Looking at possible first horse

Mirela

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Feb 24, 2018
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Hello, this is my first time posting here.
Sorry for the long long post.
So I am middle aged, professional, financially stable etc so overall would think responsible person. I held off getting into horses (life, studies, career, etc) so started riding in January - once or twice a week. All going well, getting very good feedback from RI (good seat, good position, good control of the horse, confident etc) and now I have canter more or less under control. The horse that I usually ride on is a 14 year old 15.2hh shire x cob gelding that is fine to walk and trot but very difficult to get to canter (I was told it's not just me, he is very lazy). I really hate using the whip. I would like my own horse and not be depended on the riding school times.
Also doing BHS level 1 care course and that's very interesting.
Problem is that I don'y have many (read as any) friends with good horse knowledge and riding instructors are very nice and helpful when I am at their yard but they are all very busy outside their work duties which I completely understand.
I tried to share a horse not so long ago but that didn't go very well (another long story) and severely put me off sharing someone else's horse.
So I saw this advert yesterday - 12 year old mare, heavy breed but unsure of breeding (pecheron cross the lady thinks), 15.3hh, taught a beginner to ride (have seen videos of the beginner riding her - she looks very patient), has done dressage in the past and the lady is teaching her some tricks.
I have asked at least 30 questions, the lady seemed very honest, the only issues she has are: a bit moody but nothing dangerous when in season - usually she gets a week off after which she is fine, a bit nervous with the girth - turns her head when girth gets done but never bites and needs encouragement when hacking on her own but hacks very well in groups - first middle or last. I doubt that I will hack her alone until I gain more confidence.
I am planning to stable her at a full livery with school and I am trying to sort this out - waiting for spaces and answers.
She is willing to loan with view to buy.
It looks like I will be going to see her on my own - nobody knowledgeable to take with me and my partner is really not into horses at all.

What should I look for when I go and see her? what should I or shouldn't I do?

Any help or ideas appreciated.

Thank you!
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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Hi and welcome.

I don't want to put you off but..

I would be wary if there are girthing issues. It could indicate problems. To name a couple. Ulcers or Kissing Spine.
Please think about having the horse vetted if you are going to buy. If you are loaning it first it will give you time to assess the girthing. Does the horse buck at all when ridden.
Take it out on the road don't just take the person's word for it. Check it is safe in traffic. Walk, trot and canter. In an open field if possible.
Ask about what bit it is ridden in. Any health issues it's had.
Others on here will hopefully give you plenty of advice. But feel free to ask us lots of questions on here.
 

Mirela

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Feb 24, 2018
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Good advice, thank you.
I asked about bucking or rearing I was told never done anything of the sort. I will definitely get her vetted. Was also thinking to catch her from the field.
Should I try to tack her myself or watch them do it?

I know it's a dense question but would there be any connection between the bit and how she reacts to girthing? or just about how responsive the horse is?
 
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chunky monkey

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Yes catch her from the field and tack up if you can. If not stand near enough to watch the girth being done up. See how they do it.
Maybe they do it bit by bit or just all in one. The horse just may be the sensitive type. Maybe it's been done too tight by someone and the horse just retains that memory. It could even be the girth they are using, it could be pinching. Simply changing to a different girth might resolve it.
I think unlikely to do with the bit. If the horse didn't like the bit it would be possibly more likely to evade having the bridle put on. Swinging head round or putting head in the air.
I'm probably over worrying you but I have a horse who many years ago suddenly started being girthy after years of being fine to tack up. Now several years on he has back issues, possibly KS.
Is there any way you could ask your RI or someone with some horse knowledge to go with you to try the horse as well.
 

carthorse

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If I'm going to be totally honest I'd say that you almost certainly aren't ready to buy yet. Try to get more experience & ride different horses. Go to different schools maybe to get a more varied view. Go hacking, maybe go on some horsey holidays. See if you can help out handling horses, either at the school or by putting up an ad or facebook post saying you'd like to get experience handling horses. There's a world of difference between riding a quiet RS horse, which this one sounds to be, and owning your own.
 

Flipo's Mum

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Aug 17, 2009
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Glad they are open to loaning first as I think this will be very telling for your relationship. See if you can organise a good freelance instructor or someone on the livery yard to give you lessons together as it will help.
While I can see where carthorse is coming from, my parents bought my sister and I ponies when we were kids with no prior horse experience between any of us. Neither of us had ridden and none of us knew what to do. We rented a field, my dad built us a stable and we had an absolute ball. The key being, we were passionate, willing to learn, knew when we had been overhorsed (one of our ponies was replaced within about five weeks as he was too much for us) and were determined.
There’s no licence required for owning a horse. Sure there are folk who should definitely not be allowed to own, but it’s not for me to judge.
I just think it’s mega important that you end up with the right horse. Don’t just take the first one for the sake of it.

I’d watch them ride first, then try yourself. Consider things like are they easy to catch from the field (see it being done rather than just asking the question). Try tacking up yourself. Definitely worth vetting. I appreciate alot of folk don’t, but when you don’t have a great deal of knowledge they can help.

How is the horse with farrier? Look at the state of the feet. Pick them up. Ask questions. When did he last have teeth and vaccinations done? Get a look at the passport.
Consider seeing if you can pay an instructor to come with you.
 
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Mirela

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I am glad it worked well for you. Thank you for your thoughts. So hard to find a place where people don't jump to judge.
 

Jessey

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Given you are very novice you really do need someone with you for viewing, you should be able to employ a freelance riding instructor (not nec. One from your riding school) to come with you and assess both you and the horse together, it's to protect you physically and financially so really is worth it's weight in gold.

I'm intrigued why sharing didn't work out for you? that is generally the best way to step from RS to ownership as you learn heaps from sharing/from the owner, perhaps if you couldn't share you aren't ready to own.....or maybe you just had terrible luck and it's worth trying again.

I'm not sure if I'm reading it right but are you saying the horse gets a week off every time she comes in season? That's a week a month you can't ride the horse :eek: and it must be pretty bad to warrant giving her a week off for it. I have a very hormonal mare myself, she doesn't get time off for it. The week off thing rings alarm bells, and perhaps it's just the current owner being soft, but you'd need someone knowledgeable to ask lots of questions to get to the bottom of that and the girthyness.

You say you won't ride alone, but if you don't yet know where you will be keeping her how do you know there will be anyone to ride with? even on big livery yards you often find you don't have someone to ride with, people keep different schedules, want to do different things etc so it doesn't always work out the way you hope, if that happens will you just not ride?
 

Mirela

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You make some very sensible points. I will definitely get in touch with a freelance instructor. The horse is about 2 hour driving away, should I get some local to come with me, or someone from their own area that I can meet at the yard?

I have a good choice of livery yards, I just need to decide on one with instructor and need to gather some more word of mouth of which ones suit my needs.

Should I quote the discussion about mareishness: "She can be a bit of a mare, but definitely not to the extreme. I generally give her a week off and give her lots of normal attention". Your thoughts?

The share attempt was an older warmblood type that was supposed to be good for novices and to be honest he was very good and easy when I tried him. He was kept at a private high end showjumping yard (they said international eventing), the horse owner herself was fine but the yard owner intervened and was very offensive about me learning, and about about my own riding instructor and the riding school that I attend, suppose she was used to riders of a certain standard, so that put me off since the yard owner was on site most of the time and the owner was not. They were also charging a fortune, which I wouldn't have minded at all in other circumstances as I know keeping hoses is not cheap. And when you are just starting something and are very excited about it, getting belittled so bluntly sort of curves your trust and enthusiasm. I am now not keen on trying someone else's horse and I'm getting anxious about being judged like that again.

I have been halfheartedly looking for other shares since but all I can find within reasonable distance (less than 45min driving) is experienced riders only and young, lightweight or spooky horses. I am also not exactly a lightweight (13.5st) and I don't want to be the one causing the horse health problems so the choice is even narrower. I just feel it will be easier to have my own on full livery until I learn more and I also wouldn't mind sharing my own.
I don't want a horse just to hop on and ride - if it would be just that I would be happy with just attending the riding school. I want to spend time, fuss, groom, do groundwork and bonding in general.
 
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carthorse

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It may be, and I'm not saying this was definitely the case, that the YO was concerned for your safety. The term novice can have a wide range of interpretations but I suspect that with less than 3 months of lessons (& even less at the time of the share) you were very novice indeed - possibly too much so to realise if you were heading for a problem. What was her problem with your school & RI?

Something else to consider if you buy now is that the horse you need at the moment almost certainly won't be the horse you want when you progress. What will you do then? Also will you continue to progress if you buy?
 

Jessey

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You make some very sensible points. I will definitely get in touch with a freelance instructor. The horse is about 2 hour driving away, should I get some local to come with me, or someone from their own area that I can meet at the yard?
You could use one from their area, but it's not ideal, ideally you want the same person to continue working with you once you get the horse, plus if it's someone they know you may not get an impartial opinion, it's the same with vettings, you never use the owners practice.

Should I quote the discussion about mareishness: "She can be a bit of a mare, but definitely not to the extreme. I generally give her a week off and give her lots of normal attention". Your thoughts?
my original thoughts would still stand, that would def require lots more questions in my opinion.

The share attempt was an older warmblood type that was supposed to be good for novices and to be honest he was very good and easy when I tried him. He was kept at a private high end showjumping yard (they said international eventing), the horse owner herself was fine but the yard owner intervened and was very offensive about me learning, and about about my own riding instructor and the riding school that I attend, suppose she was used to riders of a certain standard, so that put me off since the yard owner was on site most of the time and the owner was not. They were also charging a fortune, which I wouldn't have minded at all in other circumstances as I know keeping hoses is not cheap. And when you are just starting something and are very excited about it, getting belittled so bluntly sort of curves your trust and enthusiasm. I am now not keen on trying someone else's horse and I'm getting anxious about being judged like that again.
Unfortunately this readily happens when you have your own horse too, it's definitely not just a sharing problem. And when paying for full livery it's just that, not necessarily them taking the time to help and teach you, they are just paid to care for your horse. Of course some Yo's are lovely and will help you learn but not everyone will.

After 35 years of being around yards, they are probably the most likely place for competitive, clicky, bitchyness outside of the school playground ;) again some are lovely but not all.
 

Jessey

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I would first ask exactly what her mareish behaviour entails and why they give her time off for it, depending on their answers would depend what else I'd ask to get to the truth, because frankly a horse that never does anything nasty/wrong/not mareish to any extreme (what is extreme in their eyes?) doesn't get a week off being ridden for no reason..... And knowing what questions to ask based on their answers requires extensive knowledge and experience which you can't have in a couple of months (I don't mean that in a derogatory way, it's just the nature of the beast), I brought a pony last week, even with 35 years under my belt I still took experienced friends with me :)
 

Mirela

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So this is what I asked so far with the answers that we already discussed:

is she microchipped and passported?
how long have you had her?
why selling?
doe she bite, kick, rear, buck?
any quirks?

has she ever seen dogs/cats and how was she with them?
any stable vices?
is she strong to handle/does she have good breaks? is she sharp? do you use a whip when riding her?
what present or past health problems?
do they live in or out?
live on her own or does like to live with company?
good for novices?
good to load,clip, bath, catch, with farrier, dentist, does she wear shoes
good to be tacked up, does she travel well
does she like to hack alone or prefers company, is she confident in open spaces and how is she in traffic?
is she a good doer/does she needs a lot of feed to keep weight on
does she need to be ridden daily/how does she behave after a break?
mareish?
does she need lunging before riding? is she strong? How do you reassure her when she is hacking alone?
when last vaccinated/shod/dentist?
are you happy for her to live initially on full livery?
is the price negotiable, is tack and/or wardrobe included?
does she have health insurance, and if yes, and previous health problem present, is it covered by insurance or excluded,
to what level and what does it cost you per month?
are you happy for her to live initially on full livery?
videos of being ridden?
consider loan with view to buy?
 

Mirela

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Feb 24, 2018
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and this is the rest of the questions that I will ask, please feel free to add anything else for whoever still has the patience with this thread :)


I very much need you to elaborate on the mareishness if you don't mind. What exactly does she do to give her a week off?
Did she have the girthing issues before you had her, or did she develop them recently?
Does she stand still to be mounted or does she fidget? Is she sensitive around girth area when she is groomed/touched/massaged/clipped?
Is she head shy at all?
How is she in traffic? If she is to be in a field with one horse, what sort of horse would you recommend? (quiet mare/gelding, dominant mare/gelding)
Did you have her vetted when you bought her and to what stage, and would you be happy for me to see the vet's report?
Are you happy for her to have 5 stage vetting before I make my final decision?
Are you happy for me to catch her from the field/see her caught, try to tack her up myself or watch someone do it, ride her in school, field and on the road as well?
 

Bodshi

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No offence, but you could ask as many questions as you like, the seller won't necessarily give you a completely truthful answer. You really need someone with more experience with you to ask the questions and probe deeper if they think the seller may be skirting round an issue or being economical with their answer. Re choosing a livery yard - I'd go for one where the yard owner or manager is in charge (rather than the liveries deciding how things are run) and who will give you support and advice - don't be fooled by those other liveries who are always on hand to offer you advice (or criticise your way of doing things) but actually don't know what they're talking about - you'll suss them out soon enough. I expect your RI will have some sound advice.

Before I bought my first horse I part loaned a horse at a riding school for a year, which was an excellent experience for me because I was able to do what I wanted with the horse, but I wasn't in charge of the day to day looking after him, or buying tack, or having the commitment of owning him and then the decision about whether to sell him when I was more experienced. I wondered if there were similar schemes in your area?
 

carthorse

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Ask them to define what they mean by a novice rider, and if she's ok for a novice to be her only rider or if she needs someone capable riding her in between time. I could take a novice for a hack on my welsh cob (for me a novice can walk trot & canter in an open space, sit a small spook or stumble, sit quietly enough not to confuse the horse & have enough control of leg & hand not to accidentally bitch at them) but I'm pretty sure that if he only had a novice riding him he'd quickly turn into a horror that would need an experienced rider.

Questions such as does she have good brakes are rather vague, try to be specific - if I'm cantering across a field & need to stop will she pull up without resistance & carry on in walk or trot sensibly?

Have you asked what tack she's in? The bit & bridle used can give clues of what to expect. If she's in a strong bit with a noseband keeping her mouth shut & a martingale then I'd be questioning is she's suitable for a novice.

Strong & sharp are very subjective. One person's sharp is another's idea of fun & someone else may say boring. Likewise strong. By all means ask, but be aware you have to make an assessment of these when you handle & ride.

If she can't be turned out with certain types this is something you need to discuss with your YO because it might not be possible to accommodate.

If she needs reassuring when hacking alone then again I'd question her suitability for a novice to hack alone.

Can you put a link up to the advert? Maybe reading it & seeing a few photos of her would give people a better idea of what to ask.
 

Frances144

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Ok, based on your questions - thiese are my answers for my horse...... (who is a gelding btw so some questions are not applicable.)


is she microchipped and passported? - yes
how long have you had her? - n/a - all his life. Since he was 3yo.
why selling? - n/a
doe she bite, kick, rear, buck? - never
any quirks? - no

has she ever seen dogs/cats and how was she with them? - fine, no problem
any stable vices? - none
is she strong to handle/does she have good breaks? is she sharp? do you use a whip when riding her? - instant brakes, not sharp, never use or need a whip.
what present or past health problems? - none
do they live in or out? - lives out 24/7
live on her own or does like to live with company? - prefers company. Never lived on his own.
good for novices? - Has been used to teach folk to ride.
good to load,clip, bath, catch, with farrier, dentist, does she wear shoes - perfect
good to be tacked up, does she travel well - fine
does she like to hack alone or prefers company, is she confident in open spaces and how is she in traffic? - can go out alone or with others, no problem.
is she a good doer/does she needs a lot of feed to keep weight on - no
does she need to be ridden daily/how does she behave after a break? - ridden whenever you want, always the same. Daily or monthly - no change.
mareish? - gelding
does she need lunging before riding? is she strong? How do you reassure her when she is hacking alone? - no lungeing. Not strong. Goes fine alone.
when last vaccinated/shod/dentist? - dentist every year. No vaccinations.
are you happy for her to live initially on full livery? - yes
is the price negotiable, is tack and/or wardrobe included? - n/a
does she have health insurance, and if yes, and previous health problem present, is it covered by insurance or excluded, - n/a
to what level and what does it cost you per month? - n/a
are you happy for her to live initially on full livery? - n/a
videos of being ridden? - if you want.
consider loan with view to buy?- n/a

I very much need you to elaborate on the mareishness if you don't mind. What exactly does she do to give her a week off? - n/a
Did she have the girthing issues before you had her, or did she develop them recently? - none
Does she stand still to be mounted or does she fidget? Is she sensitive around girth area when she is groomed/touched/massaged/clipped? - yes, stand still like a rock. Not sensitive to anything.
Is she head shy at all? - never
How is she in traffic? If she is to be in a field with one horse, what sort of horse would you recommend? (quiet mare/gelding, dominant mare/gelding) - absolutely fine
Did you have her vetted when you bought her and to what stage, and would you be happy for me to see the vet's report? - n/a
Are you happy for her to have 5 stage vetting before I make my final decision? - n/a
Are you happy for me to catch her from the field/see her caught, try to tack her up myself or watch someone do it, ride her in school, field and on the road as well? - yes

And could you ride Haakon? Probably not. He is a novice ride, everyone learns to ride on him but he does exactly what it says on the tin. He is very literal and novices are fine but........ he is, as I say, very literal. Safe, fast and does not suffer fools.

This is not to put you down but to show you that the questions can be interpreted as anyone wants. Haakon (my horse) has taught everyone. Is he a novice ride? hmmm........ you can go out for a ride on him, he is happy to "wear" folk, but he is not easy but then for your questions he passes in every way. On paper, Haakon is perfect. Under saddle there are few folk I would actually let ride him.

And he is a gelding. Mares are a totally different planet.
 
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CharliesAngel

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sorry but i just dont think you are ready for this yet, i dont mean to put you down but you really just need more ‘miles on the clock’
go on riding holidays
see if you can find a RS that does ‘own a horse’ days
offer to help at yards
go hacking
ride as many different horses as you can

good luck, it will all come together in time
 
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