We have been looking for a horse for my teenaged daughter for well over a year. Current horse is permanently lame. She hasn't been riding consistently due to her work/school schedule and my work schedule. She went from riding 5-6 days a week to pretty much nil. She has worked her tail off for the 4 years she's been riding and is turning into a pretty good rider...but now she's rusty because of no horse. Every horse we've looked at has been a bad fit due to price, soundness or whatever. Granted, we don't have thousands and thousands of dollars (we have about $2000) but, I've heard that we are in buyer's market. To be totally honest, I am so tired of being "misled" (I call it lying) by owners, also, to be honest, I cannot afford the $500 on a PPE (don't yell at me as I struggle with this already) on top of the $2000, I could look for something for $1500 and use the $500 for a PPE but there isn't anything for $1500 either (around here it's either $500 for a busted 30 year old or $7500 for a w/t/c cross rails greenie). We are thinking of getting another ex race horse cheap and having it professionally trained for a couple of months as an option. I guess I'm just overly stressed out right now thinking that we are never going to find the right horse for my daughter and that all of her hard work is going to go down the drain and that makes me really sad. Thanks for listening.
I'm sure that you will find the right horse eventually I imagine that it must be an emotionally exhausting process but it will be worth all the hard work in the end when you do find exactly what you're looking for. Hang in there
Originally Posted by sketcher
Oh THANK GOD. For a moment I thought no one would kick her when she was down
I've been in your price bracket and it is a tough spot. You can find a "gem" but more likely you will be finding all the horses that people want to dump for good reason.
It sounds like a lease might be worth considering. If you spend $2k on a horse, you'll have upkeep, and then she will also want to take lessons and do some showing, right? It might work out that a partial lease makes more financial sense. Of course a free lease is ideal, but good ones aren't always easy to find.
Also, some lesson barns offer leases and partial leases with opportunities to show. If your daughter is ambitious and has time, she may be able to work off part of the lease or some of her lessons/show expenses if you find an instructor who is amenable to that.
Look outside the box too. I almost bought a horse out of a very high-dollar arabian barn because he wasn't quite "typey" enough for the big shows their barn attended, so they were selling him very cheap. You may also find the same at a western barn (i.e. one they can't get to lope slow enough). In my searching I found most of the backyard horses to be very lacking in training, but the "rejects" from the arabian/western/other discipline barns at least had some foundation from which you could build, and were far more likely to have basic manners and the ability to be cross-tied, loaded on a trailer, clipped, etc. installed already.
Have you concidered checking out New Vocations?? They re home OTTBs and OTStandardbreds. The adoption fees are reasonable, they start the retraining process and are pretty honest about health issues and the horse's potential future career.
Sorry, I'm on a Smartphone and don't know how to add a link, but if you Google NV it should come up.
I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage
Do you have an active Pony Club near you? Around here, people sometimes donate (good!) horses to Pony Club kids! Or, want a good home for an outgrown horse. I completely agree with the others that leasing sounds like the best option.
What part of the country are you in? Perhaps some COTHers can make recommendations for you. It's unlikely, but for example if you were near me I'd tell you my trainer keeps a stable of very talented schoolmasters for teenagers to lease (no fees, just costs, and she has a working student program where they can help work off lessons/board).
Good luck -- and I'd try networking in areas you haven't previously considered.
If your daughter already isn't riding much due to time constraints, that's most likely not going to change with the addition of a new horse. OTTBs require a lot of consistency, even after the pro training is finished.
If you will tell us where you are (general geo area or closest large city) and what discipline/type of competing your daughter wants to do, we would be more likely to be able to help you. If dressage or jumping, definitely consider an OTTB or a Saddlebred. Many Saddlebreds love to jump and excel in dressage, but some do not get the opportunity to use those talents because of breed prejudice on the part of some horse buyers.
RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.
First, don't skip the PPE. It's a small price to pay for knowing that you're at least starting with a sound healthy horse, no matter what the purchase price. Yes I've bought horses without a PPE but was prepared to "deal with it" if something came up. It doesn't sound like you are financially prepared to do that.
The longer you search for the perfect horse, the more money you can have saved up for the purchase price... a small perk to waiting.
The quicker you run out and buy a horse just so your daughter has something to ride, the more likely it is that the horse will NOT be the perfect horse. Yeah sometimes the right one just comes along, but don't buy out of desperation.
I'm a little concerned you said your daughter's riding time is cut down by school/work... if she gets another horse is she going to magically free up her schedule? Does she really want to keep riding? I'm getting vibes that she likes riding but not enough to put 5-6 days a week into it. Fine, but that means she needs a been-there-done-that horse... not a OTTB.
One last point, if you don't have $500 for a PPE, you don't have money for professional training. At least no professional training I've ever trusted.
I also agree with the posters suggesting a lease situation, or maybe just getting her more riding lessons per week if she wants to ride... cheaper than a new horse and also not getting yourself into an ownership situation where you are 'stuck' with a horse if she really is losing interest.
Good luck! The search for my daughter's current horse took about 7 months, but it was well worth the wait!
This is a child that in NOT losing interest in horses. She would be on a horse 7 days a week, working her butt off if she could. She is able to work around her work/school schedule as well. She goes to the barn 5 days a week to clean stalls and pastures and water buckets and horses so she is definately invested in this. That is a big part of why not having a horse for her is so sad. She did such a good job with her current OTTB that back when they were working together (before the horse became permanently lame) people at our barn would literally stop their riding and watch the two of them together. To say that this child has talent is an understatement. But she still has MUCH to learn and a long way to go to become the rider that SHE wants to be, and she is willing and ready to put in the work. Neither she or I care about how much work needs to be put in to the horse, she is willing to take the time and contrary to what some people have said, I do believe that one or two months of professional training on a less expensive horse will be a good thing. As for the PPE I agree, we need to have one done on anything we look at.
I was a teenager when I got an OTTB and he turned out to be a wondeful horse. He was only $950 and I think the PPE, with x-rays, was only about $250 (but this was 14 years ago). So overall, my horse cost around $1100 and I had him for years. He was a great friend.
If your daughter is dedicated and you can put a couple of months of training into the horse and keep her in lessons, it sounds like a win-win to me.
I know others have asked where you are, but do you have access to CANTER or LOPE to look into adopting an OTTB?
Where are you located? If you are near Kentucky, call Lisa at New Vocations. She has some outstanding OTTBs, is incredibly honest and checks out all the horses before adoption. The adoption fees are extremely reasonable! An OTTB might be just the answer.
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant
You need to be at a different barn. If she's so dedicated and such a hard worker, she needs to be with a trainer that recognizes this and makes something happen for her.
You still haven't posted your location. I just know at my trainer's barn, she'd have your daughter up on the best horses (that do well at A shows, that event up to training level) and be giving her lots of opportunities. Surely my barn isn't the only one like this out there.
If she is as hardworking and dedicated and talented as you say, I feel like she could get a working student position in a nice barn that would give her great riding experience on nice horses.
Daughter riding only 4 years, little money for pre-purchase=doesn't sound like a good fit for an OTTB. It sounds like you are already stuck with one cripple, so you probably want to avoid a second.
If she is a really good rider and has a solid trainer, you could probably pick up a super green, been in the backyard, not so fancy, but sound horse for under $2000 easily. A good trainer could help her pick one out.
We are located in NY/NJ area. There are tons of h/j barns around here that are loaded with rich, spoiled kids so working student positions are almost non existant unless we want to drive an hour and a half for the ONE barn I know of that offers them. That's why I want to cry(!) when I read on here how so many of you guys know about barns that readily offer WSP. She works so hard because we have our own barn with a few boarders. I know she's "only" been riding for four years but with the amount of time and dedication she has put in, she has come a long way in a short amount of time....not my words but this is what I hear from others. Her trainer is great, and we love him but like I said, he has the top barn in our area and he has no need for working students, sadly. By the way, we've had our OTTB for 5 years, so we're not new to the OTTB thing....also, she has been consistently riding green OTTB's her whole riding "career"...which is great in one way but not so much in other ways.
I would actively pursue a free lease, put the word out every where. Some where there is someone with a horse that needs riding and an owner who can't ride right now. (illness/work, etc.) Talk to the feed store guy, your trainer, your trainer's friends, etc. Perhaps there is even a horse at your barn that is owned by someone who would offer a half lease and shared riding. If your daugther is a good rider and responsible horse person that could very well happen.