Buying an older horse.

BW123

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Apr 1, 2019
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Hello! My 12 year old daughter has been riding for quite some time since she was 4, and has loaned a 19 year old 14.2 Mare for 6 months. She's a lovely girl. Quirky but safe, was owned previously by another teen for a few years who wanted something bigger. The long and short of it is I think my daughter is ready for her own. She loves the work side associated with riding and spends all weekend with her loan. I am seriously contemplating buying this mare as my daughter feels confident with her , unlike others she's ridden in the past. The only thing is the age. A lot of people are saying she's too old, but she still pops a jump and çanters like the wind! Pros and cons of buying a veteran? Experiences?? Thanks x
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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In that six months how much has she been with the horse, ridden it. Several times a week or just weekends. My reason is how well do you know the horse. Ie is it on any medication, treated for laminitis etc. Have you been able to discuss with the owner any health issues its had in the past.
I would still look at getting it at least basic vetted. Think its 2*.
If your daughter is 12. To my mind that says if the horse is in good health for its age. They by the time your daughter is 17, and possibly looking at 6th form or college or they loose interest, then the horse would probably be close to retiring. What happens then. Its difficult to sell on at 25. So you would possibly be stuck with an older horse. I'm sure you've given that some thought. Another positive that she could really gain confidence from it, as you say she already has. The down side is that it is too old to really go to competitions if that something your contemplating. She could do funrides popping small jumps but its athletic ability to do large jumps safely might be questionable if its arthritic.
I have a 23 year old horse, who I can no longer ride as he has back issues and I'm too heavy for him because of this, but I've had a couple of teenagers who ride him as they are lighter than me and he is still managing at present. He also still drives. I didnt break him for driving till he was 17 mind. Without the teenagers I would have had to retire him from riding a couple of years ago. There are people on here who have ridden horses over 25 I think.
 

Huggy

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Nov 11, 2018
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Gosh, that's a hard one. Can only say that at 19, with cushings, my old boy probably had another 7 years of active life. Pros are, your daughter loves her, she's safe and a known quantity, and still active. Cons - at some point you'll be more likely to have health issues to deal with, with an older horse, (vet bills) and will your daughter want something bigger, if she grows a lot? I assume you wouldn't sell her on at say, 24 years old, so you'd have 2 horses to fund. If you have her vetted, and she comes up completely sound, you may have a good few years, and the horse will have fun in the autumn of her life. I'm sure you've been through all this in your head. Like I say - it's a toughie.
 
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diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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I bought Buddy age 19. He was jumping 3'6 with a teenager, doing common riding, doing too much for his legs and he was beginning to give them signs that he had to slow down. I bought him un-vetted as I believed that if he had got to that age fit and well he was likely to continue. And he has given me six years of fun. He now has arthritis just diagnosed last week and will have to be more careful and do even less. I have the huge advantage that I have my own land and he is kept at home, so he will end his days here. One of my bargaining points when someone else offered more for him was that if he was on a livery yard and couldn't be ridden, most people do not retire them, whereas I would keep him for his life. It's my payback to him for all the fun he has given me and all the other owners who had him. The plus side of this horse is it is known and trusted, but if she has sole charge of it, will it be doing less work and be more lively? The horse she is riding now will inevitably slow down but then younger horses also can get ill, break legs, cause you heartache too. I supposed if you are not able or willing to offer this pre veteran a long term solution, I would hate to see it being on the market in its 20s. as its future would be very bleak. I don't mind paying for my own horses retirement and long term even when they can't be ridden - I retired one at 9 and she died age 26 that's a lot of money for a pasture pet but I couldn't have sold her on with her problems, it would have been unethical. But not many people are willing to take on another person's old horse with no personal connection with it. Don't know your financial circumstances but outgrowing the pony and also like previous owner wanting a go faster bigger model is a potential issue. I used to home check for a charity, every year I went to see a pony like this, Galaxy. Every year or so another family had taken him on at the yard, and was doing pc with him all sorts of stuff. NOT ONE of them took him on forever. The final time I home checked him, and he was going to be passed on again, I told my friend at the charity that we should move him, find him a home with someone who would keep him. Which we did, found him a place on a large farm and he died there many years later. Everyone else had their fun on them, all the yummy mummies who had loads of money wouldn't even buy him a winter rug and ust used him. So we found the right place for him where once he had to hang up his bridle he was loved enough to stay. It's something you have to consider when buying an older horse.
 
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BW123

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Apr 1, 2019
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Gosh, that's a hard one. Can only say that at 19, with cushings, my old boy probably had another 7 years of active life. Pros are, your daughter loves her, she's safe and a known quantity, and still active. Cons - at some point you'll be more likely to have health issues to deal with, with an older horse, (vet bills) and will your daughter want something bigger, if she grows a lot? I assume you wouldn't sell her on at say, 24 years old, so you'd have 2 horses to fund. If you have her vetted, and she comes up completely sound, you may have a good few years, and the horse will have fun in the autumn of her life. I'm sure you've been through all this in your head. Like I say - it's a toughie.
Thanks. It is tough. But she's kind of got under our skin a bit. ! As and when daughter goes to uni...college whatever, I would keep her on retired, she's taught so many to rise, she's owed that. I will do a 2 star vet and go from there.
 
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BW123

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Apr 1, 2019
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In that six months how much has she been with the horse, ridden it. Several times a week or just weekends. My reason is how well do you know the horse. Ie is it on any medication, treated for laminitis etc. Have you been able to discuss with the owner any health issues its had in the past.
I would still look at getting it at least basic vetted. Think its 2*.
If your daughter is 12. To my mind that says if the horse is in good health for its age. They by the time your daughter is 17, and possibly looking at 6th form or college or they loose interest, then the horse would probably be close to retiring. What happens then. Its difficult to sell on at 25. So you would possibly be stuck with an older horse. I'm sure you've given that some thought. Another positive that she could really gain confidence from it, as you say she already has. The down side is that it is too old to really go to competitions if that something your contemplating. She could do funrides popping small jumps but its athletic ability to do large jumps safely might be questionable if its arthritic.
I have a 23 year old horse, who I can no longer ride as he has back issues and I'm too heavy for him because of this, but I've had a couple of teenagers who ride him as they are lighter than me and he is still managing at present. He also still drives. I didnt break him for driving till he was 17 mind. Without the teenagers I would have had to retire him from riding a couple of years ago. There are people on here who have ridden horses over 25 I think.
All good points chunky thanks. We see her a lot in the week too, and We know her old owner personally so can vouch for her not being a lame/poorly type. I think as you say a 2 star bet is a must and go from there.
 

BW123

New Member
Apr 1, 2019
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I bought Buddy age 19. He was jumping 3'6 with a teenager, doing common riding, doing too much for his legs and he was beginning to give them signs that he had to slow down. I bought him un-vetted as I believed that if he had got to that age fit and well he was likely to continue. And he has given me six years of fun. He now has arthritis just diagnosed last week and will have to be more careful and do even less. I have the huge advantage that I have my own land and he is kept at home, so he will end his days here. One of my bargaining points when someone else offered more for him was that if he was on a livery yard and couldn't be ridden, most people do not retire them, whereas I would keep him for his life. It's my payback to him for all the fun he has given me and all the other owners who had him. The plus side of this horse is it is known and trusted, but if she has sole charge of it, will it be doing less work and be more lively? The horse she is riding now will inevitably slow down but then younger horses also can get ill, break legs, cause you heartache too. I supposed if you are not able or willing to offer this pre veteran a long term solution, I would hate to see it being on the market in its 20s. as its future would be very bleak. I don't mind paying for my own horses retirement and long term even when they can't be ridden - I retired one at 9 and she died age 26 that's a lot of money for a pasture pet but I couldn't have sold her on with her problems, it would have been unethical. But not many people are willing to take on another person's old horse with no personal connection with it. Don't know your financial circumstances but outgrowing the pony and also like previous owner wanting a go faster bigger model is a potential issue. I used to home check for a charity, every year I went to see a pony like this, Galaxy. Every year or so another family had taken him on at the yard, and was doing pc with him all sorts of stuff. NOT ONE of them took him on forever. The final time I home checked him, and he was going to be passed on again, I told my friend at the charity that we should move him, find him a home with someone who would keep him. Which we did, found him a place on a large farm and he died there many years later. Everyone else had their fun on them, all the yummy mummies who had loads of money wouldn't even buy him a winter rug and ust used him. So we found the right place for him where once he had to hang up his bridle he was loved enough to stay. It's something you have to consider when buying an older horse.
Thanks. Yes, as you say, when it comes to horses I'm a bit like I am with dogs...you take them on and you care for them. Yes she would retire with me. I would not sell her or PTS unneccessarily. I think it's like you say she's got this far, she may have a few years yet.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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Thanks. Yes, as you say, when it comes to horses I'm a bit like I am with dogs...you take them on and you care for them. Yes she would retire with me. I would not sell her or PTS unneccessarily. I think it's like you say she's got this far, she may have a few years yet.
excellent, there is a lot to be said for buying a known quantity, as often you go and try a horse, it seems fine, gets home and is unsettled and is a nightmare. plus there are a lot of rogues out there- I have had two fail the vet, one was clearly buted up when I tried it, the other one the vet said it's time for it to retire. And the mare I bought who passed a 5 stage vetting age 6 was a wrong one and retired age 9 and lived till 26.
 

Huggy

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Nov 11, 2018
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Thanks. It is tough. But she's kind of got under our skin a bit. ! As and when daughter goes to uni...college whatever, I would keep her on retired, she's taught so many to rise, she's owed that. I will do a 2 star vet and go from there.
Sounds like she's coming home..... ;)
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Is there any reason why your daughter cannot continue to share, possibly with a first refusal if the horse is to be put on the market?
Although an elderly horse may remain fine for hacking and the occasional canter, this horse may well need time off at the point where your daughter is growing bigger and heavier and wanting to do more.
However there is a big difference between an unknown animal on the market at this age and a horse that you already know. It is hard to break a relationship with a particular much loved animal. I shared an old horse whom I knew well. I rode her slower and easier as time went by. But I had access to another horse if I wanted a good canter.
On the other hand be warned. . In order to work well with a horse (I think) one has to bond with it. I started riding a new horse 3 or 4 weeks ago and people already say there is a bond. Since she has bonded once, your daughter might quickly bond with another horse if given the chance.
 
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poppy 99

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Jul 8, 2006
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Hello! My 12 year old daughter has been riding for quite some time since she was 4, and has loaned a 19 year old 14.2 Mare for 6 months. She's a lovely girl. Quirky but safe, was owned previously by another teen for a few years who wanted something bigger. The long and short of it is I think my daughter is ready for her own. She loves the work side associated with riding and spends all weekend with her loan. I am seriously contemplating buying this mare as my daughter feels confident with her , unlike others she's ridden in the past. The only thing is the age. A lot of people are saying she's too old, but she still pops a jump and çanters like the wind! Pros and cons of buying a veteran? Experiences?? Thanks x
I bought my now 28yo when she was 18 (had loaned her for 3 years). She is still going strong with no issues. She is as fast and fiesty as she has ever been!
 
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CharliesAngel

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Jan 15, 2010
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if the pony really suits your daughter, buy her.

We loaned a 19 year old pony for my son and then bought him after 6 months. He has previously had laminitis but we are able to manage his weight more easily here so have had no issues. He has taught so many kids through pony club and SJ to a pretty decent level. He is still on the big side for my son but he adores him and did camp with him this summer. He is fitter than ever and I hack him out and school him now and again myself to keep him ticking over. The right pony can do sooo much for your child. If there are no major issues, dont overthink it.