What's the first thing you look for when looking for a new horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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What's the first thing you look for when looking for a new horse?

Hello, I hopefully will be ready to start looking for my first horse within the next few years, and I'm looking for advice or warning signs that may not be obvious to someone new. I know it can take a lot of experiance to catch little things that often end up as big things, not just with the horse but with their property and the owners. What should I be looking for and what should I stay away from besides the obvious more horse then a beginner can handle and health issues?

I see myself at first doing trailrides and just riding in general, and would like a more experianced horse whom I learn on. I would greatly appreciate any other advice you can give as its all new to me.

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post #2 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 01:41 PM
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Don't get a TB thats been raced. Get a nice QH, Morgan, or Paint. Look for height- WIll I fit it in 4 years? Will I look funny on it because its to short? Say your height and we can give some more tips on that.
Look for experience- This horse is experienced with beginers, but has it ever done trail rides? Look for one thats unspooky.
Soundness- Is the horse sound? DOes he need medication? is he Mentally Sound?
DRUGS- Try the horse musltiple times and get a vet check on it. In this market, unless its a nice training/breeding facility, there is a chance it could be drugged to be calmer.
Geling Or Mare- It all depends on the horse. Geldings tend to be calmer, but many mares act the same. Mares can have "mare days", when they are grouchy and dont want to work. Be able to except that maybe she needs a day off. Again, it all depends on the horse, as all mares don't have bad mare day, and some geldings are very grouchy.
Breed-Arabs and TB's tend to be very hot, while QH's tend to be calmer. Then there ar the in-between breeds, like Morgans and Draft/Draft Crosses. I, personally, LOVE morgans. I would higly suggest one for a horse. Some can be hotter than others, but most are calm and willing, with that spunk you migh need whn you get more experienced.
Good Luck on the hunt! PM me any more questions! :)
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post #3 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 02:05 PM
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Some things to be wary about with the owners.

If they use poor grammar and spelling, chances are they aren't very well educated or just don't care. Similarly they may not know much about horses or just might not care about the upkeep, ect.!

When you go to look at the horse tell them you want to be there when they get it from the pasture. Maybe get there 10-15 min early just to make sure they aren't running it around or doing other stuff to try and hide problems.

Be very cautious at a place where there are old unsafe fences or garbage laying around. This again makes me think that if they can't even take care of their property then why would they put any effort into the upkeep of a horse?

Just the overall impression of the people. You'll generally have a good idea if the people are sincere or not. If you think they're lying then leave. There are other horses to look at. Never feel pressured.

Vet checks are usually rec recommended.

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post #4 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response! I'm 25, about 5'5" and 125 lbs, and not planning on growing or shrinking. I love paints and drafts, and if my taste in horses is similar to that in dogs I see myself gravitating towards hotter breeds when I feel ready. How are Appaloosas generally? I see them for sale occasionally here too.

It probably wont be for awhile still but I'm trying to absorb as much as possible.
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post #5 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 02:15 PM
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Look for honesty! You dont want some bugger who's going to chuck you off whenever possible

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post #6 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 03:16 PM
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Hmm. Fairly broad questions. I'm assuming you'll just be looking for a riding companion, then?

Get a nice QH, Morgan, or Paint.
Sorry, I don't agree with this statement in it's barest of forms. When you're searching for your first horse, breed shouldn't matter in the least, UNLESS you are looking specfically for a type of horse, then you search for all the qualities you'd need or want. The only time I think breed should ever matter is if you're breeding.
I've seen some Paints and Morgans that would make the craziest Arabian look sane, and some Arabians that make Paints or Quarter Horses look like psychotic skitzos. While some breeds tend to be hotter than others, it all comes down to the time and training put into that individual horse and by limiting yourself to those three breeds, you'll be missing out on some fantastic horses.

Appy's, although far from my favourite breed, tend to be very verstalile horses but the ones I've seen can be pretty hard headed, but a broke one I wouldn't imagine you having too much trouble with.
The only concern you'd have to keep in mind is eye problems and cancer due to genetics, though that's not overly common, though not overly rare.

If you're looking for a good riding horse, first things I'd start off with are ages and confirmations. If you're looking for something that's going to last you years to come, I'd probably start around the 6-8 age range because, generally speaking, they've got a solid foundation of training and are still young enough to go and go and go.

Legs are important. Nothing too straight in the shoulder or pasterns or hocks. Again, you're not looking for halter conformation you don't want anything too straight or crooked as it can limit their ability to perform and go.

Temperment and personaility matches are pretty much required. If you see a horse you think you like, go out and meet him. He could be gorgeous and sound great, but if you two don't get along you'll both be miserable. They all have such individual personailities we can get along with them like we do other people, hence why some people are drawn towards some breeds and not others. I think a few meetings with potential buys are very important.

Another thing I'd also reccomend it buying from someone reptuable. Don't go to a sale, or to someone backyard breeder who's got a great riding horse for $200 because odds are, the only thing that horse is good for is meat. Although the horse market is slow right now, good horses aren't really cheap and if you buy from someone who's honest and trust worthy, you'll more than likely find them to be more willing to help should any problems arise in the future with your new mount, but more likely than not, you'll probably NOT find any dishonest problems later.

It's a long tricky process but I hope you find your right girl or boy when they come along! :)

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post #7 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 03:16 PM
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I look for personality. If he has quirks or vices, I think, can I live with it or will it drive me crazy? I guess it depends on what I'm looking for. If its a trail horse, I wanna know that I could throw anybody on him in case of emergency. Lately, I've been looking for horses that I could throw my 2 year old cousin on and trust the horse not to do something stupid. If I'm looking for a barrel horse, can she run but then calm down enough to just let me ride her and be relaxed? I mostly look for in any horse though is if he or she can grow with me. If I see that a horse is sutck with the training and won't be able to go very far in that discpline, then I probably won't get it. Hope that helps! =)

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post #8 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WSArabians View Post
Hmm. Fairly broad questions. I'm assuming you'll just be looking for a riding companion, then?

For the moment yes, unsure if I want to do any competing or anything (I think the only thing out here locally is barrels anyways). Whats best for me to begin with I think will be one old enough to know whats happening while I gain experiance, but still with the ability to grow with me and what I end up choosing to do. Trail riding/camping/hunting right now are the main things I know I want to do, its going to take trying out other sports and disiplines to see if its something I also want to devote to later on.
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post #9 of 39 Old 03-21-2010, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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What are some signs suggesting the horse really has hit a wall as far as training goes? As in where its at is the level its going to be at the rest of its life.
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post #10 of 39 Old 03-22-2010, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by TwistedSerpent View Post
What are some signs suggesting the horse really has hit a wall as far as training goes? As in where its at is the level its going to be at the rest of its life.

What's the first thing you look for when looking for a new horse?

Wrong question. Completely irrelevant what other people look for. You aren't other people.

What should *I* be looking for in a new horse considering I am....(fill in the blanks) a relatively inexperienced rider, would like to show in such and such, don't have a coach...and so on.

This type of question lets more experienced horse people understand your areas of strengths and weaknesses, your level of experience, your goals etc... allowing them to give you the best advice for your situation.

Being able to ask the right question in life, no matter the topic/circumstance, will net you applicable and helpful answers for *you*. What others would do, really, should be of no concern to you.

Based on the posts in this thread, it would be wise for you to first decide what you want to do with the horse. If you don't know, then go try some stuff on for size, until you find a discipline that interests you.

The reasons to own a horse are innumerable. It'll create a lot less headache for you AND the horse, if you know your reasons.

Next, you simply don't have the experience and knowledge to know what to look for, so you need a mentor. Someone who knows you well, your capabilities, your shortcomings, your personality, your level of ambition, etc... Someone who knows horses, and knows training horses, and knows people so that you don't get taken. This person should be an integral part of the search and purchase portion. Now, finding such a person can be a chore unto itself, so make your choice wisely.

What are some signs suggesting the horse really has hit a wall as far as training goes?

Wrong question as well, and absolutely irrelevant to your current situation. In truth, most horses don't even get close to reaching their athletic potential. There just isn't that high of a percentage of horse owners/trainers/riders that have the skill to bring a horse along to its fullest. And, you won't be shopping from the category of horse that may have reached its potential, anyway.

Good luck with your venture. I hope it turns out to be rewarding.
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