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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my foster siblings, Alice, is looking into getting a horse. That in itself isn't really a problem, but her complete lack of knowledge is.

- She doesn't understand the difference between a mare, stallion, and gelding
- She only wants a Quarter Horse, but isn't looking at conformation
- Color's playing a bigger role than temperament
- She doesn't even have the money to BUY a horse for more than $500
- She's 16 so what on earth is she going to do with it when she goes to college?

She has a place to keep it for now, I guess, but I just don't feel great about this. Horses are expensive -- actually getting a horse can be cheap, but then what about vet care, feed, tack, boarding (apparently taken care of), shoeing, grooming supplies? And where is she going to find the time to take care of it?

I'd love to have a horse, but I am definitely not going to look into getting one until I have a stable, decent income, a set place for it to stay, and am out of high school, preferably out of college, with my own place and very, very secure in my finances. In other words, probably not for at least 10 years.

This just seems like a bad, irresponsible idea. :\
 

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Yep. Very few people realize that it isn't the cost of the horse/dog/etc. It's the cost of it's upkeep. I actually was almost given a horse. He was a sweetheart. His name was Tiger, but he was also missing an eye (Not going to lie. I considered the show name "Eye of the Tiger"). He would have stayed at the barn I worked, but after dreaming of having my own horse...I realized all of the expenses. I would be going away to school soon. It was an hour at least to the barn each way as it was. It just wasn't going to happen.
 

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If you can't afford double your own living costs, you can't afford a horse. Where is she going to board it? What about monthly vet/farrier? That's easily 700$ a month where I am, if not more. Has she even LOOKED at these costs? What about emergency vet (because horses need vets rather frequently...:( ). What about tack? Tack alone could be from 2000-10,000$ for something that fits correctly and doesn't cause injury, thus more vet bills. What about a coach? If not..she can get kicked out and her horse reclaimed and sold without her consent for not paying on time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm positive she hasn't even given the costs a second thought and is thinking of a horse as a one-time fee sort of thing, when it's actually a living, breathing creature. I know she hasn't given thought to the expenses of vet care etc, and is basically expecting someone's friend to come out and do farrier work for next to nothing. She has absolutely NO money saved for emergency vet bills (admittedly, I have no emergency fund for Grem, but I am aware of his costs and the likelihood of anything happening to him is low) and she's not even looking at tack.

For boarding I believe she's just going to keep him on one of her friend's father's property.

Basically, she went riding the other day on that property (I doubt she rode much -- it sounded more like she sat on its back, walked around, and took selfies with it) and decided that a horse was a great idea.

I've had to bite my tongue every time I hear her talk about it because internally I'm just screaming, "No, no, horrible idea, don't do it, that poor horse!"

And god forbid she gets one with behavioral problems, which is a huge possibility since she's looking for a horse for under $500. -_-
 

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Maybe she'll find a companion horse that's 20 years old and can only do some basic walking?

Honestly...I'd bring it up that if she's leaving her horse somewhere and not paying for board, they can technically sell her horse off. The legalities are intense. My friend had to change her boarding stable a year ago when the owner's stallion was put in the same paddock and her mare had a surprise foal-NOT okay.

Maybe try pushing her to look for a lease first? Or a half lease? They can be pricey enough but are only half the cost typically, and a lot of the time you get lots of riding time with a coach.

I know you don't want to make waves but this is one of those things that will come bite her in the rear FAST, financially, and she could end up with a huge amount of problems very, very quickly. Esp horses with behavioural issues-if she doesn't know what she's doing, she's going to get herself killed... I wish I was just saying this lightly. Worst case with a dog you get biten somewhere, badly, but high probability of survival. With a horse...one kick to the head and you don't have a head anymore. Concussions are a popular injury, along with loss of use of legs, spinal problems, neck and collar bone breaks, etc.. Being non confrontational won't help her not get herself killed....even if this sounds dramatic. I've been blessed with 14 years of in and out of horse world experience, and only one minor concussion and a few kicks. I'm *VERY* worried for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wish she would find a 20 year old horse and be content with that, but she wants one that's younger. Between seven and thirteen, probably.

If I try to say anything at all, I'm going to be brushed off -- for the selling off thing it'll be, "Yeah, well, I know them and they won't." She wants a gelding, so at least if it does happen, there won't be any surprise foals.

Nope. I tried suggesting it casually and her immediate response was, "No, I want my own." She's never leased a horse, and she hasn't been around them steadily in at least seven years.

I really, really wish I could talk her out of it, but I've already been told that I am not to say a word on the matter by my foster mom. I'm not supposed to butt in, and it looks like her take on this is, "You deal with it, but I won't stop you." Not exactly the most promising attitude.

I'm concerned, too. In the sporadic times I've been around horses in the past (a week volunteering at a ranch in exchange for rides, and some group lessons when I was around eight), I've been nipped, kicked, and stepped on countless times. Oh, and nearly fell off at full gallop. And had a horse spook under me because he didn't like waves and nobody thought to tell me that before we went out on the beach. I'm lucky I haven't been bucked, full-out kicked, or bitten, but they're big, powerful animals.

Oh, and sidenote -- your horse (lease or owned? I forget) is quite handsome!
 

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What are your foster parents saying to all this? Surely, they have some say and are reasonable enough to know this isn't a reasonable addition (at this time)?

I would talk to them and suggest they suggest to your FS to take riding lessons. Once she realizes all the work, effort, and expenses involved, she should take a step back. Plus she could actually spend her time/money on riding, rather than taking care of her own horse.

Also, is her friend's dad reallynokay with free board? What about hay in the winter? You are in CA right? Hay has got to be at least 300 a ton, so right there you already have at least 900 a year in hay cuz I doubt friend's dad will pay for that. Farrier every two months down there will probably be 50 if the horse goes unshod, so another 600. Vax over 100 (wnv alone is around 50). Deworming at least 100/year depending on testing and schedules. Teeth floating is 200-300 per year. Those are just the bare bones! Don't even get me started on actual vet exams if/when something happens. And the tack and the supplies..... And hauling the horse, in whose trailer? For a fee? Etc.

Tl;dr if she only has 500, that would be better spent on lessons than on acquiring a horse with absolutely no way to provide for anything else....
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Oh, I wasn't including spooks at all or bucks or being stepped on, because that just happens. I've been stepped on by LOADS of horses just because they didn't realize accidentally. And since I try to ride whenever I can (esp when younger and stupid) I got on a bunch of horses I shouldn't have, who really needed to be lunged first...

Hell, I've fallen off at a canter even when we were trying no stirrups for the first time (my instructor wasn't very useful) and I got trotted on-luckily very lightly, as my horse realized I had fallen.

Maybe you can point her to some safety tips or something at least. It's pretty much one of the worst sports to mess up in. And a horse at 13 might be appropriate, but she's not paying 500$ for it unless it has a medical condition....

What about talking to the owner of the place she'll be boarding at? He's liable for her if she has an accident and can be sued...which he may not realize. Your foster mom might get you in trouble but better than her severely injured for life because of a lack of supervision or something. Does she even know to never go riding without a friend nearby, in case of an accident? I *still* follow that to a T and refuse to ride unless someone is nearby to watch-and I hate being watched. What happens if she can't call an ambulance in time? Even minor falls can require one, sometimes.

Also, thanks. I don't get to see Enzo anymore because the owner of the barn can't afford a stable hand in exchange for riding anymore (so he's sitting around doing nothing...:'() but she's finally found a few people to help out who are willing to pay but get discounts for riding so that at least helps her a bit. I'm really sad I can't see him anymore, I was there for 2 years. I tend to ride whenever I can (and esp when I was younger, I'd get myself into some pretty dangerous situations with horses) but I've been a lucky bastard and nothing too bad has happened yet. I really am worried about her...even professionals get injured badly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
It's only one parent, and she's aware that it isn't exactly reasonable (college in the future, lack of finances, etc) but from my perspective she's letting Alice do as she wants and hoping that she'll just back down on her own. It was pretty much the same when she brought a wild turtle home, and the only reason that was gone was because other people physically removed and released it while she was gone.

Honestly, if I had the money saved up, I'd be taking riding lessons myself. I know the bare minimums but not nearly enough, and I personally would rather ride and learn to ride than throw myself into a commitment like that without thinking it through.

I don't know all the details behind the boarding situation, but I'm sure she'll have to pay her own feed. My guess is that the boarding property is a pasture with a structure built on for shelter from the rain and wind (we don't get snow here.)

I've basically been told to shut my mouth and mind my own business, honestly. I don't approve and I'm sure everyone in the house knows it. My opinion tends to be discounted on nearly everything anyway, for various reasons -- especially when it comes to animals. Mainly because I'm "too picky" about their care.

I'm hoping she realizes the costs and backs down before she takes on a responsibility she can't possibly handle. :\

Edit: Sorry Kwenami, didn't notice you'd posted!

Yeah, spooks and being stepped on is definitely a regular thing, even if you're only around them a little. xD Horses aren't exactly careful about where they put their hooves, in general, lol.

She's quite a know-it-all about things like this, but I can try the safety tips. Around here, horses do get given up for low prices pretty frequently -- usually because the owner runs out of funds to care for them and needs them gone, now.

I think she'll just be boarding him at someone's home property, so does that law still apply? I don't even know the guy's name and have no way to contact him, or I would. And like I said... she's a know-it-all and very cocky. It's entirely possible that she'd go out riding without anyone there to watch.

Aw man, I'm sorry. That really sucks. :( You can't visit or offer to exercise him?
 

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I'm really, really worried that you can't do anything-being told to back off is NOT a good solution when things are this dangerous. Let's pretend she has the money, and that the person she's boarding with is God. Also, let's assume she has an extremely bombproof, well-behaved horse. Not having the knowledge is HUGE and VERY dangerous. People die for small mistakes, or are injured for life. I have a few friends in wheelchairs due to riding accidents, and they KNEW what they were doing. I really can't emphasize more how common concussions are. Even if the boarding place's owner is God-like, they're liable for her if she dies. They're liable if she gets injured, or if her horse in injured due to her stupidity. Your foster mom isn't thinking this through remotely-it's not bringing a wild turtle home to care for. If she ends up getting a horse, I'd call children's aid because she's going to hurt herself, and badly...
 

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Honestly... I would take a deep breath. Many, many girls ponder this 'hey, I'll get a horse' track to no avail. Hey, it's fun, we can all have pipe dreams. At some point she will realize that she will look pretty stupid to other horse-owners at the stable without knowing how to really ride, among other things. And if she doesn't get self-conscious about that... I have a strong suspicion that your foster mom (or even dad) is waiting in the wings to step in if things are taken too far. I mean, as her guardians, who do you think creditors are going to go after if she racks up some huge expense. If they didn't even let her kill a turtle (seriously, you have no idea how many small pets die in the name of sloppy parenthood) I don't think they're going to let her bring this stunt to fruition. Even then, the friend she's keeping it with is going to have a parent and if the owner of the property catches wind that yes, a kiddo with no money and parents who won't pay is trying to move some random horse onto his property... Oh hell no.

It's not often I say this because it sucks to admit, but your foster mom is right: unless an animal is being legally abused (physically hurt or lack of food/water/shelter), it's none of your business and there's nothing you can do. If all failsafes fall through and she really does go through with this... It will only take a month before someone's getting a free horse. And the possibility of even going there is very, very slim in my estimation.
 

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I was about to say something similar to what Kelly528 said. I highly doubt she'll end up even getting a horse. Thankfully it's harder to just bring home a horse than it is to bring home a wild turtle. Not to mention the effort she'll have to go to to find a horse for the price she wants, the upkeep of said horse, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I know there really isn't much I can do. Even without being banned from saying anything, I wouldn't have voiced my concerns. I've been through that once --with the turtle--, and it basically ended with yelling and no progress. She's really not one to take advice unsolicited, and basically thinks of it as being a know-it-all. (Which I admit I can occasionally be from time to time.)

I'm just hoping that she realizes exactly how much this will cost and how much effort and time needs to go into a horse and backs off on her own. What concerns me most is that she isn't looking at this as a living, breathing creature -- she's looking at it like a car. I did tentatively ask, "So... what happens when you can't bring it with you when you move?" and her response was along the lines of, "Give it up or sell it or something."

She does that with a lot of animals -- the turtle was just something "cool", she wants to adopt a friend's dog because she's cuddly and soft, and now the horse thing. Her attitude is my main problem. :\
 

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I know there really isn't much I can do. Even without being banned from saying anything, I wouldn't have voiced my concerns. I've been through that once --with the turtle--, and it basically ended with yelling and no progress. She's really not one to take advice unsolicited, and basically thinks of it as being a know-it-all. (Which I admit I can occasionally be from time to time.)

I'm just hoping that she realizes exactly how much this will cost and how much effort and time needs to go into a horse and backs off on her own. What concerns me most is that she isn't looking at this as a living, breathing creature -- she's looking at it like a car. I did tentatively ask, "So... what happens when you can't bring it with you when you move?" and her response was along the lines of, "Give it up or sell it or something."

She does that with a lot of animals -- the turtle was just something "cool", she wants to adopt a friend's dog because she's cuddly and soft, and now the horse thing. Her attitude is my main problem. :\
Unfortunately a lot of people DO look at animals like cars, or accessories :( Horses in particular, I've noticed. Some kids that grow up doing horsemanship stuff have parents that get them horse after horse. When they "grow out of" one horse, it's sold and they receive a new one that "matches their skills". Like updating software on an iPhone.

It sucks, but there's nothing you can do to change their attitude. We just see animals differently than others. We see them as emotional, sentient beings. We acknowledge that changing owners and homes affects them. Others don't seem to want to acknowledge that.
 

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I think Horses do fall into the 'upgrade' category sometimes if only because their price. You can't just get a second one to learn on, and keep your best friend. People who show are typically really picky, too, and then the horse gets retired early and bored, so they get sold to make back some money. It's sad, but at the types of prices horses come at...Someone else might be able to learn and have a best friend where they were too blind to see.
 

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I wish she could see all the horses dumped on the side of the road in our area and many other parts of the country. People buy them and put them in a pasture and when there's no more grass and the horses are starving, they turn them loose. Horse rescues here are overflowing with unwanted horses that were probably owned by people who had no idea of what it costs to own a horse.

Maybe you could take her to visit a horse rescue near you. The people there might be able to change her mind. You might have to lead the conversation in that direction...
 

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Maybe she'll find a companion horse that's 20 years old and can only do some basic walking?

Honestly...I'd bring it up that if she's leaving her horse somewhere and not paying for board, they can technically sell her horse off. The legalities are intense. My friend had to change her boarding stable a year ago when the owner's stallion was put in the same paddock and her mare had a surprise foal-NOT okay.

Maybe try pushing her to look for a lease first? Or a half lease? They can be pricey enough but are only half the cost typically, and a lot of the time you get lots of riding time with a coach.

I know you don't want to make waves but this is one of those things that will come bite her in the rear FAST, financially, and she could end up with a huge amount of problems very, very quickly. Esp horses with behavioural issues-if she doesn't know what she's doing, she's going to get herself killed... I wish I was just saying this lightly. Worst case with a dog you get biten somewhere, badly, but high probability of survival. With a horse...one kick to the head and you don't have a head anymore. Concussions are a popular injury, along with loss of use of legs, spinal problems, neck and collar bone breaks, etc.. Being non confrontational won't help her not get herself killed....even if this sounds dramatic. I've been blessed with 14 years of in and out of horse world experience, and only one minor concussion and a few kicks. I'm *VERY* worried for her.
This kind of thing worries me too, I saw it too many times when I used to board my horses publicly. It was also a stable that offered lessons and trail rides. They take a few lessons or go on one trail ride and think they are an expert :/

As someone who has ridden and owned horses for I've half my life, I can tell you that two years ago I suffered a kick to the shoulder area (actually the upper chest area) by a spooked horse and it took almost six months to get where I felt somewhat normal again, it was two weeks before I could even life my arm high enough to brush or style my hair. I had to have OH help me :/.

It still hurts almost all the time to this day. And I am someone who knows horses, I just wasn't fast enough. A person of lesser knowledge would have been seriously hurt or dead.

She needs to spend the say with the care takers of horses, I wish you could send her with me and she could shadow me while I feed (at 5 am) walk and clean stalls, bathe horses etc before she decided she really wants one.
 

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ok im going to sound really harsh but it doesn't take a lot of braincells to figure out that a BIG animal is going costs A LOT. I have very limited experience with horses because my disability makes it very difficult to ride (its on my bucket list to over come that) But even I with very little knowledge can instantly see how bad of an idea this is.

I can sort of understand why people might underestimate the care needed for rats, budgies, turtles/tortoises and small lizards and even to a certain extent dogs, but horses?!?!?!

How can a person not look at that huge animal and realise that A. It might hurt you really bad usually on accident. and B. It costs a lot of money feeding it and giving it BASIC care.

It's like last summer I was helping out a family friend who had these riding classes for kids 8-14 and there was this boy who hit is horse because it wasn't moving fast enough. He was given a good talking to but I was just baffled as to why he thought it was a good idea to piss of an animal that weighs 30x more than him.

I can get that some people don't have same empathy and care for animals as we do but what happened to common sense? Humans have become too arrogant with our domesticated animals.
 

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ok im going to sound really harsh but it doesn't take a lot of braincells to figure out that a BIG animal is going costs A LOT. I have very limited experience with horses because my disability makes it very difficult to ride (its on my bucket list to over come that) But even I with very little knowledge can instantly see how bad of an idea this is.

I can sort of understand why people might underestimate the care needed for rats, budgies, turtles/tortoises and small lizards and even to a certain extent dogs, but horses?!?!?!

How can a person not look at that huge animal and realise that A. It might hurt you really bad usually on accident. and B. It costs a lot of money feeding it and giving it BASIC care.

It's like last summer I was helping out a family friend who had these riding classes for kids 8-14 and there was this boy who hit is horse because it wasn't moving fast enough. He was given a good talking to but I was just baffled as to why he thought it was a good idea to piss of an animal that weighs 30x more than him.

I can get that some people don't have same empathy and care for animals as we do but what happened to common sense? Humans have become too arrogant with our domesticated animals.
I agree, common sense is out the window :(

I think in this situation, a lot of it is a lack of exposure and experience too. Not necessarily arrogance. Not all 16 year olds get much life experience...I've met a lot that are, very sadly, sheltered and clueless. Even a common reality like paying bills and having a limited income is foreign to them. Also, it sounds like that 6 year old was only doing what he'd seen somebody else do. It's actually very common practice to hit horses. I'm not saying it's good, or right. But it's typical. And I think it's a shame that we treat a domestic animal so harshly, when domestication has already made them so docile and forgiving of our crap.

But really, if your only exposure to horses is being around ones that are dead broke and bombproof... You get very used to them, and comfortable with them. You walk behind them without a second thought, you throw a saddle on them or shake out a blanket without thinking, they're very forgiving of people being a little unnecessarily harsh on their mouth. It doesn't occur that they can throw their heads, rear, buck, kick, stomp, bite, spook, and take off.

If you've never seen a horse colic, or had to spend hours trying to keep a horse from going down, and forcing it up whenever it does, and you've never called out an emergency vet to your house after hours on a holiday weekend....You may not get an idea of how expensive they can be, or how hard they can be to own. I had to do this and I was physically and emotionally beat. I was sore for days!

Even if, consciously, you are aware of those things through research, or the experience of others, they sometimes don't seem very real until it actually happens to you. I'm generally not an ignorant person, and I don't believe I lack in common sense. But when my friends horse got colic and I went to help, I had nooooo clue that it would be THAT draining. Like, that episode alone made horses even LESS appealing to own, and I was already fully aware of how dangerous they are and expensive. I'm still thinking maybe some day. But I hope to god I never have to go through that with my horse.
 
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