You’ve loved horses all your life, maybe you did some trail riding as a teenager and maybe you had the chance to re-kindle your love of horses later in life. Then the day came in your late 50’s you had a the opportunity to buy your first horse. Are you to old to take on this beautiful, majestic, powerful animal?
In my opinion, you are not, I say that because I moved to the country at 57 and bought my first horse at 58. What did I consider when I was choosing my horse? First I thought of what I was capable of physically, with that in mind I thought I wouldn’t want a horse over 15hh, anything larger than that makes for a bigger fall and possible broken bones.
My second consideration was the horses age and temperament, a nice old bombproof horse that I could ease myself back into riding with. Then there is breed I wasn’t fussed about breed, purely because as a teenager I rode a lot of different breeds, and how calm a horse is, is more about how they are trained and treated not the breed.
I was thinking Quarter horse or Standardbred, I leased a Standardbred in my late 30’s and he was very calm but he could be very stubborn. One breed I never considered was a Thoroughbred, I thought this breed may be way over my head and from what I’d seen watching horse racing, my thought was far too highly strung for me.
After taking all the above into consideration I started looking for my dream horse, and I found him. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with a horse I found in an ad on Facebook. This is where I started questioning my sanity, this horse is 16.1hh 11 yr old off the track thoroughbred, he hadn’t been ridden since his racing days and I didn’t even know if he was sound.
The truth is I didn’t care, I fell in love with the horse in the ad and I fell even more in love when I met him. Yeah so he’s a thoroughbred, he needs re-educating and as a pleasure horse he is green, but so am I. I used to ride feisty horses but I was 16 not 58… so I ask myself “What were you thinking” my answer is I wasn’t thinking, I just knew this boy was for me.
So now the next question is am I too green and too old take on this mammoth task to get my horse sound enough to work with and eventually ride. If I had no experience with horses at all then perhaps it may be too big a task for me. If there was no such thing as the internet then again it may be too big a task for me. The thing is I believe I can do this and I love and trust my boy and I know he loves and trusts me.
Another thing to consider is fitness, I am not too unfit but to start groundwork I need to step up my fitness which I am working on now. Age is just a number, if you have the passion, the love and the commitment nothing is impossible. Learn to read your horse and listen to him and always make safety a priority, horses are big powerful animals and are capable of doing us some serious damage, even if accidentally.