It’s Not Cheating

I had this “new” thought last week, and have been dwelling on it ever since.  I’m very tempted to look into an older, done, maybe stepping down horse when I start my horse2.0 search.  The perks are pretty self explanatory.  It would require less schooling, less “unknowns” than a green horse might, it would know it’s job and be ready to go do something the minute I wanted to.  That last part is really a selling point for me, because I know that with my newly expanded family and going back to work, my brain power and time may be scarce.  Having something that will take care of me a little – that is really drawing me in.  Plus the idea of actually focusing on my own goals for the time being is also very intriguing.

Pictured: one who takes care of you

I know that with an older horse, who has maybe/probably jumped a lot of jumps in his or her life may require difference support, and it maybe a long term liability.  I know that.  It’s a matter of what scares me more?  Right now I’m scared to buy the greenie who needs my unwavering devotion for the first 6 months of ownership.  I’m worried that having my trainer put on all the important buttons might just make me more anxious.  And honestly I’m scared that I will be back to jumping 18″ crossrails for another year.  The green ones give you a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, but on days like this I’m panicking about the fact that I might not have it in me to try all this at once.

So what is wrong with buying an older one?  Why haven’t I considered this before?  It’s because I have some weird sense that buying something nice or already trained is cheating the system.  Not sure what system, maybe the ammy adult system?  But whatever it is, I need to get over it.  Any horse requires work, and any path I take will be difficult, but the idea of starting from nothing right now is overwhelming. I can’t think of one person in my barn who would judge me for skipping the green bean stage again.  But mentally, I am very stuck there.  I wish I could describe it.  I guess I need to remind myself that I don’t need to do the DIY hunter program again if I don’t want to.

Baby hunter horse in 2013

As a friend once told me, we deserve to enjoy riding.  Maybe down the road that means a lovable horse who will take me around for a few years before needing to step down, or maybe it will mean buying another greenie.  I don’t know.  But I know that having these thoughts and ideas now is what will help me narrow my search down the line.  This is going to be so hard.

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31 thoughts on “It’s Not Cheating”

  1. Well Remus knew nothing at 11 when I got him. He will be 15 this April and OMG i cant even imagine finding one like him again. I think the older, been there done that is perfect for a mom with kids etc. Even one with some maintenance issues would be worth it just to not have to worry so much. I don’t think I would ever have another green horse. I just can’t and don’t have unlimited income to keep in w a trainer.

    If i were you that is exactly what I would do. But if you decide to go a greenie again I will be right here ready to read along side you 🙂 Good luck! How exciting either way 🙂

    1. Thank you! And yes – I can’t be sure what life will throw at me, but this could be a really fun avenue to pursue! Remus is a great example – and I can’t believe he is 15!

  2. Totally reasonable idea, and where I am currently at. I’ve never been super comfortable on most greenies anyways, but with kids, job, etc. I don’t want to be extra risky/ time consumed. I want to go ride, enjoy it, and have kids be involved too.

  3. I agree with your friend – we deserve to enjoy riding! And we should feel free to find a mount that is suited to our life stage. Greenies are great when you don’t have a family to care for – I say go for it and find a more seasoned mount that will be fun to ride and not add more stress to your life.

    1. It is definitely going on my “future horse list” now. So much will depend on what is out there, but the idea is very tempting. 🙂

  4. I think if more people bought horses like that, they’d be a lot happier. Green horses take a lot of time and energy and resources, things that a lot of working riders or moms or much-more-socially-well-rounded people do not have in spades. To me I think a lot more of someone who can be honest with themselves and buy the horse they NEED, rather than someone who puts their pride first. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying a more made horse, if that’s what fits better into your life. And those “stepping down” type horses need soft places to land, too, rather than just being passed around and used up. Can totally be a win-win.

    1. Yes exactly. I’m trying very hard to be more realistic and critical of what I really can handle, not what shiny thing comes by. Plenty of benefits on both sides, but pride shouldn’t have a place in shopping.

  5. It is not wrong. You need to consider it. You deserve to have fun riding and so does the horse. I am glad you are bringing this up because I think it is something that most people fail to do. To really analyze your life and lifestyle. What are you able and willing to do? Can you really give the horse and yourself what is needed time wise for a successful, safe, and fun relationship? Your family is growing and will have increasing demands on your time, as it should. As you pointed out, the older horse has many many benefits. There is one you forgot. The possibility of your growing family participating in your barn life and this horse. Possibly first lessons on this horse or just good quality horse time that is safe and fun. No body will or should judge you for doing what is right for you and the horse. And if they do, who cares.

    1. Such a good point. It would be a “topping on the cake” type of situation if this horse would be around if my kids express interest. I just know that being honest with myself now, will lead to much better decisions down the road. So yes, a very interesting avenue to check out as we go through the process later this year/early next year.

  6. I don’t think there is a single thing wrong with this! I personally prefer a horse who knows its job over a green one. While I know many get the satisfaction of bringing their own horse along, I honestly don’t trust myself to do that. Maybe if I was bringing along a horse for the AQHA ring, but seeing as I’m still fairly new to eventing, I can’t see myself having something green. Especially when you have competing priorities (family, job, kids, life), it’s more fair to both the horse and yourself to admit that time is limited and you’d rather spend that on x vs y (improving your eq, showing, jumping bigger, whatever).

    1. I’m glad to hear so many other people feel this way too. It is not a bad thing to be a more conscious about what you want now, and what you can to get there. 🙂

  7. Putting in a giant vote for a been-there-done-that horse! Frankie didn’t have show experience, but he had that “whatever you want to do is fine with me” mentality and it’s what I love most about him. I have so so so much respect for the people who work with greenies to bring them along, but it’s certainly a hard journey to balance in the best of times, let alone with so many other commitments.

    1. Yes exactly – time is so precious and I don’t want to have guilt on top of everything else. I know that what I’m most clearly learning here is that I need to buy a brain. A really good brain, no matter the age or experience. I’m still waiting on that Frankie clone to show up btw 🙂

  8. Definitely not cheating, a lot of adult ammy’s have been there done that horses. Not everyone goes the DIY way and not everyone should. I definitely think more people should consider the horse coming down the levels, especially if their lives are busy – you’ll definitely get more enjoyment right away!

    1. Very true – timelines would be very different. I don’t know why it feels like the short cut, but I’m working on it. 🙂

  9. I think this is a GREAT idea and where my head is at too. Another thing to noodle is lease a nice, talented packer…sorta like your “horse 1.5” to get your confidence up, put a few wins under your belt before you go on the “2.0” search…things are about to get real with 2 tiny humans, granted I think you said your next horse is in a 3 year plan, not the immediate future.

    1. YES! Something else I will definitely need to keep on the list. I think this is definitely my husband’s vote. He loved having Dee. She was safe, knowledgeable and schedule friendly. I like the idea of horse 1.5 🙂

      I’m real nervous about 2 kids right now by the way – you want to write me up a list of tiny human x2 tips? I think I’m going to need it!

      1. Haha! Don’t be nervous, it’s an adjustment of course but 2 is pretty fun once you find your groove. I’ll happily share some of the things I’ve found that make life easier-ish! Two kids are awesome and horses are still totally doable! I’ll message you 🙂

  10. It should definitely be fun! And what you wanted at 16 might not be the horse you want at 36 (just random numbers… Not you you) .

    Sounds intriguing. We shall see where it takes you!! 😁

    1. Yes exactly! My priorities have changed and I’m sure they will change again. It’s very hard to guess what comes next! Minus horses of some sort (of course).

    2. The horse I wanted at 16 and the horse I have at 36 are strikingly similar, LOL…I wonder what that says about me?! Glutton for greenies I guess!

  11. For me, the best thing I’ve done when shopping is be honest with myself and my trainer about what I want, what I need and what I’m willing to compromise on. We all go through different seasons in life, and if you end up with a more finished horse next time around, there is NOTHING wrong with that.

    You still have to put in the hours of work in the barn and Saddle, so you’ll eat anything and everything you get, regardless of how much experience the horse has when you buy him or her!

  12. I put P up for sale last year in hopes of buying the exact horse you’re describing (obviously things changed and that didn’t pan out), but I wouldn’t consider it cheating to not train something yourself. Family, work, LOTH (life other than horses)…all good reasons to buy something that doesn’t require all your devotion like a greenie does. If I’d known how much extra work child #2 was going to be, I wouldn’t have bought a green OTTB myself!

  13. It should absolutely be fun! This is what we choose to do with our free time away from other things, why shouldn’t we enjoy it to the max? I love your idea! It isn’t cheating at all. It’s actually pretty brilliant haha. Sometimes it seems like a masochistic idea to have a greenie haha

  14. you’re describing basically exactly the type of horse my trainer told me to buy when i was shopping. he encouraged me to literally call up the top professionals in the area and was convinced that they’d all have some working student or another who was ready to move on to a new horse and would be looking to sell their current been-there-done-that mount.

    and there is *so much* to be learned from a horse that already knows how to do stuff. i got to ride this same trainer’s 1* horse a couple times and it was amazing to me – when i would ride correctly the horse would respond in kind, bc the horse already knew what to do. whereas with a green horse like isabel, even when i got everything right she sometimes still didn’t know what to do. i think you could have a LOT of fun with a horse who’s already primed and ready to go!

    1. I definitely think it could be a really gratifying and learning experience to buy something that can really teach me! Especially when I’ll be in a time crunch. Nicku mentioned this below, and honestly it’s another good idea to add to this would be a lease on a more packer type until I’m ready to jump back in with something greener. Could be another route to consider too.

      But overall, I’m really excited to see what was out there and available!

  15. Had my perfect baby horse not fallen into my lap last fall, this is exactly what I was planning to do. I figured an off farm lease or purchase of an older experienced packer who would be happy to lope around BN would be perfect for where I am in life right now (two children, a 13 year old and 2 year old!). Not that I don’t love my young horse, but part of me longs for the simplicity of having a made, been-there-done-that horse!

    1. Oh yes, timing is such a huge thing that you really can’t plan while shopping! I hope that the right horse comes along when I’m there. I’m a big believer in things happen for a reason 🙂

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