Buying My First Horse

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The Open Gate

By Miles Crosby

“Opinions are like butts; everyone has one,” my Dad told me over the phone as I was crying. I had just come back from a riding lesson where I spent almost the entire lesson trying to hold back tears while I was being lectured about how unknowledgeable I was about horses. 

When the time comes to finally buy your own horse it can be intimidating, but mostly it should be an exciting time for any rider. I could not wait to start looking around. I was, of course, open to advice from my mentors and parents because it’s a big financial decision, but ultimately, I’m a grown woman, it’s my money, and it will be my horse.

When I first announced that I would be buying a horse, the horror stories I heard filled me with anxiety. I was made to feel as though I was going to be just another fool who would be scammed because of my lack of years in the equestrian world. I was told how many horses I should look at, how long I should take before responding to an offer on a horse, and so on, as if there is some secret formula for buying the perfect horse at the perfect time and at the perfect price. Every horse I looked at was too old, too young, too green, skinny, crazy, or too expensive. The list went on and I got to the point where I felt defeated and close to giving up on buying a horse at all because it would never be the right horse for me. I was even told: All you see is a horse with four legs and a tail; I see much more. I was terrified of offending and upsetting these people.

I also realized how many other young equestrians must feel this pressure when purchasing their first horse, especially young women. I wondered if a young man would get the same treatment. I was so torn down by it all that I thought myself not even worthy of owning a horse. 

In spite of this, when my Dad and I found a horse that I was interested in, I made up my mind. I did know enough about horses and I could do this. After a three-hour drive to the farm, I looked at the gelding’s papers and took him for a test ride. I was in constant contact with the owner and trainer for a few weeks, asking all my questions. I put in my offer and we made a deal to buy the horse. My family was happy for me, and I was happy, too. 

When I finally announced to the world that I’d bought my own first horse, on my own, I was again beaten down by the people I chose to listen to. I was called “a silly little girl” for paying the price I had paid, and the horse’s behaviour was criticized. So, after that lesson of being lectured and crying, I made the decision to take back the sport that brings me so much joy! I decided to block out the noise and listen to my gut. I would never in a million years call the horse I bought a mistake. I found a new trainer/mentor to work with me, one who adores my horse as much as I do, and I rediscovered my love for riding.

I had no idea what I was going into when buying my first horse, and I was also shocked to learn how many young people are treated this way when buying. The horse world can be filled with people who will do anything to tear you down just to make themselves feel more intelligent than you. But at the same time, I also found some of the very best people and my very best four-legged friend, and I learned to believe in myself.

As my Dad said, opinions are like butts; everyone has one. But if you want to buy your own horse and know in your heart that you’ve found your unicorn, then block out the negativity and noise, listen to your gut — and go for it!

Photo: Miles Crosby and her beloved Atlas.