I have: a very nice 4 y.o. HAN gelding who is sane, sound, 17.2 1/2hh (and still growing). He's jumper-bred but could do hunters in ok company and I suspect would also make up as a nice eq horse. He's the nicest horse I've ever owned - probably the nicest horse I'll ever own and I've been waiting years to get him to this point! I don't have: as much time and money as I used to. This means my boy's education isn't as far along as I'd like it to be because I don't have the funds to send him off and I don't have as much time to spend on him myself.
I did send him off for 3 months of some basic WTC training and he's doing ok at home, but he really needs to be in a program. He's pretty much trained to death on the ground and will do anything that's asked of him.
Is there any hope that someone might want a horse like him for a few years and be willing to put time, energy, and their $ into working with him and then let me get him back when I'm in a better place? Do pros ever take on a youngster for a while before their owners start picking up the tab? I know I'm probably crazy for even asking, but hope springs eternal!
I really don't want to sell my boy but #2 daughter is going off to college in the fall. There won't be anyone to help at the farm and I'll be paying for a lot of both girls' school.
Of course, I'm working on thinning the herd to reduce equine expenses, and before anyone suggests that it won't hurt my boy to just hang around until I have time/money, I'm not so sure that's true. He's out 24/7 and was with a couple older geldings that he's spent most of his life with until he returned from training. Evidently training changed his opinion of himself because he really began to give one of my old guys a hard time and I suspect he caused an accident that seriously hurt the old man. Now, my boy is in his own pasture by himself. When he's not ridden every day, he becomes bored, restless, and a bit cranky. So far, he hasn't gotten rank, but I'm worried he will and remember he is 17.2+hh and growing....
Also, you should know, I am in a totally non-equine area. There is no great trainer to help me here.
So, (finally) what would you do in my situation given the limited information provided? Is there anything creative I can do to keep my boy and get him working?
Thanks for sticking it out and reading this far!!
If he's at least green broke and safe-ish, you could try free leasing him. You won't get a pro to take the horse on and make it for you, but you could likely find a teen or young adult who is a good rider, and cannot afford to buy something. Leasing is, of course, fraught with peril, but it can work out nicely. I leased my mostly broke but needed some more shows under his belt horse to a pony clubber for 2 years. She put tons of miles on him, and he was definitely more sale-able afterwards. It wasn't without it's trials due to injury, but it ended up working well for both parties in the end.
Would you pay for his expenses (board, farrier, vet, shows when/if he gets to that point) or do you want whoever takes him on to cover that as well?
Years ago when I was a brand new professional I took on a horse like that- exceptionally talented but with an owner who could not pay me. He helped me get my name out there, and I was thrilled to have a nice horse to show. He died of a rare form of cancer before he ever reached his prime, sadly, but not for a moment have I ever regretted the decision to take him on. There may be other young, competent professionals out there willing to take him on under the right circumstances.
For a nice enough horse, I would put in in a full program for free (as in, no training charges) but the owner would have to pay expenses. Usually this is a sale horse and then because my training didn't get paid up front my commission upon sale goes to 20-25%.
But for a nice enough horse I would do it even without it being a sale horse.
I have agreed to pay expenses and do training but the horse is fantastic and I got 50% ownership for doing it, and the purpose is to make it up and sell it.
No way would I put in all the time AND the money and then just give it back. For that I may as well buy my own and then I have something I can sell.
I think it is a complete fantasy that someone would want to take your big, green horse and care for him and train him and provide him with some mileage at their expense and then hand him back over when he turns six. If you did find someone willing to do this, you better be on the lookout for a major catch. He doesn't sound well trained enough to be a serviceable pony club mount at this point, and I think it might be irresponsible to hand him over to a kid to train given his size and greenness. Any experienced rider looking for a free lease is going to have their pick of a lot of more well-trained horses right now. And any young pro looking to make a name is still going to need some payment, and since it is hard to make a name on a four year old, they would most likely be wanting part ownership and a long term commitment. That isn't necessarily a bad route to go, so you might want to consider it.
Everyone who has young horses has a similar conundrum. Four year olds take a LOT of resources to bring along--a lot of time, energy, hassle and money to keep them in work when they aren't yet a fun, reliable ride, to get them used to going places in the trailer, etc. and to keep them moving forward in their training.
If you have the time and ability to work with him some, could you hire someone to come ride him at your place a few times a week? That would be less expensive than having him in training, and it would keep him going to where he would be easier for you to ride. Also, you are concerned about him getting cranky with private t/o, which I agree is not ideal for a young horse. But with a pasture buddy, I see nothing wrong with turning him out for a period of time if you think your situation might improve in the future. Yes, it will affect his saleability down the road to be older and less trained, but reasonably it doesn't hurt a growing four year old to have six more months to grow.
Free lease is the best you can hope for. Is it that you don't have time to ride? I understand that showing may be out of the question due to funds, but you already have the horse and property, so you can still ride him yourself, go to some "fun" shows and take an occasional lesson. Might be a good plan if you don't want to move him on.
This is what I am doing with my young horse; it will be two years before I can really afford to show, so I ride 5 days a week and trailer out to trails or the local arena for fun shows. It's not expensive and the horse still gets the work he needs.
With the others here. First off, is there anybody at all you know who would even have the ability to get this one further along in his training???
I really would hesitate to just listen to some unknown persons self evaluation of their riding and training abilities and hand the horse over to them to take off the property.
Also can't see anybody, or their parents, taking over 100% of all expenses to keep him (to your standard), put in hours and hours of hard work and then give him back when you are ready to take him. That's not going to happen.
Just turn him out or sell him outright. That free lease with alot of short term costs and no long term benefit to the leassee is not a solution here.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Beastie, no advice but just wanted to say I hope something works out for you and him. You are a kind soul and a good horsewoman and if anyone deserves to catch a break in this sort of circumstance, it is you!
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
I would check with a college program. SCAD, Sweet Briar?.I know they take horses from owners, and then lease them to students. It could be a perfect fit For you if he will fit into a college program
Please note that any college program in GA, and I'm including SCAD altho the barn is over in SC, will sell or give away any horse that does not work out for the program if you "donate" the horse. I've seen the horses and know coth people who've gotten them. So if you "donate" to a college here (GA/SC) you would have to ask for a contract with the right of first refusal.
As for SCAD or the other local college leasing your horse, I do know that SCAD had a free lease from an owner on one horse at the time they had the barn fire that killed 2 other horses a few years ago. I don't know if they have any free lease horses now.
Whatever you do, get an airtight lease agreement, and put in the agreement a paragraph that gives you a monetary amount certain for any violation or breach of the lease. That way you won't be looking for your horse in a few years or suing for damages that are not a certain amount.
PM me if you want the name and phone # of a SCAD student who is local and who was running an intown barn last summer. She might be able t o tell you if SCAD would be interested in your horse.
I'm sorry, but what's in for the pro rider to take your green 4 year old, invest the time and the money feeding, shoeing, training and paying vet bills for your horse only to give it back in a couple of years when the horse is trained? The only legit situation I can think of would be a trainer looking for a lesson horse, but obviously, your 4 year old greenie doesn't qualify for that. Nor would you 4 year old greenie be welcome at most college riding programs because he's too green. I think you're living in fantasy land.
The suggestion of finding someone competent to come over and ride your horse at your place a few times a week(for pay) is a good one. If finances are an issue, that won't reduce your expenses, in which case selling him may be your best option.
If this is the "nicest horse you have ever owned, will ever own, waited for for a long time" I'd either do the TO I could and accept that he'll go slower or I'd find a pro and make a deal.
No leasing, no donating/lending to a college program.
It will take some work to find what you want in a pro. It might be that you do need to plan on having the pro work on spec and sell him, or make him into a horse one of their students can lease. You will probably have the best luck with a good, young pro trying to build a reputation.
You might find a "good ammy"-- someone who will ride and train your horse for free as you'd like-- but you can't ask them to pay for the privilege. This is me. I'd do a great job for an owner who shared my ideas and experience. I'd enjoy the goal and the process of working with them to improve their horse, and I'd fund some showing. But I won't feed someone else's horse while I'm improving it. At that point I might as well lease and feed a horse who can teach me.
It will be hard finding the pro, the more likely and better option. You'll have to put in some money, lots of effort to find the right pro and consistent effort to stay involved and evaluate how things are going.
This just is what it takes for anyone to make a nice young horse into what they imagined and to realize the investment they made in getting the nice 4 year old this far.
I'm well aware that the chances of finding a 'situation' are very slim. I just wanted to see what others thought because I know that I would have jumped at the chance to have a horse like this and a situation like this years ago. I know I'm not exactly normal but I guess I'm hoping there might be someone else like me out there....
For those of you who suggested a local pro or ammy to come spend time on him, there's really no one here for that. I'm in the armpit of GA.
The somebody I know got him started, but I'm not terribly happy with that and it's not a long-term solution.
He's definitely not headed to college! That's not the kind of program he needs.
I'm hesitant to just turn him out because if decide to sell him later, his marketability will suffer - even if he's terribly green through no fault of his own. Right now a green 4 y.o. isn't unheard of. People wonder what's wrong with a WTC green 6 y.o.
AND, I hate that he's living by himself! He needs a playmate, but I've only got old geldings, an old totally blind mare, and youngish mares. The accident almost killed one of the geldings, and he's too interested in the mares from a distance as it is. While living with former broodmares might do him some good, it might also start something I'd prefer not to deal with.
Try to find a junior rider around that could use a ride. Horse could stay at your place and the rider could come over and ride daily (required) for free. S/he could pick up farrier bills or feed costs as a lease fee? I would definitely have "auditions" for anyone who is interested to see if the horse clicks with the rider. That's important, especially in greenies. I'm sure there's lots of junior riders that would LOVE the opportunity!
"Many are riders; many are craftsmen; but few are artists on horseback."
What about shipping him off to college? I am going to try to get my mare into college for a year since I won't be able to ride much past July, and my old trainer suggested it. I think there are a lot of schools with actual equestrian programs down south aren't there? Mabe not right in GA, but Florida and the Carolinas? Someone at one of the programs around here suggested that I put a video together for them to review, she said it would have to be an August-August lease so it covers all of their semesters, and she thought maybe my green horse would be good for an "intro to jumping" or "special project" course. I am hoping it will be an opportunity to keep her going in her education without me having to pay for pro rides while I'm out of the saddle, and also give me a break from most of the regular fees/expenses.
I know your home TO situations sucks, and you are in the "armpit of GA" and all, but the "find a junior to come ride and learn at your place" is a great idea.
It's work, too. But there's got to be some kid out there who feels as you do and wants something better. A kid (or ammy) who can just ride and learn from you-- executing what you ask for while you are in the ring and setting jumps-- might be perfect for everyone.
Truly, I hope you can make this work out somehow. Also, this is the "nicest horse ever" for you and you say you want his education to keep pace with buyers' expectations. No clueless 6 year old to market. But is keeping "the nice one" or selling him your ultimate goal? Maybe that's the first brass tacks question you need to answer for yourself.
What does your life realistically look like for the next 4 years? Kids in school, having to do more at the farm...do you really see yourself being able to use this horse like you would like to during this time?
We put about 10 months of training on my then 3 yr old (WTC and about 2 months of baby cross rails) and then due to an illness and an injury, he was off work for about 2 years. By then, I had moved to a backyard farm with plenty of turnout for him and filled with weekend warrior trail riders, so we trail rode and just dabbled around for another few years. I rode maybe 2-3 times a week. I didn't have the time or desire to be showing at that point in my life, so although I always got laughed at going out to state trails with all the gaited horses and QH's at the barn, I was quite happy tootling around on my somewhat uneducated 17 hh warmblood.
I definitely thought about selling him a lot during this time - I mean, he SO wasn't being used to his potential and I could get a trail horse for a lot less $$, but then I decided he didn't care - he was happy as a clam doing trails - and he was my heart horse and definitely the nicer horse I ever had or probably will have, so I kept him.
When he turned about 9 I got the hunter bug again. Started back with a trainer and let me just tell you...he is just turned 12 and we are JUST NOW starting to turn a corner in his training. There were SO MANY THINGS to work on that he missed out in his training - lots of holes in his early education. It was/is long, slow, tedious work. And he has LOTS of habits that aren't the greatest too - ones I think he wouldn't have if he had gotten more of an education early in life. He doesn't have a lot of show miles, so still acts quite green at shows...AND he's starting to have maintenance issues too which comes with the territory I know, but still...we are just starting to figure things out!
So on one hand, I wish he had a "normal upbringing" and learned all of this stuff young, so we could have a few more years of rocking around some courses instead of being a green 12 year old (lol)....but on the other hand, if I had the chance, I don't think I would change much about what I did. I simply didn't have the time or $ to be training and showing during his formative years, but we still managed to have a great time just trail riding. And I'm an ammie, so I love being able to come out and just trail ride sometimes - my barn has tralis and my horse is the best one out there because of his background. We are the "safe horse" all the other nervous show horses go out on the trail with.
So I guess what I am saying - if you love this horse and are very happy just doing whatever with him (trails, etc) vs showing for the next few years, then keep him. I think the trail riding did have a very positive benefit for him - he got an education about crossing water, spooky things, etc, so nothing really phases him that much now. Just know it may take a little longer to get him going down the road. And you've got to be willing to take that drop in worth - I knew my WTC, xrail 7 year old warmblood with trail experience wasn't worth crap comapred to what he would have been worth if he had been in H/J that whole time and if I was ever in a spot where I had to sell him, I would definitely lose some money on the deal. Having him in my life was worth that to me. But if your goal is to sell him to make $$ down the road - yeah, this path probably isn't for you. But if you just adore him and want him forever just for you, just dabble around with him doing fun stuff and bring him into training when YOU are ready. He'll still be there.