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Finding a Stable

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FIRST TIME HORSE OWNER

 
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PREPARING FOR YOU FIRST HORSE
Finding A Stable

THE VERY FIRST STEP!
 

Our first horse is a major investment in time and money.  In order to make it the best possible experience we need to become educated consumers.  How do we learn about something we know very little about?

Perhaps the first thing that you need to do is to find a reputable stable in your area with an instructor  (who either works in or owns the stable) that can guide your learning, supplementing this with reading magazines and books.  The stable provides the horse(s) and environment for a hands-on learning experience with the instructor as your guide.

On this page we will concentrate on finding a stable.  Then, as a next step (on a separate page), we will discuss how to make sure an instructor is the right one for you.

How do you find the reputable stable in your area?   A good place to begin is to visit the local feed store or tack shop.   Also, ask if there is a local pony club or 4-H branch in your area and who are the leaders.  These people have a wealth of local information they can share in finding stables.  Ask for a list of the stables within the radius you are willing to travel.  Call each stable and ask if you can visit the stable and meet the people.  Visiting will tell you a lot. 

 

I suggest that you have a checklist (such as the one below) for each stable you visit.   After visiting a stable, fill out your checklist.

STABLE SELECTION CHECKLIST
 
Is the property clean and neat?
 
Do you see buildings and fences in good repair?
 
Does the ring have a fence around it?
 
Do the horses look happy?

Ears forward, tails relaxed, soft eyes.

 
Do the horses look healthy?

Shiny coat (unless covered with mud, which is good), not boney, bright eyes, well cared for feet.

 
Is there clean water in stalls and paddocks?
 
Is the tack and equipment in good repair and clean?
 
Are the riders wearing hard hats?
 
Are the employees friendly, happy and helpful?
 
Are the students happy and satisfied?
 
Do you feel a positive, friendly atmosphere?
 
Is the stable neat and clean with happy, healthy horses (and with well-qualified, helpful employees)? 

Stable does NOT need to be fancy, only neat and clean with happy horses

 
As you watch the lessons, do the horses have their ears up, their tails gently swinging, and do the riders and instructors have a smile or positive comments?
 
Does what you see and hear make sense?
 

Once you have visited all the stables in your area, decide which one feels the most comfortable for you.

Arrange to begin your lessons with an instructor (see next step for selection details) to learn about tacking up, riding safely and what the horse needs to be happy and healthy.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  A qualified horseperson loves to share their knowledge.   Ask if you can learn to groom and to tack up your own horse.  Ask questions and watch,  then ask more questions.

I suggest that all potential horse owners ask if they can spend as much time as possible in the barn watching and observing.   The more often you can do this, the more you will learn and the more questions you can ask.  It is this observation that can guide you to ask questions and benefit from the articles you read and the tapes you can watch.  We all need practical application to know what we need to learn.  Reading without the practical application will not prepare you for the investment you are considering.

"Make Haste Slowly"  It is a wise choice to spend at least one year learning all you can from an instructor at the stable before you take the leap into horse ownership.  Once you learn the basics of riding, you will be able to find a horse that will last many more years.  At least learn to walk, trot and canter, and learn about the time and knowledge required to care for a horse.  Then you will be ready to begin the search for your own horse!

This next step will focus on making sure that an instructor is the right one for you before you entrust  a significant portion of your life (and your money) to a specific stable and its instructor(s).

 

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