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First horse! Should I?

18 replies

mousepen · 26/01/2024 23:41

I've ridden on and off since I was in primary school school been on a few horse horse holiday and hacks, I have lessons for a while then stop for one reason or another normally just life stuff getting in the way! I'm turning 40 this year and I feel like I just need to do it and buy my horse!! I feel like I'm a somewhat a confident novice but nothing more. I have horsey friends around me. I also have stables at home so I have the option to have the horse and a companion at home. Although I feel a livery yard will be best for a year to get to grips with things! I have 2 small children and child free couple of days in the week aswell time over the weekend to ride . Should I? Or shall I keep just having lessons. When is the right time to get your own horse. I just want to hack and do low level xc , beach rides . Shall I be brave and do it! 🤗 or is it silly now.

OP posts:
EggTheFirst · 26/01/2024 23:47

Can you look after the horse before and after work on top of riding time?

Taking kids to a year is shit, especially if you are novice with a new horse.

I would look at a share with no yard duties involved, see how just riding three or four times a week works for you and go from there.

EggTheFirst · 26/01/2024 23:48

*yard, not year!

twistyizzy · 27/01/2024 06:24

Whilst I'm always for buying a horse, if you have never had one before then keeping it at home isn't the most sensible option.
Horses need companionship therefore you would need to get another horse ad a friend for yours
Do you know what a horse colicking looks like?
Do you know how to manage grazing and understand about wormjng programmes?
Who will look after the horse while you are away on holiday or if you are sick?
You would need to source hay and bedding suppliers plus someone to remove the Muck heap regularly

Horses with young kids is dangerous and they won't want to go to a yard in pitch black in middle of winter when it is raining/snowing.
Are you OK missing part of Xmas day to go and see to the horse?

If you choose livery have you got £500+ per month available to spend on care for the horse? Not just thr cost of livery but everything else eg farrier, insurance, feed, lessons, tack, equipment, worming etc?

You will struggle to buy a decent low level all rounder for under 6K as this is the type of horse everyone wants. Add to that 3K for setting up with tack, yard equipment etc
Honestly while kids are little I would stick to lessons, save up and have stanle management lessons at a BHS yard.

Ineedanewjobsoon · 27/01/2024 07:19

I got my first horse at 40. On a livery yard for a few years and now have two horses at my own place. So glad I’ve done this because I have always, always wanted one. But…
I don’t have children.
I have had to cut working hours down to find time to actually ride as well as do all the jobs.
I think it’s almost as expensive having my own place as keeping them on livery.
Actually going away on holiday is difficult.
Getting up at 5.30 Every morning is hard, but especially so in the middle of a storm!
Having to make every single decision myself is hard. Which field is least boggy for them? Are they getting enough hay? Too much hay? Do I need to call out the emergency vet or can it wait until morning when the visit will cost A LOT less?

Would your children have to go with you every time, or do you have someone willing to look after them?
Do you have someone willing and capable to look after your horses if you can’t? I ended up on crutches, unable to drive for six months. Luckily my DH and friends helped out, but it would have cost a fortune to pay for someone to help out all that time.
Im glad I made the decision to get a horse, but if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I would have gone for a part time share instead.

mousepen · 27/01/2024 07:31

Thanks for your replies! Certainly a lot to think about which I have been. However yes I can afford full livery, I'm a sahm youngest is in a few days of nursery now. My husband is a farmer and we own our own farm that's why I have stables already however never been used for horses, and we also make our own hay for the other animals. So all I'm lacking is experience! I think I will up the lessons to twice weekly for a few more months and then start looking if there is a space at my livery yard ! What do you think?

OP posts:
twistyizzy · 27/01/2024 08:37

@mousepen yes up the lessons but I would also add in stable management lessons at BHS yard and then start with a part loan or share before you jump in to full ownership. Even on full livery don't underestimate the money and time, even "popping" to the yard can take 2 hours+. It can cause resentment from a partner especially when childcare is involved.

Lastqueenofscotland2 · 27/01/2024 12:09

I really really wouldn’t keep a first horse at home. They can be complicated buggers and if you don’t have an eye for lameness/colic symptoms/etc etc you could easily accidentally end up neglecting the horse.
Just having two is a nightmare as well as they may end up overly bonded and be a nightmare to separate at all (even just to go for a ride).

maxelly · 27/01/2024 16:53

I do find it amusing how on these threads (not a MN specific thing, you see it on horse and hound forums and other places too), a whole bunch of horse owners without fail vehemently advise all comers against ever getting their own horse, it's like we hate our own hobby or something! It can come across snobby particularly if someone admits to being a novice but I don't think it's actually that, it's more usually we're all just so aware of the negatives (the hard work, the expense, the being out in all weathers, the fact horses are perpetually finding new and ever more expensive and traumatic ways to injure themselves and get sick) that you do end up wondering how and why anyone ever buys their first horse. I think honestly the answer is you just have to really want one, more than you want a nice holiday this year or you want lazy weekends with your family or stress free winter evenings not spend wading through ankle deep mud in the dark. And of course you may not fully know if that's true until you have the horse, which is why sharing or loaning first is quite a good idea, it's usually less than half the time commitment and a lot less financially but gives you a flavour of what it's like to really have to go to the yard on 'your' days come rain or shine, sick DC or grumpy DH complaining you prefer the horse to him (true, usually!) and whatever other hassles and headaches come with horse ownership. But if you do truly want your own and can afford the purchase and set up costs plus full livery I don't see why it shouldn't be a goal for you.

That being said there are riding schools that should let you hack out and even more adventurous things like xc and beach rides - or you could look into horsey holidays or weekends away to do all that without anything like the trouble of owning your own!

mousepen · 27/01/2024 20:14

Thanks for your replies , I do find horse people I don't know try and out me off !

however my close friends who have horses are supportive and so is my husband, I'm luckily that I'm not going back to work to be around for the kids, and my husband is wanting me to have something to involve myself in, I do think he would of liked it not to be so expensive but there we are! lol. The stables that I ride at is somewhat limited with loans, so I may need time look further a feild. However after a few rotten years life is short and if I find a lovely horse that wants to be spoilt I'm doing it! How exciting 🐴

OP posts:
twistyizzy · 27/01/2024 20:21

@mousepen people aren't tryng to put you off, it is more about being completely realistic about the time and money involved. I personally buy a horse for its life and I don't sell them on so that's a 20-30 year commitment, health of horse permitting.
Non-horse owners won't understand the commitment.
An example: my horse had colic 2 years ago starting on Christmas Day. I slept with him for 2 nights in -5 temperatures and my husband brought me food and drink. Horse then needed stabling at vet so that meant transporting him on frozen roads at 11pm at night. I missed Christmas Day + Boxing Day then slept the next 2 days while he was at the vets.
Horse are the most fantastic creatures but they are 95% work and 5% fun.

notquiteruralbliss · 30/01/2024 12:18

Not remotely silly. And I say this as someone with multiple horses at livery and a full time job that means I rarely ride mid-week except in Summer. Where do your friends with horses keep them? Can you keep one at the same place at least to start with? You are going to want people to hack with and to have access to help when you need it.

With a couple of child free days in the week and the ability to carve out time to ride at weekends, it sounds as if full livery on a good yard could work for you. That way you wouldn't need to go to the yard twice a day (or even every day). Or maybe start with a share, with your childfree days being 'your' days to ride (and potentially help with horse care). Being available during the week could make you useful to someone looking for a sharer.

Emma8888 · 30/01/2024 13:50

I'm all for getting a horse, the adults I know who got their first horse after kids all had good experiences. But 100% keep it on a livery yard / at the riding school if they have livery. You'll want to keep having lessons to get the best out of your new horse. Many instructors will also help you decide what horse to purchase (they often know the horse scene and who is selling what, and will go with you to viewings / ride it for you - for a fee). Riding schools / instructors also tend to be pretty good helping clients find the right tack (such as a good stock of bits for people to try and find what suited).

A good, busy full livery yard will have people around all the time who keep an eye out for things, even if they don't technically work there. I'm also a fan of ones that have staff living on site overnight. A DIY only yard may just have people up before and after work. Full livery means you know your horse always has what they need, whatever your schedule happens to be. They'll take care of scheduling farrier, teeth, vaccinations etc. which can be a faff and expensive to get people out to a single horse location. You'll also likely make friends, it's way more fun to hack / xc / beach ride with others and you can share the cost of a box.

Strikestallulah · 30/01/2024 15:19

I think you should definitely do it, its the most wonderful hobby and so life affirming. All I would suggest is keep them at a stable / yard for a couple of years so you can gain experience and remember that horses need other horses to be content, one alone is not a good idea

mousepen · 30/01/2024 16:26

Thanks for the messages! Most definitely will be having full livery ! My friend have there horses at home I could keep it with there's however would be diy so I need a stable yard especially to have my lessons, I've already increased to 2 a week. It's so exciting and also additive looking at horses. 🥰 xx

OP posts:
Mynewnameis · 30/01/2024 16:29

I think I'd want the company of a yard otherwise it can feel a bit isolated. People to ride with etc. (But then you might be OK with solitude).

Gremlinsateit · 31/01/2024 22:03

It’s not silly at all! It sounds like you have a plan, and if you have the time and budget, why not. In the future when you want to move to your own place, maybe see if there is someone who is interested in sharing the horse and the work to give you some flexibility.

Postapocalypticcowgirl · 06/02/2024 10:57

Everyone has to start somewhere, but I also agree with the advice not to keep a first horse at home- especially if you'd need to commit to buying a companion as well.

Personally, I find it much more enjoyable to have people to ride with, and it's nice to have back up around in case of emergencies- all of which being on a livery yard will provide.

As you gain more confidence in looking after your horse, you may find you want to bring them home- or you may find you prefer being on the yard!

I definitely think you should go for it.

I also think when buying a first horse it's important to be sensible- buy the horse you can ride now, not the one you think you will need in two years' time!

ipredictariot5 · 09/02/2024 00:53

Do it - I got one a couple of years ago for my 50th
I have him on a really good full livery yard where he is well looked after. My adult daughter also rides him and between us he is ridden 5 x week. We get lessons at the yard and she goes showjumping and I do the fun rides/ arena hires / clinics/ hacking
it’s a blissful hobby and much more
fun than expensive holidays and meals out :)

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