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Poll: finished horse or young with talent for a returning-rider

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  • #21
    It really depends on what you feel comfortable with. We can all give you advice but It really boils down to what you want.

    Here are some things I would consider:
    1. Time commitments - how much time do you have to devote. Both types of horses require different things.
    2. What are you goals and how each type of horse fits in to that.
    -Along those lines: Are you goals to work on your position? Pr work on bringing a new horse along?
    3. Budget, while a young horse cost less you will need to spend more in training.

    Another thing to consider if you outgrow a horse in 3-4 years, you can always sell it for a project horse.


    • #22
      I will be in this situation (well, not 25 years, but still!) sooner than later, and I've come to the conclusion that I have enjoyed the hot, sensitive horses long enough, and I now prefer something that will forgive my mistakes and will save my butt!

      I will likely begin with a partial lease, then move to a full lease, and then (if the stars align just right), purchase a MADE, SAFE and hopefully SOUND horse - or pony.
      Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
      W. C. Fields


      • Original Poster

        This is a great response. I feel like leaping, but think this idea makes more sense. I really appreciate the input (from all the posters). This forum is great.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Eye in the Sky View Post
          I will be in this situation (well, not 25 years, but still!) sooner than later, and I've come to the conclusion that I have enjoyed the hot, sensitive horses long enough, and I now prefer something that will forgive my mistakes and will save my butt!

          I will likely begin with a partial lease, then move to a full lease, and then (if the stars align just right), purchase a MADE, SAFE and hopefully SOUND horse - or pony.
          Yes, somehow everything feels different at 42 than it I'd at 17!


          • #25
            A dear friend of mine is in your very same position, OP! She had jumpers all growing up, rode up through the 1.30s and then took 25ish years off. She came back last year riding some of my trainers really nice schoolies and about 6 months in started thinking about a horse of her own. She didn't necessarily want a super greenie, but she thought having a young horse might be fun. However, she also recognized her time constraints and that a young horse might be more work than she was looking for at the time. So she decided to lease a very nice, much more made horse who belongs to a mutual friend. It has worked out beautifully and I don't doubt that after the lease is up, she'll start to think more seriously about a young horse. But if you ask her, the lease was the best of both worlds and the best decision she made!

            Good luck OP!
            Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.


            • #26
              I would say go with the made horse! That way you can have fun, get back into shape, and now blow your confidence and training.


              • #27
                Originally posted by findeight View Post
                Really, look before you leap here. Returning to ownership after a long hiatus includes some surprises you don't think about, especially working it in with career and family demands that were never an issue when younger.

                Do a full lease to start for 2 reasons. First it will let you discover how your barn time is going to work out, finances and if you are a good fit for your trainers program. Sometime you learn your twice weekly lesson experience is not the same as the full time owner experience.

                Second, you can polish you own skills without distraction and quickly get back where you were...or decide you now like 3' Hunters instead of 3'9" Jumpers. It happens when you get older and learn you no longer bounce.

                All of this.

                I get where you're coming from, OP, but realize that 25 years is quite a chunk of time off and you will probably be pretty rusty. Things that seemed easy in the past will suddenly be a lot harder. I experienced that with far less time off than you.

                I leased for the specified reasons above. My first lease was a confidence building all-business schoolmaster. He wasn't fancy, he wasn't expensive, he just went, all the time, every time and took care of me. When I outgrew him not so long thereafter I leased another horse for a year that took me from the modified hunter ring to the level 4 jumpers. He was brave and talented and solid - not older, and required some training rides, but very solid and always there for me. After that, I felt like I was able to take on a green project and got something with big talent to jump the Big Sticks... not this year, but that's why he's a project! In three months I've learned a lot with him and am also well aware I would not be happy or comfortable if I hadn't had those years back in the saddle before him.

                You know what they say... green + green = black and blue. For all intents and purposes, you will be "green" for awhile. You just won't be "green" as long as those who have never sat on a horse will be.

                Secondly, findeight is absolutely right about the time, financial, and trainer constraints. Some people find they don't have nearly as much time as they thought, and others find they are just fine. Either way, getting your feet wet without a tremendous commitment and a way to back out isn't a bad idea.


                • #28
                  OP, you've gotten a lot of excellent advice. I'll give you my own experience because it seems relevant as I am also a re-rider who took a similar loooong chunk of time off from riding. When I was young, I was a very strong, confident rider, and I found that these skills came back relatively quickly although I can no longer see galloping around a 3'6" cross-country course the way I once did. I started riding again when my daughter wanted lessons, and for quite awhile I did not consider buying a horse for myself--couldn't afford it. I rode greenies for my daughter's coach. Now I have my own horse again, and I bought a green one, but I knew her well--had been riding her for almost a year before she came up for sale.

                  I can't tell from your post how strong your riding skills are and where your confidence level is. These factors should determine what kind of horse you get. I would lean toward the lease while you regain your skills. Then, if you get a green one, shop for one that has a good temperament, is sane, and--very important--is not too big for you. I can ride spooks and bucks, but I do it much more easily on a horse under 16 h. I have noticed that now that I am older, I just don't enjoy riding the giant horses--my anxiety level goes up.

                  P.S. Consider joining us in the Re-Riders thread!
                  I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by BITSA View Post
                    So....I am returning to jumping after oh, 25 years off...anyhow, after taking lessons for a while I am ready to start looking for a horse. I rode up to level 2 jumpers before I went off to college, so I am not a beginner, not an expert, and have rusty form. I will be able to have a trainer who can work with the horse to undo whatever damage my riding might leave, but the question remains:

                    do I buy a finished, older horse (who makes things easier for me), but who I may outgrow in 3-4 years, or a younger horse who can grow with me (but who may make my own re-learning on more challenging)? Your thoughts and experiences are appreciated.
                    Your first horse should be the finished, older horse. You might be surprised at the different rider you've become after a long break...and that fear that didn't use to be a problem when you were younger is now a significant factor.
                    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                    • #30
                      Guess I'm the exception to the rule then cause my situation with a younger horse growing up with me worked out great. I think it has to do with how much of a challenge you want. I love a challenge. I just started jumping 2 years ago at the age of 50 after riding saddle seat for over 20 years & I wouldn't go back and change anything.
                      Originally posted by Alternative1 View Post
                      Totally go with the finished horse, the whole, "younger horse who can grow with me" never ends up working out like that and you will end up frustrated. You need something finished so you can concentrate on yourself.


                      • #31
                        Whether you lease or buy, go with the experienced one.


                        • #32
                          will second third and fourth everyone else, and say go for the finished one, and preferably lease for a while first.

                          I also took 25 years off from riding, and bought about 1 1/2 years into my re-riding adventure. I love my little mare, but I would have been much better off leasing one for a year first. (Part of the reason I bought as quickly as I did is that the horse I had a part-lease on was going back into training/competition, so I felt like I'd be losing him and *had* to have something else. And then as it turned out, little mare was a Hot Ticket when I first got her, so the other horse's rider and I traded horses for a while -- the Fearless Teen got the mare, and I got the other horse back for a few months. And then I had a bad riding accident, and really, really discovered just how much a 44 year old does. not. bounce.)
                          You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                          1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                          • #33
                            I think that the young/green horse could work out if the horse has the right mentality. Like my trainer has a 4 YO in the barn that almost anyone could ride around a 2'6" course. Horse is super honest with a great brain, will jump from anywhere, stays fairly straight and keeps a consistent rhythym. So I would say a horse like that you would be fine with, if you can find it.

                            But for the most part, I think getting the experienced, confidence building horse is never a bad idea! And don't afraid of getting bored. I recently had the same conflict over riding a more push button type ride and let me tell you-I am no where near bored! It has allowed me to focus on a lot of other aspects of my riding I couldn't do with my mare.


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by pwrpfflynn View Post
                              Guess I'm the exception to the rule then cause my situation with a younger horse growing up with me worked out great. I think it has to do with how much of a challenge you want. I love a challenge. I just started jumping 2 years ago at the age of 50 after riding saddle seat for over 20 years & I wouldn't go back and change anything.
                              That's a significantly different situation from the one the OP is describing. Having had 20+ years of continuous experience riding on the flat, you are in a much better position to do well with a green horse than someone who hasn't sat on a horse for 25 years.


                              • #35
                                I did this and got a 4 month old filly. Worked out great because I picked a good one with a great brain. I got to handle her all the time and we both felt so comfortable with each other that riding was no big thing. Even though she was green when I first started riding her I felt totally safe and confident with her. It all depends on you and the horse. I say if you find the right green horse and have the right trainer - go for it. Just be prepared that this is a process and it's going to take some time and you will need to spend $ in training. If you want something you can start showing next month, get an experienced horse.


                                • #36
                                  Every person must do what she's comforable with. You're entitled to your own choices and mistakes. We all asked a prospective buyer why she didn't want a made horse but she really wanted a greenie. Now she watches her trainer ride her $50,000 greenie and hints that she wants to lease one of my made mares so she can jump before her the big 5-oh birthday.


                                  • #37
                                    Young horses, even really nice young horses, take a lot of time. Probably a lot more time than most people realize. And there will almost certainly be unanticipated challenges. Keep that in mind.

                                    I got my current horse as a 3.5 year old, and he is now coming 8. I have no regrets and love this horse completely, even though he has been a challenge and is so quirky that many (most?) people probably wouldn't have the patience for him.

                                    But I think he will be my last young/green horse. I'm 32. By the time I'm ready for another horse, I just can't imagine starting over from scratch. I had ridden tons of young/green horses prior to purchasing my current horse, so it wasn't a matter of not having the skills to work with a green horse. But when riding other people's green horses...I don't know...it's just different. The horse isn't 100% your reponsiblity, 100% of the time. With your own green horse, there is a much bigger sense of responsiblity for the big picture of making the horse into what it needs to be. With the other green horses I rode, I was just part of the picture...albeit sometimes for long stretches of time, but the horse still belonged to someone else and that person was the one who would make all of the "tough" decisions about the horse.


                                    • #38
                                      Made no question. Made does not equal boring. Made does not mean old plug. Made comes in as hot or a dull as you want. Made just knows that the horse knows his job and likes it.

                                      There are always new buttons to find, new goals to accomplish, new classes to try. The things made will do for your confidence will be worth his weight in gold.


                                      • #39
                                        It really depends on you. What are your goals? Where do you want to be, competition-wise, in one year, two years, three? Do you have the time and the energy and the skillset to go through all of the steps it takes to build a nice horse out of a baby?

                                        You need to do this evaluation honestly with yourself, and hopefully with your trainer. I took lessons with a trainer when I came back, after about 12 years off, then rode *for* a trainer- her green horses and sales horses- for a few months while I figured out what I wanted to do and what goals I wanted to pursue. Then I realized I needed more structure, went back to a different (better!) trainer, and rode one of his projects for a while. All of this was over the course of about two years or so. I then had the choice of free-leasing a made horse or buying my own. I could only afford green, but I know myself and my abilities, and I knew that the made horse wasn't going to be able to do what I wanted (ammy jumpers), so I bought a super-scopey 4 year old OTTB. I am a very confident rider, I have always owned green, and when I got back into it I continued to ride green after the first few months of just getting my legs back. Buying green for me was the only option for my budget and my goals, but I also knew I would enjoy bringing another baby along, and I knew I had the skills and the time and the will to do it. <--- This worked for me, but a lot of thought went into that decision.
                                        You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil


                                        • #40
                                          I am an old lady at 50!! I took 15 years off from riding about 15 years ago. I had ridden since I was 6...shown the ponies at the A's, then moved on the the equitation, then went off to college and got a career going. I came back to it, took lessons for a few months, fell in love with a DIFFICULT young pony and I bought him. BEST and WORST thing I could have done. I loved him til the day he unfortunately died (accident) but I never truly regained the confidence I had. This pony was a rearer, a stopper and an all around dickhead, but I loved him and he was fancy, fancy, fancy -- and I had a limited budget.

                                          I would do it again, but only becasue i fell madly in love with this animal....otherwise there was no way I would recommend this to anyone. 25 years is a LOOONG time, and anything over 40 yrs makes it really hard to get back into it - physically, mentally and time-wise. You can and will do it, but dont expect to be what you were when you were 20!!!! In addition, riding has changed, showing has changed, and horses have changed
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