View Full Version : New "Family Member"....

Jim Becker
08-15-2008, 11:05 AM
The world works in very strange ways, I tell you. Three years ago when our daughters came along, there was never a thought about what "else" might come along, as it were. :o

Well...Nastia has been involved with horses for two summers now, going to "horse camp" and also taking lessons. She's done incredibly, going from zero experience to riding with the advanced kids who have been doing this for many, many years...in only two summers. It's been very good for her in many ways and now that she's entering middle school in two weeks, we are faced with the "what does she do after school since they are dismissed at 2:30p?" question. You're probably getting a clue about where this is going. LOL ;) Exactly...:eek: :eek: :eek:

Rather than try to do the whole school sports thing which she's probably not ready for emotionally, or allowing her to roam the streets or even having her head home to twiddle her thumbs for a few hours, we've decided to make the focus of her after school time remain on horses including riding and care. Of course, that also means insuring consistency with the particular horse. Hence, we welcome "Dreamy" to our extended family.


To be clear, we are not buying this beautiful animal; rather, we're leasing for now which gives a lot of access to the same horse for both lessons and general riding. It also means we don't have the costs for boarding, vet, farrier, etc., that would come with ownership. No way are we ready for that!

This also means that Alesya, who also rides at her own camp, will have access to the same horse if she chooses to take lessons, etc. That's a nice thing. More importantly, the owner of Dreamy will be able to continue to keep her at the particular farm she's at and that's good for everyone since this horse is a wonderful riding and training animal with an excellent disposition around kids.

So...it's been a long, long time...about 35+ years...since I've been actively involved with horses, but I guess it was meant to happen. For nostalgia sake, this is me at about age 10 or so on "Star"...


Jason Whelehon
08-15-2008, 11:11 AM
Leasing a horse... that's America at it's finest!!!

I love horses but the cost is prohibitive...

So I took up woodworking, oh wait... :)

Congrats and I hope it's the blessing you're looking for!

Jim Becker
08-15-2008, 12:15 PM
Jason, the "leasing" is actually a pretty nice construct. The actual terms vary by facility, but in our case, we basically are reserving access pretty much every day outside of lesson times when the animal may already be "employed" for another rider. We get first priority. The cost is very close to what we were paying for child after care in previous school years for this daughter, a service no longer available since she is in middle school and age 13. Our only "responsibilities" revolve around maintaining enrollment in lessons (gonna happen anyway) and necessary grooming before/after riding. Sometimes leases require more responsibility including potentially expensive vet/farrier costs, but not at this farm.

In the case of this animal, the owner has two horses, Dreamy and Boston. (Nastia has been riding both) The owner is having some financial difficulties and is faced with either selling one animal or finding a revenue stream to help cover the boarding, vet and farrier costs so that she (Dreamy) can stay at this farm where she is much loved and well regarded. Keeping her there is such a priority that in the event someone wanted to buy her, the price is nearly half if there is a commitment to keep her at the same facility.

Many folks who own multiple horses will offer full or half leases to both help with the upkeep and to insure that the animal is getting regular riding/training. And for the rider, the benefit is to be able to ride the same animal all the time...it truly does become a "relationship" that works in both ways in that respect. There is no way we could afford to buy and maintain a horse ourselves right now, so this is a nice way to help our daughter(s) enjoy the benefits and responsibilities in an affordable way.

Oh, and the farm owner has our express permission to put Nastia "to work", learning more and more about horse management and care and hopefully, "keeping her out of trouble". This could very well help her learn some skills now that will be valuable when she's out of school and needs to work for real.

Jason Whelehon
08-15-2008, 12:22 PM
That's a pretty cool program!

Ken Fitzgerald
08-15-2008, 12:26 PM


Here I thought it was John "Horsey" Hart we had to worry about....Now Jim "Horsey" Becker comes out of the stables....:rolleyes:

I worked for a guy early in HS who had 4 horses. I fed, watered, hauled hay, cleaned stables and yes, I rode them any time I wanted. It is a good way to enjoy the animals and learn responsiblity!

I have a photo of me at age 4 riding a pony stud......in full regala. Didn't know a copy existed since our home burned at age 5 or 6 and we lost everything. An aunt gave me the only surviving copy a few years ago. I always told my wife she married a "cowboy"......riding against the wind.:rolleyes:

Belinda Williamson
08-15-2008, 1:02 PM
Congrats! Sounds like everyone is coming out a winner. What a wonderful opportunity for your daughter.

Dennis Peacock
08-15-2008, 2:24 PM
That's pretty cool Jim..!!!!!! My daughter just LOVES her horse. Excellent move you your part.

John Shuk
08-15-2008, 4:06 PM
Before I read about the lease I was thinking "No more euro machines in Jim's future!"
It sounds like a wonderful situation and it seems that a horse is every girls dream. Enjoy

Dave Anderson NH
08-15-2008, 4:07 PM
Leasing a horse? I'll bet it's only a matter of until next spring before the Becker family starts construction on the next addition... a stable. It's rare that young girls don't get what they want from daddy.

gary Zimmel
08-15-2008, 4:31 PM

Congrats on the new addition to the family. Your daughter must be very happy . Trust me, you will be the proud owner of a horse in the near future.....
Then the bleeding will start. ( my wife has 3) In saying that they are beautiful animals to be around. I love to see them running in our pastures.

Kevin Arceneaux
08-15-2008, 6:41 PM

Now she needs:

The correct boots - Tony Lama's are a good start
The correct hat - Stetson
Big silver buckle - I prefer Montana silversmiths
At least 3 barrels - got to practice for the race
a few head of cattle - got to get the aroma just right


Mitchell Andrus
08-15-2008, 7:52 PM
I rode horses (my cousins had 3) when I was younger, and my wife started riding lessons this year and loves it. Just finishing beginner 3 so far - she galloped last week (so did the horse - LOL).

I understand. Good luck.

Karl Laustrup
08-15-2008, 8:00 PM
Glad Nastia has found something she really likes and you were able to work out the arrangements.

I'm sure it will benefit her developement as she becomes a young woman.


Jim Becker
08-15-2008, 9:42 PM

Now she needs:

The correct boots - Tony Lama's are a good start
The correct hat - Stetson
Big silver buckle - I prefer Montana silversmiths
At least 3 barrels - got to practice for the race
a few head of cattle - got to get the aroma just right


Well...this is not Western riding, so all of those things don't apply unless we are on vacation somewhere and are trail riding. We may actually do a cattle roundup on our vacation.... That said, the riding pants, boots and helmet are not inexpensive for English, either... LOL

Leasing a horse? I'll bet it's only a matter of until next spring before the Becker family starts construction on the next addition... a stable. It's rare that young girls don't get what they want from daddy.

No stable here. We don't have the right kind of property for it, despite having just shy of 4 acres. I'm not cutting down the woods for this... We live in a virtual cornucopia of horse farms--if it's not horses, it's nursery stock around here--so there is little point in ripping apart our property even if we did assume ownership of a horse someday. But honestly, the leasing is the better deal financially, by far...

Jim Becker
08-15-2008, 9:43 PM
Here's a few more pictures of Dreamy, and, of course, Nastia riding today. Dreamy is 15.3 hands and about 13 years old. Her temperament is wonderful.




gary Zimmel
08-15-2008, 10:01 PM

Nice paint mare. Good quiet breed. Now that horse would love cows!

Ron Jones near Indy
08-15-2008, 10:14 PM

This sounds like a win/win situation to me.

The Beckers might want to consider letting/encouraging Nastia to enroll in a 4H horse project. Locally these programs are held in high regard--I have no idea what it would be like in your area. The kids that I know at school who enroll seem to find these programs both educational and fun.

Jim Becker
08-15-2008, 10:20 PM
Ron, the 4h program meets at the farm she's working with.

Ron Jones near Indy
08-15-2008, 10:48 PM
Ron, the 4h program meets at the farm she's working with.

Seems like a natural fit. I really hope it works out for all of you.

Mark Hix
08-15-2008, 11:07 PM
I worked my way thru college on horse ranches and one of my sons rode a leased horse when he wanted to give the equestrian sport a try. Horses are good for the soul but hard on the pocket book. I think the lease option was one of the better ideas to come out in the horse business. Horses teach some of the some excellent lessons in life and I wish everyone had those opportunities.

Ken Fitzgerald
08-16-2008, 2:10 AM

I worked with horses as a teen.

I elk hunted seriously for 18 years. We used horse and mules for packing elk out and on occasion for riding. If the LOML had listened to me 15 years ago we would have acreage and several head of horses and mules to deal with.....and I probably wouldn't have a ww shop.

I talked with a number of professional horse trainers and cowboys in the area. I wouldn't have bought a horse less than 10 years old. Dreamie being 13 is a real asset. Like humans, horses have personalities. IMHO around age 7 or so they start to exhibit the personality they will have for the rest of their lives. I wouldn't have bought a horse or mule less than 10 years of age. I also would have shied away from buying a purebred. Like dogs, purebreds are often bred for looks and not personality.

The best horse I worked with in elk camp, my friend bought when the horse was age 18. The gelding lived and was ridden until age 27. Smart old rascal..came off a working cattle ranch. A couple of days after my friend bought him, he called me up to come and ride him. At the local county fairgrounds, I walked him around the arena a time or two.....trotted him on lap and then put him at a gallop down the middle. When I went to stop him he sat down a whole lot quicker than I expected....I was off balance and started over the front of the saddle. This sage old veteran horse released his stop...got back under me and then came to a stop. He literally caught me and kept me from going over his head. Incredibly intelligent, trained, educated horse age 18 and was just an absolute pleasure with which to work. I miss that old rascal.

George Morris
08-16-2008, 1:38 PM
Jim that sure is better then sitting in front of a Wii vidio game!! She will sure pick up some great life lessons! Great to have parents that will foster this in their kids! George

Mike Cutler
08-16-2008, 2:58 PM

An indoor Dressage arena!! Sweeet.
They make an excellent combination Jim. An experienced horse and an inexperienced rider. Once she catches up with Dreamy, the real fun begins.

If she's going to trade some work around the barn for her part. She'll need some "Muck" boots. Those Ariats won't hold up to the winter mud and ice in the outdoor paddocks.

Here's a pic of our boy, Royal to share with Nastia, perhaps Dennis Peabody can give us a pic of his daughter on Oreo also.
He's a 16hh Thoroughbred off the track, about 4 years old in this pic, being reschooled for dressage. He's being a little pissant in this photo. He knows he's supposed to be on the bit, but...............

Jim Becker
08-16-2008, 8:04 PM
Fine looking horse, Mike. Robert Tarr's "other half" rides Dressage and is training with one of the top people at a facility near Princeton NJ. (I forget the fellow's name) We went to watch one of her lessons last fall and it was very interesting.

Most of the stables around here have both indoor and outdoor riding facilities it seems and that's great for all weather riding. Today, Nastia rode outside for her lesson and it was a glorious day. Here's a few pictures from that time:





Mike Cutler
08-16-2008, 8:13 PM
Someone was having some fun today.:D.

That's a nice horse she has there Jim. That mare was really taking care of Nastia over the barriers. Definitely a "BTDT" horse.

Keith Starosta
08-16-2008, 8:38 PM
Leasing a horse? I'll bet it's only a matter of until next spring before the Becker family starts construction on the next addition... a stable. It's rare that young girls don't get what they want from daddy.

That sentiment sent a hard, cold shiver down my spine. My two girls (5 and 2) have already got me wrapped around their pretty little fingers.....and they KNOW it!! :rolleyes:

Very cool, Jim!! :D

- Keith

Jim Becker
08-19-2008, 9:30 AM
It dawned on me yesterday during her lesson that this little "family addition" also means an addition to my woodworking project list. I suppose that I'm going to have to make a tack box at some point...a Rubbermaid bin is only going to be a temporary solution for clothing, helmet, grooming tools, etc. LOL More work... :o ...but the enjoyable kind. :)