Buy a horse that is balky?

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Buy a horse that is balky?

This is a discussion on Buy a horse that is balky? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Why horse is timid and balky
  • Balking horse dressage

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    08-30-2012, 06:14 PM
Buy a horse that is balky?

I think I found 'Mr. Right'- he's a 5 1/2 yo chestnut gelding with very nice conformation and movement for dressage. He's a TB-Paint cross. He is very forward, seems eager to please, has a more QH temperament (not spooky or nervous).

However, the second time I tried him, he was a little bit balky-- making me kick him and use my dressage whip to get him moving out. He didn't do anything bad and I was able to get him more 'hot' off my leg after a few minutes, so I think he was just 'testing' me.

He's spent the last year with a fairly novice rider who is nervous around him and has perhaps not been the best influence on him, although she has had him with a couple different trainers, one who specializes in dressage.

I'm going to try him one more time before I decide. What should I test out with him? Is this balkiness a bad sign or just 'normal' what you'd expect from a smart 5 yo horse?

Thanks for any input!
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    08-30-2012, 07:45 PM
It just sounds like he was testing you. If he's had a more inexperienced, timid rider he probably has been allowed to get away with being naughty.

At 5 1/2 I woudn't expect him to be completely finished, and he's still somewhat a youngster mentally.

Nothing you've posted makes me think he's going to be too much for you.
    08-30-2012, 10:07 PM
purchasing balky horse

It sounds like he is both testing you and not fully understanding what you are asking him to do. The brain of a 5 1/2 yr. Old horse is still "young", requiring you to pack a little patience and not ask too much of him all at once. I agree that that combination of a novice rider and a young horse might require you to do some re-training for a little while.
    08-30-2012, 11:30 PM
Sounds like he needs more training with someone who isn't afraid of him. He should be fine for you if you work with him.
    08-30-2012, 11:35 PM
Super Moderator
Agreeing with above. Also, did you ride him in the saddle he is used to? Or your own saddle? If the saddle does not fit, this can often make a horse baulky.
    08-31-2012, 12:34 PM
I'm sure you'll be fine with him... But if he had a nervous and inexperienced rider (like you said) he's bound to have found tricks that make him/her uneasy. I'd go ahead with it- besides the balking, he sounds fairly stable for a younger horse.
    08-31-2012, 01:28 PM
That's a relief...

Thanks, I agree with all of you. I was just a little worried that I am so enamored of this horse that I might have a blind spot to potential problems.

I did ride him in the saddle he was used to and it seems to fit well. I also changed him into a snaffle as he had been ridden in a curb (no shank, but with chain chin strap) and it didn't seem he liked that bit. I think he goes better in the snaffle.

Wish me luck. Next step in trainer approval and vet check :)

balking, testing, young horse

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