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Maybe buying older horse

9 replies

BeardyButton · 17/04/2021 09:31

I am another 40 year old back in the saddle thinking of making a childhood dream come true. Been taking lessons as Covid allows for about six months. There are no rent/loan horses here. Thinking of buying. An older (18) horse has come up. Ticks a lot of my boxes. I would mainly want it for hacking and schooling and basically being around and grooming etc.

Would have it in full livery at riding school and continue w lessons. Instructor is brilliant. School owner is lovely. They both think I m ready and said will help as much as I need.

Concerned that I d buy and within a year it would become field ornament....

Any advice?

OP posts:
lastqueenofscotland · 17/04/2021 11:52

Realistically, I mean this gently. You will be probably be at a very novice stage in your riding right now.
It’s unlikely that many young horses will be in any way suitable.
A lot of riding school types stay riding school types as better riders hop on them a couple of times a week.
Also in this current market unless you have a five figure budget you are unlikely to get a true novice ride that isn’t an older horse

Basically what I’m saying is that 18 is fine. If you are just light hacking and schooling you should have plenty of years. Just speak to vets/instructors regularly to make sure they are all good and enjoy!

Postapocalypticcowgirl · 17/04/2021 13:08

I think an 18yo could be great for you right now, as long as it's priced sensibly.

Obviously the risks are bigger with an older horse, but any horse could have a serious injury and become a field ornament at any time. I think when buying a horse, you have to have a plan for that.

If the 18yo is sound, doing what you want to do, and a decent price, I would at least try it.

maxelly · 17/04/2021 14:43

18 wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, although there's 18 year olds and 18 years olds, if you see what I mean, an 18 year old pony/native/hardy type that's mainly hacked and done low level activities, great, ideal in fact - should have many years of useful life in light-ish work ahead, there's horses on my yard well into their 20s still doing PC and jumping etc very happily. An 18 year old sports horse or warmblood, that's for sale at an affordable price because they're broken/lame or sour from loads of hard work and competition life, not so much. I do sometimes hear of relative novices being sold super-high powered very nice older horses on the grounds that 'they're ready for a quieter life' but no-one gave the horse the memo that they're meant to be winding down and they can end up totally unsuited mentally as much as anything else for pottering around, plus the wear and tear of many years hunting or eventing or even dressage at a very level can mean their legs don't have as many years left in them as even a slightly older horse that hasn't as many miles on the clock.

So I definitely wouldn't write him off, but apply the same level of scrutiny you would to an younger horse, get him vetted, take your instructor on viewings and try him at least twice, including at least once hacking, ideally in traffic etc, and be very cautious if he's currently in harder work than you can easily give him, some will happily let down into a lazier life being fussed and loved, some horses really need plenty of work and a strict routine to stay sane and sound...

FreedomFromLockdown · 17/04/2021 17:10

Go for it. If you were wanting to jump a particular height I might hesitate, but for schooling and hacking it should be fine. A horse of any age can go lame and if it is still sound at 18 it may well stay that way for many years.

Pleasedontdothat · 17/04/2021 17:16

What’s the horse been doing recently? If he’s been doing the kinds of things you want to do for the last few years then that’s actually a really good sign that he’ll stand up to the kind of work you’ll be asking him to do too. Insurance might be tricky with an 18 year old - and at that age there will be something that comes up. Make sure the vet knows what your plans are - the horse won’t ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ as such - the vet will let you know whether or not in his/her opinion the horse is likely to be able to cope. Good luck

Baypony · 17/04/2021 17:27

I brought my horse 9 years ago when she was 17. I knew her previous owners. They were looking for someone local to take her on as she wouldn’t load. I didn’t pay very much for her, didn’t bother getting her vetted, due to her age and the price I paid, and just thought i’d see what happened. She turned out to be just what I needed. I worked on her loading issues as I had the time and she loads great now. We have done fun rides, and ridden round the countryside for hours once or twice a week. She’s been there and done it and is safe and dependable, great on the roads and looks after me. She is still going strong now although starting to slow down the last couple of years and I have brought a youngster to bring on for when the old lady finally retires. She is a bit greyer now, but so am I 🤣 Given my personal experience i’d say go for it!

BeardyButton · 17/04/2021 18:40

Went to see him.... something wasn’t right. He seemed very thin and out of condition. The seller said he hadn’t been in work for a while. Something jst didn’t feel right.

It’s ok. Think I ll up my lessons and look again in a few months when I am better.

Thx for the replies.

OP posts:
Burmilla · 17/04/2021 23:11

A very sensible decision, in my humble opinion. Well done.

maxelly · 18/04/2021 12:07

Yes good choice. Always worth being over cautious and worth trusting your gut. It's too expensive and emotionally difficult a thing to take a big risk on IMO. Plenty of other horses out there...

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