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WWYD: Buying The First Horse?

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  • WWYD: Buying The First Horse?

    (Disclaimer: I have an excellent trainer who regularly sees me ride and whose opinion I trust very much. I have discussed this subject with her. I am not using COTH as a substitute for professional advice. With that said...)

    tl;dr: Returned to riding a little under a year ago after a break of more than a decade. Have been looking for a full lease for about half that time, but haven't found anything suitable. When would you bite the bullet and go ahead and buy?

    Long version:

    Rode for about a decade as a kid and young adult, working for lessons and doing low-level H/J on schoolies that maxed at 2'6". (Owning or leasing back then was not an option due to finances.) Was a pretty sticky kid who rode the naughty ones and mostly stayed on, with a few notable exceptions, but never went beyond that.

    Took more than a decade off. Worked on my career and my finances and tried to find a less expensive, dangerous, time-consuming hobby that would be anywhere near as satisfying. Failed. Started back again last March in biweekly-ish group lessons. Quickly realized I hadn't grinned this much in years and rearranged my life to permit as much equine activity as available. Fast forward to today, when I have two part leases (2x/week and 1x/week on a 10yo OTTB and 18yo Appendix QH), lessons most weeks with an Advanced eventer and graduate A Pony Clubber who is far too good to be teaching the likes of me, a Pony Club membership with a group that meets biweekly, and a role as a part-time horse serf.

    Now, I realized very quickly that I needed more saddle time to unsuck, so I started looking for a full lease on something that could take me around BN (when appropriate) about six months ago. Broadcast my goals to anyone who would stand still. Have a number of people, including the owner of my farm, multiple instructors, and my trainer (who are all far kinder to me than I deserve!), looking on my behalf. Nothing has worked out--I've had a couple leads, but in the end, nothing I can move to my current barn, which is important to me because, as a wannabe eventer who has never done more than schooled a few cross-country obstacles back in the day, I am unquestionably in need of continued supervision.

    So this is the point at which I begin to consider more seriously the idea of going ahead and purchasing something suitable. But, naturally, there are a few sticking points that make the timing not ideal. To wit:

    Being good enough to assess suitability: I can competently W/T/C both in-ring and hacking out. I'm still pretty sticky and regularly sit spooks (the 10yo is a bit of a danger mouse at times), and am still amused by it. I've been told by multiple folks that I have some remnants of a good seat and soft hands (as well as that the boy I'm riding is not the easiest to flat), and I am starting to remember how to maintain contact and get a horse round, though my leg and hands are still noisy. That said, due to (lack of) suitable horse, I only started jumping again about a month ago, and while I remember how to set a horse up and retain my determination that Horse Goes Over Jump Or I Go Off, There Is No Other Way, my equitation over fences is just unspeakable. I've tried and am trying to jump more, but so far it hasn't worked out.

    Goals for now vs. goals for later: As mentioned previously, I want to event, and the extent of my experience thereto is schooling some individual cross-country obstacles 20 years ago. My current goal is to safely get around Intro and finish on a number. I understand that any other goals are a long, long way away. That said (in my secret heart of hearts, someday down the road, if ever safe and appropriate), I have aspirations of going Prelim. I'm not at all sure that a horse that I could ride now would be a horse that would have the scope for that... but I'm also not sure I could sell my first-ever horse, the culmination of 30 years of dreaming, to move up.

    The last part of the equation is, of course, money, because I'm aware that that will heavily affect the answers I'll get. The short form there is that I'm fortunate enough that I theoretically can spend what it would take; having kept an eye on the market, it looks like prelim packers are generally around $40K-$50K, novice packers around $15K-$25K, and anything in between is... well, in between. I would prefer to stay closer to the lower end of those two sets of numbers (had had around $30K all in in my head), but am open to convincing. I am hoping the following factors would help me do it: I don't care about sex or color (except not grey.) I would expect to get a TB (which I grew up riding and like.) I don't care if it wins the dressage. With that said, I do probably need at least 16h due to my height, and I do want something that will, as Wofford advises, take me to the jumps.

    So if you were me, what would you do?

    a) Go horse shopping for a _____ level horse costing around _____ with a plan to ____!
    b) Keep looking for a full lease and doing what I'm doing and wait ____ period, then a) if there are no options after ____ period!
    c) Take advantage of the leases at other farms for more ride time at least until ____ standard is met!
    d) Completely other option _________!

    3, 2, 1... go!

  • #2
    I would buy a packer on it's way stepping down from prelim that can safely and competently teach you the ropes. I would look for something in mid to late teens that doesn't have anything left to prove and will happily get you around bn/n, and maybe your first few T rides before retiring. Yes it will likely need maintenance. But you could probably get something in the lower budget bracket and just plan for ongoing expenses.

    I would not look for something on it's way UP the levels for fear it will be a little too hot for you to handle at this point. Look for something already finished that will let YOU gain experience without worrying about needing to be perfect every time or that you will ruin it's training.

    Honestly, I love my horse, but I sort of did the latter of what I just described instead of the former, and in hind sight wish I had done the opposite. (Ie, I bought the too hot horse rather than the been there done that I got your back kid horse)

    Comment


    • #3
      I suggest you keep looking for a lease, and see if you can add a day to your current riding schedule. Where you are now and where you want to go are two very different horses, and if you already think you won't be able to sell your First Horse, you may find yourself stuck between a rock (desire to keep moving up) and a hard place (can't afford to keep two horses).

      Patience pays.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think you need to wait until you have been jumping for a while longer before you start looking for a horse to buy. It’s going to be hard to assess the suitability of a horse for eventing if you don’t feel confident jumping it around a small course. (Perhaps you’re confident, just not happy with your position - not quite clear from your post).

        One thing to keep in mind is that it is hard to know how long it is going to take you to actually feel comfortable with Prelim level cross country. A safe, affordable Prelim packer is likely on the older end and could age out before you’re actually ready to go Prelim. I would look for a safe, fun horse in the 7-10 year old age range that has gone Training level with an amateur rider. Old enough to be sensible and have some experience but young enough to not need major maintenance or have concerns that they will need to be stepping down in work as you’re trying to move up. I think the extra you would pay for a horse with Prelim experience is probably not worth it. If you max out this horse in a few years and still have aspirations of going Prelim, you could likely lease it out if you couldn’t bring yourself to sell it.

        I bought the horse I describe above. However, my goal as a re-rider was only to get to Training level (I maxed out at Novice on borrowed/leased horses in my teenage years). Prelim still scares the crap out of me. I am hoping to move up to Training this summer, which will be about 5 years after starting re-riding and 3.5 years after buying my horse.

        Comment


        • #5
          If you've only been back to jumping for a month, I'd suggest you wait to either purchase or lease and try and add another jumping lesson to your week. I will hazard a guess that you're missing out on potential leases because you're not jumping (well/much/confidently) yet.

          I would not be surprised if some owners looking for someone to lease their horse rejected you because they don't want to worry about their horse having to teach an unknown how to jump (yes, I know you jumped years ago but that doesn't count now). There is always the risk of screwing up the horse's training/willingness to jump but it's higher when the rider isn't really jumping yet.

          If you can add another jumping lesson a week you will improve faster and better than just riding more on your own, and that will open up lease opportunities. You might find a lease who will pack you around the lowest level (is it BN?) for a year, and then have the opportunity to lease another for the next level or two.

          You might run into similar issues trying to buy at this stage. Sellers will see you ride and jump and may feel their horse isn't going to be able to handle your learning period successfully.

          At this point even a H/J barn that has packers could help you get your equitation over fences back.


          I'd wait to buy.

          Comment


          • #6
            Agreed. Now is not the time to buy a $30,000 jumper. Go to a good h/j barn and do two lessons a week for six months. Continue your other leases. Re-evaluate after 6 months. The horse you need right now to fix your seat is not the horse you will need in two years to start competing.

            Comment


            • #7
              The suggestion to look for a H/J barn with good school horses is a great one. Right now you can’t go wrong with time in the saddle and if you can get it on a variety of horses, even better. Sitting on as many school horses as you can is great preparation for horse shopping and trying different horses.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by She's Pure Gold View Post
                I would buy a packer on it's way stepping down from prelim that can safely and competently teach you the ropes. I would look for something in mid to late teens that doesn't have anything left to prove and will happily get you around bn/n, and maybe your first few T rides before retiring. Yes it will likely need maintenance. But you could probably get something in the lower budget bracket and just plan for ongoing expenses.
                You're absolutely right that a packer is what I'd need if I were going to buy right now, but I had hoped to avoid needing to retire the first horse in five years or so. It's not out of the question, though--I do expect to have a place where I could do that within that timeframe.

                Honestly, I love my horse, but I sort of did the latter of what I just described instead of the former, and in hind sight wish I had done the opposite. (Ie, I bought the too hot horse rather than the been there done that I got your back kid horse)
                If you'd be willing, I'd be very interested in hearing more about how this went for you!

                Originally posted by Melissa.Van Doren View Post
                I suggest you keep looking for a lease, and see if you can add a day to your current riding schedule. Where you are now and where you want to go are two very different horses, and if you already think you won't be able to sell your First Horse, you may find yourself stuck between a rock (desire to keep moving up) and a hard place (can't afford to keep two horses).
                Absolutely true on all counts. With that said, I've been trying to get to 4-5x a week for a while; at this point, I will need to go to a different farm to do it due to availability.

                As noted earlier, I do expect to have somewhere to retire First Horse by the time s/he would need to be retired. I also could theoretically afford to board two, though obviously I'd strongly prefer not to. (I tend to be pretty financially conservative.)

                Originally posted by Gardenhorse View Post
                I think you need to wait until you have been jumping for a while longer before you start looking for a horse to buy. It’s going to be hard to assess the suitability of a horse for eventing if you don’t feel confident jumping it around a small course. (Perhaps you’re confident, just not happy with your position - not quite clear from your post).
                You're right, that was unclear! I am (still) largely missing the "healthy sense of self-preservation" gene, so I'm definitely willing to do it. It just isn't pretty.

                One thing to keep in mind is that it is hard to know how long it is going to take you to actually feel comfortable with Prelim level cross country. A safe, affordable Prelim packer is likely on the older end and could age out before you’re actually ready to go Prelim.
                This has been exactly my concern. Even at moving up a level a year, which would be quite an ambitious schedule, we're still talking about being roughly five years out.

                I would look for a safe, fun horse in the 7-10 year old age range that has gone Training level with an amateur rider. Old enough to be sensible and have some experience but young enough to not need major maintenance or have concerns that they will need to be stepping down in work as you’re trying to move up. I think the extra you would pay for a horse with Prelim experience is probably not worth it. If you max out this horse in a few years and still have aspirations of going Prelim, you could likely lease it out if you couldn’t bring yourself to sell it.
                This was exactly my thought as well, though I'd had 7-12 in my head instead of 7-10.

                Given where I am and the possibility that I might not even ever get there, "confirmed at Prelim" is not important to me. I was thinking of "confirmed at Training that might have the scope for Prelim" (since my trainer would be able to help me assess that), with the understanding that it might not ever happen--if I bought something that took me through Training but couldn't get around Prelim, I wouldn't be unhappy.

                Originally posted by RedHorses View Post
                If you've only been back to jumping for a month, I'd suggest you wait to either purchase or lease and try and add another jumping lesson to your week. I will hazard a guess that you're missing out on potential leases because you're not jumping (well/much/confidently) yet.
                A good thought that might well be true. It isn't a question of folks seeing me flop around, since we haven't even been able to find someone who's willing to send their horse off-farm (so no trial rides--if I were consistently getting spiked at the trial phase, I'd have a pretty good idea of where I was going wrong!), but I do try to be blunt with folks about where I currently am.

                You might run into similar issues trying to buy at this stage. Sellers will see you ride and jump and may feel their horse isn't going to be able to handle your learning period successfully.
                This is also my concern, hence the sticking point. I've been trying to get more jump lessons at my farm, but it hasn't been an option due to horse availability (limited selection of schoolies that jump.)

                At this point even a H/J barn that has packers could help you get your equitation over fences back.
                This is a really good idea, and one I hadn't considered. Thank you!

                I am not interested in showing H/J and I would be honest that I was looking to get my jumping legs back in pursuit of eventing, but maybe something catering to the lower-end ammy market might be willing to work with me...

                Anyone have any suggestions as to a potentially suitable place in Montgomery County, MD?

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is an assumption but I'm going to take the leap and guess that if you are in a position to afford a $30,000 horse you also have the means for month to month expenses.

                  Going on that assumption, I'd tuck that nice amount away for a while. Instead, I'd take that $500-1,000 you are budgeting for monthly expenses and put it into lessons. For easy numbers let's say $750 a month and the average lesson in your area is $75. I'd add in an extra 10 lessons a month for six months and then reevaluate where you are at.

                  Between the two half leases you get 3 lessons a week right now. If you add in 2+ lessons per week at another barn like a solid hunter barn, dressage barn, etc. you are getting 5+ lessons per week.

                  That is going to really expedite your learning. You may find that instead of doing a $30k horse you find a great match in a solid Novice eventer for ~$15,000 and then have a budget for a year or more of full-time training. You may also find that as you progress you have more specific goals that guide your horse shopping.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    With very few exceptions your first horse is not going to be your last horse. So when you look for a first horse ensure that your are not carrying the baggage that says, "this horse is going to be a forever horse." It won't unless you are really well set and can afford to keep and maintain a horse you don't use.

                    Once you attain that mind-set you will free yourself to look at horses that are suitable for your now and can prepare you for more advanced horses in the future. A good schooling horse, if kept in good health, is always a saleable commodity until they get into a fairly advanced age.

                    Keep foremost in your mind that a "progression of horses" in your life will happen and that's OK.

                    Good luck in your search.

                    G.
                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I’m surprised that you’re having such a hard time finding a lease (assuming that your lease budget is as healthy as your purchase budget, relatively speaking). Is it just the on-site trial part that seems to be the issue? Could you be comfortable leasing without that, assuming you had one or two excellent trial rides and were comfortable with the horse’s resume? By definition the lease doesn’t have to be your forever horse, just a good one to learn and progress on for a year or so. Might free up a lot more options for you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don’t think it’s unreasonable to buy something considering that you can’t get more practice in lessons due to availability of those horses.

                        If your trainer has gotten to know you well at this point, he/she can assess the jumping suitability when you go try the horse even if you can’t jump it much. You should be looking for a been there done that packer at this point. One that will be tolerant of mistakes at the lower levels but that also won’t be a huge vet bill to keep going with enough practice sessions for you.

                        It is unlikely that the horse that is suitable for you now will be the move up horse. If more lessons were an option that would be a cost effective way to get farther before buying but school horses that can jump frequently are hard to come by. You won’t necessarily have to retire the horse just because you move up. It depends on the age—could you lease it out or resell? Could you afford to board it at a place with riding amenities along with another one? If so then you will have 2 horses to get you saddle time, just one of them (2nd horse) will be more capable.

                        With this in mind, don’t blow the budget on the first horse. It might be easy to do if you get a nice one that is stepping down the levels. But if you got one instead that maybe topped out at a lower level but could still pack you around and teach you, that will be a nice horse for your current needs. The step down horse won’t be stepping back up anyway.

                        I disagree that sellers will be turned off by your current abilities. Take your trainer to try the horses. See the seller ride, have trainer ride, and then you ride. You might look like a beginner over fences now but you plan to stay in regular lessons. Perhaps if you showed up alone, tried jumping a course and said you were going to keep horse at home and DIY your training, a seller might be concerned. But you seem to be very aware of your current limitations, so I wouldn’t worry about that. As I said, it is not very common to find good jumping lesson horses anymore. It is too expensive to keep a string of them, and of course you can’t overuse the ones a trainer might have. I think it’s a lot less risky to the owner to sell you a horse rather than lease it to you. If the horse isn’t tolerant enough then it isn’t enough of a packer for you and you move on. Packer doesn’t have to mean dead either—it can still be bold enough for you.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
                          This is an assumption but I'm going to take the leap and guess that if you are in a position to afford a $30,000 horse you also have the means for month to month expenses.
                          Yes! I didn't specifically enumerate in the OP because it was long enough already, but I am budgeting for full board at my current farm, routine vet/farrier, and continued lessons. (I also have a sufficient emergency fund for non-routine vet care.)

                          Going on that assumption, I'd tuck that nice amount away for a while. Instead, I'd take that $500-1,000 you are budgeting for monthly expenses and put it into lessons. For easy numbers let's say $750 a month and the average lesson in your area is $75. I'd add in an extra 10 lessons a month for six months and then reevaluate where you are at.
                          Great thought. I started putting away the cost difference between my current part leases and ownership expenses a bit ago, but would be willing to put it into more lessons as well if I can find the right situation.

                          Between the two half leases you get 3 lessons a week right now. If you add in 2+ lessons per week at another barn like a solid hunter barn, dressage barn, etc. you are getting 5+ lessons per week.
                          One clarification: One of the rides per week is generally a lesson, but the other two are me practicing what I've learned in the lesson and/or doing rider fitness work like riding without stirrups. Due to scheduling on both my and my trainer's part, adding more lessons at the current barn is not likely to be an option (I typically ride very early to fit it in before work except for that lesson, and her schedule is pretty full with her full training clients too--I feel very privileged that she's able to fit me in weekly.)

                          I'm not in any way discounting the value of eyes on the ground, but do feel I'm at the level where I can practice flatwork effectively on my own.

                          That said, I do think that adding one or two additional jumping lessons at a good low-level H/J barn that has school horses available would be really helpful, if I can find a suitable opportunity.

                          That is going to really expedite your learning. You may find that instead of doing a $30k horse you find a great match in a solid Novice eventer for ~$15,000 and then have a budget for a year or more of full-time training. You may also find that as you progress you have more specific goals that guide your horse shopping.
                          I would consider a short period of full-time training to achieve a specific goal, and could make it work budget-wise, but am generally a bit more DIY. In addition to going Prelim, my Someday Goals (when good enough) include restarting an OTTB, so I think it's valuable to learn to work through problems on my own.

                          Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                          With very few exceptions your first horse is not going to be your last horse. So when you look for a first horse ensure that your are not carrying the baggage that says, "this horse is going to be a forever horse." It won't unless you are really well set and can afford to keep and maintain a horse you don't use.
                          This is excellent advice and very fair, as well as a discussion I've had with my trainer.

                          Ultimately, I am in a position where I can afford to support a retiree, though would obviously prefer not to have to. It helps that I expect to have a place to keep a retiree where I wouldn't have to board within the next three to five years.

                          I honestly don't know how I'll feel about selling the first horse if I outgrow it, if the horse is still on the younger side and valuable to someone else. I do know that if I got a packer in its mid to late teens, I will realistically be that animal's last home and would expect to retire it for sure. And of course, if I decided that I couldn't bring myself to sell said first horse, that would be my choice and I would accept the consequences thereto--either maintaining two or putting my goals on hold.

                          Originally posted by Redlei44 View Post
                          I’m surprised that you’re having such a hard time finding a lease (assuming that your lease budget is as healthy as your purchase budget, relatively speaking). Is it just the on-site trial part that seems to be the issue? Could you be comfortable leasing without that, assuming you had one or two excellent trial rides and were comfortable with the horse’s resume? By definition the lease doesn’t have to be your forever horse, just a good one to learn and progress on for a year or so. Might free up a lot more options for you.
                          There are a couple factors at play here.

                          The main one is that I haven't been looking at the H/J lease market, but the event horse lease market, which have some notable differences. The H/J lease market is both much more well-established/common and much more expensive, with owners frequently asking and getting lease fees 1/3rd the value of the horse and requiring that the horse stay in full training. All of this is totally reasonable in that frame, but not exactly the eventing market.

                          For a lower-level (BN, maybe N) leased eventer, I would expect a care lease (to include insurance and routine maintenance) and established regular lessons, but not necessarily a lease fee above and beyond or the requirement of being in full training. I would certainly consider a modest lease fee for the right horse, but I would expect it to have successfully evented, which most H/J leases wouldn't have; regardless, the issue hasn't come up because I haven't been able to find that kind of horse, lease fee or no.

                          I could, of course, afford to lease a H/J horse to learn to jump again on, but don't think the financial calculus makes sense given typical lease prices (even before discussing the requirement of the horse staying in a program) when I'm pretty sure I could find a tolerable Novice packer for $15K.

                          Finally, regarding trials--absolutely do not need an offsite trial! But do want to move the horse to my current barn, which has been the sticking point.

                          Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
                          I don’t think it’s unreasonable to buy something considering that you can’t get more practice in lessons due to availability of those horses.

                          If your trainer has gotten to know you well at this point, he/she can assess the jumping suitability when you go try the horse even if you can’t jump it much. You should be looking for a been there done that packer at this point. One that will be tolerant of mistakes at the lower levels but that also won’t be a huge vet bill to keep going with enough practice sessions for you.
                          This is exactly the train of thought that prompted me to post this and consider buying at all right now, but of course there are good points on both sides, as raised by other posters.

                          It is unlikely that the horse that is suitable for you now will be the move up horse. If more lessons were an option that would be a cost effective way to get farther before buying but school horses that can jump frequently are hard to come by. You won’t necessarily have to retire the horse just because you move up. It depends on the age—could you lease it out or resell? Could you afford to board it at a place with riding amenities along with another one? If so then you will have 2 horses to get you saddle time, just one of them (2nd horse) will be more capable.
                          Would prefer not to board two at one time, but it's conceivable. As noted upthread, if I bought something in its mid to late teens, I would expect to retire it--don't want it to end up in a bad place. Not sure if I'd be willing to resell even a younger one, and won't know that until I was facing that decision, but would certainly lease to the right situation (someone like me!)

                          Not sure I have the time to keep two in work five or six days a week on top of my actual job--with that said, horses being horses, that wouldn't necessarily be a problem due to lamenesses!

                          With this in mind, don’t blow the budget on the first horse. It might be easy to do if you get a nice one that is stepping down the levels. But if you got one instead that maybe topped out at a lower level but could still pack you around and teach you, that will be a nice horse for your current needs. The step down horse won’t be stepping back up anyway.

                          I disagree that sellers will be turned off by your current abilities. Take your trainer to try the horses. See the seller ride, have trainer ride, and then you ride. You might look like a beginner over fences now but you plan to stay in regular lessons. Perhaps if you showed up alone, tried jumping a course and said you were going to keep horse at home and DIY your training, a seller might be concerned. But you seem to be very aware of your current limitations, so I wouldn’t worry about that. As I said, it is not very common to find good jumping lesson horses anymore. It is too expensive to keep a string of them, and of course you can’t overuse the ones a trainer might have. I think it’s a lot less risky to the owner to sell you a horse rather than lease it to you. If the horse isn’t tolerant enough then it isn’t enough of a packer for you and you move on. Packer doesn’t have to mean dead either—it can still be bold enough for you.
                          I would definitely be working with my trainer to find the right horse, given my situation, and you make a very good point about the sell vs. lease risk calculus--it makes perfect sense to me that I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for, it just leaves me trying to figure out the best path forward.

                          I feel confident I could find something topped out at N that would be rideable for me and also towards the lower end of the budget. I'd be willing to go higher in the budget to find something rideable right now who is also confirmed at T, maybe with scope for Prelim, but I'm not sure that that horse exists given my current skills. Thoughts on that would be welcome.

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                          • #14
                            I'm not sure why you think a h/j barn wouldn't be useful for eventing.

                            Eventing has a stadium jumping phase. It tends to be less technical than a jumper course at the same height but everything still applies. And obviously cross country is jumping though without related distances at the lower levels.

                            Find a h/j barn that trends more jumper than hunter and take lessons until you are rock solid in your position over fences. You can do more days per week jumping in lessons on different horses than you can one your own school master who you might only want to jump twice a week for his sake

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                              I'm not sure why you think a h/j barn wouldn't be useful for eventing.
                              I don't at all think that, Scribbler! In fact I thought I said repeatedly in my replies that the idea to go find a good H/J barn and do some additional jumping lessons was a great one, one that hadn't occurred to me previously, and that I just needed to find that barn.

                              Where did I say I didn't think it would be useful?

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RooTheDay View Post

                                I don't at all think that, Scribbler! In fact I thought I said repeatedly in my replies that the idea to go find a good H/J barn and do some additional jumping lessons was a great one, one that hadn't occurred to me previously, and that I just needed to find that barn.

                                Where did I say I didn't think it would be useful?
                                Ok sorry I must have misread a post or got you confused with someone else! Apologies!

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by RooTheDay View Post

                                  You're absolutely right that a packer is what I'd need if I were going to buy right now, but I had hoped to avoid needing to retire the first horse in five years or so. It's not out of the question, though--I do expect to have a place where I could do that within that timeframe.



                                  If you'd be willing, I'd be very interested in hearing more about how this went for you!
                                  PM'D you!

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                                    Ok sorry I must have misread a post or got you confused with someone else! Apologies!
                                    No worries at all and no need to apologize--I really appreciate your advice, and that you took the time to give it (I always enjoy reading your posts!) I just wanted to make sure I could fix my words if I'd been unclear somewhere and given that impression...

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by RooTheDay View Post


                                      Would prefer not to board two at one time, but it's conceivable. As noted upthread, if I bought something in its mid to late teens, I would expect to retire it--don't want it to end up in a bad place. Not sure if I'd be willing to resell even a younger one, and won't know that until I was facing that decision, but would certainly lease to the right situation (someone like me!)

                                      Not sure I have the time to keep two in work five or six days a week on top of my actual job--with that said, horses being horses, that wouldn't necessarily be a problem due to lamenesses!




                                      I feel confident I could find something topped out at N that would be rideable for me and also towards the lower end of the budget. I'd be willing to go higher in the budget to find something rideable right now who is also confirmed at T, maybe with scope for Prelim, but I'm not sure that that horse exists given my current skills. Thoughts on that would be welcome.

                                      If you get a low level or stepping down horse in its teens, you might be able to resell or lease out if it stays sound enough and is decent enough at the dressage part. Of course, you can't ever depend on reselling anything, because...horses.

                                      Given how you have represented your riding, especially the jumping part, I think that to get a horse now that would suit your needs now but also be able to move up to Prelim in the future is unrealistic. You might be able to get the scope for Prelim looking at the top of your budget, but what you ought to buy for that level is one that is already confident jumping at that level. If you buy this as your first horse, then it also needs to be tolerant enough of your current skills and be able to get back to Prelim in several more years. That is a big ask. The more advanced the level of the schoolmaster, the bigger the dollars. This one for sure is not going to be available for care lease. A lower level schoolmaster will help you build some skills to maybe get more of a normal (good egg but not necessarily a total schoolmaster) horse for horse #2 to move up.

                                      Additionally, the more the scope the horse has and the more careful he is, the better you have to be able to ride over the jumps. And you aren't there now. I mean, my last horse occasionally jumped 4' over crossrails. You may be able to ride out a bit on the flat, but you said your jumping position is awful at the moment. Do not buy your someday jumper now. And really, the better the event horse, the more they want you to kind of leave them alone to the jumps. It takes a lot of body control to do nothing on a bold, scopey horse.

                                      With the right match, it is possible to take a less experienced horse and grow with them. But you really need a full program to maximize the odds of this working. Lots of supervision at the least if not training rides to give the horse confidence at the next level. And finding that horse that is also a good match for where your riding is now is a pretty tall order.

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                                      • #20
                                        Its fantastic to have goals, but I would be wary of getting too hung up on them, especially since that goal is much higher than any level your rode before (in your younger, bouncier days). This will be your first horse, so as much as you are learning and riding now, you will be learning and riding even more, and learning isn't always a steady or fast process. You might find you are perfectly happy at Novice, or that your horse is more suited to just dressage or just jumping and you might be fine with that.

                                        I bought my horse when all the leasing opportunities in my budget were drying up. My great lease horse was being retired, and the next horse had a freak pasture accident making him only pasture sound. I kept getting saddle time by legging up horses coming back from an injury and putting gentle miles on babies, but I was at the point where I really needed a horse of my own to develop with, take lessons on, bond, and just have a fun time! I didn't have the budget that you do, so I had to go bargain basement and accept that he would be a bit of a project, but at least I had a horse to ride. My goal was to ride 2nd level dressage with him, and we will get there, but it has taken much longer than I thought. But it doesn't bother me, I'm in a non-competitive barn and I enjoy the training process.

                                        I guess my point is that I think you are in a position to get a decent horse w/ the assistance of your trainer. Get something you can ride now and enjoy it. You might find that your perspective changes once you are invested in an animal of your own.

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