I'm asking because I'll be replacing Mr. Big Stuff this year and it's been ages since I've gone looking for a new horse. I'll be looking for quiet, safe and basically a confidence builder. I'm way too old for any excitement.
Oh my story wont be any help Because I picked a blow up show horse! Lol He was a firecracker in the ring and exactly what I wanted- First time on the trails he was a different horse- He relaxed- quit being perfect and started being a horse!
Hope you find your horse!
I bought a ring sour show/lesson horse from the place I was taking lessons at. I was the only rider he didn't buck off or even try to buck off (I think it's because I gave him a lot of snacks and extra attention whereas the others just tacked up and rode).
HagonNag I'm so happy to hear that you are going to keep riding! My prayers have been with you!
First off I start by looking for horses that are said to be kid broke, have worked in cattle pens, can be shot off of, will drag, and are advertised as trail horses and been in parades. I put the word out that I was looking with my vet, and did a CL ad detailing EXACTLY what I was looking for.
Of course that's not what I got! I found the PERFECT horse from my CL ad when I but my vet called the weekend before he was delivered and told me about some horses that were in need. I went and looked at Rick there and he had so much potential I couldn't pass him up. He was lacking in so many areas so I sent him off to a trainers for over a month to work out his kinks. I was recovering, still am, from a car accident and didn't have it in me to do the initial work. Got him back and spent months on the ground, took him on some smaller rides and he proved me right. He's a bomb proof mountain goat. There was just something about him, a little fire but a calm one, good feet, and he stayed calm when a cow burst through a fence 20 feet away when I tried him out.
For my kid I looked for a bomb proof kids horse and found Cowboy on CL. He was used at Cowboy Church for kids to ride. So he came home with me. He's a doll and bomb proof too. Dosen't know much but stop and go but that's all I needed for her. We ride him on the longer rides, he's QH/Arab and stocky. He can go all day long.
My hub found his through family friends. Someone knew a great trainer/trader who only worked with good QH's. His wife wanted to get into showing more and Dash was a great WP mare but the lady wanted a less stocky horse, more the modern type. She is a great trail horse with all the right Cadillac moves. Not very athletic though, too much halter breeding. So we take her on the shorter rides only.
I was looking at Equine.com/DreamHorse and places like that for a new trail horse. I went and tried 6 horses in a weekend, driving all over Louisiana and east Texas!
I didn't have my own horse anymore as I had rehomed my horse due to anhydrosis not being good for trail horses. I was going riding with my group and going to borrow a friend's horse. My cousin knew the horse well and sent me a picture of him on text that said "please buy me". LOL I rode him that weekend and his owner said I could take him on trial as long as I wanted. I kept him for a week and decided to buy him and the rest is Biscuit history.
Ask everyone you know if they know of a horse that would be suitable. You never know who has one that needs a job, needs a new owner, etc. My boy was ridden by everyone under the sun as the go to horse. He was under weight by about 150 lbs when I got him. He isn't the same boy that I bought - he is now full of spunk but still gentle! Someone's underfed under utilized horse may be a diamond in the rough!
I started on CL and put the word out with folks I know. Rode a half dozen or so horses and then made up my 'must have' and 'must not have' lists. Rode a few more horses, rode a couple a second time and matched them against my must(n't) have list. Narrowed it down to a couple/three and called a close horse friend for a good chat and her advice (since she couldn't come out and look at them with me). Lucky for me, the one that I really felt a connection with was also the one she said I should get. The rest, as they say, is history.
Just don't get suckered in by a sob story, rave reviews, or a price tag- go with the one that FEELS right when you're in the saddle, because that's what you want the horse for, right?
I've found some great horses on Dream Horse. My little mare was just across the river about 6 miles away. My (free) gelding was about 40 miles away or so, but he was delivered home the day I went to look at him. I did look at a few others but knew right away they weren't right for me-I never even got on them. I go alone to look at horses.Once I start looking-it's a few days to maybe a month to when I'm enjoying my new horse. Hope you enjoy your search, once you're healed.
Also don't forget about horse rescue places. A girl who boards where I do has 2 that came from an equine rescue. She has spent so much time with them and they are solid trail horses in excellent health. Her husband has been laid off so she has sadly decided to return the horses to the rescue facility (per their agreement). Whoever adopts them next will not be dissapointed!!The economy is tough and the drought makes hay expensive and hard to find. This means people may be facing similar tough decisions and having to part with some of their better stock. Good luck!
I got so lucky with my horse! I deliberately looked for horses that were a bit underpriced and undertrained. I had a trainer I knew (and trusted completely) so I factored in a month with him into the cost. So when I was looking, I was looking more for the personality and brains than what they had already been trained to do.
When I found Éowyn, she was VERY green but had a lovely personality. Hadn't been trained much but she let me handle her all over, pick up her feet, and she just felt right. When we picked her up she went straight to the trainer's, where she spend 45 days being worked with 5x a week.
I've only had her for a couple of months but she's already my heart horse, the trainer did a fantastic job and while she's still got some things to learn, I think I ended up with the perfect horse for me!
No more than 15.1 hh so I could mount without aids
No crazy horses
No buck, rear, run away nutballs
No more than 14 years
Lots of trail miles
Absolutely had to be barefoot and have great feet
I did try a little Missouri Fox Trotter mare - she didn't pass the feet inspection with my farrier at the time so she was returned.
What I got was:
10 year old 15.1 hh gelding that had miles and miles on trails with everything for kids to people who had never rode before. He wasn't crazy but had been harshly handled by a trainer. Nice hoof walls but his feet had been neglected his entire life and just lopped off a few times a year. He was under weight and due to harsh treatment was often terrified. He wouldn't run or kick...he would just stand frozen.
With love and attention and great nutrition, he has gone from this
They don't have to be perfect when you get them if they have the right stuff. A little training, handling and nutrition can make a world of difference! That is a fairly nice picture of Biscuit the week that I got him. His back swooped away from his backbone and he was delicate looking under saddle. Now he is a big strapping boy. A young lady that had rode him once before and wasn't happy about it because she said he was ugly and lazy couldn't believe that he was the same horse! She said "he is beautiful!!! What did you do to him" She was shocked!!