Turning a Beginner horse into a dangerous animal; the story of too many “first, second and third” horses: What you need to know about the difficulty and expense of horse ownership before you take the next step.
Did you know one of the most common reasons horses end up discarded, neglected or with behavioral problems traces back to a buyer / owner who had far too little experience (but probably believed their 3 trail rides during vacations meant they were excellent riders) and / or too little ability to cover the enormous costs of owning and caring for a horse?
If you are truly a newbie, please, for the love of a horse, do not buy or adopt or pick up a free horse.
Taking 10 lessons at age 12 doesn’t mean you’re not a total beginner. Riding horses on trail rides at stables while on vacation for a 1 to 10 years also doesn’t mean you have any real experience. Feeding 1,000 carrots to horses next to your grandfather’s house as a child doesn’t count. Cleaning stalls as a job as a teenager. . .nope. Not super helpful.
Sometimes the stars align and total new owners make it work. It is rare, and it is too rare and typically too harmful for us to recommend.
We’ve saved too many who bear the scars of “newbie” owners.
They have been mishandled, their bodies and minds misused. . sometimes through sheer ignorance only.
If you cannot afford lessons, you cannot afford a horse. Unless you’ve ridden and cared for a horse under a trained eye and hand, you will not likely do the horse any service.
Did you know even a beginner safe horse can end up damaged and dangerous in the hands of inexperienced person or family?
Beginner safe really doesn’t “usually” mean any untrained person can do anything with the horse. It means a beginner can ride the horse under supervision and be safe.
No giant animal with a prey instinct is truly safe for just any new rider / handler without a trained eye looking on and offering instruction.
You have lucked out with a rare creature if you’ve found an exception, but it is luck only you’re working with in these cases. And regardless, if you’re a real novice and have found a tolerant and kind horse, you owe the horse something better, at any rate.
We once heard a trainer talk about how horrible it is when a novice turns a perfectly well trained, beginner suitable horse into a dangerous animal with their mistakes, and the fact is, this happens far too often.
Horses are very expensive. A luxury, really.
They aren’t especially hardy. They are extremely complex and sensitive. When they are sick, it costs even more.
They aren’t gold fish (Heck, even fish are awfully hard to keep alive), folks.
Horses require a disposable income of several thousand dollars a year each, even if you live in a very inexpensive area and keep the horse on your own property and do not need to keep the horse shod or treat any ailments beyond trims, worming, vaccines and teeth yearly (all of those things ARE a must, regardless).
Horses require knowledge. A lot of it. You have to come into the experience with knowledge, though. You also have to continue to learn.
forever. and ever.
First. . .Lessons.
Next. . . Income.
Then. . .a horse of your own.
Any other order generally puts a horse at great risk of ending up with lasting training problems, injuries or worse. Never mind that it isn’t safe for people to do it another way.
(The horse in the original image is from a craigslist ad of a horse I rescued on my own before Heart of Phoenix many years ago. He was also entirely emaciated.)
Don’t become these guys from google: