horse is necessarily a problem, but buying a horse before you can ride well is crazy. You need to be a competent rider before getting a horse. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to properly try out a potential purchase, nor be able to spot possible problems. Even then, there can be quite a difference between a riding school horse used to beginners and a privately owned horse. .

SansaSnark · 08/11/2020 22:06

I don't know how much lessons would cost near you, but around me a group lesson is about £25-30 an hour. If you can't afford that, then being blunt, you can't afford the cost of a horse, even split 5 ways, especially on full livery.

The initial outlay for the horse is also more than just the purchase price. You need to budget for a vetting (£300+) and probably at least one failed vetting too! Some horse are sold with tack and rugs, but a lot aren't- tack will probably set you back £1000 at least, and rugs + basic care equipment could easily be another £500 (if not more). So if you assume a purchase price in the mid 4 figures bracket, plus buying all the other things you will need, that will easily cover a year of lessons, and that will put you in a much better position to be able to buy.

My pony (who is pretty cheap to keep) probably costs about £500 on DIY livery. I'm happy to give you a breakdown of costs for this if you're interested!

As a complete beginner, riding unsupervised would really be quite dangerous, so once you have the horse, you would need lessons anyway- so why not get the lessons now (once every two weeks, or once a month if that is what you can afford) and then save up for the horse in the future. Also, depending on the full livery, they may not be willing/able to teach you everything from scratch, so you may not learn to care for it as quickly as you think.

Do any of the five of you have experience with horses? Realistically, size and ability wise, would the same horse actually suit all of you?

Buying a horse is a nightmare at the best of times, let alone when you are really inexperienced- people really do lie, and one person's idea of a "novice ride" is very different to another's.

I fully understand the desire to have a relationship with a horse, but I would honestly get some riding and stable management lessons at a riding school first!

I also think sharing one horse five ways would be a potential for real major fall outs:

-What if the horse got injured whilst in the care of one person?
-What if you disagree about a medical decision like colic surgery or box rest?
-What if (worst case scenario) there was a catastrophic accident and one of you had to authorise PTS without the others present?
-What if the horse proves unsuitable for one or more of you?
-What if one or more people lost interest and pulled out? Or had to pull out for financial reasons?
-What if you disagreed strongly about how the horse was kept (e.g. barefoot vs shod, individual vs group turnout, in at night vs out 24/7)?

Even small things could cause major fallouts- like breaking equipment, or someone not doing the care exactly how you would like it, or someone wanting to use an instructor you didn't like, or disagreement about different riding styles etc?

If you hit any sort of problem with the horse when ridden (or stabled) e.g. napping, bucking etc, then there could be a lot of disagreement about how to sort this out?

And buying a horse to suit 5 people is bound to cause disagreement!

I'm sorry to put a dampener on all of this- but honestly, find a way to invest in some lessons first, before you think about buying!

Tamingofthehamster · 09/11/2020 07:02

I also think you would struggle to get a reputable person to sell to you with your lack of experience. People want their horses to go to good homes generally, and the ones who don’t care are the ones you shouldn’t be buying off.

LivingMyBestLifeNOT · 29/11/2020 21:35

I have my first ever pony of my own. I got her from a rescue santuary.
I part loaned a horse on a very small private yard last year and we are now best friends. I wasnt looking to take on a pony as never thought I could afford it but my firend took on one rescue pony and i took the other.
Wow how my life has changed! Im a single parent and when I have my DD and working it;s hard work but when I dont have her I spend my weekend at theyard! I love it!
It is hard work and expensive, my livery is cheap, DIY but my friend does her 2 days a week for me for £160 a month. I buy my own bedding (wood pellets) and hay £35 a big round bale which lasts about 6 weeks plus shoes every 6 weeks £45. Insurance with NFU is £34 a month and riders insurance with Harry hall is £3.50 a month.
But now I have done it I wouldnt change it for the world.

vixeyann · 02/12/2020 21:52

In agreement with everyone else here. I wouldn't want to share a horse with someone who didn't have a solid lesson background, so I think you may struggle.

The best way to start (when money permits) would be to crack on with lessons at a good school and when you have a foot in the door ask to help out so you can gain some experience of the care side. Winter is a good time to start as most places will need a hand with the horses being in and the extra mucking out and grooming. It also gives you an idea whether you can hack the cold, wet, mud and the change in horse behaviour that occur when the seasons change!

I have been riding over 20 years and part-loan a pony through a local RS. I pay a fixed fee per month so I get to ride 3 times a week, one of those being an included lesson. I don't need to do chores but make sure I always do on my days and over lockdown this has increased. Maybe an arrangement like this would suit your family in the future? It takes a lot the burden of responsibility away and would enable you to enjoy the horse and still have a family life. Good luck.

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