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The Ups & Downs of Owning a Young Horse

Before I started this post, I was originally planning to write something much more positive and affirming about that fantastic moment when everything works. This was inspired by a ride I had with Coco where it seemed that our problems were finally behind us. Unfortunately this seemed to have been a fluke as Coco now has a whole new problem that needs to be figured out. Ill go into more detail on this once I’ve figured it out a bit more but this most recent problem has made me think about the fluctuating ups and downs of owning a young horse.

The Ups:

Rewarding

Young horses can be so very rewarding. You set goals and achievements to strive towards and every time one is reached, you feel such immense pride in your youngster and the work you’ve put into them. Every success is a noteworthy experience and every failure is just another learning experience and something else to improve on. We only relish challenge.

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Coco’s first time out schooling over a course of fences

They make you a better rider

No matter how good of a rider you are, you will never be tested more than with a youngster. They present so many different scenarios that all require a certain reaction. Whether it’s teaching a horse how to jump or dealing with a full blown tantrum, you have to learn how to deal with that situation. You also have to learn how to read your horse in order to understand what they’re trying to tell you. For me, up until I bought Coco, I mostly spent my time learning from whatever horse I was riding. With Coco, I became the teacher. 

No Bad Habits

One of the great things about buying a young horse is that they generally come without bad habits. This can depend on whether you broke them in yourself or if you bought them just broken but generally whatever bad habits they develop, you can pretty much only blame yourself. 

You can build a true bond

In order to work with a young horse you have to teach them to trust you. This means they can become reliant on you but it also give you the opportunity to build a real bond with them. Read more about Building your bond with your horse in one of Darielle’s recent blog posts. 

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The Cost

This is one of the more obvious and practical reasons for buying a youngster. Younger horses tend to be much cheaper than older horses who have had more schooling. So for those like me who are looking for their own horse but don’t exactly have the €10k for a schoolmaster, a young horse can be just the answer.

The Downs:

Time & Patience

Working with a young horse takes serious time and patience. Some days it feels like you’re just going through the paces and not moving forward because they’re just not ready for something new. Other days, you’re dealing with a new behavioural problem that has come out of absolutely nowhere. Regardless, you’re consistently working at your horse’s pace.

The Problems

You are almost guaranteed to come across at least one or two behavioural problems during the first year or two with your youngster. From napping, spooking and rearing to bucking and full blown tantrums, you are bound to face something.

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Coco saying hells no to an itty bitty cross pole…

The Unknown

Unfortunately most equine medical conditions won’t present themselves until the horse is a bit older or has started work. So buying a youngster can be risky as sometimes you just can’t guarantee that your protege will be able to do everything you hope they can do.

Youngsters are accident prone

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A classic Coco injury…

We here at No Bucking Way have definitely learned this one the hard way. Youngsters are incredibly accident prone. From injuries sustained in the field, to kicking their legs through fences, we have certainly seen it all. And unfortunately, injuries can mean vet bills.

You Can’t just Go out and Compete

Probably one of the hardest things about owning a young horse is that you just don’t have the freedom to go out and compete like your friends can. You’re constantly working to get your horse to the point where you can bring them out but unfortunately this is not something you can rush into. 

Regardless of the ups and downs, getting Coco has definitely been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s a long and tough journey but so far it’s been worth it and I do need reminding of that from time to time, especially at the minute.

Thanks for reading,

Orla x

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