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Turning a negative into a postive...sorta

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  • Turning a negative into a postive...sorta

    To make a long sad story short, I've recently found out that there is no surgery or treatment that will make my mare better and the vet reccommends euthanasia. Of course I'm heartbroken and extremely disappointed, especially after the mare had surgery and 6 hours a day of aftercare for 3 weeks, and then antibiotics twice a day for another month. I did all the aftercare following the surgery.

    I feel as if I should say 'I'm done with horses,' especially since I've had a bad run of luck with them lately. (Lost this mare's foal two years ago due to broken neck and a couple other losses). But I don't feel ready to give up horses yet. I guess the high's still outweigh the lows.

    My budget to get another horse right now is pretty much nil, especially after the amount I spent on my mare (worth every penny btw). All I could afford right now is a real green bean off the track. Or perhaps a free lease on another green bean.

    Or I was thinking about partboarding a really well trained horse and get weekly lessons with a top notch trainer. Although I've ridden for 15+ years, I've never really ridden very well trained horses for any length of time. I can start horses under saddle, get them jumping a small course and going nicely undersaddle. But that's it. I've spent many years without consistent coaching and I would really love to work on my position on the flat and over jumps. And work on becoming a more effective rider. Perhaps learn more about adjustibility between fences, how to ride different types of fences, shoulder in, haunches in, a good leg yield, turn on haunches etc. Really just develop a rock solid position over fences and develop a good seat where I'm a positive influence on the horse rather than just a passenger. I'm really dedicated to becoming a better rider.

    My one concern is adjusting to being the part boarder and not the owner. I don't think I would have that much of a problem. And it might actually be a relief to not be the person primarily responsible for a horse for once.
    Another consideration, is that the available trainer is just as important as the horse.

    How do I go about finding a horse that is well trained? Most ads I see for partboarding are for lesser trained hacking horses (not a problem with them, but not what I'm looking to do), or don't quite have the level of training I'm looking for. I can understand people not wanting to partboard their well trained horse to someone who is not a fantastic rider for fear of ruining their horse. (I would be working with a trainer, but don't currently have one).

    I would imagine that people with a well trained horse that they're considering part boarding would not advertise and would likely get a part boarder through word of mouth, or through their trainer. Problem is, I don't know very many people in the horse world, so I would have to put up a wanted ad of my own.

    Does anyone have any ideas how to write an ad conveying the type of horse and coaching I'm looking for without being overly wordy? Or make it seem like I'm a horrible rider that would ruin their horse? I'm not, I just need some fine tuning and am a very compassionate/sensitive rider.

    thanks for your help

  • #2
    I'm not going to guess your age, but the following advice isn't age-specific, so here goes: NEVER declare to yourself what you "can't" or "couldn't" do with horses. ALWAYS keep your options open to experience different types of riding, ownership, lease situations, lessons, clinics, even working student experiences.Are there any trainers in your area with whom you'd jump at the chance to ride? Why not contact them, sign up for half a dozen lessons, and once you've gotten to see how they run their barn and how the teaching goes, see if there are any options for part-leasing, working off lessons, or just helping out the trainer in exchange for rides on her horses?You're right, it is kind of hard to just put yourself out there as a person willing to ride and looking for the opportunity. I personally wouldn't just offer rides on my horses to just anyone, but I will, can, and have done so, repeatedly, for people who are vouched for by my trainer. I have more horses than I can ride, as do many people, but although I hear offers almost weekly of someone whose daughter, neighbor, friend, etc. is "looking for a horse to ride" I mostly don't respond to those because I have NO IDEA what sort of skill set they have. But if my trainer recommended someone, I would look no further for an endorsement because my trainer knows my horses and wouldn't send someone unsuitable to ride them.Now might be a good time to hook up with a trainer who can help you keep moving forward and provide you with some opportunities. Ownership isn't the only way to stay active with horses, believe me. Good luck!
    Click here before you buy.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks, Deltawave.

      Actually there is a eventing trainer that I was taking lessons from two years ago. I stopped because I couldn't afford the lessons and the board of my horse. I will send an email to the trainer asking her if there are any horses available for part board in her barn, or if she has any other suggestions.

      I just want to clarify, that I didn't mean I wouldn't ride a 'hacking' horse if the owner graciously offered their horse to me for riding, I just meant I'm not in a position to pay for that right now. If I'm going to spend money it would be for a well trained horse and good trainer. Or just lessons with a good trainer.


      • #4
        A couple of years ago, when I had no horses of riding age at home with me, I started going to a local h/j trainer's barn for a weekly lesson on a school horse. I wanted to keep riding and I figured, riding is riding.

        My situation was sort of like yours, I'd done a lot with my own horses at various stages but I'd never really focused on myself as rider. It was all about the horse. Suddenly, I found myself paying more attention to my legs, my hands, unlearning lots of habits, etc.

        Two years later, even with two horses of my own to ride, I'm still taking my weekly lesson on a school horse. I've made great progress with the pony I ride (she used to bolt something awful) and I'll dare to say my form and effectiveness have made some real improvements.

        Taking lessons is a good way to stay in horses, with as much or as little commitment as you like, while you figure our your next move.

        Also, I'm very sorry to hear about your mare. It sounds like you really tried and I hope you can find some comfort in that.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by JER View Post
          Taking lessons is a good way to stay in horses, with as much or as little commitment as you like, while you figure our your next move.

          Also, I'm very sorry to hear about your mare. It sounds like you really tried and I hope you can find some comfort in that.
          Good advice about doing lessons while waiting to figure out my next step with horses.
          With partboarding I was hoping to have two practice rides per week plus one lesson per week. I was thinking riding once a week in a lesson may not allow enough time in saddle, but it's definitely a start. Especially to establish a relationship with a good trainer, who could help me get a partboard on a horse, or perhaps even a lease (paid or not) over the next year or so.

          And thanks about my mare. yes I did really try. I read countless journal articles, and I emailed the corresponding authors with questions or asked for suggestions.

          ETA: I think there may be a regional difference in the definition of partboard. In my area, it usually means splitting the cost of board in exchange for riding. Usually, 50% of board for half the riding time (2-3 times per week) and the cost of lessons on top of that.

          I'm certainly not expecting to ride someones well trained horse for free! But I certainly wouldn't say no either


          • #6
            What is your location, may I ask? I keep those horses in stock in my barn for my kids to learn on and adults like you to half lease to keep the expenses down for said kids.

            If you're not in my backyard, you might consider finding a nice horse to full lease (they're out there, trust me) and then find yourself a part boarder (making sure the owner knows you're planning this) to help you with the expenses once you have said horse in your grasp.
            Big Idea Eventing


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by eponacowgirl View Post
              What is your location, may I ask? I keep those horses in stock in my barn for my kids to learn on and adults like you to half lease to keep the expenses down for said kids.

              If you're not in my backyard, you might consider finding a nice horse to full lease (they're out there, trust me) and then find yourself a part boarder (making sure the owner knows you're planning this) to help you with the expenses once you have said horse in your grasp.
              I'm located in Ontario, Canada. A bit too far of a drive.

              However, the SO is finishing up his phD and is applying for jobs all over North America, and we may just end up in the US. Which, is another reason to not buy another horse in case we have to move far.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Karosel View Post
                I was thinking riding once a week in a lesson may not allow enough time in saddle, but it's definitely a start. Especially to establish a relationship with a good trainer, who could help me get a partboard on a horse, or perhaps even a lease (paid or not) over the next year or so.
                A trainer might appreciate your skills on one of their school horses. A couple of good rides a week goes a long way to making a horse more beginner-friendly or kid-tolerant -- and the trainer will appreciate this.

                Currently, I ride a senior Morgan mare who used to lead with an iron jaw and liked to bolt in the vicinity of jumps. We've made huge improvements in a year and she's now able to accommodate more levels of students. She's a very nice mare, so it's been rewarding for me as well.


                • #9
                  Dear Karosel -- Very sorry to hear about your mare. If you've done everything that can be done, don't be hard on yourself.

                  Part-leasing can be a great and less burdensome way to ride. I agree w/ what Deltawave and JER say about having an open mind about what is worth trying, and how there are many kinds of opportunities if you are known to owners as a conscientious and kind rider.

                  After I'd ridden a couple of times a week at a local lesson barn for over a year, I was ready to do more, and at a friend's advice, I placed an ad looking for a part lease horse. I got a number of really neat offers, and I tried a horse who was boarded at a local eventing barn where I could get lessons from a reputable trainer, and it was the best thing ever. I was a much greener rider than it sounds like you are, but my point is, ads can work too if you can provide references (and of course check places and people out from your side too).

                  In this economy, there are many owners who with the right rider would be thrilled to keep their horse in steady work and cut their costs a little.
                  I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                  I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                  • #10
                    Another option for you -- I have a horse for sale, advertised in all the usual places (don't worry, this isn't an ad -- he doesn't want to be an eventer any more ).

                    About 3 hours after the ad went up, I got a call from someone whose daughter is a student at a local university. She was apparently an accomplished dressage rider but had not ridden in school and had had surgery due to a sports injury...so she was looking to partlease a well behaved dressage horse to begin to get her skills and strength back.

                    They were happy to do a lease contingent on his sale. I had the girl come out for a test drive. She's a nice rider and a lovely and responsible young lady. She loves my horse. I wish she could buy him, but she's on her way to vet school.
                    In the meantime, she is happily part leasing him while he is for sale.

                    So...check out your local sales ads - you never know. I know not everyone with a horse for sale would be amenable to this arrangement, but some of us are. My horse is very easy going and I felt confident that if I thought she was a good rider, she could ride him without "ruining" him for sale (and although he's a nice dressage horse, he really wants to be a foxhunter, so it's a low risk anyway that schooling half pass with someone else will put a dent in his hunting cred...)

                    Worth a try, anyway...

                    I will say that this young lady had scores I could independently verify with USDF at a level beyond what my horse has competed at....it is a harder sell without that sort of independent credential, but that was enough to get her the test drive....
                    The big man -- my lost prince

                    The little brother, now my main man