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how to convince a friend not to buy a horse yet?

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  • how to convince a friend not to buy a horse yet?

    I have a friend who just started riding about a month ago. Before that, she had never been on a horse in her life. I dont know what trainer she uses, and whether he/she is trustworthy or not. Somehow she has decided that she is ready for a horse of her own. Im happy she started riding, but no one in her family knows anything about horses and she would not be keeping the horse at the same barn as her trainer. It doesnt sound like her trainer is going to have any input as to what horse she gets, and although she is a nice person she tends to get over confident about certain things.

    I dont want to sound mean, but i dont think her family realizes what a financial investment horses are. And to be completely honest, i dont know if they could pay monthly boarding fees, farrier fees, vet bills, and feed... as well as any other thing she might want. How can i politely tell her this information before she finds herself in a bad situation?

  • #2
    If you have a listing of your average monthly expenses, share that with her as the starting point of a conversation. Or give her links to several boarding barns that have their fees listed on their websites.

    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926


    • #3
      I would encourage your friend to possibly lease or half-lease. Many horse owners are having trouble making ends meet and may be willing to let your friend ride a few days a week in return for sharing expenses. Ideally someone in her trainer's barn may be open to this situation.


      • #4
        You didn't mention how old your friend is, and even though you did say she has a family it's not clear who will be financially responsible for a horse.

        I agree with what Star wrote, about helping your friend understand the basic monthly expenses associated with having a horse, as well as the various "unplanned" expenses we all know come up.

        If she insists on getting a horse, perhaps you can convince her to lease first.
        Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


        • #5
          First, it is her life and her choices.

          Now, if she is asking you for advice, how about helping her make a budget for a year of horse ownership and be sure it includes insurance and a fund for unexpected expenses, with a list of some vet bills that could happen, with samples of the cost of serious injuries/colic, etc.

          That may give your friend pause and help her decide to maybe wait a bit, keep learning, lease, as someone suggested if she just has to have her own horse.

          I personally never understood why owning seems to be very important to some, especially newbies or those with little experience.
          I think it is some kind of emotional attachment to horses past what a horse really is, a certain need in those people that owning their own horse fulfills.

          If your friend is one of those people, then help her find a suitable horse and arrange so she can own successfully.

          As a riding instructor, I generally would say, most people starting with horses should have at least several steady, very involved months or a couple of years of lessons and being around a barn, if nothing else to be sure that, once they do own a horse, they know how to properly care for it.
          Even if the horse is in a boarding situation, the owner is still important in the proper care of that horse.

          For the horse's sake, the more it's owner knows, at least a very basic minimum, the more successful and happy they both will be with each other.

          Just be sure your friend wants your help and back off if she doesn't.
          People tend to do things impulsively and if you are in the middle of it now and later things don't go well, displacement may happen and your friend may want to blame you for all that went wrong.
          On the other hand, if all goes well, people tend to forget everything but how well they did things.
          It is human nature, to protect our fragile egos.


          • #6
            You can clue her in as to what your expenses are although how well received that will be depends on how you broach the subject. Going at her with a lighthearted "haha, hope you're ready to give up your morning Starbucks" attitude will likely get you a lot farther than "look at what a horse costs, you probably can't afford this so are you sure you want to do it?"

            It also sounds (from your own words) that she hasn't spoken with you about her or her family's finances so you've gotta ask yourself, are you really in a position to judge?

            There are plenty, and I mean PLENTY of people that live their lives in a frugal manner so they can afford that one (expensive) thing they want in life (like a horse). To assume anyone that appears from the outside as a "have not" is a rather narrow-minded and judgmental thing to do. I do hope this is not the case with you and your "friend".

            There is nothing wrong with a newbie getting a horse so long as they are in a position financially to care for it, do their due diligence when purchasing and use common sense in deciding whom they will learn from. Even from a layperson's perspective it's not too hard to determine the difference between a barn full of happy horses maintained by good horse people and a barn full of sickly or unhappy horses poorly managed by incompetents.

            There are plenty of rank beginners who turn out to be fantastic horse owners and there are plenty of lifelong "horse people" who honestly should never even have so much as a pet rock.

            Without more details which we'll probably never get because it sounds like you don't even have them (unless for some odd reason you are privy to this girl and her family's personal finances?) then I see no reason why us or even you should be making assumptions about this person's financial capabilities. Maybe she is rushing a bit but that doesn't mean you should be appointing yourself judge and jury over whether or not she buys a horse. Be a friend and help her along, give her the facts as you know them from your experiences as an owner and let her make her own decisions.


            • #7
              Why not tell her how excited you are for her, and offer to help with the horse search? As part of it, help her do up a list of the equipment she will need, and monthly expenses and so on.

              ALso help her come up with a list of what she wants in a horse, and a list of things she has liked and not liked in the horses she has ridden.

              This might help her come to her own, better, conclusions.
              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


              • #8
                Originally posted by CHT View Post
                Why not tell her how excited you are for her, and offer to help with the horse search? As part of it, help her do up a list of the equipment she will need, and monthly expenses and so on.

                ALso help her come up with a list of what she wants in a horse, and a list of things she has liked and not liked in the horses she has ridden.

                This might help her come to her own, better, conclusions.
                That sounds doable and sensible, good ideas.


                • #9
                  I know when I was a kid, I always wanted a horse, but I never wanted lessons except as a very lousy second-best wish if I absolutely couldn't have a horse. So I may understand the friend's decision. Maybe it's not the wisest course of action, but wise courses of action backfire so badly so often that the OP shouldn't lose sleep over it. Offer your advice and then let it go.


                  • #10
                    Well... You can start by naming the most common ways that horses can injure themselves, the possibility of colic, for a starters, and throw in some numbers for the vet bills involved as well. That alone had me struggling with the decision of leasing and in the end I decided upon 1/2 leasing.
                    Then there's always board, farrier, shots, deworming and teeth floating. Giving her an approximate amount of all she will have to spend might get her thinking if she's really ready to make that commitment.
                    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.

                    Originally posted by DottieHQ
                    You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.


                    • #11
                      I had the woman come to me last year for help because her husband bought her a horse as an anniversary present and she had NO experience with horses except for the occasional guided trail ride.

                      Her experience has been far from ideal and she's genuinely been disappointed by the whole thing. She's had a great deal of "Goldilocks" syndrome and has been trading horses left and right because "This one's too tall." "This one is too short." "This one is too fast." "This one is too slow." etc. None of them produced that majikal rainbows and butterflies experience she thought she was going to get from the horses. What she hasn't come to realize is that the shortcoming isn't from the horse - it's her. It's the fact that she doesn't know enough to say "I need to work on being a better horse person so that I can make better decisions for the horses."

                      I genuinely believe that there are different types of horse owners out there - those that are true horse people who have put forth the time (in years) to gain as much knowledge as they can and are confident and comfortable in their experience. They are the ones who are sought out for advice and direction and whose opinions are valued because of their experience.

                      Then there are those that are more casual in their pursuits who often become involved in horses because of some romantic notion or unfulfilled childhood dream of having a pony. Now, not to discount this type completely, I do believe that these types can become true horse people but will do so through the school of hard knocks. They will look back on some of their choices and probably cringe. (ie. Newbies at the barn just got their first horse. They're not riders, weren't raised with horses. They were hand grazing their horse in full shipping boots, head bumper, fleece lined halter, a cooler and everyone on the ground were wearing body protectors and helmets. It was an interesting scene. The tack room looks like they went to the tack store and bought one of everything, whether they need it or not or even if they knew what it was.) Then there are others in this category that refuse to learn. Who feel they know everything they need to know and that nothing will change their perception of their pony as a mythical beast with special powers that makes up for their own human shortcomings. These are the problem children of the bunch, and generally, they don't last long before the magic wears off or they get shunned. Real horse peeps can sniff them out rather quickly and avoid them at all costs (unless they provide entertainment value, such as the butt thrusting guy from the other thread.)

                      It's up to your friend which one of these she is going to be. Not much you can do about it. That's the thing about humans - that pesky free will crap. Take it for what it is, offer your knowledge but if you find she isn't receptive or flat out refuses to take your advice, shut up, MYOB, memorize phrases like "Gee, I'm not sure what to do. What does your trainer, vet, farrier, telephone psychic, animal communicator, horse illustrated, etc. say?" and just shrug it off.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
                        I know when I was a kid, I always wanted a horse, but I never wanted lessons except as a very lousy second-best wish if I absolutely couldn't have a horse.
                        Me too, lol. Even now in my 30s, when my first horse died, I thought maybe I could just do lessons and didn't need to own. But after a year, I wanted to own a horse again. However, I have a farm, and my horse and pony are a part of my daily life. I get alot of pleasure from keeping horses, not just riding. However, I did take lessons for a few years before owning, and I still take lessons now. I think riding different horses is good training.


                        • #13
                          Many newbies have NO IDEA there is such thing as half-leasing and leasing, which are IMHO the best possible solution for the majority of enthusiastic beginners, who don't know enough to pick a suitable mount for the long term, and whose skill level will likely change a fair amount in the first year / 2 of riding.

                          So make sure she knows 1) that there is such a thing, and 2) how affordable and PREDICTABLE it is, expense-wise, and how one might go about finding a suitable half-lease in your area.

                          It is equally unclear to me how old this person is, and whether she will finance this herself or be reliant on family members.
                          I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                          I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                          • #14
                            that's how i got my first horse 26 years ago. a kid who had taken a month's worth of riding lessons talked her parents into buying her a horse. two years later and literally THREE rides on the horse and the parents were giving him away. lucky for me, i was the person that got the horse. cut to last year when he colicked and had to be euth'd at age 36. you could always talk the kid into getting a really nice horse and when she either gets dumped or bored, you may have a new horse. good luck.
                            R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
                            36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever


                            • #15
                              How good a friend is she? As you don't know who her trainer is, I am thinking perhaps not a very good friend? I also think you may be making a big assumption that her family can't afford or don't know. I am assuming this is a kid if you are saying that her family are going to be paying? Like some of the others said you could offer to help look with her and bring up how much everything costs.


                              • #16
                                maybe appeal to the upwardly-climbing mentality?

                                you say she tends to be overconfident. Maybe help her understand that she has SO MUCH POTENTIAL, that the horse that's right for her at this moment probably won't be the horse she needs next year, when she'll be a Very Advanced Rider. And maybe in that time she'll either blossom into a great horse person or realize she's not up for the commitment.

                                All that said, a strong lesson program--one that includes opp'ys for horsecare-- would be better than either leasing OR buying. If financial considerations are really the problem, I don't see how a lease really helps--she'll still have to pay for board, routine medical (I assume), barn supplies, first aid kit etc. for the leased horse.


                                • #17
                                  Good luck! Unless your friend is really close to you it's going to be hard to redirect her thought once she has it set in her mind. Or that's what my experience has been at least.

                                  I knew someone that hadn't ridden a horse since she was a little girl. She just all of a sudden one day decided to buy a horse. She got a horse that she was told was not for beginners, but she felt she could handle him. She decided she wasn't going to take lessons either. After a while she decided the horse was too much for her (surprise, surprise) and sold him. A few days later she started looking for another horse. She had two that she was looking at. One was a super young Thoroughbred that didn't have much experience, and the other was a horse that the lady was selling because he was too much horse for her and was sometimes hard to handle. Luckily she decided to get a different horse that was much more suitable, but had to give it back because she wasn't keeping up on her payment plan or something of the sort.

                                  Anyway! The moral of that story is that I hope your friend takes friendly advice better than the person I know. And like others have said try to help her through it by giving her options (leasing) or just suggesting that she stay with lessons for a while longer and then get the help of a respected trainer when choosing a horse.
                                  http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
                                  The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
                                  Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
                                  Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding


                                  • Original Poster

                                    i just got off of the phone with her. i spent the last hour convincing her that no, she should NOT get the yearling mare who has never been handled, and no she should NOT get the three year old stallion for $600.

                                    i asked her what her budget was, and she said "$650!"

                                    haha... nooooo.

                                    i politely explained to her about costs... i think the problems solved (for now, that is)


                                    • Original Poster

                                      oh goodness i just got an email from her. she thinks it will be like owning a dog. she was going on about how she "has the tack already" and shes been riding her dads friends horse, so she already knows how to ride. (eye roll). she even said, and these are her exact words "we are going to be best friends! hes already wormed, so i wont have to do that again, and hes already grown, so his shoes will fit him forever!"

                                      i need help


                                      • #20
                                        Is it possible for you to bring her into your barn and make her work for a couple days? Make her realize that she needs to be up early to feed, water, clean, etc. Maybe make sure she is there when the vet or farrier comes so that they can speak with her also. Or have your trainer or instructor (If you have one) speak with her and try to knock some sense into her.

                                        I know you said she's going to board the horse... but maybe seeing that there is more responsibility than having a dog will help her realize it's not all sunshine and cupcakes.
                                        http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
                                        The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
                                        Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
                                        Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding