Choosing The Right Horse
What are some signs that a horse is right for me? I own a Quarter Horse mare that is in her 20's. When I try to take her on a relaxing trail ride, she gets all nervous when we get a few feet from the barn. Thinking its time she is retired, I have been looking for a new horse. Any suggestions on how to know if a horse is right for me? Thanks a bunch. :-)
No magic formulas. Too many people have fallen into the "oh, this is THE horse for me" and found out that didn't work out well. They ignored the things that told them horse was NOT right, and focused on the "right" things.
As examples: Always wanted bay, palomino, paint. Has such a CUTE expression. He likes it when I feed him treats. Owner says he will buck, but he seems so sweet. He just needs more riding.
And many others.
To me, you must watch, and handle the horse a while, if you have the time, before committing to buying. You need to know where he has come from in terms of training, and how honest/horsey are the people selling horse.
Also helps if you can talk to people that know the horse AND the people really well.
Example, friend of mine is listing one of her horses on several FB groups. She says horse will ride all day long if someone is leading her, that she stands to be groomed, and while they had issues loading her the first time, they "worked with her all day loading and unloading and she did fine." Also says horse doesn't LIKE farrier, but will let her fiance pick up all 4 feet.
ALL of that is a lie. Horse has bucked SERIOUSLY with someone who is an experienced rider for most part, when rider was trying to mount, and afterwards too. Has reared and come at people trying to make her do things she doesn't want to do, like fly spray, being led, being asked to move, etc.
Horse doesn't like farrier? Please. If trying to kill the man, AND anyone else who has tried to pick up feet is not liking someone? And seriously doubt her fiance can pick up any feet.
In 18 months friend has owned this horse and its dam? Horse has run off, bucked off, bucked, reared, pawed, and double barreled, and cow kicked. Horse also will BITE you anywhere when you are doing anything to her.
Trained for 30 days? BS. Horse is a menace, spoiled, and in general makes you think slaughter isn't such a bad thing.
And she is telling people with a little riding horse would be kid safe. IF your kid is a cross between gorilla and octopus.
Anyway, try a horse out, groom, tack, ride, pick up feet. And even a horse that you don't think would be right for you? Might surprised you and be just perfect.
If you feel safe on and around them, then that's the right horse for you.
I would say make a list of priorities and don't waver from what is most important to you.
For instance, I trail ride so a horse that rides alone or in a group is very important to me. Even if I don't choose to ride solo most of the time, there will be times I want to ride with no-one to go with and the horse MUST ride out alone safely. So for me, that would be a big thing.
For someone only interested in showing or always rides in a group that may not be an issue.
I have bent my ideals on gender and age and been very happy with my purchase, but the horse was good as a trail horse so I could live with that.
So go for what suits the type of riding you plan to do. And if you can, get a try-out period. Not everyone will let you do that, but many will.
And buying a horse by word of mouth and has a good reputation is much safer than buying from a horse and owner you have never met before. I would say word-of-mouth is the best way to buy a horse if possible because you at least have an idea of the horse's reputation.
I kind of look for a horse that tries to do right even if it doesn't know you. Like they may be nervous and unsure but would never think of intentionally harming you.
Awesome thread! Should be a lot in there to help you out :)
A lot of people want a 'fairy tale' relationship with their horse and they think that you and a horse will just 'click', and while sometimes this might happen, very very rarely, normally that's not how it works. Find a horse breed that suits your activities, find a handful of horses you think will work, and then talk to the owners.
You will want to have ALL the medical and training history, my grandparents have had more than one horse which they have been told a false story about their back ground, it makes for a LOT of problems and safety issues.
You will also want to work with the horse if possible and makes sure that it can preform the required actions, you will want to observe the horses personality as well to make sure that you will get along. However try not to become emotionally attached, this will cloud your judgment.
The 'fairy tale' relationship will come later after you have worked with the horse and established who's boss and what his ground rules are.
Make a list of attributes that are important to you and rank them in order. Keep your abilities and limitations in mind. For example, if you're 5'9 you probably want to avoid shetland ponies ;).
Then go visit horses that already fulfill all your must haves on that list. That way you'll avoid falling in love with a horse that's all wrong for what you need.
My last horse sorta fell in my lap. After 5 years and numerous $ spent on training etc. I decided to sell. My new guy, I fell in love with the moment I saw him. It was just the look in his eye - such a soft eye. I hadn't even ridden him and I knew I was going to buy him. It helped that he was my neighbors (at our property up country) so I knew he was safe. Anyways it has turned out to be the best decision ever. You will know.
2)Pick one that can do what you want. The list idea above is essential. If you want a broke horse that is quiet and beginner friendly, don't even consider a green, young, flashy or hot horse, no matter how much you 'love' them, or the owner tries to convince you. Love doesn't make a relationship work, compatibility on various levels does.
3) TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU. cant stress this enough. That you trust and will listen to, and that is knowledgeable. a person like this can be essential if you fall in love with a horse that is wrong for you, they can pull you back down to earth.
4)don't rush, ever.
5)be reasonable. Yes you want to be thorough, but be respectful to sellers as well. I have had people do incredibly disrespectful things to me(when selling) trying to 'discover' what I've been hiding. I hide nothing. ever. so it comes across as incredibly annoying when a buyer shows up an hour early when I'm in the middle of something, insults my horse to get a lower price, or talks about the other horse they are going to buy if I don't give them a deal. I have purposefully not sold to people who were disrespectful. At the same time, protect your own interests, and follow your intuition. If something smells fishy, or the buyer says things that clearly contradict the original add, run for the hills and don't look back.
look at the other thread posted, it has a ton of good advice.
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