Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
When I was just generally shopping for new horses, I had a list of what I needed. I needed several new horses and I put my DH's needs first, which is why we bought HIS horse first. HE (6'5" tall) needed tall and strong and he wanted gaited. We had limited funds, and I didn't want a lot of baggage BUT I didn't want to wait several years breaking in from scratch--YOU may wish to do this, however.
We bought a 3 yo, 16'2hh KMHSA, he grew an inch, and he now weighs about 1,300 lbs, easily can carry around 250 pounds, for $3K.
I prefer 15'2hh, I PREFER a horse that trots, and the best we found was a 15'2hh, 4yo QH who had been donated to a rescue as a colt. They broke him there, and he was very sociable with a nice build, strides under well, etc. Cost us $1,500
Make yourself of list of favorites. Divide this list into: MUST HAVES, Can do without. Decide the MAXIMUM $ you can spend. (DH and I have bought from many auctions in the past and we ALWAYS decide what our top dollar is before the item/horse is auctioned. Don't overspend--you could lose the horse if you have to take out a loan and can't repay it. Sports horses CAN be very pricey. Somebody selling their well trained sportshorse bc of moving up is going to charge a lot for all of their training time, as they should. IF you can afford to keep 2 do so. If you're practicing a Dressage Test you can learn it on your 2nd horse and not let you primary Eventing horse MEMORIZE it. If you buy young and train you will be VERY frustrated at not having a finished horse to ride. I was, and I was glad that I've always had a finished horse to use while training a green one. (It is possible that you could be training somebody else's horse at the same time, and that would help.)
Regarding what makes a good eventing horse:
1) Minimum 16'hh. The jumps just get bigger and harder for a smaller horse to handle
2) NO gaited.
3) No downhill build
4) Look for natural collection. Watch the stride at a walk. The horse's back feet should be able to cover the footprint left by the same-side front foot. BETTER if that hoofprint is slightly in front of it.
5) Buy the BEST BUILD you can afford. Toes slightly out, cow-hocked, etc. will make the horse fall apart sooner. He/she should be able to have a long, fun career with you. Study up on confirmation NOW.
6) DO NOT buy for color. Color of the horse is like sprinkles on a donut. They do not change the taste or add ANYTHING but froo froo.
7) Finally, have the horse free jumped for you. If your horse doesn't like to jump, he'll dislike 2/3 of the Event. If he likes to jump, he's a good jumper. I even had a 15'2hh mule for awhile that was so green I couldn't get on him--had him 6 months, lol--but he jumped my 5' fence about 5 times. I guess if I had really liked him, I could have broken him in and gone to little, small town Events with him!! Good luck, and keep us up to date on your search!! **hugs**