Ahh, finally managed to log in. Silly internet kept booting me everytime I tried for the last two days.
Anyway, I've no intention of breeding any mares, injured or not. So that's a moot point.
I kind of assume any horse I buy is going to spend the rest of it's life looking for the perfect way to injure itself in some expensive and career ending manner. That's just horses.
I am getting more and more set on the whole baby buying thing though. So thank you for all the lovely enabling. Heck I might even start looking as soon as I find a new home for my boy, which would be spring at the very earliest. I have enough contacts at my current barn to make catch riding for the next few years easy-peasy.
I'm a typical ammy who has generally always ridden started horses. I ended up pretty much retiring my last horse (not what I expected with a 10 year old) and had literally almost nothing to spend on my next one. My options were quit and wallow in self-pity or buy a baby............best decision ever. I bought a 3 year old and he is the funnest, easiest thing I have ever sat on. Of course I had the same reservations as you are having now - it's a big decision. And I couldn't have done this without a very knowledgable coach on the ground, so this would be my one main caveat. Starting things from scratch is extremely rewarding; I'm not fixing anyone's mistakes (except my own but I generally know how I got there so it's a bit easier to undo ) and when I realized that I taught him something it's the coolest thing ever.
My 3 y/o search started like this: "wahhhh, I have no horse and no money, what to doooo......maybe I'll see how much 3 year olds are going for these days". My horse was almost the first one I saw on equine.com and I just knew I had to have him. So just a warning!!
**Member of the Ocularly Challenged Equine Support Group**
somebody mentioned sending your baby out for training early if you don't have the skills. I recommend this even if you do have the skills. We can't help but think of them as adorable pets. Sending them out for 30-60 days is a great experience for the horse if trainer is chosen well. It also gives you a chance to think of them as a load bearing member of your equine family when you get them back. - that transition never seems to happen as cleanly with me when i do all the work.
I don't always have someone else start the riding. Sometimes I just have them do 30 days groundwork, ponying. Prep for riding. this has always worked out well for me.
Good luck. Do plan on a good bit of training $$ either way - even if just coaching instruction / for you along the way. I dont think it actually costs less in the end, but the journey is great and spending in pieces vs. lump sums can be easier to manage.
I bought a two year old who's now four and it's been a very rewarding journey to bring him along myself as an adult ammy (with the help of a great coach). I think the key is to be realistic about your abilities, patience and a plan for the future.
One thing to keep in mind: Is this going to be your only horse? What other riding opportunities will you have access to while the baby is growing up? It's much more difficult to work through green horse issues or give a horse a good start over fences if you're not in riding shape and haven't been maintaining your own skill set regularly.
In my lifetime, I have raised and started my own foals, reclaimed really badly ruined horses, and retrained OTTB. Each is extremely rewarding in its own way.
Sure their is a fantastic feeling of raising your own foal, and having that "clean slate" to work with, it is a deep connection. I can't tell you the pure pleasure and connection you feel with that foal, it is heavenly.
Retraining an OTTB is also excellent as you are giving them a new career, which is a rewarding experience for both of you. They also come with some good mileage, and you are not introducing them to every single thing.
Reclaiming a ruined horse teaches you more than any coach or book or video can teach. You learn to "read" the horse, and learn what works with that individual. It can be very frustrating, but it is a fabulous experience.
If you do not have your own place and need to board, the most logical choice is a started individual OR an OTTB from a reputable source.
Proud of my Hunter Breeding Princesses
"Grief is the price we all pay for love," Gretchen Jackson (1/29/07) In Memory of Barbaro
My current horse and my last horse were both bought as weanlings, and I'd do it again. The first one I showed thru Fourth Level, he didn't have the "sparkle" for FEI, so I sold him to a great home, and don't regret the years I spent with him at all. The current one is now 8, schooling most of the GP, competed at PSG as a 7YO, and recently someone wanted to know if I'd sell him for six-figures. I could never have afforded to buy a horse like what he is *now*, but what I could afford was to buy a cheap foal and do all the rest myself. And it's a great feeling to know we've done it all together, and I know every minute of his history from when he was about 6 months old and arrived off the trailer as a muddy, furry, frightened semi-wild little foal, to now.
Good luck! As my first example shows, even if your youngster doesn't turn out to be your forever horse, you still learn something along the way, and can make $$$ if/when you do sell, so it's not ever really a loss (excluding disasters and soundness problems, obviously, but those can happen with older horses too!)
This was great to read, as I am in a situation like yours. Just this summer I ordered a custom foal for 2012. My husband thinks I am a bit crazy! I already have a 4 yo thats broke and going (bought at 2), and a 2 yo gelding that will be started in the spring. I figure that by the time those two are really solid, the foal will be 3 and super easy to start as I will have put a great foundation on it. I am a trainer, a very small one....but I find alot of pride in making my own mounts right now. My 4 yo is superb, and I could not buy a horse with her quality and mileage. I could sell her in a heartbeat though, as she's what many ammies would love! I know her inside and out, just as she knows me. Thata a great bond to have.
My advice though is look at the sire and then REALLY look at the Dam. The Dam should be the deciding factor in what you get. I bought all 3 of mine off of the bloodlines, and then crossed my fingers as they have been purchased sight unseen. Since I have alot of experiences, I am comfortable training them at 2 and 3. I also would look at yearlings and 2 year olds. They are a blast to work with too!