Buy a Steady Eddie or something with a bit more flounce?

Zannah

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Hi. I am ready to buy a horse. Do I go with the riding school cob who is steady and kind but can be nappy or do I go for something with a bit more go? I love my part loan riding school horse, who looks like a piebald gypsy cob 15.2(fabulous feathers and mane one and half feet long!). I'm nearly 50 with fibromyalgia and together we are happy hackers. But when I buy my own I horse I'll be looking to do a bit of the bottom rung cross county and maybe a little dressage. I thought if I buy my riding school horse and get her (and me) fitter doing lots of training we could do this but might I be taking her out of her comfort zone if I did? Would I be asking too much of her? She can be extremely stubborn but that's cobs for you. She has lived her whole life at the riding school (12 years). I would still keep her there if I did buy her but she is quite set in her ways.
I had ponies when I was young and do love a more chunky build. I would dread out horsing myself and not being able to cope.
Any thoughts much appreciated.
 

Mary Poppins

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Riding school horses can often change personalities when taken into private homes. This isn't always the case but something to be mindful of. A 'steady eddie' in the riding school, may only be like that because they work for several hours per day and have a very solid routine. They probably don't leave the yard to go to shows etc. and at the first sign of trouble, yard staff are always on hand to iron out any issues. I have seen several people buy quiet riding school cobs to find them anything but quiet when out of that riding school environment. There is also the 'wear and tear' on joints as they typically work hard so don't always have the longevity of a horse in a private home.

Buying a horse is always a risk. There is no real way of knowing what they will turn out like with a new rider, but my advice is to look for a horse who is already doing the job you want them to do, especially if this is your first horse. Something already in a private home with one rider and a workload similar to what you would be doing. If you want to do dressage, try the horse doing dressage. If you want to go XC, try the horse over some fences. If you want to hack alone, make sure you try the horse hacking alone.
 

carthorse

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I agree with everything Mary Poppins has said - thank you for saving me typing it out :)

With the horse you're riding I would worry that the slight nappiness would escalate with an easier life & you might then find things like hacking alone or xc difficult. But if you can find a similar type that's been there, done that & got the T-shirt then you're ready to go & enjoy the summer without loads of hard work.

A word of warning about flounce. It can be fantastic fun if you know each other & know it won't escalate (I have a welsh D & I swear it's in their bloodlines) but it can go very wrong if you're likely to get worried & can't stop it escalating. I know & trust mine & I also stamp on him very firmly if it goes too far, but I'm quite sure that if he could he'd walk all over a rider who wasn't confident - as an occasional ride he's grand for a novice, but full time he's not a novice ride. Also flounce can tend to happen at the most inappropriate times - he'd be no dressage pony!

For a first horse you need to feel safe. If you have doubts then it's the wrong horse because those niggles have a habit of escalating when you're the only rider, And when you go to look at a horse spare a moment to look at the rider too - if their abilities & confidence seem much higher than yours then ask yourself honestly if the horse will stay the same in your hands, if they look scared stiff then walk away & if they've arranged for an experienced friend to ride it for you then run!
 

joosie

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Way, way too many people over-horse themselves because they don't want something "too steady", they get something that is too much for them, lose their confidence and then realise that steady was exactly what they needed!

It sounds like you are fond of this horse and enjoy riding her, which is great, because one of the common problems people have with a new horse is getting it home and finding out that they don't really gel, and you already know you get on with her.
Cobs absolutely can be good all-rounders and jump etc, so don't feel you need to get a different type of horse just for that.
If this mare has spent so much time in a riding school environment doing the same thing day in day out and having to put up with lots of riders (and lots of bad riding!) she may absolutely thrive with a private owner and a different job!
 
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Huggy

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You obviously know your riding school horse pretty well but I do agree with everyone - they come with their own set of quirks. Hogan is ex riding school (He was 2 years with the person I bought him from, who got him from the riding school, I believe. He's very steady, (in his own special way!) But I'm aware of behaviours that I'm convinced are from those days. He's obviously got away with all sorts, probably used for novice riders, and probably played them up something rotten! Time, a firm hand, and lots of patience and we're working past it all, and heading towards a fab boy. Might be worth asking other people who ride this one in lessons or hacks what their perception of her is. Have the stables you ride at given any input as to your compatibility? Years ago I wanted to buy my favourite from lessons, and the owners flat refused - turns out he was brilliant in the school, but a total maniac hacking! Bless them for their honesty! Good luck, whatever you decide.
 

carthorse

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@Huggy sounds like you went to a responsible school that cared for its horses & riders.

Many years ago I used to ride in a school that would sometimes take a chance on a "wrong un" & I think nearly every one came right in the security of the environment they offered. A couple would not do private lessons because they wanted company, but that wasn't an issue. It does show that just because a horse is safe & a good ride in a school doesn't mean it will be in a different environment.
 
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Zannah

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Hi. Thanks so much for the great advice. As I 'part-loan' her I currently ride 3 times a week for the last 2 years. So I regularly ride out on my own. She was a bit of a nightmare at first but I sorted it. But now weirdly she has started napping when we are out with other horses by refusing to go in front. So I do take on board the comment that this could escalate. Currently she is only used on a Saturday by the riding school.
I think you have all made some really good points and maybe I should just go for a 'ready made' horse. My problem is as joosie said - I have gelled with her. I ride another horse (not riding school) on Saturday that is better schooled and forward going but I haven't gelled with him in the same way.
Before I make any decisions I think I am going to book some more lessons at a different riding school where I can try some other horses. My riding school only has chunky cobs for adults. Plus I'm going to have a chat with one of the teachers at the yard and get her take on it.
You've really made me think about the problems that might come with a riding school horse.
 
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Jessey

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I agree with all the above, but if the RS is willing to sell your share mare, as you have gelled so well with her, could you possibly ask for a 1 month trial/full loan before purchase to make sure she doesn't get into a bunch of new habits when her workload changes? And that would also give you a chance to get her out to a little dressage comp and xcountry training to see how she does with that.
 
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newforest

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If you part loan can you not so the things you are hoping to do with this one already? Are their facilities at the school you are already at? If not are you planning on buying transport as well, does this cob you like load if they haven't lived anywhere else?
Is there a school? Is there a flatish field you can use for some dressage practice?

How old is the cob? How much more/ less money would owning them cost you as oppose to the loan. The skeptic in me wonders why a riding school would part with a good riding school cob. (Though from your description of a coloured with loads of feathers I have virtually bought them:))

If you buy the cob and keep at the school, with the reduced workload assuming you don't keep in working livery, you may find they are less nappy and enjoy doing some different things, less stubborn, or you could be sat on the flounce you were debating on.

What else have you ridden at the school? Are they up for part loan?

I would describe mine as a placid steady type, but, there's always a but, she's an opportunist and can be a twit. Usually when she has more go its because things have gone wrong!
 

Zannah

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Hi. That's a great idea Jessey (sorry I don't know how to link names, I'm new to the forum) about full loan for a while to see how we go.
As to questions from new forest, thanks for the comments - all really helpful; she is 12 years old. The riding school have a small outdoor arena I can use. Owning won't cost a lot more than loaning. I don't have horse transport but a couple of my friends are planning on getting boxes soon. Part loaning her is lovely but sometimes the day after a busy day with beginners she has her head down and is unresponsive. Its horrible as usually she is very light to my aids (although she wasn't when I first started loaning her). She was like that during the whole summer when they did lots of camps and days out with kids. Its heart breaking. The riding school is running down at the moment as the owner has health problems but they still do lots of livery.
When I ride her my whole heart is in it but when I ride the other lovely horse its not. I suppose part of me feels like I will be leaving her behind if I go off and buy another horse. Even saying it is making me tear up.
 
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carthorse

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@Zannah if you feel that strongly about her then go for it, but do so in the knowledge that she may change a bit when out of the school & you might have to compromise on your wishes to compete if she doesn't seem suitable for it. Ultimately we spend far more time with them than on them, and most of the ridden time isn't likely to be competing, so a horse I long to be with & feel safe on is far higher up my list of priorities than a possible superstar who I don't care to be around or feel unsafe on.
 

Zannah

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[B]carthorse[/B] thank you. That's very true. Happy hacking and being with a horse is far more important than competing to me. And we do have luscious hacks around the yard. The competing is just icing on the cake. I have done xcountry on her before and she was good at 70cm ish plus we did drops and water. I'm going to book some rides at other schools to give me more experience with other horses and then if I still feel the same way about see about having her on full time loan for a few months to see how we go. That should give me the best of all worlds before I take the plunge to buy one.
 

Huggy

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Hi. That's a great idea Jessey (sorry I don't know how to link names, I'm new to the forum) about full loan for a while to see how we go.
As to questions from new forest, thanks for the comments - all really helpful; she is 12 years old. The riding school have a small outdoor arena I can use. Owning won't cost a lot more than loaning. I don't have horse transport but a couple of my friends are planning on getting boxes soon. Part loaning her is lovely but sometimes the day after a busy day with beginners she has her head down and is unresponsive. Its horrible as usually she is very light to my aids (although she wasn't when I first started loaning her). She was like that during the whole summer when they did lots of camps and days out with kids. Its heart breaking. The riding school is running down at the moment as the owner has health problems but they still do lots of livery.
When I ride her my whole heart is in it but when I ride the other lovely horse its not. I suppose part of me feels like I will be leaving her behind if I go off and buy another horse. Even saying it is making me tear up.
Sounds like you are smitten! To be fair, I followed my heart not my head with both of mine, and don't regret a moment.
 
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newforest

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I would also take your health into account.
If my health plays me up, the cob is the same whether she is worked daily or once in two weeks or four.
The partnership has to work both in and out of work.
She's not the type that needs to be doing. And that works for me.
 

Zannah

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[B] Hi newforest[/B] yes thats the reason I stated I have a health condition at the start. Sometimes I'm great and sometimes I can barely move. If I over horse myself that could be a real problem on down days. I had a ride the other week - I jumped off for something and couldn't get back on - fibromyalgia after a crazy work week had stopped my legs working. She just stood there while I tried everything to get back on.
Huggy - yes I am smitten I think. I'm just hoping that its not my naivety falling for the first horse I ride!
 

Kite_Rider

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I think your idea to go and ride some other horses is a good one, from what you've said it sounds like you are really very happy with the riding school mare that you loan and that is fabulous, she sounds like a lovely lady.
I can't help get the feeling though that you almost can't believe you've found such a good horse, who suits you so well, so easily? Reading your posts is as though you are questioning if she's the best fit for you because she is? Sorry I'm not really explaining myself well here, not everyone has to try 50 horses to find one they click with, it could just be you did get lucky, so go ride those other horses and you may see your sweet mare with fresh eyes either way?
Does the riding school need an answer anytime soon? How would you feel if she was sold to someone else? I guess it's harder because you already know her whereas most of us are going in cold when we buy.
 
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Zannah

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[B]Kite_Rider[/B] you have explained yourself very well and yes that's exactly it. She isn't perfect but she is lovely and I really enjoy being with her. I'm far from perfect and she puts up with those days my legs aren't working properly. The riding school don't need an offer right now but they are open to people buying the horses. I'm going to try other horses like you say to find out what fresh eyes make of the situation.
 
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diplomaticandtactful

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When I bought Molly I viewed 50 horses and still bought a wrong 'un.

When I bought Buddy, he was the second horse I went to see. The first one failed the vet.
 
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newforest

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The first horse I bought was the only one I rode. I declined getting on the previous five, and one had the flu and I declined to go anywhere near it and everything was disinfected!!
 
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