One can often lease a horse with option to buy. This solves the problem of falling in love with a horse that is not your own. It also solves the problem of the “first horse” ending up not being the the equine life partner you expected, or the problem of this horse being too much or not enough for you a year down the road. The horse that is suitable for you now may very well not be the horse that is what you need & want a year down the road when you are a more skilled rider. Just make sure you have a written agreement that spells out all the details, including who pays for what, and the cost of the horse should you decide to invoke the purchase clause at some point. It is not unheard of for the owners to decide that a horse that was worth $X when the lease started is now worth $XXX because of the time and work you have put into the horse, so agreeing on the purchase price up front is just being practical. The same way that good fences make good neighbors, good written agreements that spell out every scenario you can think of reduces honest misunderstandings and keeps good people out of small claims court.