Depends on the horse and the riding centre For some first time owners, it's an excellent idea - most of the horses are quite forgiving and used to being quite low-maintainance so will happily teach a new owner the ropes, and fingers crossed you would always have the centre to go back to with any queries or troubles.
I fell in love with a horse at a yard I worked at. Dillon was a 15.2hh dark bay/black cob x TB. I adored him and would have given anything to own him, but the job paid so badly that I couldn't have ever afforded him, and I also couldn't have afforded his livery bill (although I would have had a staff reduction). But had I had the money, I would have snapped him up.
I agree with Sez, in that I think it's a good idea for a novice.
The only things I would check are that they hack out alone because I'm not sure many school horses get this oportunity. And also that they don't get too fizzy if they don't have a high work load like they probably would in a riding school.
I bought mine while he was on loan to a trekking stables so at least I knew that he wasn't a nutter since beginners were put on him but also he was only there a few months so he wasn't "damaged" like he hadn't spent years being kicked by beginners etc and having numb sides or anything.
My old boy came from a riding school, I had been riding him for a couple of years when I was told he was for sale. He was the best thing to ever happen to me! He was a star in every way and positively thrived on life after the riding school. I never had any issues with him hacking alone or schooling.
My first pony came from a trekking centre. At the centre he mainly did rides out, no lessons, and always with company. Hence the pony who was an absolute saint at the centre quickly became a stroppy, opinionated little git who eventually managed to break my front tooth during a ridden tantrum one day.
He'd put up with schooling for ten minutes and then tank back to the gate. For months my schooling sessions were interrupted by unscheduled gallops back to the gate. It became almost normal to make three or four trips back to the gate at breakneck speed each time we schooled.
Hacking out he was unpredictable to say the least. He liked to play 'guess where I'll spook today' and 'how fast can we turn for home'. I fell off him more in six months than I had in years at the centre.
In retrospect the poor boy had been taken away from his friends and everything he knew and was being asked to do things he'd never done before. No wonder he was unpredictable.
And that said, he was the love of my life. I'd buy again from a centre but I'd also be prepared to find the horse I bought could behave somewhat differently at home with me.
I definately would buy from my RS. The horses are forgiving and have some spark in them when you get someone more experienced on them. I will be getting my first horse soon and i would really consider looking at horses from an RS as they will teach me so much.
I see no reason why not. You're normally guaranteed a saffe horse. I've just moved from loaning a RS horse to a never seen a RS in his life horse and the change is huge! But I would probably buy from a riding school because they're nearly always safe enough and you know you're giving then a different home?
I say go for it!
I bought Captain from a RS and I would buy him again in the same situation.
I would highly advise as Saah Sayer already has above, to check and ride the horse out solo. And try and ask for a trial at home. Some horses fizz up without the workloads of a RS and some dont like it off a School environment.