Beginning a new life

Arlington, TX

My DH and I have purchased a small piece of property about an hour east of DFW. We will be moving in sometime during the late fall or early, due to allowing the sellers to take their time in moving in and the fact that we don't have to sell this place. Horses are there and there is a nice barn.

Of course, the reason is that we could have some horses. The problem is - neither of us knows a thing about caring for them.

What would you experienced horsemen/horsewomen advise me to do first in order to have a good experience when we do get our horses?

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

Find a boarding barn that gives lessons.
Take lessons.

Don't buy until you know what you want to do with them, what personality things you have to have, and what things you won't tolerate.

For example.. If you want quiet, an older seasoned horse is best. If you want trail riding, I'd suggest gaited. Dressage? A quiet warmblood is a great start. Western riding? quarter horses got the nod here..

The BEST BEST way to learn, is to find a barn that boards, take lessons, and learn... Learn on "someone else's horse" before you dive in headfirst...

Arlington, TX

Oh yes, I am sure I want an older, kinda mellow horse. There is a stable nearby and I intend to sign up for some education, and that might be on the agend later this week.

The horses that are there are going with their people when they get moved into a new place, near Houston they are hoping. So, we will be starting anew with horses of our choosing.

Thanks for your time in confirming what I had thought was job #1.

Richmond, TX

If the stable will let you be a "working student" you will learn stable management (horse care) along with riding.

Huron, OH(Zone 5b)

have fun learning and looking. take your time.

Goldthwaite, TX(Zone 8a)

Your horse owning experience can be really good or really bad. Horses are very large, often very pushy, always self-centered creatures. Still I love them and have two that are pasture ornaments. Take your time and be very careful about whom you trust to connect you with the right horse(s).

If you are beginning from scratch, there's a lot to learn, including feeding, health care, and foot care. Don't rush in. Be careful and understand that a lot of the initial cost of a horse is for the training. A middle-aged, well-mannered horse without bad habits is priceless.

This message was edited Jul 7, 2010 10:06 AM

Victoria, TX(Zone 9b)

I don't think of training as "a lot of the cost." I think more as the biggest bill being vaccinations, farrier care, and that emergency "ohno my horse is standing on two legs" vet bill on a holiday that happens to fall on a Sunday when all but one vet in town is on vacation..
(Can't tell I've ever been in that situation, can ya?)

South Hamilton, MA

Learning first, ownership later as the people have said. The barn won't run away.

Perth,, ON(Zone 5a)

get yourself a couple of smaller farm animals to practice animal husbandry with: sheep, goat, chickens, rabbits

they will require a least the same daily commitment level as horses, (4x per day feeding and watering, first aid/vetting, housing/bedding/environment and general welfare checks, fence checks, predator/varmit/stray dog threats, etc)

second the recommendations to take riding lessons from a reputable trainer/barn.

have fun!

Central, AL(Zone 8a)

Make your first horse an older, "seasoned" horse. Quarter horses make good teachers, I think but then I am biased!

Don't go it alone. Definitely hang out with other horse owners and ask a lot of questions. I am still on my first horse (Bought Sugar when she was 8 and now she is 23!) I learned all I could when I was boarding her, but when I moved her in with me about 12 years ago I found I still had a lot to learn and in fact never stop learning.

Boaz, KY

Hi Babesy. I've been reading the posts here, and you've been getting some excellent advice. The only thing I would add is that horses are individuals -- and when you shop for your horses, shop for individuals and not for breeds.

Something that I think would be of great value to you -- and something that you can do right now -- is subscribe to Jessica Jahliel's newsletters at She is a superb horsewoman in every sense of the word, and her newsletters consist of questions that people write in to her, and that she answers. These will be forwarded to your inbox. You will learn a tremendous amount just by reading other peoples' questions and answers -- and you can write to her yourself with questions of your own.

You're about to embark on an amazing journey. You're wise to be preparing for it by asking questions and getting information ahead of time. I wish you the very best in your soon to be horse-full future! :-D

Central, AL(Zone 8a)

Besides Jessica's newsletter, keep this forum in mind. I have found that you will get helpful replies the same day you ask, from people who know the ropes and who have seen just about everything.

Arlington, TX

Wow, thanks to everyone for your great suggestions!

I am going to a nearby stable later in the week to ask about lessons. I will let them know that I also want to be a working student. That is a great idea.

Thanks also for the info on - going there next to subscribe.

And thanks to all for your opinions/experiences with horses and their temperaments. I will be a regular reader of this forum.

Hope y'all are having a great week!

Thanks again,

Oak Grove, MN(Zone 4a)

Having gotten a bad match with my horse - TAKE YOUR TIME BEFORE YOU BUY!!! It took me a year of struggle to finally realize that horse's personality and my personality were just never going to work together. Luckily I was able to give her back to the former owner and we are both happier now.

I sure learned a lot though!

South Hamilton, MA

How about taking a lease on an experienced horse?

This message was edited Aug 10, 2010 10:47 PM

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Did you find your horse yet?

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