I am going to try a horse to buy for the first time ever. What is expected of me? What should I make sure to do/check? I know if I like the horse that a vet check is a must, I just am nervous about being "critiqued" as I ride, since I am still a beginner and don't know that much! Is one (or two)ride really enough to know if you like something? I am going to bring my own saddle. Do I bring a girth too? I would think that the sizes are too different...saddle pad? Help please!
Congratulations! (and welcome to the forum - as well as Happy Thanksgiving)
When I go to look at a horse I bring my saddle and girth. I use their saddle pad and bridle since that is what their horse is used to and I also don't want to bring any skin condition that may exist on their horse back home with me.
I want to see their horse brought up from the pasture or out of the stall - I want to see how the horse behaves when getting ready for a ride. I also show up an hour early just to be sure they are not working a hyper horse before I get there.
I want to see the owner ride the horse with their tack. That should be the most comfortable the horse will be and if he acts up then, I don't even bother going further with the inspection.
Since you are a beginner, I would certainly take someone much more knowledgeable with you and ask them to ride the horse before you do.
Think with your head not your heart. Too many people "fall in love" with the first horse they see and think that they can correct any problem they find. DON'T DO IT. There are way too many good horses out there especially now. Your first horse should be at least 10 years old and "been there, done that" type of horse. You need a horse that will teach you rather then try to teach him. It will make your first ownership much more enjoyable if you don't have to correct a problem you are not equipped to handle. You want to be able to ride - not train.
I also suggest that if you will ride on trails and/or outside the ring, that you ride the horse (after the owner and your expert) both in the ring and on a trail, in a group and solo (if you're up to doing that). I've ridden great ring/arena horses that were terified of the trails, great trail horses that were pokey and bored in the ring, and seemingly great riding horses that would fuss with every other horse when riding in a group.
To emphasize what iridehorses said, don't buy with your heart, don't buy a horse that needs obvious 'fixing', and a 10+ year old, seasoned horse will allow you to concentrate on developing your riding skills without having to try and (re)train your horse at the same time. There are thousands of horses out there, spend as much time as you need and both you and your new horse will be happy together for a long time.
I would recommend taking an experienced horsey person with you. We had our horse trainer with us. Actually, he went by himself and picked out the horse. We were not even there. He went around and asked local breeders about their horses, took lots of pictures, and then he borrowed the best candidate for a week. The week lasted more than a month. After that point we were really sure that Joshua was our boy.
I think that it's important to have an experienced horse person make the decision. As iride mentioned, this purchase is an emotional one and it's awfully easy to fall in love. A horse purchase should be a thing done with one's head and not their heart, especially for the inexperienced rider.
We're looking for horsey property. If/when we find a house with land, we'll need to purchase another horse. When/if that time comes, we will once again go through this same process. Our horsey guy is our riding instructor and a horse trainer. He's got connections and is friends with local breeders. Another advantage of this was that he was much better able to work out a very good deal. Although our horse was the result of my daughter's wish (and we didn't pay for him, a wish organization did), our trainer was able to get a deal for less than 1/3 of the asking price.
One other important thing, I think. I think it's important to board a horse, especially at first. If you've never had a horse, I think it's really important to board for that first year so you can learn all the important horse care stuff.
Ooooh.....i don't think I really did the pick with your head not your hear bit :S lol. But I agree with everyone here...i just hope I havn't made a mistake by biting off more than I can chew. Ah well, i'll find out soon enough
ooooh.....i don't think I really did the pick with your head not your hear bit :S lol. But I agree with everyone here...i just hope I havn't made a mistake by biting off more than I can chew. Ah well, i'll find out soon enough
That is so easy to do! What I hate to see is a novice posting about a problem they are having with a new horse that they "love to death" but is trying to kill them.
I am definitely bringing my trainer, and she IS the one who found the hores, I just am nervous as to what to do in the ring on the horse? How long can/do you ride for? What do you look for, just the feel? Will I know right away if I like the way she feels? I mean, I love the horse I am riding now, but didn't for the first week or so. And I'm fairly sure a trial is not an option...
Put the horse through all gaits. If you don't like them, either walk away or maybe come back a second time. Do not get pressured into buying a horse you are not comfortable with - either by the seller or your trainer. Ride that horse as long as you want - I would suggest at least 1/2 an hour. That gives you and the horse a time to get used to each other. Ride him an hour if you need to. It is your money so spend it wisely
Trainers come and go, but that horse will be with you a long while. Don't fall into the "don't worry, we can work on that problem, it isn't too bad". There are a LOT of first class horses out there at bargain basement prices.
You want to try the horse how you are going to use him. If he is a trail horse - even just sometimes - take him out on a trail. If there are no trails, then take him all around the farm/barn. If he spooks there, he may be worse in unfamiliar places. (A spook, not a shy). All horses can shy at something that looks odd but a spook is not something that you want at this stage of your ability.
I like to wave my hands suddenly in front of a new horse to see how he handles it. I like to watch his owner ride him since they should know how to show him off the best. Watching a trainer doesn't do a lot since a good trainer can make any horse look good but that don't translate into you being able to do that. What your trainer should be doing is to put themselves in your position and judge whether you can ride the horse - not them.
You want a finished horse for YOUR ability not a horse that needs work to make him right or that you will grow into. Your first horse needs to be a confidence builder not one that makes you uncomfortable.
A first horse, especially, needs to be special. He may not your favorite color or breed, he may not have the right "look" but he will be the horse that begins a lifetime of smiles and confidence.