Brand New. Need Advice. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-09-2009, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Albany, GA
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Brand New. Need Advice.

My name is Bubba Joiner, and I am brand new to horses. My daughter has been riding English for a little over a year. We are begining to start to look for a horse with the help of some friends that know a lot about this sport. My dad was a vet, and I have trained retrievers for a long time, but have very little exposure to horses.

Besides being talked into my senses, my question is can someone suggest a book to read to gain some general horse knowledge.

Also any suggestions on purchasing. Right now I know to take my time, get a trial period, get vet check, probably get a more experienced horse, get help picking one out, don't get hung up on color and say good bye to my money.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-09-2009, 08:59 AM
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LOL yes definitely saying goodbye to your money is a good thing to get ready to get used to.

Have you somewhere to board the horse? I would suggest an older horse that is well broke. Anything under the age of say 7 isn't going to be truly suitable for a beginner. Keep in mind, however, all horses have off days and can behave badly.

If you do find someone to take with you horse shopping, make sure they have no vested interest in the horse, ie friends with the seller, that can make it more difficult to get an honest opinion.

When you go to see the horse, have the owner catch the horse in the field, then tack up and ride them in front of you. Then if all goes well have your daughter ride. Horse sales are a bit like car sales in my very humble opinion and you have to eye the seller like you would a used car salesman. Having been both a horse buyer/seller and a car salesman I know from experience LOL!!!

That's all I can think of right this moment.

But welcome!!!! Even though they burn a hole in your bank account faster than children do, they are good for the soul. My Dad was a Viet Nam vet and when I got my first horse (a racehorse someone sold him for a cup of coffee after she lost) my Dad got more therapy from her than I did.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-09-2009, 09:07 AM
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Welcome :) When it comes time to buying your daughter a horse I would have her trainer help with that process! Having an experianced horse person is always a plus! and everything that you mentioned about taking yoru time, vet check etc is right on track! Make sure you buy a horse that is compatable with your daughter and what she wnats to do but is also safe for her riding ability!
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-09-2009, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Albany, GA
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Thanks. I have a place to board the horse and I have already lined up her trainer (with no interest in the horse) to help with the purchase as well as an attorney friend that's into horses that will argue with Jesus. I will make sure to be there to watch them catch up the horse, groom and tack. I plan to take an experienced highshool girl that rides a lot to ride the horse as well.

I am torn on taking my daughter to help pick out the horse. I would like to surprise her, but I want to make sure they are compatable. I know her, and if I take her, the first horse with a tail, four legs and two ears will be the one. If it's anything like picking puppies research is important. I think a trial period will probably be better. I may try to find the right horse and take her with me to pick it up.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-09-2009, 12:03 PM
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Yeppers. Every horse will be "THE ONE" (cue dramatic choir music). In the long run, though, compatability is important enough that it will be worth it to have your daughter along to test each prospect (after the seller/owner tries the horse in front of you, after your experienced horseperson test the horse, in that order. If the owner/seller won't get on the horse, RED FLAG). Plus, she'll always remember the experience of horse hunting.

Here is a list of good questions to ask (with appropriate answers for a first time owner). The basic, whole list is from, but I did tweak the answers a bit, some were a tad vague.

1. Mare or Gelding?: This was probably in the sale ad, but either gender is fine for a beginner owner. Mares can be goofy when they come in season, so if you look at a mare, you might ask how "marish" she tends to get.

2. Is he registered, and, if so, do you have the original papers?: Registry status wouldn't matter to me, as the saying goes, you don't ride the papers, but if your daughter is interested in a specific breed for showing, or any other reason, see the original papers at the time you see the horse. All should be up to date with registry paperwork.

3. What is the horse's age?: Over ten is a good benchmark for a first horse. Much younger than that and they can still be a bit immature at times. For a kid's first horse, the upper cutoff I would call about 23 years old. An older horse is likely to have more miles under it and be calmer, but there are health concerns and other factors that go into the maintenance of a senior horse.

4. What Condition is he in?: Basically, fit. At least, not terribly over or underweight. You don't need to start horse ownership with a project.

5. Does he have any special needs or health problems?: No. Your vet check should catch most of these. Your vet should not advise you on "buy/don't buy." The vet is there to tell you what is and what isn't. It's your job to decide if the horse's flaws can be lived with or to move on to the next prospect.

6. What is his personality/temperament like?: Everyone has their own definition of spirited, and, honestly, none of those definitions are quite what you need in a first horse. Look for keywords in ads like calm, willing, quiet, bombproof, kid-safe, 4-H horse, youth horse, etc.

7. How tall is he?: Not a big concern, but should "match" your daughter. If you or any other family members plan on riding, take that into account.

8. What kind of training does the horse have?: That should match what your daughter plans on doing with the horse. Ex. Don't buy a trained barrel horse if she plans to ride hunters, don't buy a western pleasure horse if she wants to run barrels. For a general fun saddle horse, a solid foundation and tons of experience in general riding is fine, no discipline specific training neccessary.

9. Is it trail/road safe?: Should be a resounding yes. The first horse should have a lot of experience in a broad range of circumstances.

10. Who trained it?: Doesn't really matter, unless you want to call a trainer and get more background on the horse.

The horse should ALWAYS: Stand tied, load easily into a trailer, stand for the farrier and vet, stand for bathing/grooming, nicely lift his feet for cleaning/maintenance, be easy to catch, etc. Your daughter will likely be doing many of these daily things herself, and it will be easier for all involved if the horse is easy to live with on the ground.

Good luck, and happy horsehunting!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-09-2009, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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This book is a really good reference:

Stick with experienced horse people! You learn so much from them. And you're absolutely right that you want a more experienced horse as well. Remember, green + green = black and blue. I learned that the hard way.

Your friends are your lifeline when you're new to horses. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you're unsure about something. There are a million beginner mistakes that can kill a horse, so make sure you have seasoned horse people around you that can give you advice, point out things that you might be doing wrong, and so on. Make sure your daughter keeps taking lessons, too. It's a great way to gain knowledge and experience. It seems like you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect as far as having a pre-purchase exam and considering the horse's conformation and level of training instead of color. You will probably want to have your farrier look at the horse's feet, too. Make sure you use YOUR farrier and vet and not the seller's. You're getting some really good advice from the others as well. Hope everything goes smoothly for you, and good luck!

"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is ultimately to be at peace with himself.
What a man can be, he must be.
" Abraham Maslow, 1968

Last edited by Jessabel; 09-09-2009 at 12:45 PM.
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