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First Horse
17

Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel · 11/05/2021 21:16

After many many many years of wanting one , I'm planning to buy my first horse. Where do I start? Any advice greatly appreciated! 🐴

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TheFnozwhowasmirage · 11/05/2021 21:49

Don't believe everything you are told. Basically,if you haven't seen the horse do whatever the seller claims,don't take their word for it. If it's a hunter,I'd be asking which pack and when it hunted. Is it easy to catch ,clip,shoe, load,travel ect? Ask for videos and show them to someone experienced before you go to try it. I really recommend that you join one of the Facebook dodgy dealer groups,there are SO many people who are well known to have terrible reputations selling at the moment,and I cringe when I see buyers new to the horse world jumping all over their adverts. There are certain dealers who have other people selling for them,because their reputation is so bad now,and I can spot certain of these just by the way they stand their horses for photos,the surroundings and the write up. Good luck, I bought one a few weeks ago and am on the lookout for another. I hate horse hunting and would rather visit the dentist than view a horse.

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mayblossominapril · 11/05/2021 21:54

Good luck
Make sure you are under horsed rather than over horsed. It’s very different riding the same horse and having to deal with it whatever it has done. If you can easily handle it on its worst day you’ll enjoy it more.
I always prefer mares but allegedly geldings are more predictable. I also prefer a slightly older horse. My sil has a great one on long term loan from a rescue.

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Pleasedontdothat · 11/05/2021 21:54

How exciting! Take someone knowledgeable with you (instructor, yard owner etc) with you when you view horses. Look for a horse which is already doing the job you want it to do, whether that’s hacking, jumping or whatever - with the ubiquity of smart phones there’s no good reason a seller wouldn’t have gazillions of photos of horse out at competitions/pony club rallies/hacking and so on. Make sure you see the horse being ridden (walk, trot, canter on both reins) before you get on. Ideally get there a bit early in case you discover it needs to be lunged for half an hour before it’s safe to get on .., see it being caught, tacked up, feet picked out, rugged, groomed. Go for a second viewing and see what it’s like to hack out.

Definitely get it vetted (preferably 5 stage). Be prepared for it to take a while to find the right horse. Get the horse you need now, not one you hope to grow into ability-wise in a couple of years - there’s nothing worse than over-horsing yourself and destroying your confidence.

And in the current market, get ready to take out a second mortgage Hmm

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lastqueenofscotland · 12/05/2021 10:01

First and foremost a realistic budget
In this market a good first horse is about 7-10k. If someone is offering you one for much less be very suspicious.
Absolutely scour the dodgy dealer groups of Facebook. I see so many novices keeping notoriously awful dealers in business as they weren’t aware. Often these dealers are the ones offering unicorns for sale for pennies and people are daft enough to fall for it.
Be very very honest with yourself about your ability. Realistically even if you’ve been riding for years if it’s been at riding schools, in real terms, you’ll be pretty novice.
I also avoid anyone who describes a 4/5yo as suitable for a first horse. My young mare as a 4yo was the quietest horse I’d owned, she had a 2/3 month stage at 5 where she was feeling a bit more sure of herself and wanted to push the boundaries as was, frankly, horrid. She’s now levelled out but is a lot more forward than she was as a 4yo and can be a touch sharp. I’ve seen the same with many many young horses, where they are quiet as they are unsure as they want you to hold their hand and once they are a bit more confident can be tricker.
Take an instructor with you and get them to ride it first
Check for signs of the horse being ridden before you arrive - dried sweat etc
I really really rate a dealer called Juliet Clarke for first horse types. I’m also happy to PM you names of dealers to actively avoid.

I firmly firmly believe it’s better to be very underhorsed than even slightly overhorsed. I’ve seen so many good riders turn into wrecks that don’t want to canter/ leave one end of the school/hack out as they are worried about their horses behaviour.

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maxelly · 12/05/2021 13:59

In addition to the good advice above about what type of horse to get (which I totally agree with), have you already decided where you'll keep the horse? I would really recommend full or 5-day livery on a reasonably large/busy yard for your first horse (or potentially working livery at a riding school if cost is an issue, although that comes with lots of issues of its own). Many people ultimately end up preferring DIY/keeping at home/on small private yards for a variety of reasons, but I think having lots of experienced people around and help easily available is really essential as a first timer. No matter how prepared you feel it's another thing entirely being in 'sole charge' and lots of different/difficult situations can crop up you weren't expecting. Plus things like having people to hack out with, good facilities e.g. lunge pen, indoor arena are useful to have, things like worming, farrier, phsyio visits are usually sorted for you on a livery yard rather than having to be arranged individually so that's a few less things to think about/worry about. It's also a real benefit if you can easily have lessons on-site (do plan/budget to keep having lessons whatever happens), and also to be able to have your instructor or yard staff school your horse for you occasionally...

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maxelly · 12/05/2021 14:00

In addition to the good advice above about what type of horse to get (which I totally agree with), have you already decided where you'll keep the horse? I would really recommend full or 5-day livery on a reasonably large/busy yard for your first horse (or potentially working livery at a riding school if cost is an issue, although that comes with lots of issues of its own). Many people ultimately end up preferring DIY/keeping at home/on small private yards for a variety of reasons, but I think having lots of experienced people around and help easily available is really essential as a first timer. No matter how prepared you feel it's another thing entirely being in 'sole charge' and lots of different/difficult situations can crop up you weren't expecting. Plus things like having people to hack out with, good facilities e.g. lunge pen, indoor arena are useful to have, things like worming, farrier, phsyio visits are usually sorted for you on a livery yard rather than having to be arranged individually so that's a few less things to think about/worry about. It's also a real benefit if you can easily have lessons on-site (do plan/budget to keep having lessons whatever happens), and also to be able to have your instructor or yard staff school your horse for you occasionally...

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maxelly · 12/05/2021 14:01

In addition to the good advice above about what type of horse to get (which I totally agree with), have you already decided where you'll keep the horse? I would really recommend full or 5-day livery on a reasonably large/busy yard for your first horse (or potentially working livery at a riding school if cost is an issue, although that comes with lots of issues of its own). Many people ultimately end up preferring DIY/keeping at home/on small private yards for a variety of reasons, but I think having lots of experienced people around and help easily available is really essential as a first timer. No matter how prepared you feel it's another thing entirely being in 'sole charge' and lots of different/difficult situations can crop up you weren't expecting. Plus things like having people to hack out with, good facilities e.g. lunge pen, indoor arena are useful to have, things like worming, farrier, phsyio visits are usually sorted for you on a livery yard rather than having to be arranged individually so that's a few less things to think about/worry about. It's also a real benefit if you can easily have lessons on-site (do plan/budget to keep having lessons whatever happens), and also to be able to have your instructor or yard staff school your horse for you occasionally...

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Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel · 12/05/2021 14:39

Wow, thank you for all the replies. I'm going to have a good read through. Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply and give advice Smile

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Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel · 12/05/2021 14:39

Wow, thank you for all the replies. I'm going to have a good read through. Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply and give advice Smile

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Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel · 12/05/2021 14:40

Wow, thank you for all the replies. I'm going to have a good read through. Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply and give advice Smile

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Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel · 12/05/2021 14:42

Wow, thank you for all the replies. I'm going to have a good read through. Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply and give advice Smile

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Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel · 12/05/2021 14:43

Smile
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Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel · 12/05/2021 15:11

No idea what's going on there! 😂

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oakleaffy · 24/10/2021 13:22

''Stunning dappled grey Irish Draught mare, 5yo, 16.2hh, ideal first horse, rides on end of buckle, has seen hounds, anyone can ride her, jumps 1.10 metre courses
£4,000''

Any ads like these Run and don't look back.

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XelaM · 25/10/2021 00:02

We just bought our first pony! It took ages to find, but I asked the yard owner (of the very busy riding school where my daughter rides) to find us one. Our pony was much more expensive and less "fancy" than the online ads, but she has a really lovely temperament and is an all-round Pony Club type of horse, which is what we were looking for. She's an 11-year-old cob mare. My daughter had a tryout on a different (much younger) horse before and they didn't gell at all and I completely agree with better not to be "over-horsed".

We keep ours at the riding school on full livery and my daughter has regular lessons on her as well as just riding her daily for fun. We are very happy with her so far (touch wood)! Oh, and we had the 5-stage vet check

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CasaBonita · 25/10/2021 13:53

omg yes, as PP said, the very first thing you should do it read the dodgy dealer pages on FB. A good dealer are worth their weight in gold and there are lots of good ones. But the bad ones are plentiful too.

Look for a schoolmaster - don't even look at anything under the age of about 8 - it just won't have the experience you need as a novice owner.

Don't over horse yourself, be realistic about your current capabilities and what you actually want to do. I.e., don't be drawn into buying a flashy sports horse if what you actually want is something safe to hack and do low level schooling/competing.

Be very careful - it's an absolute minefield - so many dishonest sellers out there. Everyone is selling for a reason, you need to decipher if their reasons for selling are genuine.

If you're a small adult it's worth having a look on the pony club website - some of these ponies are worth their weight in gold and ARE being sold for genuine reasons - i.e., they've been outgrown.

If you haven't already, go and scope out all of the local livery yards. Make a list of what you want and what you're willing to compromise on.

Cost out absolutely everything before you start looking. Livery, shoes, wormers, vaccinations, tack, rugs, equipment, insurance, feed/hay if not on full livery, lessons, competing etc

Having owned several horses in the past I can tell you it's a bloody expensive hobby. I've had a few years away from horse ownership and was in the position to get another one this year. I've decided against it! I don't want to put you off, but it makes my eyes water when I think about how much money i've spent on horses over the years!

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HighlandCowbag · 25/10/2021 16:57

Some brilliant advice, but find a yard before you find a horse. Good yards tend to have waiting lists because they are good yards. Price everything up, make sure you can access 'wraparound' care if you need it. Check the grazing as well as the stables. Some yards have fancy pants american barns but very limited grazing for the number of stables and then really limit winter turnout. I'd rather have more turnout than a shower room and lunge pen.

For a first horse, definitely under rather than over horse yourself. Depending on height and build, don't discount a pony. Some really take up the leg and a well put together 14hh cob or native can carry more weight than a 15.2hh lightweight type with poor confirmation.

The best person to take with you is your current riding instructor. They will know your capabilities but be prepared to pay for this, but it could save so much money in the long run. And a vetting is essential, at least 2, preferably 5.

And when you buy one be prepared to give it 4 weeks to settle in properly. Especially if its been in its previous home for a while. Have seen 2 bounce back in the last few weeks because they weren't given long enough to settle in.

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