Shopping can really bring you down. You have so click on about 100 ads to find maybe 10 you MIGHT e-mail on then they either do not respond, or you find out some negative thing that is not an option, they will not send a video, etc. In fact, there is a mare in VA about 1000 from me and the video looks like the camera was set on a fence post and the horse is a speck way far away. Priced right, quality breeding, LOOKS like a nice horse but it is a speck....seller refuses to provide anything more. That is how most of your inquiries go. Very frustrating. I think I am test driving your dream horse in a few weeks, but I paid my dues looking at many bad ads so I get first chance!
I think it's time to quit riding. There, I said it. It's scary looking at the words on the screen...
Remember my dead mouthed horse? He's done. Sustained several major injuries in what we think was a paddock accident and vets gave him a very poor prognosis of returning to full soundness.
Prior to getting this news, it was one bill after another with him. Several freak accidents that required emergency vet visits, as well as a series of vet visits to chase lameness issues, scoping and treating for ulcers, and then finally receiving the bad news that he will likely not be sound for a riding career. All in all I probably spent over 5k in 6 months. and rode for less than half that time.
I have since given the horse away to be a companion and have slowly begun shopping for a new partner. My budget is small (10-12k or less) and I have only 2 stipulations: Horse must be over 16.2 due to my height and it MUST be quiet and amateur friendly. I have found nothing that suits. Either it's a green broke young horse, or a much older horse needing some maintenance. I wanted something younger, maybe 7 or 8, so that if I need to sell it later on I will be able to.
I'm getting tired of chasing dead ends, of going to see misrepresented horses, and riding "quiet" and "schooled" horses that are quite honestly frightening to me. I have had a lot of changes in my personal life recently with my career and my family life, and I'm questioning if maybe it's time to just call it a day with the horses. I'm an amateur rider on a small budget with the time to ride maybe 4x per week, if I really push for it. I would love to show, but for the past several years life circumstances have always gotten in the way and the show budget is the first thing to be axed.
I miss riding, but the thought of continuing to horse shop is exhausting, and dealing with rude and pushy sellers is getting really tiresome. I just want a nice fun, quiet horse that I can enjoy schooling, and hack around on. I don't want to start another young horse, nor do I want to put my whole paycheque into the maintenance of an older horse.
None of my horse friends really understand, they think that I just need to buy something and get started, and unfortunately, I don't play in the same financial park as they do so it makes things a little difficult on both sides. I just needed to get this out and get some closure I think. Thanks for reading.
First, I'm very, very sorry about your horse. You've suffered a tremendous loss; don't forget that! Allow yourself as much time as you need to grieve for what you've been through!
OK. Now. So you've put the words out there and faced the perhaps "worse case scenario" (giving up riding), which is a good thing (facing it is a good thing!).
The rest of what you wrote says all systems are go. You've thought carefully about what you want and why you want it. But you've been through hell with your most recent horse, and the mere thought of horse shopping for even someone who HASN'T had that recent experience can be overwhelming. From what you wrote, you don't seem to be gun shy of ownership again, just of the shopping process.
Only you can decide what you want to do. That said, if you do decide to press on, you've received great advice above. I'm most likely the least experienced person on this forum...which gives me a naive perspective, but perhaps that isn't a bad thing.
You said you are an amateur and ride about 4x a week. I'm as amateur as they come, ride 4-5x a week, and often play with my horse on the days I don't ride. I am also not playing in a large financial park. I'm 5'11" with very long legs.
You said that you have had a lot of changes in your career and personal life...the horse who was a constant is no longer a constant. Maybe you need that constant! I can't speak to "horse shopping," as apparently my horse went shopping for me. It was a spur of the moment summer lease that led me to my heart horse, best friend, and the best thing to happen to me in a long time. Being at the barn is my therapy; watching videos of my horse even in the comfort of my own home brings me almost the same relaxation. I can't even think about not having him in my life. I bought him at the end of the summer under circumstances that were less than ideal, but I followed my heart and I have zero regrets. My sister has a sign in her house, not sure of the author, "Leap, and the net will appear." Not the best advice for everyday , but I hung onto this with every heartbeat when I bought him. The net appeared, and I've never been happier. I'm still in the gaga phase and I hope I never leave it. There is too much trauma in life to worry about looking like a ridiculous fool at my barn, on this forum, when I'm talking about my horse, etc. You never know someone else's circumstances and why something may be so important to them.
If you need this horse (the new horse), then hang in there. He or she will show up. You'll know.
In terms of your two stipulations, do what feels right to you. I will say that, again, I'm 5'11". My horse is 16 hands, and I never thought that I would fit that size horse, but I don't even notice. My legs hang down below his belly (really!), but I don't care one bit. I just have to remember to keep him sensitive and use the inside of my calves...very little cheating with spurs and pushing him on. He makes me ride better this way. Second, you said you want an amateur-friendly horse. I have posted before on this forum about the fact that mine is a draft cross (1/2 Tbred, probably 1/8 QH and 3/8 Perch). When I posted, posters came out of the woodwork and wrote both on this forum and via private message about how much they loved their amateur-friendly draft crosses and how great they were for amateurs: great minds, sound, great work ethics, and great motors. This might be a breed/type to consider. Mine is a PMU baby from Canada, and if his breeder was still breeding, I'd scrape together every penny and buy another one. If I ever have to buy another horse, this is the route I will take.
I feel for you - you sound so sad. I hope that you find a horse who needs you and with whom you can build a new happy ending. Good luck.
Have you considered a production sale such as this one? - you can easily see & try a number of horses within a few days, the vet checks/X-rays are already done & available for your own vet to view
I don't know what prices are like, but they sound suitably sized
Yes, the horses will be green but a nice horse that has been well started should be able to show Intro & Training this summer
There are a few horses that seem to still be available from the 2012 sale, so you might start there.
I assume that you have a trainer sorted & boarding ...
I think the best option for you would be to use lesson horses or look into a partial lease. This would offer you so much more freedom than if you were to buy. It will still allow you time to ride and figure out if you really want to take a break or not.
If you are set on owning, I would have to agree with Fillabeana and maybe try looking at western/ranch horses or something from another discipline. The big advantage to the ranch horses is that they will likely be DEAD BROKE. You can find some that are stouter and built uphill with a much smaller price tag than you would pay for something similar that's already a dressage horse. Yes, it would take some time to get them going in dressage, but you won't have to worry about getting them more broke.
There are some horses for sale on dream horse that are nice fieldhunters and are over 17h, some of them 18h. If you are both tall and "big boned" then you may be looking for a horse that most would feel are suitable for "gentlemen" not ladies. Not a slam, one of my best friends is not built like a ballerina, she's 6 ft tall and built like a linebacker.
I have a lovely, made paint draft cross in your price range. He is 16.3, flashy, B I G and has lovely, forward gaits and a very nice mouth. He is a hunt horse, and like ranch horses, field hunters are generally very broke and must be sound. Start looking there, you'd be surprised how nice some of them are.
I'm 5'4" and just had two shoulder surgeries. My last horse was nearly 18h, so this horse, as big as he is, was a downsize for me. I'm done with the big ones and bought an adorable 15h(maybe) roan quarter horse ths fall, so I'm going to start taking the big horse to dressage shows and get him sold. He does not go like a draft, I'm tired of both big and too much white!
My point is, that for the last 25 years, I haven't owned anything that was under 16h because those were the horses I enjoyed. I don't enjoy that any longer, I don't even look at anything over 15h, I'm small enough for a large pony. Everyone changes and you aren't even that old yet.
I do hope you find what you're looking for. If you go with a draft cross or an ISH, you can get size, good temperment and good movement for a lot of different disciplines. And in your price range, also look for lower level "packer" type event horses, they'll be well trained, traveled and have decent dressage.
You aren't going to find a 17h well mannered, ammie friendly, 7 year old, sound dressage horse that is competition ready, well trained and good looking for 10K. Ok, maybe in Montana or Oklahoma but not in the "dressage" part of the world.
Start looking outside the box.
And do find a way to ride while you still have time and $$ to do so. You'll feel better.
OP - Ooof! And hugs! It sounds like you took a kick to the emotional solar-plexus. I'm not in quite the same situation, but I have a sense of where you're coming from. I'm taller, and have recently started horse shopping (with a decent budget, but significantly less to spend than I had when I was shopping for the Adorable Knucklehead Moneypit.) I'm struggling to maintain any sort of riding fitness (which drives me mental - I worked so hard to get it, and it goes so fast! ) Even worse, I'm pretty burned-out after all the turmoil I had during my time with AKM.
Horses matter to horse people on so many emotional levels, and they consume so many of our resources of time and money. I think, for most of us, there is no way to do this without paying some sort of price. These are intense experiences! There's a lot at stake! You'd have to be an idiot to not worry a little bit or feel some strain. There are all sorts of emotions that pop up, and also the practicalities of, "Oh. I was so focused on Horse Related Crises for a year that I dropped the ball on a thousand things. And now I have a million consequences to deal with. Great!"
The height thing isn't the end of the world, but it is something to work around. I'm 5'11" and medium build. I know that I can look okay on shorter horses, but I'm still a training/1st level rider (despite spending an amount of money on lessons that you wouldn't believe ), and I find it harder to give correct leg aids on some smaller horses, depending on how their barrel is shaped. I think my heel wants to come up as I give the aid to compensate for the barrel curving away. The other bummer about it is that a lot of the less traditional/cheaper breeds are generally on the shorter side. I do think you need to get on a horse to know how you're going to feel riding them. AKM was a slender, leggy 16.3 and my heels hung a good inch or two below the bottom of his belly. It actually looked worse than some of the much shorter horses I've ridden, but I felt like I got good leg contact. I rode one very short, very round horse recently that was like straddling a sofa - I remember wondering during the ride if it was possible to dislocate a hip. In the mirror we looked fine, but I wouldn't have liked to own that! The horse I'm currently shareboarding is a 16.1 TB/draft cross (I think? Not 100% on breed or height), and I feel totally fine on him. (Apart from the awkwardness of mounting from the ridiculously large mounting block. It's less "springing up" and more "construction crane lowering.")
I agree with the other posters in that you should take a break from horses if you need to take a break. And shareboarding or a partial lease sounds like it might be a better option than buying right now, if you can find a horse that's appropriate. I have been lucky enough to stumble into this casual half-lease, which has been great! I connect with the horse on the ground, and the owner/barn situation is super easy with no stress. Training-wise, he's not a perfect match for where I'm at, and I do want to go in a different direction from what he's best suited for, but that's almost ended up being a good thing. It's getting me out of my hyper-focused dressage mindset. And it's doing me the world of good to just get on and walk around on a loose rein. I'm connecting with just feeling the physical sensations and being aware of what's going on during my riding again, if that makes sense, but even that sounds too much like dressage-y homework. It's nice to enjoy being at the barn, to feel like I'm in control of my horse-related activities, and that this isn't another set of obligations. He's affectionate, and easy to work with, so groundwork and grooming is super-rewarding for both of us. And at the end of the day it feels great to be able to walk away. I don't get the payoff of having *my* horse, and I don't get to make decisions. But he's in a good situation with a good owner, so I don't worry about him like I have with the other two horses I've share-boarded. I don't come home from the barn and fret about his tack, or his training, or what he's being fed, or what's going on with his feet. I don't feel pressure to go out to see/work with him. (Sorry this is mostly about me, but I hope it helps!)
It sounds like you know a lot of horse people in your area. Maybe spending time hanging out with them at the barn, or grooming for them at shows, or volunteering for a working-student type situation with a former trainer, barn, farrier, vet, saddle fitter etc. is an option? As the saying goes, "God loves a trier." And it sounds like you're more likely to come across something suitable through word of mouth than by cold-calling sellers you found on the internet.
Whatever direction you decide to take, good luck! And if this isn't a good time for horses in your life, don't worry about it. Horses will still be here if you decide to come back.
Last edited by West End Girl; Mar. 28, 2013 at 03:35 AM.