Buying the Endurance Horse
I have a few questions about buying a horse that is experience under saddle but hasn't been competed at any distance rides before. I am currently looking at horse (posted ad below) but I'm not sure if it is a good prospect or not. I will only be competing at shorter distance rides.
12 year old Arab/quarter horse gelding
Ok, just want to put up front there is a different between riding a horse you have already, and specifically shopping for a horse to do endurance.
Not very good pictures, but I will give you the bad I see.
Personally I think 12 yo is prime for a endurance horse to be but too old to be starting one it, really takes a couple years of conditioning , so now you get your trail budy going and in a few years he hits about 18 and is ready to retire, Im sure someone is gonna chime in they completed the ididatrod on a 30 you shetland, but I am talking about averages. Especialy for one you said lives a life of ease.
Arab crosses make decent endurance by bloodline, lots of people like to cross out the crazy with a calmer breed. However my opinion is to cross it with a bredd that also does ok in endurance. QH's are by nature sprinters, have big muscles that build and hold heat. Not ideal in endurance. If I was going arab cross I would go wit a cross that also shows up for endurance, like morgan or saddlebred, TBs/arabians are a bit leaner and do well also for bigger riders.
From the pics the rounded butt and low tail set tells me that horse is built more for power than endurance. You want a horse with a high tail set, it isnt so much the tail position but the angle of the hips, its just the tail set is easier to spot in a field or odd angle pics. High tail is better.
So not worth going to look at? Or should I go see him for myself and evaluate him again with the things you pointed out in mind?
once a month do a ride, once a year do a ride, every few months do a ride. will add alot to this situation.
if you wanted to compete with the top runners and go to as many eventss as possible etc i would look for a hrose around 5-7 years and already worked in endurance.
that said if you are like me and only doing if for fun every so often. then this horse could do it. just depends on how well you to mesh.
as for flaws i am not one to give that type of advice as i am still learning that myself. but arabs and arab crosses tend to be best for this.
I'd go look and try him out! Not to add to what Joe said, but a lot of older horses CAN compete, but he is right it is a lot or training. I think if you ease him into he would do just fine, from my own experience and hearing from other QH/ARAB crosses are some the the best for endurance. That's what my guy is and he's great for endurance and he's twelve now.
If you are looking to get into distance riding for fun (you mention "shorter distances" but that really can mean a lot of things depending on the person you ask), then an older, sane experienced trail horse is a great choice. If you are looking to be highly competitive in a year or two, then a younger, distance-experienced horse is likely what you need.
For the guy you posted specifically, he has great bone. Can't say too much more about his conformation from that picture for sure, though he gives you the impression of having substance. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you want to be really competitive, he may be too heavy-muscled to cool quickly.
The other thing that makes me raise an eyebrow is the "nice western pleasure jog" as that makes me imagine moving along the trail almost backwards. :lol: Now just because a horse can jog slowly doesn't mean it can't also move out, but would be something I would want to see for myself.
a friend of mine pointed out, horse must have a good comfortable trot. Trotting is an efficient gate and you'll be doing it alot. Ive heard tell some horses have a pretty smooth easy trot. I wouldnt know. The ones I have been on would jar your fillings loose. Sorta why I am on walkers, which fall under doing endurance with a horse I have as opposed to shopping for one. Seriousness in the sport, what distances, what type of rides can play a part in your selection.
But a horse that can be a 100 miler winner, in hot weather, in rough terrain, as long as its sane enough to stay on, will also do well for a fair weather turtle rider on easy LD's.
If I was specifically shopping for an endurance horse I wouldnt sell myself short and get a horse that can be a long term contender.
Be aware ride results for horse and rider are available online, lots of readign between the lines can be found looking at ride results. So far most of the endurance horse adds I see with claimed AERC points tend to be grossly exagerated. Horses with multiple pulls or turtle horses advertised as great. Horses owned by people with years of top 10 finnishes, change horses and then start coming in back of the pack, and now hors eis for sale. As with everything buyer beware. Problem is endurance isnt a huge sport and you are just as likely to get a great horse that has never been exposed to the sport. Not sure what part of the country you are from but in VA, I have seen lots of good prospects being used as slow trail horses for sale cheap, but as Arabians tend to run small finding the bigger ones is either hard or way more expensive. I know a girl with a really nice 14.1 or 2 arabian morgan cross Id be all over if I was 100lbs.
So size appropriate, 7 ish yo, nice thick legs, straight back, high tail, big sturdy feet, ( get a PPE) sane, comfortable trot, Polish, Crabbit, Russian Arabian or arabian/ liteboody cross.
The horse that you are looking at would be great for somebody like me that just wants to do some nice trail rides. I would look for a 5 year old if I were wanting to work toward 100 mile endurance rides.
Any healthy and in-shape horse can complete a 25. If that's all you're going to do and you're going to do them every now and then (i.e. no more than once a month), and you're open to competing to finish (as opposed to winning everything), then I'd say go for it. My friend began endurance on her VERY heavily muscled foundation QH this year and is top tenning/BCing everything this year because that horse can MOVE at a trot. Then again, my QH, with a similar build, will only ever do 25's just for the sake of doing them since he's got a poky trot. I just want to keep him in shape, not compete or do long distances - that's what I bought my Arab for.
Many people in my club with LOTS of endurance experience own QH/Arab crosses, and the one that I rode with this year said that's her absolute favorite because you get the best of each breed.
When you go see the horse, you need to assess all the normal things (personality, behavior, training, etc.) to see if you like them, and pay special attention to how he moves. For endurance, this is particularly important at the trot - does he move out well at a medium trot? Is he free moving? How do you like riding at that speed? If you feel like all these are a green light, I'd say go for it!
As for age, it only takes a couple of months to get a horse ready for their first LD, especially if he's been ridden regularly already. (Pasture pet fatties will take a little longer lol). 12 years old is plenty young, especially since I know many horses competing into their early to mid twenties.
My only red flag now that I actually read the ad is "western pleasure jog" - if he's got one of those poky little trots that is popular in western pleasure showrings and can't pick it up to a nice 8-10mph trot, don't get him. You're going to be fighting that slow trot through your whole race. If he does move out (which it would surprise me if he didn't given his breeding), then you should be fine. There are plenty of horses that have good enough movement and mind to have a slow WP jog as well as a nice working trot. But you'll have to see.
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