Reality Check:What do YOU want in a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-16-2012, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 310
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Reality Check:What do YOU want in a horse?

I saw this on Tack of the Day and had a chuckle. I thought it might be fun to compare the wish list and the reality:

What do YOU want in a horse?
Not much. Just that is be sound, gentle, easy to ride, have good manners, be attractive, load, clip, stand, tie, know its lead changes, jump 3' 6", win the hack, trail ride, and know a teensy bit of dressage, maybe just to 4th level, go cross country, have no vices, be between 6 and 10 years old and at least 16.3, pass the vet check and never need training rides. Oh, and by the way, I can spend two thousand dollars.

What Did I Get in a Horse?
  • Sound - Yes
  • Gentle – He no longer tries to use his mammoth-sized rear end to smoosh me into the rails on the side of the cross ties when he doesn’t want his feet picked – and when he did, he was very “gentle” about it.
  • Easy to ride – Define “Easy”
  • Good manners – Define “Good”
  • Attractive – He’s the most beautiful horse in the world, obviously!
  • Load – Yes, but sometimes he gets confused unloading
  • Clip – Haven’t tried that one yet!
  • Stand – Developing a nice ground tie, but gets bored and paws in the cross ties. At least he no longer ties to break them!
  • Tie – After a couple months being tied to a tree, I think we have this one down.
  • Know lead changes –He did perform 3 perfect tempi changes the other day while cantering on a straight line. He did it without being asked though, so I’m not sure that counts!
  • Jump 3' 6" – If he does it while jumping a 2 ft oxer with flowers in front of it, does it count?
  • Win the hack – We made it to the show – maybe next time we’ll make it past the alien ponies wearing evil blankets and into the show ring so we can find out.
  • Trail ride – Usually
  • Know a teensy bit of dressage, maybe just to 4th level – Do the occasional unintended and unwanted airs above ground count?
  • Go cross country – “Do I have to step in water, because I am NOT putting my feet in water!”
  • Has no vices – I do wish he’d quit trying to eat my reins and anything else he can put in his mouth! Otherwise, he’s pretty good.
  • Be between 6 and 10 years old - Coming 4, was 3 when I got him.
  • At least 16.3 – And still growing!!
  • Pass the vet check - Yes
  • Never need training rides – Every day is a training ride!
  • Oh, and by the way, I can spend two thousand dollars – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
What I REALLY Got in a Horse:
Almost every day I get to see my horse learn something new and every so often, I get to feel the light go off when something clicks. After about a year, things are finally starting to come together and I know that I’m the one responsible for that. That’s worth all the push-button ponies in the world to me.

So, what did YOU get in a horse? I hope you'll share how your reality compares to the "wish list"!
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-16-2012, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Bumping this up to give it one more chance...Does anyone else want to chime in?
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-16-2012, 07:28 PM
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Location: Connecticut
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I had two requirements when shopping for my horse. Must be a TB and must have a good mind. I had no plans as to actual riding. Was kinda supposed to be a pleasure horse.

What I got:

5 Year old OTTB so calm I thought either he was drugged or they gave me the lead pony instead

Mountain goat - Horse who had never seen trails navigated his first trail ride like a champ, never taking a bad step in moderately challenging terrain and impressing the snot out of me.

Horse with a sense of humor - Taught me very quickly to keep my own feet out of the way when grooming. Three times in the first year, he stepped on the wee little piggy and seemed to enjoy it while I stood there jabbing him in the stomach yelling, "get off me you ox!"

Jack of all trades - Trail riding turned into hunter paces, hunter paces turned into eventing, eventing now turning into an obsession and rider turning 45 next week just wanting to go faster and higher.

A really good boy - No matter how scared that horse gets, even in snorting rigid fire breathing dragon mode, he tries with all his might to keep it together for me. He is a champ.

Horse who can read my mind - I swear on any given day he can tell if we are going to be working hard or if he can convince me to just goof off and head out into the fields to play. We are two peas in a pod.

In a nutshell...I got just what I wanted.
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-16-2012, 07:39 PM
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For me, there are a lot of things I would have wished my mare was but then when I really think about the big picture, if she were any different she wouldn't be as great, you know?

Another factor is that I didn't really get to choose my horse. I had never thought I would have a horse before I was 50 or so, so getting a horse was not on my mind at all. Basically, my trainer, at the time, said to me: "You want a horse? How about I get you a horse, you show you care for this horse by visiting 3 times a week, and the horse will be yours in a year?" Obviously I, at 17, was not going to say no.
In any case, while "horse searching" I never even saw an ad for a horse. Basically, my trainer just looked around at her horsey friends, found some horses in need, checked them out, and found the right one for me.
In the future, I'd really like to be able to find my own horse but I can't say that the method we used worked badly since it did get me the perfect horse.

If I had the option, I would have said that I wanted a horse that was under 15 years old, reasonably well trained in an English discipline, quirky, not a Thoroughbred (nothing against TB's, just I've never "meshed" with one), preferably an Arabian, no major vices.

What I ended up with was an obese 23 year old, flea-bitten gray, Arabian (one thing right!) mare, green-broke coming out of 15 years of full retirement, with a hatred for english saddles and a rearing problem. She was definitely quirky!

Even so, she was and is really exactly what I needed at that time and what I need now. I've learned SO much about training from her even though I was completely in so completely over my head (in over my trainer's head too! ) to begin with. By all standards I should probably be a paraplegic, or something equally terrible, because Lacey was just that untrained and confused.

I still wish that she was quite a bit younger, just from a standpoint of having more time with her, but this is ok too. And anyway, if she were younger, I'm sure I wouldn't be teaching little kids how to ride on her because she probably would be way too hot (she's still very hot but her wise-ness tones it down enough).

Really, no amount of money could buy her from me. I adore her. She's taught me so much about I am. So really, I guess, I got just what I needed, not what I wanted.

And, funny story, my dream horse from when I was little was a flea-bitten gray Arabian mare who was all sorts of fiery.....I kinda got my childhood dream horse so who am I to be complaining? haha!

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 02-16-2012 at 07:43 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-16-2012, 07:59 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 3,246
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What I wanted:

A pretty mare to do endurance, high level CTRs, dressage, jumping, hunting, and local shows. I wanted a safe horse who was FUN and could take me places. I also wanted a horse I could breed one day, so good bloodlines, conformation, and accomplishments behind it were a MUST. I wanted quality, a good mind, and a horse that could go any way I wanted.

What I got:

I got exactly what I wanted and more! My mare is a dream. She was just what a wanted and turned out to be just what I needed. She and I go together like we've known each other for years. She is a joy.

I can do literally ANYTHING with her. If I wanted to ride a horse to the moon, she would be my first choice. There is nothing she can't do. With training, she could go any way I wanted. She is beautiful, well built, and has great bloodlines.

Most of all, she has a beautiful mind. I can gallop and yee haw and do all that fun stuff one minute. All I have to do is say whoa and she's back to the lump on a log trail horse who shuffles around on a loose rein. She goes back and forth from fun horse to serious arena horse to quiet trail horse to beginner friendly horse with ease. I love her.

Everyone says, "If you had any other horse, you'd be dead by now." Everyone says we just work together. I learned from her and did all my crazy stunts on her. I'm not a beginner any more, but she can take me as far as I want to go.
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