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How much to pay for a kids horse

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  • How much to pay for a kids horse

    This is kinda a spin on the horse price thread in h/j. Got me to thinking, if you could afford it, and you had a horse crazy kid who could ride, would you, or do you think it is a good idea to buy a high dollar horse for your kid? Or would you keep with the cheaper "diamond in the rough" kinda horse. I have my own ideas, but was wondering what everyone else thought.

  • #2
    Too many variables on this one to make a generalization. We've done both at different times.

    It all depends on the kid, where the kid is at with his or her riding skills, what the emotional development of the kid is, how rough the diamond is, is the high dollar horse a schoolmaster, who the kid is training with and is the trainer able to support the diamond in the rough - you can go on and on with the list.



    • Original Poster

      Fair enough, but I guess I must admit, I have always been of the mind set that you don't learn as much riding a "made" horse. Plus, the more money you spend, the more it looses that "fun" factor that is so important to developing a childs horse skills. It is true, we do have excellent instruction on our not so excellent ponies, but I was just thinking, that even if I could afford it, I don't think I would want to spend alot of money on a horse and miss out on all these wonderful training skills we are learning.
      People around us a making different decisions and I was thinking....am I missing something here?


      • #4
        I wouldn't say that you can't learn as much on a made horse - the one made horse my son ever had came along at a time when he really needed a huge confidence boost and what he learned from her has been as valuable as the lessons he is learning now with his big green baby diamond.

        I'd like to think that it's the parent's job to keep everything in perspective and keep re-directing the child's focus onto what ever the long term goal for eventing is. . . personal growth, creating and enhancing a partnership, etc. - but we all know that that's a perfect world where all is fair and I can eat anything and still wear a size 3.



        • #5
          Expensive in the event world does not mean "made". It can mean a variety of things. In an upper level prospect or competitor it means talent, not necessarily rideability. Even the most expensive horses can have a lot to teach to a rider that is capable of learning and riding the horse.

          A safe amateur horse in the event world is worth it's weight in gold. Personally for a yr or kid I'd be looking at a horse that is talented, capable, will help out a rider if they get in a sticky situation, but won't make up for a rider that doesn't ride. AKA, rider comes into something that horse is unsure of and has no leg. Horse stops. Rider learns valuable lesson which would otherwise not be learned if horse had jumped anyway.

          When shopping for the next horse anyway it really depends if you are looking for THAT horse to take the rider all the way, or if a horse that is capable of say to training or prelim safely is what is being looked at right now.

          I just get annoyed when people think because someone paid a good price on an event horse that it is push button and easy...


          • #6
            I ride a "made" horse, and she's the hardest horse I've ever ridden as she demands I do everything correctly...
            "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


            • #7
              I would buy an expensive horse for a kid who was a good rider, responsible, and willing to work hard and not expect everything ELSE to be handed to them any day. I don't see why not, as long as you don't spoil them with too much else, ie custom tack/supplies/clothing everything, free ride for board at 1k+ a month, all the lessons/clinics/events they can stomach.

              But I have nothing against giving a kid a chance on an awesome horse.
              Hell hath no fury like a chestnut thoroughbred mare .



              • #8
                Originally posted by eventmom View Post
                I have always been of the mind set that you don't learn as much riding a "made" horse...
                People around us a making different decisions and I was thinking....am I missing something here?
                You are not the first to make such a comment, however, it is my daughter's dressage instructor's pet peeve to hear. She believes that only people who haven't ridden a "made" horse would make such a statement, and the best way to learn to ride correctly is on a well trained and well behaved horse.

                Both her dressage and eventing instructors talk about how they have to retrain people to ride when they finally get a decent horse, because bad habits have come from defensive riding.

                Also, why wouldn't you put what is most precious in this world to you on the best and safest mount you could find and afford? Not that the most expensive horses are the best.

                On a personal note, my daughter has always ridden "naughty", but talented horses. When her horse is good, they can't be beat. But when he throws his tantrums, I sometimes question if I am a "good" mother for putting her at such a risk. Everyone around thinks we paid three to five times what we did for our horse and how if their kid had it, they would be winning. They have no idea how much effort it is to ride the horse. I would consider him "made", but not an easy ride. She learns to be a correct rider, or will not get the correct performance. She is the one who makes the horse looks like it is "made". If a horse looks good, give credit to its rider. A great horse will only stay a great horse with good riding.

                We should all make responsible decisions when buying our children's horse. It is not the price we pay but the quality and kindness of the horse that should matter.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Eventingjunkie View Post
                  the best way to learn to ride correctly is on a well trained and well behaved horse.
                  Bingo! This captures my thoughts exactly. I like your instructor.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks guys, great answers. The problem for me is that I came to horses as an adult. So, while I consider myself to have lots of common sense, I don't have much in the way of horse knowledge, especially as it relates to my kids as they are moving forward.
                    Pegasusmom, I agree with you about a parents job of directing and goal setting. I imagine that if I had grown up riding this would come easier. As it is, I have had to surround myself (and my kids) with excellence. But sometimes, people make choices that you wouldn't make, and I needed to sort through the information.
                    EventingJunkie. I suppose if what you are paying for is "safety" than money makes sense on some level. But that is not what I am seeing. Anyway, I have kinda taken the attitude that I wanted my kid to learn how to stay on while still low to the ground on a pony!


                    • #11
                      I am shopping now for my daughter who is ready to move up to a different caliber horse. My trainer wants something that has gone well at training and schooling prelim. He feels that a horse like this can bring her along through the ranks correctly. In his words, you learn a little from your instructors, but your horses, they are are the ones that really teach you. You need one to show you the ropes, then you are ready to show one of them the ropes. Pretty sound advice.

                      That being said, everyone has their budget and you get the nicest horse you are able to afford. I've noted (luckily) most people at Horse Trials don't give a rats rear what you paid for your horse, something I was asked quite frequently when I showed on the hunter circuit (about 100 years ago!).

                      As a side note, I am coming off of buying a pony for my younger daughter who is a natural, she needed something with some talent. When you are looking for that in a medium package, CHA-CHING. Anyone who needs some really great convincing words for their spouses, I have them at the ready from this experience!

                      **it is NOT my intention to look for horses for sale with this. Thank you for respecting that as I intend to follow the rules!**
                      Last edited by Picasso; May. 14, 2007, 08:36 PM. Reason: Disclaimer that I am not fishing for horses for sale, just in case.
                      RG Equestrian


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Picasso View Post
                        Anyone who needs some really great convincing words for their spouses, I have them at the ready from this experience!
                        Please, share!


                        • #13
                          Not that I'm at the kid stage yet, but reflecting on my own experience, I wouldn't say either one is "better"--you learn different, maybe equally valuable things from each. The following are generalizations, but pretty close to my experience.

                          From a greenie, you learn stickability, how to train a horse from and to a certain point, and how to adapt to what can seem like a different horse every ride.

                          From a more "made" horse, you learn what "correct" feels like, you learn how to ride with more finesse and less defensively, how to deal with more subtle evasions, and you can focus on yourself as a rider more.

                          Now, if you're working with solid trainers and get lucky with soundness, etc. hopefully you can learn how to make a greenie into a "made" horse, but it still helps to have a reference point for what is "correct."

                          My background is that I rode my first year in hunters on a made, older pony who was a stopper but otherwise easy, and I could hop on him bareback and canter around the pastures in the summer. Then I outgrew him and went on to greenies for years. When I went to college, I did IHSA, so rode a bunch of different horses, but most of them were either rather green or more in the realm of lesson horses. Through all of this, I had mostly decent trainers, but not great. After college I got a mare who had gone Training and done well, and I've had her for over six years now. I've learned a heck of a lot from her, but until relatively recently, I didn't necessarily know how to improve her. Finally found a great trainer and, especially in the dressage, I feel like I'm finally figuring out how to be an effective rider with some finesse.

                          This mare is not an easy ride, but she (a) is honest over fences, (b) had some good training at some point, and (c) has a great work ethic.

                          A lot also depends on what kind of training/coaching you as a rider are getting, but I think I would have been a better rider sooner if I'd had the chance to ride more good "made" horses.

                          On the other hand, having ridden the greenies means I can stick through my mare's occasional tantrums, and I appreciate her more when she's good!!
                          Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


                          • Original Poster

                            Picasso, the thing is, trainers ALWAYS want you to buy more horse.
                            1. because it makes them look good to have their students looking better.
                            2. because they are in the business so often either selling or connected to someone selling horses!
                            3. It's easier and funner to work with the better horses. (and if their lucky, they might get to ride it!)
                            I'm sorry, but these trainers aren't going to be the ones buying the horse.
                            Grasshopper, thank you. I know there is a lot to learn on every horse. And money is not necessarily going to be the solution.
                            I guess the point is this, that you should buy the best horse you can to meet your kids need at the time, but the best horse does not always have to be the most expensive horse.
                            I just think I am seeing people try to buy their kids way to the top. Scarey


                            • #15
                              Picasso, the thing is, trainers ALWAYS want you to buy more horse.
                              1. because it makes them look good to have their students looking better.
                              2. because they are in the business so often either selling or connected to someone selling horses!
                              3. It's easier and funner to work with the better horses. (and if their lucky, they might get to ride it!)
                              I have no doubt many trainers operate this way. I am very lucky to have a trainer that is both very well connected and very down to earth. He has called me nuts on more than one occasion when I have brought him prospects that he has said are way more than what we need right now. He also has a horse that I can't afford to pet, and I don't think he is looking for easier, heck, he is teaching me ! He is a family friend, too, so I am sure that helps in my case.
                              RG Equestrian


                              • #16
                                Quotes used whilst buying the golden (not literally) pony

                                1. This child is a prodigy. It is our jobs as parents to provide her with the tools that match her ability. (this one worked the best. I didn't even laugh)

                                2. She got her first two ponies because her sister outgrew them. Doesn't she deserve to have her very own pony at least ONCE?

                                3. If we do this right, it will pay for College through scholarships. ( )

                                4. Its tough, I know, but its a harsh world out there. You are judged by the breeches you wear, the tack you own and the pony you ride. Don't you want your daughter to have everything that we can control going for her? (that was a flashback to my hunter days).

                                and the classic:

                                5. You get what you pay for. If you want something cheap, that's fine, but she isn't going to be able to compete the way she should. (guilt, guilt)
                                RG Equestrian


                                • #17
                                  Lord, my "made" horse has taught me more than any human instructor ever could have. Made doesn't necessarily mean "easy"...she's a danged difficult ride on the flat (for me, anyhow!) and definitely has her quirks, demands, and preferences.

                                  I think every kid deserves a saintly horse that is forgiving, fun, and can show them how to have a good time. I'd much rather start a kid off with one of those and have them move along to a tougher, greener, or more challenging horse later.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    Different kids have different ideas of what's fun. Of the kids I've been around in the past few years, one got a drop-dead gorgeous TB who melted down at events. She got eliminated over and over and finally got a greener horse with no baggage and is finally successful. She wanted something she could event, not something who could be great at home and a fruitloop away, so the new horse is finally fun for her. Kid #2 had a made pony, mom couldn't afford a made horse, but they bought temperament over training and he is EVERYTHING she could ask for. She has had to learn to work much harder with him than she did with her pony and she has grown up tremendously. Kid #3 is not a natural athlete, determined in her own way but has a lot of fear issues. Her best friend eats nails for breakfast. Kid #3 is going to stick with the older, experienced, sweet caretaker mare this summer while Best Friend rides the spitfire pony, and they'll both have a ball with the horse that's right for them. A year ago, the nail-eating Best Friend was more of a nail-biting best friend, and the spitfire pony would have terrified her. A year on the caretaker mare has changed her whole outlook.

                                    So I guess instead of focusing on how much to spend, I encourage the parents to think about what their kid really needs for the next couple years and then figure out how to get it. And I always make it really clear that the "how much money" and "how much time" questions are a FAMILY decision, because it's the whole family that's affected by the money and time sink of horses! And it's got to be FUN. Nobody should have to drag their kid to the barn, to ride the $1,000 horse or the $10,000 horse.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I am feeling a bit like I mislead you guys with my question. My daughters do have ponies. Didn't pay much for either. One is a nutcase that was passed from the older to the younger. Very kind, very athletic and very fun pony. You just gotta manage his strange fear issues. My kids jump on him bareback all the time. He has taught them so much. He is pretty tough and can put up with all they stuff young hands can dish out.
                                      The next pony we got was $700 at the auction. This pony was a move up for my older daughter. She is taking him beginner novice this year/ He is a good jumper. Very green when we got him a year and a half ago. But she is learning so much on him with regular instruction
                                      We just bought older daughter her first horse at the auction this spring. Got a good price on the mare but have not been able to do much with her as we are sorting her out. She is VERY kind and we think very athletic. We are told she was schooling 4 feet and not blinking. The problem is that she was a bit over faced so we will have to spend the summer correcting the bad training.
                                      My daughter is 10 and an excellent rider for her age. We are looking forward to this new project this summer. She will have to move up this fall as her legs are moving down!
                                      The thing is, I am starting to get people noticing my daughters skills and everyone wants to sell you a horse. Also, people around us are spending more than I would want to pay for a horse.
                                      I think if we were to put that much money in, it would change our view of things. " Oh, don't go on that trail ride, she might get hurt". Or even "gotta work on this or that today kid, we have a lot of money in that horse" I don't know, seems like a lot of pressure for a kid.
                                      Also, while I am not a fearful person, I am very concerned about over facing her. She is having so much fun on her pony, I don't want her to loose that with a horse. So, it was very important to me that her first horse be first and foremost kind and sane.
                                      I am watching her peers buy horses (none of her horsey peers are her age) and I just keep thinking I would not make the decisions that they are making.
                                      Buying young warmbloods that are supposed to be safe and quit. One friend can't ride the horse they bought now because he is turning into a jerk. (appears to have been wrong started).
                                      I sure want to support my childs love of the sport. She does work very hard and is quite talented. I worry about making a mistake or not seeing something. Opportunites come and go. I feel so nieve. I go with my gut and then turn around and see people spending so much money on horses I would never put my kid on. Or maybe I just don't trust horses as much as I should?


                                      • #20
                                        I now have one "green one" and one "made" one and I can't believe what I must have done to be so lucky to rec'd the later one.

                                        He has some maintenance issues and is not easy AT ALL but I at least know that if I push the right buttons I will get the right response. My analogy is I am a toddler with a toy and I am poking and prodding and when I get a response that looks good I try and back track and figure out what I did!

                                        The green one is teaching me a lot on finessing rides but the made one is actually teaching me how to event and how to train the green one.

                                        If you can you will only made your daughter's riding career/journey faster if you get a schoolmaster. A schoolmaster and a packer are two totally different things and I would go with the first. She will learn more and be a better rider due to it.

                                        Grab mane and kick on!