Buying a TWH.......
Well, now that I've decided to buy a TWH, now I need to know what to look for in one. I've done some homework on the breed, so I have a good idea, but, I would like your help too. Is there anything I need to look for, such as scars from past soring that could possibly affect the horses soundness? When they are moving, what should I look for in their gaits? I do plan on getting a PPE done definetly before I buy any horse, so that's taken care of. Anything you guys can think of that I might need to take a sharp eye to looking at would be greatly appreciated! thank you!
It is very possible to find a TWH that has old soring scars and they are still sound. If you are planning on a PPE don't be put off by the scars if the horse is otherwise exactly what you want. I don't ride TWHs, but I do ride RMH/KMH which are similar. While perfect conformation is not a must, you do want to watch for any glaring faults. Find a good diagram of TWH conformation and print it out if you can to familiarize yourself with the ideal build. Have your ridden many Walkers? Most gaited horses have their own unique way of going and the gaits vary quite a bit within a breed. Throughout the process of trying several horses you should be able to get a good idea what type of gait you prefer(smoother shuffle type, high stepping speed, etc...) I would caution you to stay away from extremely pacey horses because it's bad for them in the long run and can cause physical issues down the road.
What do you want to do with them when you get your Walker? Do you have an ideal size in mind? If you want a schoolmaster husband safe horse you will most likely need to look at slightly older horses that have been there and done that, and you will most likely pay a bit more for it. If you are willing and able to work with a green bean I would want to know exactly what has been done so far, what their strengths and weaknesses in training are, what methods the trainers use, etc...
Most importantly for me would be the personality. A winning personality can wipe away many less desirable traits. How are they on the ground? With other horses? Where are they in the herd hierarchy? Do they bite, kick, strike? Are they in your pocket or more independant? Insecure or brave? Can they work on the rail or do they prefer trails?
I advise you to not worry about color or bloodlines unless you are looking to show, and even then bloodlines and color don't make the horse. There was a horse in for training over the summer that had phenomenal breeding but even after 2 months of training he WOULD NOT GAIT! He was huge with tiny feet, built more like a halter QH than the son of a champion RMH stud. I don't know if this helps but it's what I would look for. Good luck with your Walker hunt! Oh, and if you find a few that you like and want opinions I am sure all of the gaiters on the forum would be happy to oblige!
The most important part of the PPE is you having in your own mind a picture of what you want this horse to be able to do. Then go and find a horse that will do what you want it to do. :-)
The vet exam will tell you one thing and one thing only: the probable health status of the horse on the date the examination is done. Physical findings can point to past difficulties, but can also obscure past difficulties. What it won't do is tell you how the horse will perform the tasks you envision for it.
For this reason we very rarely do PPEs on anything we buy. If a buyer from me wants one I'll cooperate fully with the vet they select.
We evaluate horses on the basis of temperment, conformation, and way of going (in that order). This makes us rather unusual amongst gaited horse folk who tend to concentrate on way of going, then look at conformation and temperment. But our first question is "will this horse do for our needs?" If the answer is "yes" we proceed; if the answer is "no" then the process is ended.
If you've not read Dr. Deb Bennett's three small books on conformation analysis I most highly recommend them. You can get them from Amazon and they are about $13 each. It will be some of the best money you've ever spent on your equine habit! :wink:
A Walking Horse is a "horse" first and a "Walker" second. Keep that in mind as you shop and you'll not go far wrong.
Good luck in your search.
I would second the recommendation by Guilherme to read the books on confirmation by Dr. Deb Bennett. They are essential reads for any current or future horse owner.
Thank you all very much for all your input!!
Jacksmama; I do know exactly what I want and I am gonna be picky cause my kids will occasionally be riding this horse too. I just plan on using my horse for trails,and an occasional parade or two. I do not plan on showing, I did enough of that in my youinger years...lol. As far as age goes, I do not want to work with a green horse. I'm getting to that age where I just don't want to take that risk anymore. I did enough of that when I was younger too and am looking for a horse that is no younger than 5, but no older than 11. Yes, I've ridden walkers in the past. I ust to excercise two walkers for the forest service down here, and learned quick that not all walkers gait the same. While one was easy going and had a smooth shuffle like gait, the other one was ready to go the minute you put your foot in the stirrup and all he knew how to do was that high stepping rack like gait. They were both a dream to ride, but very different on how they gaited. Thank you all for your advice, I will definetly remember it on my search for my horse! If any of you know of any like I described for sale, please let me know! thanks again!
The first thing I would look for is definitely temperament, then skill level (ie. what do you plan on doing with your chosen horse), conformation would be next in line simply because if all you are doing is simple trails etc. a little toeing out or a tad of cow hocks can be simply a visual quirk :) Also consider your weight, tack, preferred height, then look for something of a qualifying build suited to your needs.
I know some will take exception to this but if I were you I wouldn't buy one that has any signs of scaring from being showed. These horse generally have issues from the abuse that has been done to them and they are also bred to have big motors and high strung. And if you intend to show the scars could get you disqualified. Also if you intend to show in TWH classes you need to get a solid colored horse because paint colored horses just won't tie with TWH judges. There are many breeders out there that sell wonderful walkers suited for trail and that's were I would look.
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