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Is what I am looking for reasonable?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Nootka View Post
    OMG they have a FJORD!!!! I want!
    Cookie is a cutie, isn't she? They have several i would want ( bought one from them, and so did a friend of ours!). They are WONDERFUL WONDERFUL to deal with!! There horses are totally as advertised.They will be upfront about the horses strengths and weaknesses and what the horse does and does not do well!Just fabulous people.


    • #22
      Among the specifics I wouldn't get hung up on is height. At your height & weight, you don't NEED as large as you indicated. You want to do 4-7 hours of trail riding a day? How many times do you want to climb on & off 17+ hands? Especially the 'on' part.

      Find 3-4-6-12 horses that suit your NEEDS, then pick for your wants.

      Good luck - and keep taking lessons - preferably riding as many different horses as possible!

      Equine Photography in the Northeast


      • Original Poster

        Thank you everyone for all of the helpful responses. Some great food for thought re: breeds, training, trailering, trial-leases, and vet ppe/blood tests. It sounds like I am in the ball park.

        I just started a half-lease and I think it is definitely helpful for practice/saddle time. The owner would never sell the horse, and that is OK, we aren't a great match. If anything, I am kind of learning what I don't want but still getting good experience. I do get to rotate between three different horses with the half-lease and lessons and I think that is helping me progress a bit faster. I know I don't want to buy until I am decent enough to ride a horse with a bit of get up and go. I was thinking another 6 months, but maybe it should be longer?

        I also love the idea of a trial lease, I am just surprised that many people would consider doing that, it seems like such a risk for the seller. I will definitely tap my instructor as she is super knowledgeable (but also perhaps a breed snob); I just wanted to get the etiquette correct. I try to pitch in around the farm and offer to do pretty much anything to learn so I think she realizes I am pretty serious about doing things the right way. But...she is so busy running her farm that I will likely need to do a lot of the legwork myself.

        I regularly window-shop for fun on dreamhorse and equinenow, as well as the local VA and MD classifieds, BUT I feel like I need a phrasebook to decode some of the ads. I set '5' as the max temperament and 6 as the minimum age...but the rest, so confusing! For example, if the ad says the price will increase with training, or horse has the "potential" to be an adult ammy/child <insert discipline here>, is this a paraphrase for green? Sound and sane - what does sane mean? Many people I know are sane but I wouldn't trust them with my life . What is a kick ride? Chrome? If the horse has had some time off, will the seller disclose if it was due to health issues? Does "in your pocket" mean friendly or prepare to be mauled? A little bit of sarcasm here, but it is like a totally different language!

        I am definitely not tied to any particular breed other than to try to narrow the field a bit. I was thinking of those breeds because they are often described as "people horses". I don't think of horses as large dogs (or any other type of house pet), but I really like and want a people-oriented horse, mainly because I do enjoy ground work and grooming just as much as riding. I like to fuss over a horse; they generally have nicer hair than me In my limited experience, some horses clearly dislike people, others are happy to do a job for you but are not particularly engaging, and then some really interact and clearly enjoy it. Perhaps this is more of an individual trait vs. breeding and I should look for certain descriptions?

        With respect to the rescues, there are a couple that seem to be very reputable with horses that need homes but were not necessarily abused. In particular, both Saddlebred Rescue and Mid-Atlantic Rescue seem to take a lot of time to evaluate their horses and specify a suitable level of rider. I've wondered if there is an advantage for someone like me to work with a rescue like this as they have a vested interest in me keeping the horse vs. sending it back if it doesn't work (adoption agreement).

        At any rate, thank you very much for the input. I am having a lot of fun just thinking and dreaming about buying a horse, and I can't believe how much I am enjoying being around horses again. I think I just needed a gut check and some encouragement!


        • Original Poster

          "My current horse had absolutely no personality when he came to us, and is now a complete ham, attention/cookie whore, and acts like an overgrown puppy dog."

          This is good to know!

          judybigredpony - good point. I have researched the costs and run the numbers 6 ways to Sunday, I feel comfortable. Buying the horse is definitely the cheapest part, especially with boarding costs where I live.

          ccoronios - I WISH I could ride 4-7 hours a day but I'd probably be out of a job. Another good point though, I had not thought about the on/off issues on that tall of a horse .


          • #25
            I think your goals are reasonable. I'd be looking for a part quarter horse, appy, paint, or part something similarly quiet and adaptable. Involve a trainer in the search. The commission is a small price to pay to avoid being stuck with an unsuitable horse.


            • #26
              Originally posted by twostinkydogs View Post

              I regularly window-shop for fun on dreamhorse and equinenow, as well as the local VA and MD classifieds, BUT I feel like I need a phrasebook to decode some of the ads. I set '5' as the max temperament and 6 as the minimum age...but the rest, so confusing! For example, if the ad says the price will increase with training, or horse has the "potential" to be an adult ammy/child <insert discipline here>, is this a paraphrase for green? Sound and sane - what does sane mean? Many people I know are sane but I wouldn't trust them with my life . What is a kick ride? Chrome? If the horse has had some time off, will the seller disclose if it was due to health issues? Does "in your pocket" mean friendly or prepare to be mauled? A little bit of sarcasm here, but it is like a totally different language!
              If the ad says that the price will increase with training, the horse is probably green but talented and the owner is looking for a more serious show home. The ads with "potential to be a ch/adult ammy" are mostly likely referring to specific divisions in the H/J world, the Children's and the Adults which are 3ft divisions at A shows. Sane means the horse isn't crazy, but most ads say that so don't put too much stock in it. Better to see it yourself in person. A kick ride is exactly what it sounds like: horse that requires more leg rather than one that needs more woah. Chrome is white markings. The majority of sellers most likely will not disclose if a horse has had time off for injury.


              • #27
                Just like with any type of sales ad-- many of them will be full of euphemisms, optimistic descriptions, outright lies, etc. Like you say, "in your pocket" could be just a sweet, people-oriented type horse, or it could be an obnoxious brat with zero ground manners. You just have to go take a look at them. Involving your trainer in the search is a great idea. Networking is a great way to find your horse because everyone has a reputation at stake.

                The in-your-pocket comment brings up a point-- I would ask for some on-the-ground lessons in addition to riding. Ask your trainer if you can work with the most dominant/pushy type horse in the stable, and get some lessons on how to effectively manage that kind of horse. Practice trailer loading, blanketing, leading the horse over scary obstacles like tarps, etc.

                There are probably as many complexities and subtle corrections involved in good handling as there are in riding. Sooo many training problems start on the ground, and it can be a blind spot for the new horse owner.

                BTW that montana horses site is so great. I am in love with Irish, but I'd buy just about any of those horses.


                • #28
                  So exciting to be able to think about shopping for your first horse! My fairly inexperienced thoughts follow:

                  Where/how to look: keeping an eye on sales sites (my husband swears it's an addiction) can be quite beneficial. Do you see horses come up on it regularly that tick all your boxes? What price are they? How quickly do they disappear - presumably sold? This will give you a very rough idea of the market.

                  Looking at ads: I only read the 'facts' like height, age, breed and don't believe that sometimes! Everything else I will establish over the phone/in person. I have some very specific questions for phone conversations (prefer this to email as you can hear when people hesitate or don't want to answer).

                  Age: at the bottom of the world where I live a safe and fun first horse is still highly sought after even into their late teens/early twenties. The price tag will be considerably less. I mention this because you may outgrow your first horse within a year or two - but then you will have the satisfaction of finding someone else who will learn from him. So don't rule out the older campaigners.

                  When to buy: I always seem to end up with a new horse coming into winter. This always seems like a bit of a bad idea but has the benefit of time to get to know the horse without the pressure of having to be out and doing (or even riding), plus horses are often cheaper then!

                  Buy something that is an easy loader and traveler.

                  Test rides: I wouldn't expect to ride the horse more than 2 or 3 times, but these would definitely include all the things I was going to do with said horse. Maybe first ride at horses home, 2nd out on the trails, 3rd off the property.

                  Help from others: I use my trainer and good friend. Good friend has competed at some high levels and has a phenomenal eye for horses and most importantly what will suit a particular rider. You have to be very careful that your 'panel of experts' knows how to buy for others, not themselves!

                  Every horsey person you know will probably give you their 2 cents worth - that's fine - just stick with your experts who know you and your needs.

                  Good luck!


                  • #29
                    Just a comment on your statement that you were looking at those breeds because they had been described as "people horses". In my experience if you spend a lot of time with your horse, whatever breed, they become a people horse or at least a person horse. And I mean more than riding time, I mean hang out time, I pull up a chair in front of my horses stall and have my coffee and read the paper, and my gelding loves to hang out and "help" me read. He didn't start out as a people horse, but within about six months of getting him and hanging out with him he became one. It can take some time to bond with your horses, don't be In a rush to feel the connection, get a well broke, sane, sound horse and spend a lot of time with them then the bond will happen. Good luck to you!


                    • #30
                      I think that you can find a horse that suits your needs/goals for a LOT less than 8k.

                      I wouldn't rule out QH's, QH crosses (especially w/ Morgan or Arab), and Paints/Breeding Stock Paints (or whatever they're calling 'em now). At your height/weight, those stock breeds are quite capable of suiting you, tend to have pretty good minds and are versatile.

                      Do you have any experienced horse friends who can go shopping with you? I've never gotten to horse shop for myself, but I've gone with new-to-horses friends in the past (typically after they half leased my mare for awhile) and because I had no dog in the fight, it was easy for me to be pretty objective.

                      I would also agree with others who said that their personality and friendliness is often a result of their handling and can change. My BuddyRoo was not an in your pocket horse when I first started riding him. He had been a ranch horse and was a tool, not a pet. I was a 6YO horse crazy girl though so given enough pats, scratches and treats, he did become the type of horse who would nicker to you when you pulled up to the barn. It can happen.

                      Best wishes on your search! Exciting stuff!
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • #31
                        This is not really the funniest of these, but there are several "translations" floating around of "what horse sale ads really mean" - funny but definitely some truth behind some of these:

                        And I should clarify - when I say my current horse's personality changed - just to give you an idea, he came from a big show barn where he mostly likely had a big bit and some drugs on board to get him around a course quietly. When he first came home, if you walked into his stall he would run to the back corner and stand there shaking, he was headshy, etc. A few years later, he bows to beg for treats, follows me around (mostly) without a halter, nickers when he sees me and comes to the gate (we used to not be able to catch him), and is a complete and total ham, especially if an audience is involved. In September, he sadly lost his eye due to a fungal infection - he spent three weeks in the vet hospital while we tried to treat it medically. He was completely the star of the hospital, and every day when I visited him, everyone knew him by name. He is SUCH a treat hound that because the vet techs gave him a few carrot pieces when they injected meds into the catheter in his EYELID every few hours (which required chain twitches and two people for many of his fellow patients), he would nicker when he saw them coming with syringes, and bow to "beg" for treatments. I realize this doesn't demonstrate personality as much as that he is just a pig, but the point is, the horse is hilarious, and the more he realizes that he gets attention and treats for being hilarious, the more he does it. He would make faces at the door, bow anytime someone walked by, etc. Basically anything that would make anyone stop and pet and/or feed him. Considering he started out terrified of people and can now be that much of a ham for complete strangers who are doing medical treatments on him, I'm a happy camper. NOT saying that you should buy one like that, because I really wouldn't recommend it actually, BUT I wouldn't rule out an otherwise perfect horse for not being very "friendly" - it may be that his current owner doesn't interact with him much. This is my pony recently with the vet and my dog (he used to also not like dogs).


                        • #32
                          It's definitely possible, because you just described my horse pretty much to a T. Mine's a QH-type grade horse, bought him for $700 including delivery because he (supposedly) had a couple of issues. He's never shown any of them with me, though.

                          What has worked for me when horse shopping is to take a piece of paper, divide into three columns: must have, wish it has, cannot have and list all the qualities you can think of for each category. For example, "can safely jump a 2'3" course" might be a must have for you (and should be if you want to jumo in the future. As a beginner, you need to shy away from horses that aren't solid over fences). "Gelding, under 12 years old, personality and chrome" might fall under the wish for column-things you would like if everything on the must have list is met. "Green" or "doesn't tie" might be on the "no way" list.

                          Then stick to your list as you shop. If you look at a horse that meets your "must haves" but has just ONE on the "can't have" list, walk away and don't look back. Don't fall into the trap of , "well, maybe I can live with that" or "maybe I can fix it." There's a reason you put it on the list, and you won't have fun with a horse with an issue you aren't equipped to fix, even if you have a trainer to work with it, at least not for a long time.

                          Conversely, don't settle for a horse missing a "must have." Again, don't buy a horse that hasn't jumped thinking you will teach it. You could get your trainer to do so, of course, but then you have to wait for it to be a packer. If you aren't comfortable on a horse under 16 hands or over 17, don't talk yourself into thinking you'll get used to it.

                          Yes, you may move an item or two from the need list to the want list or add to the don't want list, or whatever. But if you have the list in front of you and stick to your guns on the must haves and can't haves, you'll find the right match. Don't fall in love with a horse's looks or personality and think you can deal with or fix everything else.


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post
                            Then stick to your list as you shop. If you look at a horse that meets your "must haves" but has just ONE on the "can't have" list, walk away and don't look back.
                            Thanks, you reminded me of something that I had totally forgotten - be careful with the list of nice to haves. When we went shopping for a horse when I was about 15, I had been showing my sister's pig of a gray pony. So when my dad made me make such a list, one of my wish list items was that all things being equal I didn't want another gray. You can imagine EXACTLY what color horse this ensured I ended up with for the next 17 years :-)


                            • #34
                              It sounds like you're in a really good place, moving forward. All you can do is what the rest of us do: work to educate yourself on *how* to evaluate horses (and keep your brain--rather than emotion!--in charge!) Leave the money at home and window shop, go to sales, and practice evaluating the horses you already know. As you're discovering, a good part of buying a horse is figuring out what you DON'T want in a horse. And, until you encounter, for example, a ridiculously bad canter or a pushy horse who has to be corrected every. single. day., you won't know to add those things to your "no thank you" list.

                              Some sellers are totally honest and disclose everything, and won't sell if they feel the horse isn't a good match. Some sellers lie through their teeth and will tell you anything to make a sale. Many, many others, either through inexperience or rose-colored glasses, have a distorted view of the capabilities and 'perfectness' of their sale horse. In other words, buying is something of a crapshoot. Particularly since more sellers can sound pleasant and sane than actually ARE...

                              I suggested buying a horse you 'know', through an in-person network or trial/lease, because (like dating) the quirks tend to come out over the first weeks or months. Yes, trials and leases are unpopular with sellers because of risk of injury to the horse, potential training of bad habits, and potential loss of sale because the horse is off the market during the trial. Expect to invest money in insurance, your trainer keeping the horse tuned up, and compensation for the trial period if you go that route. *However*, it's also the best way to make absolutely sure the horse is a great fit for you. Given your generous budget and wanting to keep the horse for a long time, it's something you might want to consider. Particularly weighed against what it would cost you to buy the wrong horse and then have to re-sell him or her (board, paying for help showing/selling, selling at a loss, your time, etc).

                              One other thing to keep in mind: Your budget is pretty generous for the kind of horse you're looking to buy (which is a GREAT thing). A door that opens for you is to consider horses who are generally what you want, but lack show experience and don't quite have the level of training or experience you'll eventually want. I'm thinking, for example, of CANTER horses who've been out trail riding, jumping cross country and in the ring, maybe foxhunted a little, etc. and are quiet, but need finished. Or a more backyard type of horse who needs his aids cleaned up. Horse like that, including PPE, transport, etc., shouldn't cost more than half your budgeted amount, leaving you a tidy sum to use for more training and lessons. Going that route, I'd definitely pick the trainer and program first, then have him or her help you shop.


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Pookah View Post
                                Thanks, you reminded me of something that I had totally forgotten - be careful with the list of nice to haves. When we went shopping for a horse when I was about 15, I had been showing my sister's pig of a gray pony. So when my dad made me make such a list, one of my wish list items was that all things being equal I didn't want another gray. You can imagine EXACTLY what color horse this ensured I ended up with for the next 17 years :-)
                                Yeah, those "wants" somehow end up getting changed or ditched somewhere. Henry was supposed to be a mare...

                                That flexibility in the wants, IMO, makes the musts and the nevers that much more important. Remember that color, gender, breed, etc. should always be on the want list (unless you're a serious breeder).


                                • #36
                                  Yep, that horse is out there and well within your price range. But, if I were in your shoes, I'd look to find a free lease of some sort for a year or so, maybe an older horse with some mild soundness issues, or a "husband horse" whose owner has lost interest etc. Breed is going to be much less important than the specific animal, though I definitely thought APHA or QH cross as well; would probably not suggest a Morgan or arab, or Saddlebred given what you said your goals are. The so-called "husband horses" are going to be likely to be pretty bomb proof, easy to trail ride and w/t/c, and usually pretty good eggs. Getting that mileage on a been there/done that one will get you more comfortable in the saddle, and a better sense of figuring out if you do want to try a little eventing or some small shows.

                                  Most important is to work with your trainer to find something appropriate. If you do end up buying, the horse's brain and sensibilities are going to be far more important than what it looks like, its breed, or how cute it is (and trust me, the ugliest horse because absolutely adorable when he's a good egg through and through).


                                  • #37
                                    You are me 6 years ago!
                                    I found my boy over the internet. He was close and I bought him from his breeder, so got to know everything about him, which is great.
                                    The most important thing I had no idea I needed in a horse was PATIENCE.
                                    I would most definitely look for that.
                                    The horse world is your oyster - don't rule any type of horse. What you want to do, most any horse should be able to do. It's not like you want to jump 5' or do Grand Prix dressage.
                                    Do a PPE! It is the best money you will ever spend.
                                    I'm glad to see you don't have a rigid timeframe to buy. Take your time and keep riding. You're older now and don't have anything to prove to anyone and shouldn't be in a hurry. Have fun and be sure to post pics when you find your perfect partner!
                                    Some days the best thing about my job is that the chair spins.


                                    • #38
                                      Its out there, and I'm currently trying to help a friend find almost the exact same thing, only in a large pony/small horse package - which can sometimes drive up the price a bit because we're competing with parents trying to find safe mounts for their kids.

                                      The #1 rule is to keep an open mind and not fixate on a specific size/sex/breed or training background. Often in a search like this, its better to focus on what you absolutely can't/won't live with - like vices or dangerous behaviour, than what you're looking for.
                                      Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                      Witherun Farm


                                      • #39
                                        I am surprised you did not mention Quarter Horses, Paints, or Appaloosas. They essentially exactly what you described in your OP. I was a bit of a breed snob before I met my heart horse. He's a gorgeous paint gelding that is basically the horse you described. You can also look for QH, Paint, and Appaloosa TB crosses.


                                        • #40
                                          I think you will find what you are looking for. The only thing is you may have to open up your search to other breeds. The Morgan, Arabian and some TB's can tend to be a hot, reactive type and some are not as big bodied or big boned as you are wanting to find.