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Buying babies or buying made

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  • Buying babies or buying made

    What makes an ideal foundation for your own horse; if you could have brought your horse along from a weanling, or bought started, or bought experienced? I’m leaning towards a weanling to start right from the beginning.

  • #2
    For a horse to breed or a horse to compete/ride?

    If money was no object, and my goal was competition, I (personally) would buy a competition horse that was sound in steady work. Then you don't have to wait half a decade. Depends what your goals are and how much money you have to spend and if you have other horses to ride in the meantime and/or the skills to develop a young horse.
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      kinda depends on whether or not you have the ability to start them...

      If you buy as weanling and send them off to be started then why not just start with a 4 year old?

      If you plan on doing all the training yourself then that's a nice bet.

      I prefer to ride horses that I have started.
      http://kaboomeventing.com/
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      • #4
        Very much a personal preference. I personally have found that I enjoy starting with a young horse and developing it myself. I like the whole process of it and knowing the entire history of the horse.
        www.rockhillfarm.net

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        • #5
          Do you care what discipline?

          If you buy a baby there is a significant chance that its strengths will not be in your discipline-of-choice.

          But if you are willing to switch disciplines yourself (or sell the horse as soon as you realize it isn't a fit for the original discipline), then brining along a baby can be LOTS of fun.
          Janet

          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

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          • #6
            I just bought a 4 year old mare from a breeder. I could not be happier.

            I did, however go to a very reputable breeder whom was recommended by my vet. I also spent a long time talking to her about her program, her horses and which of her young prospects would best suit my needs.

            It is a longstanding program, 40 years of thoughtful breeding. And the breeder raises her babies right and puts a solid foundation on them before sending them out into the world.

            We have just started the mare under saddle and (knock on wood) she has been fabulous.

            I never thought I'd buy a young horse again, and not from a breeder... but the experience has completely surpassed my expectation.
            We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Janet View Post
              Do you care what discipline?

              If you buy a baby there is a significant chance that its strengths will not be in your discipline-of-choice.

              But if you are willing to switch disciplines yourself (or sell the horse as soon as you realize it isn't a fit for the original discipline), then brining along a baby can be LOTS of fun.
              I personally disagree with this sentiment. I know my mares, and I know what they produce. I know what their dams produced and what their sires produced. There is no question whether or not my foals will jump. The only question is if they can go up to Grand Prix or not. As we have discussed on this board, there are way too many factors that lead up to that.

              Some posts bring up great considerations, but one is being missed. Can you afford, or have access to them once they are old enough to be recognized? Many of the foals I consider, will not be available to me by the age of three for a reasonable price. OR Nicht verkaufen, NOT FOR SALE. Yet, they are available to me now, for a reasonable price. Working with someone who knows how to evaluate foals, and knows the mothers and families of the mares will drastically limit the risks involved, but it will give you access to horses that will never be available when mature. So access and cost play into this consideration. It just depends on how good of a sport horse you want. If it is for breeding, your buying genetics anyways, so buying as a foal is best.


              Tim
              Sparling Rock Holsteiners
              www.sparlingrock.com

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              • #8
                Having experienced both (or in the process of it), I will probably continue with both, but lean more towards the making it myself. As I am currently going through a "retraining" process with my older mare, and starting her 4 year old daughter, I am finding it to be soooooo much easier to start from scratch than retrain to my (new) expectations (and correctness).

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                • #9
                  I prefer breeding and bringing my own along. That having been said, I also own a farm with groups of broodmares and young horses on it that is staffed by people experienced in handling young horses, with facilities for starting young horses and staff on site who are experienced in breaking and early training. Still, bringing along babies is a headache, one that I constantly consider abandoning, especially now with the economy making slightly older youngsters more and more affordable.

                  Young horses require careful handling and a specific setup. You can't just chuck them out in the field with a group of older horses. You can't have inexperienced working students or brand new barn staff handling them. Young horses aren't born knowing basic stuff like how to tie and how to trailer and how to stand still for shots and other care. They will take any opportunity to injure or maim themselves out in the field. They need a special diet. Sometimes they have OCDs on their screening xrays.

                  It can be hard to predict the best performers. Ugly duckling babies can grow up to be swans. Impressive looking babies can grow up to be coarse and boring. The flashy gaits of an excited weanling can translate into a pretty plain moving three year old. An awkward moving baby can end up with stunning gaits and an unforeseen ability to collect and carry itself once it is under saddle.

                  Sometimes what a horse is bred for, what it looks like it will be good at and what it actually excels at are three different things. Sometimes a quiet baby will turn out to be really tough to get started under saddle or turn out to be a quirky ride.

                  If you really want to be successful bringing along a young horse, you need a proper setup/environment for them to live safely and healthfully while they grow and mature, and you also need a setup for them to be started and brought along by someone experienced in doing it. You also need to be flexible that your youngster may turn out to be different than what you imagined, for better or for worse.

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                  • #10
                    You need to know yourself.
                    Are you afraid to ride silly...unsteady...rocketships...slow boats...arrogant...timid...goofball...confused...a ny individual young horse can be any one or at times all of these things and more, if that aspect makes you anxious you may not be somone comfortable starting a young horse.

                    Starting young horses is an art and I now send all of mine out for 3 and preferably 6 months and I look for a starter who gets young horses outside hacking as part of their education. I am looking for a forward confident youngster. If you can afford to do this then whether you can start them is less important but you still need to have a good solid independant seat and it helps if you have ridden a fair number of horses so you have a forward, confident mind yourself.

                    You need some resources to grow a youngster...best is a place with other youngsters where they are outside growing and playing. I like a mixed age group so there are older horses to teach manners instead of "lord of the flies". It is good to have stalls and grooming places so they learn civilized manners like staying in a stall at times and being tied and crosstied. Then to know a good starter to give your horses a nice start and an away experience. You are setting your youngster up for a good future so they can thrive with different owners and rider through their life. Have fun. PatO

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                      kinda depends on whether or not you have the ability to start them...

                      If you buy as weanling and send them off to be started then why not just start with a 4 year old?

                      If you plan on doing all the training yourself then that's a nice bet.

                      I prefer to ride horses that I have started.
                      I agree 110%
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                      • #12
                        I prefer ready made. I've never been fond of foals and being little myself don't like the rocket ship crazies. I'm also not nearly as bouncy as I once was and would rather leave the backing to the pros. I can however do 90% of the ground work with babies and I prefer to do that. I LOVE Sakura's young horse program and would willingly jump on board any breeder that offers that. DD wants to raise her own and do all of the training herself so I am seeing a youngster in my future but I'm putting it off for as long as possible. (Unless it's White Hedge's Cover Girl)

                        I am also of the mindset of many hands make the horse better (to a point). Just as catch riding made us better riders, several riders should make a horse better as well.
                        Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                        Originally Posted by alicen:
                        What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

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                        • #13
                          I agree with Tim. I breed, and I know what my mares produce and how well her offspring are performing. I know their history even on a new-to-me broodmare because I dig up her past and make phone calls getting the digs, usually before I purchase her.

                          If you do buy a weanling, do your homework and figure out what bloodlines you prefer and buy from a breeder who is using those bloodlines and has mares with proven performance get. And then if you enjoy working with a youngster and all their variety of moods, phases, tantrums, and great lightbulb moments, then go for it. A youngster is a new horse every day and you never quite know what's going on in their pea brain.

                          If a horse having a tantrum intimidates you, then a youngster is not for you. All youngsters have tantrums and some tantrums can be like wading through a hurricane until you get it sorted out - -and it MUST be sorted out at that moment whether you had scheduled the time for it or not. Youngsters are the most time consuming of ALL horses, because every day you're laying a new brick in the foundation of their life, good or bad.

                          Especially with youngsters, a behavioral issue can only present itself as a training opportunity as the youngster brings it up. So, one day your placid in-your-pocket yearling decides to become a rocket and fireworks coming out of his stall because he's never tried it before and it seemed like a good idea at the time.......and now you must capitalize on the opportunity to train the goofball that this is not acceptable behavior. It might take 5 minutes to sort out, or it might take 25 minutes and 4 blisters on your hands. But the point of youngsters is - they don't know what they don't know. They must learn by making mistakes and you must allow them to make those mistakes, and have the time to show them the consequences for said mistakes. Mistakes come up randomly at any given day, and Youngster-Dude really doesn't care if you're supposed to be at work in 10 minutes.

                          So, if that doesn't float your boat, then go for a nice 4 or 5 year old who has been well and correctly started and already showing some decent consistency under saddle and, I would expect, quite solid consistency of behavior in-hand.

                          It's not always cheaper to buy a weanling - - especially if you have to employ the services a trainer periodically during teenagerdom, and then another trainer to get said youngster started under saddle.

                          I usually sell my babies quite young, but the ones I keep, I do employ a trainer only because my damaged back can no longer take starting youngsters. It's a big expense you have to make allowances for. Personally, I LOVE handling babies and youngsters - it truly is my cup of tea. I take enormous satisfaction in their day to day lives and learning. When they hit 3, I admittedly look forward to sending them away to the trainer (almost like a parent who can't wait until their kids go off to college....) who subsequently sends them back as nicely maturing 4 year olds who are getting consistent under saddle.
                          Last edited by rodawn; Sep. 7, 2011, 07:32 PM.
                          Practice! Patience! Persistence!
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rodawn View Post
                            I agree with Tim. I breed, and I know what my mares produce and how well her offspring are performing. I know their history even on a new-to-me broodmare because I dig up her past and make phone calls getting the digs, usually before I purchase her.

                            If you do buy a weanling, do your homework and figure out what bloodlines you prefer and buy from a breeder who is using those bloodlines and has mares with proven performance get. And then if you enjoy working with a youngster and all their variety of moods, phases, tantrums, and great lightbulb moments, then go for it. A youngster is a new horse every day and you never quite know what's going on in their pea brain.

                            If a horse having a tantrum intimidates you, then a youngster is not for you. All youngsters have tantrums and some tantrums can be like wading through a hurricane until you get it sorted out - -and it MUST be sorted out at that moment whether you had scheduled the time for it or not. Youngsters are the most time consuming of ALL horses, because every day you're laying a new brick in the foundation of their life, good or bad.

                            Especially with youngsters, a behavioral issue can only present itself as a training opportunity as the youngster brings it up. So, one day your placid in-your-pocket yearling decides to become a rocket and fireworks coming out of his stall because he's never tried it before and it seemed like a good idea at the time.......and now you must capitalize on the opportunity to train the goofball that this is not acceptable behavior. It might take 5 minutes to sort out, or it might take 25 minutes and 4 blisters on your hands. But the point of youngsters is - they don't know what they don't know. They must learn by making mistakes and you must allow them to make those mistakes, and have the time to show them the consequences for said mistakes. Mistakes come up randomly at any given day, and Youngster-Dude really doesn't care if you're supposed to be at work in 10 minutes.

                            So, if that doesn't float your boat, then go for a nice 4 or 5 year old who has been well and correctly started and already showing some decent consistency under saddle and, I would expect, quite solid consistency of behavior in-hand.

                            It's not always cheaper to buy a weanling - - especially if you have to employ the services a trainer periodically during teenagerdom, and then another trainer to get said youngster started under saddle.

                            I usually sell my babies quite young, but the ones I keep, I do employ a trainer only because my damaged back can no longer take starting youngsters. It's a big expense you have to make allowances for. Personally, I LOVE handling babies and youngsters - it truly is my cup of tea. I take enormous satisfaction in their day to day lives and learning. When they hit 3, I admittedly look forward to sending them away to the trainer (almost like a parent who can't wait until their kids go off to college....) who subsequently sends them back as nicely maturing 4 year olds who are getting consistent under saddle.
                            Totally agree with this post, but I am not talented enough to start the young ones, let along the really big moving ones! I do have a very good young horse rider, and that is what I pay her for.

                            Really hate wasting time on people that expect a yearling to act like a five year old?

                            I have bought at Auctions for the last eight years, but the two most talented horses I own right now are two that I bred. If this were not the case, I would stop breeding tomorrow. It would be much safer and way less stress. But for the time being, I am impressed with these two and a couple others that I am crazy enough to press on (-:

                            If I did not think I could breed a foal that at auction I could never afford, I would stop breeding. So much easier to buy something already on the ground, especially in this environment.
                            Nancy Holowesko
                            www.crosiadorefarm.com
                            Breeders of GOV Horses for Dressage

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                            • #15
                              I agree with Rodawn ms general point but disagree about the tantrums part. It is very rare on my farm to see a tantrum and Most of my youngsters are very easy to deal with. I have had a couple that are more challenging like anyone else but I would not consider tantrums to be the norm for youngsters.
                              Roseknoll Sporthorses
                              www.roseknoll.net

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                              • #16
                                [quote=leilatigress;5826141.... I LOVE Sakura's young horse program and would willingly jump on board any breeder that offers that. .[/quote]

                                Thank you for your kind comment.

                                Because we have raised most of our broodmares themselves from weaning and have started and competed them ourselves, we have a good idea of their foals' predilictions and aptitudes. Like Yankee Lawyer, tantrums are not something that we see as a rule. The youngsters are handled twice a day and are able to expend excess energy in the fields with their peers where they remain 24/7 except for feeding or handling. We use the La Cense method - a natural horseman approach developed in France for jumpers- when it is time to be started and Monica was just remarking how our mare Ahsianita, after two years on maternity leave, needed no refresher course on the body language commands that she had learned as a 3 year old.

                                We love the youngsters and like to see them happy, well- adjusted and well-behaved. Hearing compliments like the one above is an additional bonus.
                                Last edited by Sakura Hill Farm; Sep. 8, 2011, 12:33 AM.
                                Sakura Hill Farm
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                                Young and developing horses for A-circuit jumper and hunter rings.

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                                • #17
                                  I have expensive tastes in horses but don't have the bank balance to match! So in order to buy the calibre of horse I want the only way is to buy a baby. If you've got a good eye for a horse and you're prepared to traipse across dozens of muddy fields to look at hairy feral yearlings and two year olds you can find a superstar that noone else has spotted yet.

                                  I've done this twice in the past 3 years and bought two fillies. They both graded as Elite as 3 year olds, one was top 3yo in the country, the other is 3rd in the country. The older one is now 5 and is confirmed in half pass, starting flying changes yet she only gets ridden 2-3 times a week. She is naturally balanced and athletic and finds the work incredibly easy. The younger one is doing her ground work and will be going away for backing in a few weeks.

                                  There is no way I could have afforded horses of their quality now their quality is clear to everyone. The key is to buy them young and be able to look past young horse gawkiness and hair and mud.

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                                  • #18
                                    It's all well and good that some posters on here have this great talent for spotting talented weanlings and have had great success with buying them, but the fact is most people don't (probably myself included, I have never tried). Of the ammys I know of that have tried to start with weanlings (and there have been many) 80% of them are either outright total failures that the owners cannot even ride, or at the best the owners are bumbling along, over their heads, and spending ridiculous amounts of time with a trainer riding the horse instead of them.

                                    I prefer a horse (or pony) that I can sit on, but that hasn't been "trained" yet. At least in my experience there's no substitute for the feeling a horse gives you when you feel him/her underneath you.

                                    I have dreams of raising a foal and always have, and maybe someday I will. But since I can only own one horse, and pay a ridiculous amount in board, I chose to get something ready to go so I have better odds getting what I really want.
                                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
                                      I agree with Rodawn ms general point but disagree about the tantrums part. It is very rare on my farm to see a tantrum and Most of my youngsters are very easy to deal with. I have had a couple that are more challenging like anyone else but I would not consider tantrums to be the norm for youngsters.
                                      I hardly ever see tantrums either.

                                      I like riding horses that I have started, but I wouldn't be inclined to buy a weanling necessarily. A late 2 or 3 year old, sure. I want the baby stuff done right, and I don't feel that I can adequately provide that in a boarding situation and my coach breeder friend doesn't take boarders
                                      Riding the winds of change

                                      Heeling NRG Aussies
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                                      • #20
                                        I definitely prefer to buy riding age, lightly started by a professional. I love to bring a young horse along, with support of course, but that initial backing is SOOOO important to not screw up!! I've done both, had one I started that I think I really screwed up (but he's okay now), and then 2 that were lightly started by the same professional (a jumper trainer, actually). And he did a GREAT job on both of them and I've had no training issues.

                                        Once they are totally okay with a rider on board, accepting the aids, then I like to take it from there.

                                        I think one day I would love to raise a baby from a weanling, but I'd still send it away to be started!

                                        It all depends on your comfort level and experience.

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