Hi All! I am dealing with a pickle and wanted some advise from wiser horsepeople.
I am a young-ish rerider (26) in a HCOL area (Manhattan) without a car. Since 2020 I’ve gotten back into riding after a 10ish year break. When I was younger (4-14), I rode at a hunter barn, but didn’t show too much. Recently, I’ve been doing a bit of everything; twice-weekly lessons at a very nice h/j barn for a year (had to stop in May when the sale horse I was riding got sold), hunter paces, and started foxhunting this summer (first flight). I LOVE the hunter paces and foxhunting. Plus, I can afford it – unlike the board at the h/j barn, which was double what I pay in rent. This summer, in between day-leases for foxhunting + paces, I’ve been trying to find a new barn where I can lease something – this is quite a dilemma when you don’t own a car.
I finally found a contender, and it’s definitely not perfect – a small trail-riding barn, a little run-down, no indoor, not a huge amount of turnout. But the care seems good, and it’s easily accessible from the train, and I can actually afford it and get out there even with my demanding job. The barn owner is really nice, a former GP rider, who has offered to let me bring back into work/a free lease for her youngish thoroughbred gelding while half-leasing her old hunt horse. The young horse is gorgeous, big, athletic – and he knows it. Last fall his previous leaser went to college, then he spent a season foxhunting (apparently he did great and loved it, and I could go hunting with them whenever when he’s back in work). But he hasn’t been in work now for 10 months or so. I pulled him out of his stall this past weekend for the first time to handwalk around the arena – he dragged me around the whole time. He was clearly just pumped to be out, but definitely forgot I was there a few times. My groundwork training skills are rusty, so I’m planning to work with a trainer sometime this week to see if some professional guidance will help. BO also told me that he could buck with the previous leaser – but she just “tried to pull his head up, and didn’t push him through it.” Obviously, no clue what the truth is there. The old hunt horse is happy to plod around the arena with me and is quite excited to be doing something other than walk-trot – but honestly, he’s 28, and I’m not gonna push him to do a ton.
My worries re: the young horse are that I’m not that young anymore, and I don’t bounce. I haven’t sat a big, back-cracking buck since before my break, although the sale horse I was riding was a big, high-strung warmblood who had a bit of a spook. But not the same thing! The young horse can be pushy, definitely thinks he’s hot stuff, and can be a bit nippy (clearly in an exploratory, playful way – no mean intent). I haven’t ever brought a horse back into work before. The trainer thinks that we’d be great together – I’m a quiet rider, and apparently the previous one was not. But I might not be able to make it out very often (probably approx. 3 days a week). I don’t know if that’s enough for a horse with his athleticism.
My question is: is it worth it to try and bring this boy back into work? It might turn out really well; I could find a great foxhunting, hunterpacing partner. But I might also get overhorsed! What if I mess him up? Would I be better off plodding around on the old guy? I don’t want to buy right now (to find a happy medium) when I don’t have a car, and couldn’t move facilities easily if needed. Would I be better off going back to twice-monthly day-leases to foxhunt/pace?
Sorry for the block of text, and thank you to everyone who leaves advice!