I found myself a hobby. I was looking for an inexpensive one (like macramé) but said F* it and went whole hog into riding. I decide this because all my life I have wanted a “pony” and to receive pretty ribbons!!! Not that I could not just buy those same ribbons for 50 cents at a craft store (not hobby lobby but that is for a different post).
There is a right way to go about buying a sport horse (more on this later), and then there is the way I went about doing it …
So what did I do? Well…. I rode one horse, which seemed awesome and then got swept up in the excitement of a horse – oh god she is so pretty and soft and pretty – and I buy her right away. I do this because “I know a guy who knows the guy selling the horse.” Also I don’t know the difference between a hole in the ground and my own a… well back to the horse. I buy this horse without a vet check (remember hole in the ground issue). He says everything is great! This mare is the most wonderful horse you will ever find; he could sell her for twice as much money but is willing to let her go to a great home. He gives me “all” the horse’s information and I don’t worry about the flags that I am hearing. I am told the horse is awesome and literally rainbows come out of her when you ride.
The horse is AWESOME… crap why is she a little off and we have to call the vet the second week? Ok all better in a few days. Oooh previous owner now tells me she has sensitive feet, and jumping on hard ground makes her a little “ouchie”. Let’s take her schooling elsewhere, huh why is she freaking out in the stall? Ooohhh the guy now says, she does not like being alone… Yay let’s ride, huh why are you just a shade off, I can’t jump with you like this, ok I guess a few more days of rest. Let’s have the vet out and get you injected. Ooohhhh previous owner forgot to say the horse used to get injections; that would have been nice to know. Ok let’s ride! Wait what are you afraid of sweetheart? It was just a tree branch falling/horse riding outside the arena/a blade of grass. Hey FOUR FEET ON THE GROUND!
Ok ready for a show. Wait why are you freaking out and tense and hating dressage right now? What am I doing wrong? Don’t make me cry at C, at least let me get to F so the judge won’t see… Why are you spooking at your own farts? Jesus what did I get into?!?!?! I totally could have gone on safari for all the money I have spent on this! All the stress of wondering will you be sound after I jump you, will you have a conniption fit before/during/after my dressage test?
So I started thinking about all I have learned and what I would do if I was in the market for a horse right now (aka maybe closer to the right way to buy a horse)…
Maybe lease a show horse – it is about the same price but you can always end the lease if it does not work out!
If you decide to buy, work with a professional. The incremental cost of that at the beginning could save you down the road from a crazy horse. This professional will hear all the flags and be able to tell you if they are red flags or yellow ones.
Vet Check. It does not matter if you are buying this horse from your own mother! Trust but verify WITH A VET CHECK!!!
See if you can have a test period or more than a few days. Maybe see if the horse is reactive to sounds and if you can handle that
And if you do buy:
Just accept the fact that horses are not machines, and you never know what can happen BUT!!! Working with a professional can lower your risk of quitting horses forever because the one you bought scares you/is not a good match/is not fit for purpose
Riding is too expensive for it not to be fun, make sure you are having fun. Or instead you can just go to the craft store and buy you some ribbons! =)