Ahhh the decision that every equestrian comes to at some point in their riding career. Choices can be easy to make if you are fortunate to be able to afford either option, but if you are on a budget like myself, there’s a lot more to it than that. When facing this decision, you need to decide what your goals are in riding.
When I went to start searching for a horse to buy, I realized with my budget I had two options. I could buy a greener horse which I would have to train up myself or I could buy a more experienced older horse that was going towards the end of its career. My personal aspiration was to purchase a horse that I would keep with me for a very long time. I had leased horses for a couple of years and I was ready for my own, but with my budget, I knew I would have to make some sacrifices to buy my own horse. I decided to go with the green horse route because I had a good bit of experience working with the green horses that my trainer had and I was looking for a long-term situation. With this decision, I knew I would have to put advancing my skills on hold to take my new horse back to the basics.
So if you have experience with green horses, can be patient, and dedicated you may want to go with a gentle green horse. I would not suggest this to anyone who only has had experience with school horses or someone not planning to be in a training program with a professional. Training up Z was and still is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was frustrated on a regular basis and I have wanted to give up on him several times. However, it has been so rewarding to see his progress and how my hard work has paid off.
Another option you have is to buy an older horse with more experience. Older horses are honestly the best horses and you most likely will get a few good seasons before retirement. You just need to be able to have a plan of what to do when your horse does reach that point where its time to retire. Or can you afford any maintenance the horse might need? Many things to think about.
With leasing, you have the opportunity to work with finished, more advanced horses that can push you to higher levels. You can easily lease a horse that you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy. If you are wanting to continue growing your riding skills and compete at your skill level and beyond this show season, this is the best option for you. Another great thing about leasing is if there is ever a situation where it is not working out between horse and rider, you are not stuck with this horse forever; only until your leasing contract runs out.
Hope this helps some of you who are considering leasing or buying!
-Hannah + Z