If you're willing to pay for it (and it can get pricey), they'll take radiographs of joints to look for arthritic changes, and they'll do a full soundness exam with flexions and palpations for back pain. They should be able to tell if a horse was chemically sored (or nerved) and then will present their overall findings for you to decide whether it's worth the risk of a known problem or if you'd better keep looking. Vet checks aren't foolproof, but they sure lay the odds of finding an existing problem in your favor.
thanks. That's what I was wondering. If it was possible to tell. I probably won't pay for all of that to be done. I think my best bet it just to buy from someone I trust. I do plan on getting a horse at least vet checked before I purchase though even if they don't radiographs and such. I feel better just having a vet there with me.
A gaited horse isn't going to be collected, at gait, like a quarterhorse or three-gaited horse, because they have to be a bit more relaxed than collection allows, in order to gait. However, like anything else, there are extremes and you probably don't want a horse that's only been ridden in an extreme hollow frame.
Yes definitely. I'm the most familiar with the TWH but I know that the gaited breeds move out differently so they don't do the collection like non-gaited. But you're right, I don't want a horse that's been hollowed out its entire life by a rider. I do feel for those horses that are ridden incorrectly their whole life. But because I do want an older horse, I'd like one that's been cared for better so we can have some long riding years together. Once I buy, I will never, ever sell the horse. So I just want to know we'll have some decent riding years together.
One thing the op mentioned is her desire to learn about riding and become a more accomplished rider. If you are saying that in terms of being a dressage rider, a gaited horse might not fit well into that, (though I know that such a thing as gaited horse dressage exists).
I'm definitely not going to be doing dressage, though I love the discipline. What I want is more of a basic understanding of riding techiniques and how a horse moves for the horse's sake and just for knowledge.
While I would like a gaited horse at some point in the future, I'm open to having a non-gaited breed of horse for pleasure and trail like a quarter horse as well. So I want to understand the gaits and movements of both breeds. You just never know who you're going to fall in love with! I can be set on a palomino TWH and end up falling head over heels for the chestnut quarter horse with the big brown eyes.