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Pros and cons of buying the teenaged horse

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  • Pros and cons of buying the teenaged horse

    I've been shopping for a 3' hunter for a few months on a limited budget, so much of what I've found in my price range is either green or older. Being a somewhat timid rider, I know I'd enjoy riding the been-there-done-that schoolmaster over a baby greenie with all their antics. (Ideally, I'd find a nice, quiet baby, but again, the budget thing.) However, buying something that's older gives me pause, because I can only comfortably afford to board/show one horse right now. (I understand older horses often require maintenance... that's not a problem either.) My issue is, in a few years when teenaged horse can no longer do the job, I won't be able to retire that one AND buy something new. I don't own a farm or anything, so turning it into pasture puff when retirement comes is not an option for me. I don't know if I want to get into the whole lease scenario, either -- have seen that go wrong too many times.

    So, my questions: For those who have bought horses in their teens, pros/cons? What do you do in a couple years when they can no longer do the job, and you don't have the resources to retire them AND afford another to ride? Is there much of a market for a safe but older teenaged packer who can jump 2'6" at best?

    A former client of my trainer's recently approached him about selling her kid's 13 y/o children's hunter. He's easy, quiet, in my price range, knows his job and according to trainer, I'd get along with him very well. I saw a video and horse looks like my type. Just debating whether I want to go try him...

  • #2
    I've been looking for the same thing. Generally they're 20-30k for something that's around 14-17, in zone 4 that's fancy and does his job well. Personally I'd ask if they'd be willing to do a lease or lease to purchase.
    Mendokuse

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    • #3
      Well depends on the shape said horse is in. With a good ppe they can tell you what's going on if anything and said horse may have years and years left. I had one I rode until he was 30 and he was great and fine. That being said you can always get a younger one also and they it has an injury that makes it done and needs to be retired. Anything can happen.
      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

      Comment


      • #4
        If you have a really tight budget and are going to be doing 3' or at least 2'6" regularly between shows and lessons? Like 2 lessons a week and 1 or 2 shows a month? And need a schoolmaster type.

        Honestly, I'd lease. And I did. 3 of them as I moved up.

        While 13 is not "old" it's getting to where you will have to do some maintainance to keep him comfortable. That adds...say...at least $50 a month if you pro rate it, closer to $100 a month for most of them if you get into injectables and joint injections.

        And you will need to budget around a ballpark 800 for a decent PPE to make sure he does have some use left for you.

        He probably cannot move you up if you want to, more likely he will need to move down to 2'6" within a few years.

        If that suits you and he vets it's fine. But that's the reality of teen aged horses. Depends on what you want.

        Again, I'd lease until proficient at 3' and then buy Green.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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        • #5
          One thing to keep in mind is that buying a younger horse does not guarantee a longer riding life. Not one bit, really. Honestly, I think the older campaigners with known maintenance issues that have been successfully going around jumping the heights you want to jump are a MUCH safer bet than a younger horse that you are hoping to move up, etc.

          I mean, I have a 7 year old that I bought as a 3 year old. He passed his pre-purchase just fine. Then pulled a suspensory as a four year old, then fell while being lunged, then backed into an arena drag, and on and on. And this is a horse that I am VERY careful with (sadly, most of his injuries occured with trainers...so we are especially careful about THAT piece of things now)! Stuff happens. He is sound for my present purposes, but I have had to back off of what I initially bought him to do (at least be a 3' hunter) and I have to do a lot to maintain him, even at this young age.

          EVERY horse is just one pasture accident away from a career ending injury, and many young horses have weird unsoundnesses that are tough to pin down.

          I say, buy your slightly aged packer-type and enjoy! If you have to retire the horse earlier than anticipated, at least you won't have to maintain a pasture puff from a very young age. When my horse pulled his suspensory at age four...well...it was tough to swallow the possiblity that I might be maintaining a pasture ornament for 20+ years (which I would have done if it had come to that...love this horse...and I can also only afford one horse at a time).

          Comment


          • #6
            Leasing a 3' packer is also a great idea! Maybe even see if the people selling the 13 year old horse would be open to a lease? In either event, I would at least go try the 13 year old.

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            • #7
              Don't get me wrong, I had my mare going at 3' from age 11 to 16 and another 4 years at 2'6" after that-she got a DDFT at age 21 screwing around in the field or she'd still be going. And I had younger horses retire at age 6 with injury. That part is a crap shoot.

              But OP says she is on a limited budget and specifically said 3'. She has to consider additional costs with the older one as well as potential performance degradation over the next 3 to 5 years. My mare was over that 100 a month (Legend, then Lubrisyn, joint injections about every 16 months to start down to yearly, NSAIDS as needed, various other oral supplements) when I averaged it out. That was actually less then others at the barn, never needed the fancy orthopedic shoes and pads.

              If a person can only have one horse and is on that tight budget? Don't think outright purchase of that 13 year old is the best way. Lease, get better and then take whatever direction she wants as far as ownership.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment


              • #8
                I suppose...although I spend a LOT more to maintain my 7 year old than my friend pays to maintain her 14 year old. Mine has had a few instances of bad luck, and, well, his acute injuries have started to take their toll...and...well, let's just say he isn't stoic.

                But, really, if you are worried about risks and the costs of retirement, etc., leasing is the way to go for sure.

                I have leased a lot and personally kind of hate it because I become so attached and it is hard for me when the lease is over. Some people have no problem with that, and in that case, leasing is a super smart option.

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                • #9
                  Oh, I got attached to them...but I board out, always have. Cannot carry 2 horses so when I needed those old schoolmasters to move me to 3'? I had to lease them or be willing to just stop riding-which I was not willing to do. Think they were 17, 24 and 16 when I had them.

                  When I bought that mare, I was in my early 50s and knew she was the last (over fences anyway) and I would keep her. She was also supposed to be 9 and 16h and turned out to be 10 turning 11 in 2 months when I got the papers...and 15.3 on tiptoes.

                  I gather OP is younger and wants to progress.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To lease will cost you about 1/3 of the horse's purchase price per year. So mathematically speaking, you get your "money's worth" out of the horse if you are able to ride/show it for 3 years. A good PPE will give you an idea if you can realistically expect to still be doing the 3' until the horse is 16... presuming that you have no interest in moving up. There are plenty of 16yr olds who can still show in the adult hunters. There are also quite a few who start to step down at that age and are more comfortable in the 2'6 divisions and below. I think this also comes down to looking ahead to your next horse purchase when this one is done. Will you have more money to buy another or are you counting on funds from the sale of this horse to help you buy something new? If so, how much money do you need/want to get in order to get another 3' horse, a baby, a move up horse, etc.? If you are fine with walking away from this guy having sold him as an aged packer for very little money or having donated him to a lesson program, then maybe it could work. If you want to recoup some of your initial investment, I might be hesitant to purchase a 13 soon to be 14yr old and would look into a year lease instead. Good luck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Least in my case, my trainers negotiated far less then 1/3 of what would have been the asking price had these been for sale (which they were not)...and the 2 oldest ones were darn cheap but would have ended up way more expensive to own due to long term medical needs.

                      Leases can be alot more negotiable when it's older and/or not as sound as it used to be and a hard sell. Particularly if it stays in the barn. Almost down to nothing.
                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My answer would also depend on where you are now as a rider. You mention you want a 3' horse, but do you need one that is going to take you up to 3', or are you already comfortable there?
                        My story: I never rode as a kid, so when I was looking for my first horse I needed something that could teach me & bring me along. The horse I feel in love with & eventually bought was 15 when I bought him. He took be from my first crossrails show to schooling 2'3. However, when we tried to go up from there he developed a high hind suspensory issue. He is now a pasture puff (well we walk around the farm a couple times a week to keep him moving). The amount that he taught me is worth every penny I have ever spent on him, but knowing what I know now...
                        I would have leased something to take me up in heights. I am also one of those that can only afford one horse at a time & currently this very much limits what I am able to do because I will never sell my current horse. So, I am a "lesson kid" right now. I ride one of the barn owners lesson horses (luckily I get along with her very well) & I show that horse when I can. My horse is a pretty healthy pasture puff, so I don't see myself being in the market for a new horse anytime soon & that is a decision you have to be OK with if you decide to purchase a teen horse.
                        I agree with both F8 & FineAlready - leasing is sometimes a very good option if it is not a situation where you know you will be able to keep or maintain the horse for the remainder of it's life
                        Life is hard. Buy a freaking helmet.
                        Originally posted by meupatdoes
                        Whatever, go gallop.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'd say lease. Especially if you are thinking you're going to be looking for something else in the next year or two.
                          Originally posted by rustbreeches
                          [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just my story here-
                            I showed my heart horse in the 3' until he was 19 with no more maintenance than cosequin in his feed and chiro work every 2 months.
                            My guy was so much fun because i could count on him. I still have him, he is 28, and while I am fortunate enough to have others, I wouldn't go back and change anything if I knew i wouldn't be able to have multiples!
                            He was the best thing to ever happen to my riding career. He tought me so much!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by findeight View Post

                              Leases can be alot more negotiable when it's older and/or not as sound as it used to be and a hard sell. Particularly if it stays in the barn. Almost down to nothing.
                              Yep. Or less than nothing. I have been in situations where I basically pay a flat rate that is far less than board alone (much less, shoes, vet, etc.) but have full access to the horse just as I would in a traditional full lease situation. That has happened more with green horses than with older horses, but I did a modified version of this once with a 3' horse that had some miles.

                              ETA - don't underestimate the value of being a really good fit for a horse that someone really cares about and/or being capable of keeping someone's nice horse going for a period of time while they look to sell it.
                              Last edited by FineAlready; Aug. 14, 2012, 03:08 PM. Reason: Added

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                One thing to keep in mind is that buying a younger horse does not guarantee a longer riding life. Not one bit, really. Honestly, I think the older campaigners with known maintenance issues that have been successfully going around jumping the heights you want to jump are a MUCH safer bet than a younger horse that you are hoping to move up, etc.
                                ...

                                I say, buy your slightly aged packer-type and enjoy! If you have to retire the horse earlier than anticipated, at least you won't have to maintain a pasture puff from a very young age.
                                I agree with this completely.
                                "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                -Edward Hoagland

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The best horse I owned was 12 when we bought him. He took me from my first-ever jumper class to schooling 3'6 to 4' in lessons. I never ever would have sold him but made the difficult decision not to move him when I got transferred overseas. He's now 15+ and packing around a new kid in the 2'6 and still sound and happy (could still jump higher but owner is a rank beginner).
                                  My young horse has cost me a ton in vet bills where as my older (now 11) mare (purchased as a 10yo pasture puff) is sound, has no issues and is packing me around 3' regularly. And I may even move up to 3'6 with her next year, depending on *me* not her (she clearly has scope, stride, and desire to jump higher). While an older horse certainly has the potential to cost more in maintenance fees, the skills/confidence gained from a safe and fun packer more than out-weigh those IMO, as generally an 8yo with the same record and safety factor will cost FAR more than a teenaged version of the same model. A younger budget horse may cost less in injections/corrective shoes, but may cost far more in Trainer Rides, extra schools at a horse show, etc. My first horse was still jumping around Xrails for a school program in his early 30s, and as many previous posters have said, a 7yo can have a career-ending injury or illness. I say buy the horse that's closest to your level of need/want that your budget can support, and if that horse is a sound teenager (with a comprehensive record of health and maintenance requirements) I would go for it.
                                  A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

                                  http://elementfarm.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by RomeosGirl View Post
                                    My answer would also depend on where you are now as a rider. You mention you want a 3' horse, but do you need one that is going to take you up to 3', or are you already comfortable there?
                                    I need one to move up on. I did the 3' briefly as a junior before I went to college, then took a few years off and started riding again about a year ago. I've just been riding random horses in the barn (some of whom jump 3', but I've mostly been stuck at 2'6"-2'9"). I also leased a horse for a couple months who ended up lame before my lease was up. Nothing in my riding has been consistent since I started again, which is why I'm really looking forward to having my own!

                                    Thanks to all for the input.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                                      Yep. Or less than nothing. I have been in situations where I basically pay a flat rate that is far less than board alone (much less, shoes, vet, etc.) but have full access to the horse just as I would in a traditional full lease situation. That has happened more with green horses than with older horses, but I did a modified version of this once with a 3' horse that had some miles.

                                      ETA - don't underestimate the value of being a really good fit for a horse that someone really cares about and/or being capable of keeping someone's nice horse going for a period of time while they look to sell it.
                                      ^^This

                                      Remember, there are lots of kids going off to college that don't want to sell but also don't want to come home to their winning 3' hunter having turned into a pasture pony. Leasing a horse in this type of situation may be a really great option for you. You may show less in the summer while the kid is home but in the meantime you may be able to maximize the type of horse/experience you would have until you are ready to find your "forever" horse. Or you may be even luckier and find a horse that will be available all year while the kid is in college

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I would strongly recommend leasing in your situation. The horse you leased came up lame and you gave it back....but what if you owned that horse....

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