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post #1 of 29 Old 03-10-2020, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Question Choice between two horses

Hello, I am new here. I am not really new to horses, but I am coming back after a long time. I showed Hunter /Jumpers in a previous life. I still ride English, but have no interest in jumping or showing anymore. I have been doing a partial lease of a horse that I adore, but so does his owner and she will never sell him. Due to schedule issues (and me being the one that has to be flexible and change my days all the time) I have decided it is time to get my own horse.

What I want to do: Hack and trail ride. I would love to horse camp, be in a parade, ride and tie events (for fun not competition) and maybe some LD endurance (again, completion being the goal not placing) and that is only if my horse and I can get in condition. So not serious. 100% fun riding. I am a born again 'tween and I want to play with their pretty hair, have horse play time, stuff them full of carrots, and costumes are not out of the question. Yes, I am THAT girl.

What my absolute must haves are:

Ground manners and personality - I will not fight with a horse on the ground or spend all my time and money on a horse that doesn't enjoy being groomed, taken out on the trail, played with, hand walking in the sun to graze, maybe jogging together, etc (read: big, dog I can ride)

Loads and is not an idiot in the trailer. Ties and not an idiot for the vet or farrier.

Pretty bombproof with some forward - I don't want to kick for every step, but I don't want an errant leaf rattle to send him/her bolting for the hills. I can handle stopping and snorting, taking time to check out new things. But backing away 100 miles an hour, down the ravine, flipped over in the river, ... etc , not cool.

I have looked at several horses that were ok, but I have found two that really have my attention.

Horse 1: 10 year old grade mare, quarter horse cross (maybe thoroughbred and draft ? HUGE feet) 15.1,

PROS: great personality, great on the ground, ridden in just a halter (not a halter bridle, literally a halter with the lead rope tied on, but what the hell, I had a helmet and you only live once ;) ) incredibly responsive and if you say stop you better be seated! She was great on the trail. She saw a couple of things that made her nervous and she stopped snorted, sniffed and moved on. She had not been on the trail in a year. We had good chemistry on the trail. Something about her, she isn't much to look at, needs weight, better food, grooming, etc, but I just like her.

CONS: Conformation nightmare: sky high withers, long back, topline non existent, underweight (judging from her other horses, might be a hard keeper, but bloodwork on the ppe is a given!). Can't imagine how you would fit a saddle to her. I rode her in a Specialized endurance saddle (not mine). Big movement in her gaits which is not super comfortable, but not awful. I am just not about working hard these days. Needs a tune up, hasn't done much for over a year, but I don't mind paying for some training just to get her cues sharpened up.

Horse 2: 16 year old, Rocky Mountain Horse, gelding. 14.3

PROS: great looking little horse. Solid and well proportioned. Has been on pasture with three mules and isn't being ridden for a year now. Owner is selling because he feels bad he isn't ridden and ďhe likes to have his person and go trail ridingĒ. Former endurance trained horse that was a completer not a competer, LD and 50 mile. Was sold to this guy because first owner got a faster horse. He was used as a pack horse, camping horse and has lead the pony train and been in the pony train. Goes swimming, pretty much a go anywhere, do anything guy. LOVE his ground manners. Real gentleman. It was pouring rain when I looked and rode him and he was so patient. Lots of get up and go. He is very responsive. I like him, I really like him. He is the more obvious choice because of her conformational issues and weight, and I could see many years of spoiling, trails, and adventures with him, but I see that with the mare too.

CONS: Older than I was thinking I wanted. Gaited horse (only a con because I am unfamiliar) he gaited for me and I didnít know what I was doing at all. I would need to get help making him not pace (apparently bad for his gait, but still pretty smooth in my ignorant opinion) as the owner says he is really good at it when in shape and working. I could not get a canter on the trail I was trying him on because it was too short and he just gaited/paced/trotted (??) faster and faster. It was odd, but comfy. To be honest, I did not push him for the canter too much because I was worried he was tender footed. He has A LOT of miles on him. He is flat footed and (next to no concavity in the back) definitely preferred the grass on the side of the trail to the hard surface of the trail. The owner said he used shoes and boots for trail riding, but he has been barefoot since not working. Looked sound when he was running in the pasture and when the owner rode him, but I donít know much about gaited horses (ppe would include xrays for sure.) Would I be bored in the winter and during the week when we are restricted to the arena for riding? Has anyone gone from hunters to gaited horses?

I know this is ridiculously long, but I would love any thoughts anyone has about these two. Both owners say I am the type of home they are looking for, a spoiled semi-retirement with fun adventures. I know that I wonít get a clean PPE from either given the above, but any thoughts on deal breakers for you would be appreciated.

I want a forever horse, so if it goes bad (and it always can) I will have an expensive dog that I canít ride 😊 . I would prefer some great years of riding before that happens. <- this is too cute!
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Last edited by QtrBel; 03-10-2020 at 08:46 PM. Reason: Language
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post #2 of 29 Old 03-10-2020, 09:22 PM
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you need to tell us more about YOU. How old you are, do you want to continue in an 'English' type riding ( meaning, posting the trot, jumping an occasional log, riding with direct reining, etc).


Do you have a trailer, are you able to connect with other trail riders and endurance rides , etc. Will you have the time to condition your horsed for endurance rides. Even if you have no plans to be competitive, you must condition your horse in order for it to be able to even safely complete a 25 mile ride.


Why are you limited to only these two horses?
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post #3 of 29 Old 03-10-2020, 10:31 PM
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Yea, without knowing more it's hard to say. Please let us know if these are the only two horses around, or if they are just the first two you have looked at.
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post #4 of 29 Old 03-10-2020, 11:18 PM
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Ultimately it's up to you - but if you're looking for an endurance mount that's more likely to stay sound and fun to compete, I'd go with the Rocky Mountain Horse. Conformation is a HUGE factor in how easily and happily a horse can do endurance, and if that's what you're wanting to do(even non-competitively) I would absolutely go for the conformationally sound horse even if he's slightly older. My mare is estimated at 15 years old and a rescue, and her "moderately fleshy"(the actual vet rating on body condition) bum and I finished an LD sound and happy last year. ;) Good conformation is what makes a horse hold up well in all disciplines, and horses with good conformation are much more likely to hold up and stay sound even when older than younger horses with poor conformation.

I'd shop around some more. Ideally, a good endurance mount would be something with good conformation and feet, usually something with Arab, Morgan, Mustang, or gaited in it. Any horse can do endurance(and I've seen some amazing QH in endurance, but they all had great conformation), but if you're looking to stay sound, conformation and feet is a big part of it.

"The art of riding is hard to find and easily lost."
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post #5 of 29 Old 03-11-2020, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Has anyone gone from hunters to gaited horses?
That's me, and I will never go back. I had wanted a Paso Fino for my husband's bad back for YEARS, but they were too expensive. Then the horse market fell apart, and I was able to get lots of Paso Finos for very little money. Pasos are sturdy, strong, fun, lively, gentle, kind, affectionate, and exciting to ride.

Like others have said, look at many horses before you make your choice.
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post #6 of 29 Old 03-11-2020, 06:36 AM
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I would take on the train-wreck in looks cause have a feeling when some weight is gained, the right exercise is done and she builds her topline...
Large movement is something unless you are accustomed to it is not comfortable.
She is not gaited so not going to be a couch to ride but as you learn her and she learns you, you will work together to blend and become a riding partnership of comfort zones.
So she needs 30 days tuneup, so does the older guy it sounds and you need instruction to keep that gaited correctly going.

I've only rode gaited on a Paso...you can keep it.
I much prefer my "regular" moving riding partners.
If you ride in a group of gaited owners, then going gaited is the better option as they move differently and can cover more ground than a non-gaited horse of similar size...then again, you said she is long strided

I like large to huge feet on my horses to support their weight, their bulk.
I like how you described her feet with shape and depth.
She is a average, good size it sound for many adults.
You said you rode H/J so staying in that generalized discipline of tack is much easier to fit horses than finding western saddles too. If the mare is that underweight or lacking of topline she is going to change shape once she is fed and worked to build her condition again.

Not knowing any more than what you already shared...
I would get the mare vetted. A close exam of her mouth and oral cavity to assure her age if she is grade...
Make sure her "lacking" is not tooth related.
Find out what exactly she eats, when, with who and where she is fed.
Find out where she is in the pecking order of the rest of the herd could answer many qustions of why she appears as she does...is she the chaser or the chased.

My guts say go with the grade mare...
A diamond in the rough that already answered many of your wants.
Disposition of wanting to please and try hard to do all was asked of her...she had no glaring issues of bad, just some "rusty"...
Not a spook, but a look, evaluate and see, then move on...
Sure footed and not sensitive as the older gelding sounds is a plus to me for riding trails of unknown footing challenges.
I have a feeling scopey is something yet hidden in this mare from you and she will work hard to meet you in every activity.
Connection so fast is rare...you connected and to me that is something worth noting.

Sometimes you need to keep looking, sometimes you do find the right animal sooner than later.
Only your guts know what that feeling is truly inside.
Let us know and when you do find "the one", introduce us as we love pictures shared.


WELCOME to the Forum!!

...
jmo...
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The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....

Last edited by horselovinguy; 03-11-2020 at 06:52 AM. Reason: my bad...
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post #7 of 29 Old 03-11-2020, 07:20 AM
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Is the spring grass growing now where you live? If so, I'd be concerned that the RM Horse might have low-grade laminitis (they are prone to it, from what I understand) and that's why he wanted to walk on the grass. It might not be the case at all, just something to maybe think about.
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"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
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post #8 of 29 Old 03-13-2020, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
you need to tell us more about YOU. How old you are, do you want to continue in an 'English' type riding ( meaning, posting the trot, jumping an occasional log, riding with direct reining, etc).


Do you have a trailer, are you able to connect with other trail riders and endurance rides , etc. Will you have the time to condition your horsed for endurance rides. Even if you have no plans to be competitive, you must condition your horse in order for it to be able to even safely complete a 25 mile ride.


Why are you limited to only these two horses?
I really appreciate the feedback! I know I asked the impossible, but I don't know any "horse people" anymore to bounce stuff off of. The barn I lease at (and I will board at) is a little clique-y and I have had exactly three people speak to me other than to say hi before they rode or walked off, and one thought I was feeding a horse I did not know a carrot (it was the horse I am leasing. I would not give anything to a horse whose owner I did not clear it with first.)

About me: I am 50. A high school teacher. I rode and showed Hunter/jumpers from 8 (ok, I did not show at 8, but you know what i mean) to 25. I spent the summers of my 20's at a barn leading tourists'on trail rides and giving little, teeny kids lessons. I have only owned two horses in my life. My first horse, and true love, an Anglo-Arab that was the perfect, 'protect the child at all costs' hunter and a OTTB jumper that frequently tried to kill me in the ring, but was a love bug on the ground.

What I have been doing after about 25 years off: About 6 months ago I started taking lessons on a lesson horse. I was pretty shocked how much I remembered and how seamless getting back on a horse was BUT I was also shocked how sooooooo out of shape for riding! I was panting after trotting one lap of the arena. ONE!

I still take lessons to get to ride more and I like my trainer. I am sure I am the laziest lesson person my trainer has probably seen. Although she assures me I am a hoot. And then I leased a horse to get more ride time that was not quite as expensive as lessons on a lesson horse.

I ride about 3-4 times a week. My lease is only available 2 days week consistently, but I often get other days when people cancel. He is used as a lesson horse for pony club and leased to at least one other person I know of. Owner is a young girl, starting in her career, and trying to hold on to her beloved and well cared for horse. I don't judge her for how she is making it work, but I would like my own. This big gelding is the sweetest guy around and loves everyone (especially if you have a carrot)

What I want: Sweet love bug like my first two horses and like the gelding I am leasing. I love grooming and fussing and just general horse time. Pleasure riding. Trails, flat work in the arena for general fitness for me and my horse, when it is raining, gets dark early, is late after work, etc. , some lessons to help us bond and get to work well together.

The barn I am at backs up to a big county park with tons of trails. I am a trail runner and hiker and endurance seemed like a natural fit for me and my horse to bond over, but I honestly do not know much about it other than the websites and one book I have read. I would not ask a horse to do 25 miles if I was not confident I had given it the conditioning to do so safely.

I do not have a trailer, but I have talked with people in the local endurance club that are really friendly and I think I could hitch a ride to things once I get to know people better.

I have looked at 5 horses and inquired about 4 others (they did not seem like a fit, so I did not look at them) These two met all of my criteria and I felt that connection when I rode and handled them, plus I trust the people selling them they have been very upfront about any shortcomings, but clearly love them.
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post #9 of 29 Old 03-13-2020, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
Is the spring grass growing now where you live? If so, I'd be concerned that the RM Horse might have low-grade laminitis (they are prone to it, from what I understand) and that's why he wanted to walk on the grass. It might not be the case at all, just something to maybe think about.
Yes, it is definitely growing and he is on a big, beautiful green pasture. Hmmm...
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post #10 of 29 Old 03-13-2020, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
I would take on the train-wreck in looks cause have a feeling when some weight is gained, the right exercise is done and she builds her topline...
Large movement is something unless you are accustomed to it is not comfortable.
She is not gaited so not going to be a couch to ride but as you learn her and she learns you, you will work together to blend and become a riding partnership of comfort zones.
So she needs 30 days tuneup, so does the older guy it sounds and you need instruction to keep that gaited correctly going.

I've only rode gaited on a Paso...you can keep it.
I much prefer my "regular" moving riding partners.
If you ride in a group of gaited owners, then going gaited is the better option as they move differently and can cover more ground than a non-gaited horse of similar size...then again, you said she is long strided

I like large to huge feet on my horses to support their weight, their bulk.
I like how you described her feet with shape and depth.
She is a average, good size it sound for many adults.
You said you rode H/J so staying in that generalized discipline of tack is much easier to fit horses than finding western saddles too. If the mare is that underweight or lacking of topline she is going to change shape once she is fed and worked to build her condition again.

Not knowing any more than what you already shared...
I would get the mare vetted. A close exam of her mouth and oral cavity to assure her age if she is grade...
Make sure her "lacking" is not tooth related.
Find out what exactly she eats, when, with who and where she is fed.
Find out where she is in the pecking order of the rest of the herd could answer many qustions of why she appears as she does...is she the chaser or the chased.

My guts say go with the grade mare...
A diamond in the rough that already answered many of your wants.
Disposition of wanting to please and try hard to do all was asked of her...she had no glaring issues of bad, just some "rusty"...
Not a spook, but a look, evaluate and see, then move on...
Sure footed and not sensitive as the older gelding sounds is a plus to me for riding trails of unknown footing challenges.
I have a feeling scopey is something yet hidden in this mare from you and she will work hard to meet you in every activity.
Connection so fast is rare...you connected and to me that is something worth noting.

Sometimes you need to keep looking, sometimes you do find the right animal sooner than later.
Only your guts know what that feeling is truly inside.
Let us know and when you do find "the one", introduce us as we love pictures shared.


WELCOME to the Forum!!

...
jmo...
Thank you so much! There really is something about her. The teeth is an excellent thought. She did kind of "wrestle" with the pieces of carrot I gave her. I would definitely do a pre-purchase.

That little gelding is a cutie patootie too...
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