Key traits for horse shopping
   

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Key traits for horse shopping

This is a discussion on Key traits for horse shopping within the Endurance Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    • 3 Post By phantomhorse13
    • 2 Post By BlueSpark

     
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        10-27-2013, 03:01 PM
      #1
    Started
    Key traits for horse shopping

    Aside from soundness, what are the traits you place most weight on when looking for an endurance prospect? I see just about every arabian horse for sale ever advertised as such, but we all know that that is not really true.

    I've heard sound, sane and short +/- smooth and a few other mnemonics, but if you, yourself, were horse-shopping tomorrow, what would you be looking for on your must or must not have lists?
         
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        10-29-2013, 12:26 AM
      #2
    Yearling
    I am just starting to get into endurance riding. I haven't even competed yet but am working on conditioning my horse for one maybe in January. But I will give a list of things I like and don't like. I bought my horse in June, I was consdiering endurance at the time but was more looking at a good do everything horse. But now that I have him I am getting more serious about it.

    None of these are a deal breaker for me just some preferences:

    1. I like it if the horse is all ready barefoot as I always transition my horses to barefoot. If they all ready are its a huge plus for me.
    2. I prefer a horse to have a nice solid neck rein. I can teach that myself but especially for something like endurance it is so great to have a free hand to get a drink of water or look at the GPS and still have complete control.
    3. I like a horse that has had some trail experience or something out side of the arena. Working cows, ditch bank riding anything just because it makes it easier. They don't have to be bomb proof on the trail but a few rides makes a big difference. Especially since endurance training is on the trail it is faster to start working on conditioning if your horse is already used to trails.
    4. I also like a horse that is OK with being alone. I do most of my riding solo so being able to move out without another horse is big deal. Then on the other side I like a horse that is OK in groups too. Obviously at an endurance ride there are other horses but you can be both in groups and alone so a horse that is ok with both is good.
    5. I hate a barn sour horse, I can deal with it but it annoys me. I prefer a horse that is eager to go for a ride. Then you can spend more time riding and less time leaving the barn.
    6. I like a "thinker" a horse that thinks before reacting. I prefer a horse that thinks about something before making a move not one that reacts blindly. In tricky situations and technical trails a "thinking" horse is a joy to ride for me.
    7. The horse must know how to stand tied. And stand quietly even with chaos around him. This is important to me when I am taking a horse to an event and I know there is going to be a lot of waiting around to do etc.

    I am sure there are something I forgot but that is what is what I could think of at the moment!

    I forgot! I don't have an Arabian, which I know are really popular in endurance. My horse is a Mustang he has great stamina and I am just in it for fun. If I was serious about winning I would look at an Arabian or Arabian cross probably.
         
        10-30-2013, 09:36 AM
      #3
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sharpie    
    if you, yourself, were horse-shopping tomorrow, what would you be looking for on your must or must not have lists?
    You already covered the most important one to me, which is sound.

    The next one on my list - and for me its almost equally important - is sane. Now what "sane" is can and will vary from one person to the next, as everyone has their own comfort level. I see tons of ads that seem to think crazy = good endurance prospect. Personally, I don't want to spend hours on potentially dangerous trails with an animal who is bolting or bucking or simply arguing about everything every step of the way.

    Similar to sane, I want a horse that uses its brain. Some things you can improve/fix with training, but I think some horses are naturally more reactive than others. What kind of reactive that is can make a big difference. I don't want a deadhead that is blind to the world around it, but I don't want something that is going to spook at anything (or nothing). I think thus use of brain better translates into things like paying attention to where its feet are on trail.

    I want a horse that is appropriately social. I don't want something herd-bound but I don't want something that is unable to live in a herd environment. I think its important for a horse to be a horse when its not working, and when it is working I want it focused on me as the leader, not where its buddies went, etc.
    QOS, BlueSpark and Horsesaplenty like this.
         
        11-06-2013, 11:24 PM
      #4
    Foal
    I've done a few competitions and a lot of reading :) Supposedly the best endurance arabs are either small and compact, or tall and narrow. These body types shed heat better. After dealing with scratches from sandy soil in my area with my current horse I'd avoid any back leg white markings if I could. It's not a fun thing to deal with. I suggest reading "Go the Distance: The complete Resource for Endurance Horses" by Nancy S. Loving. I learned a lot. She talks extensively about what to look for, high and low twitch muscles in endurance prospects and gives all sorts of further conditioning and competing advice.

    Other than the physical- Well a mind. A horse that keeps calm and collected, thinks, works well with other horses and people, eats and drinks well, and loves what they do.

         
        11-07-2013, 09:08 AM
      #5
    Started
    Forward. Of course, being able to ride a forward horse helps, lol.....But there is nothing fun about having to PUSH for 50 miles.

    Smooth....that's a hard one. I want to post, not sit, and too smooth a trot makes that difficult for a long ride.

    Nancy
         
        11-07-2013, 11:45 AM
      #6
    Started
    Deal breakers for me(some I'm repeating from above posters);

    -Sound
    -sound
    -sound. With great feet.
    -sane, not prone to falling apart under pressure. Can't stress this enough.
    -not overly spooky. Stopping halfway up a steep grade and sliding backwards, nearly flipping, because the rock looks funny, is not fun(yes I've done it).
    - a great trail horse. Being able to cross obstacles calmly is very important, as is the ability to stop and take breaks when needed(and not be pacing around anxiously) and take new situations in stride. A horse that's so high strung that every new thing sets them off kilter is best kept in an arena.
    -and of course, endurance.
    -rides very well alone.
    -ties well for long periods of time
    - forward, but not too forward, trying to hold a horse back the whole ride is nearly as exhausting as trying to push one forward


    Nice to have;
    -smooth gaits
    -on the short side
    -easy keeper

    A couple experiences, I knew an arab mare, crazy well bred, that could go forever. Super sound, no buck, rear, bolt or fight in her. Stands tied for hours and smooth as silk. She was so insanely spooky a 10 mile ride was a marathon. We would do an imitation of Olympic jumping over a hub cap we could have walked around. River crossings involved an initial leap that would have done a cross country course proud. Trotting along in a grassy field with nothing interesting around would result in you leaping randomly sideways every 10 feet. Wind in the grass resulted in a sliding stop and reining spin. In the arena kids could ride her bareback with a string around her neck, bareback. Never, ever compete on a truly spooky horse.

    Second is a thoroughbred my BO picked up. His feet weren't the best, so keeping shoes on were a pain. He adjusted to our training trails alright, but he was still a bit of a reactive diva. Went on a ride with him, and the trails turned out to be quite challenging. He was a monster. He was excessively forward, and never walked an obstacle he could leap. He bounded over rocks, mud puddles, creeks, sticks, mounds, shadows and holes. He reverted to wanting to go full speed constantly, down steep grades, through poor footing, etc. he did not think things through at any point, and jigged the whole ride. Funny thing is, the BO and this crazy horse got the best scores out of everyone, by a decent margin. Passed vet checks with flying colors, and he easily could have gone much, much further.
    phantomhorse13 and Roux like this.
         
        11-10-2013, 08:07 PM
      #7
    Foal
    Ground manners are hugely important I would say. But that's really for any horse, not specific to endurance.
         

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