Looking for some advice about my next horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-28-2015, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for some advice about my next horse

I'm in the market for another horse, assuming my current horse is pregnant, because if she is, I've been advised not to ride her during her pregnancy and then to wait until the foal is on solid food before starting her back to work. (She lost an embryo early in her first pregnancy and this is her first time doing it, so several people including the vet said no riding, just walking her in hand around to keep her from getting totally out of shape.) ---PLEASE NO ADVICE ON THIS PART OF MY POST. I'M JUST GIVING YOU SOME BACKGROUND INFO ON WHY I'M IN THE MARKET FOR A NEW HORSE. ---

So, that being said, my option is to use the BO's horses (I only like 1 of them and actively dislike the other I'm frequently forced to use because he's a dang turtle) or get another horse. There are no lease options available to me there.

This new horse would be mine while my other horse is out of commission for 18 months or so, and then eventually would: (1) become my husband's horse, (2) become my daughter's next horse, or (3) remain as my horse and my husband would inheret the formerly pregnant one.

You'll need more info to give me the advice I seek, so here goes nothin'... Oh, and please keep in mind that I'm NOT asking whether I should ride my pregnant horse or not. I'm going to go ahead and take the advice of my vet and experienced horse owners who know my horse and me. :)

I'm trying to decide between 2 breeds of horse, an Irish Hunter or a Quarter Horse. I know that none of you can decide for me what I should do, but I value the insight I get from this forum, so I'm asking for your advice. Which horse would you get if you were in my position? (I assume you know about these two breeds if you answer, but I don't mind if you do a wikipedia search to learn more about one you don't know that well!)

Basic facts about me, my family, and my future riding plans:

  • I'm a heavy-ish rider, about 175 pounds (losing pounds every month, though!) My husband is 6' tall and about 210 pounds. He's an absolute beginner. I ride in 3 gaits and do small jumps (50cm or so) and some basic dressage. I'd put my level at beginner/intermediate after about 2 years of private lessons 3-4 times a week.
  • My daughter is 11 but does jumps at competitions up to 75cm this year and will do higher next year if all goes as planned. She has a New Forest pony who is pretty tall for his breed. I'd say he's about 1.51 meters, but I'm not sure what that is in hands. My daughter weighs about 85 pounds.
  • I would like to do a jumping competition once to try it, but I'm not sure that's something I want to do more than once. My daughter, however, loves it and will continue to do it in the foreseeable future.
  • I love the idea of riding Western and have finally found an instructor who could teach me and train my horse. Right now I ride English and will probably continue to do some of that too. Would I like to try reining or barrel racing? Maybe. I could see myself trying that. But I'm 46, so it's not like I'm going to become a competitor.
  • Dressage is fun. I'd like to try more of it.
  • I love trail riding. Jumping over logs and streams sounds like a ton of fun, although I haven't done it.
  • I really want a horse that is good for all levels of rider. Calm in the head, close to man (that's a French to English translation ... not sure the proper way to say it in English even though I'm American!), but energetic enough to be fun to ride by someone like me or someone more advanced, even. I'm willing to do a bunch of Clinton Anderson type NH training to work on the desensitization and so on, regardless of what breed I get.
So maybe you can already see my conundrum. Which horse would be better for someone with these varied interests? Sometimes I say the Irish Hunter because it's bred to be cold and hot, is great for jumping and dressage, does well with cross country and TREK. But then I say that the Quarter Horse is bred to be a gread all-around horse, and it's fairly 'easy' to find one that's calm and close to man. I do plan to do lots of trail riding and I think the QH would excel at that. But that doesn't mean the IH wouldn't also.


Ack! Your thoughts?

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-28-2015, 07:53 PM
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I would lean toward a quarter horse for what you are seeking, an appendix quarter horse would be a good choice in my opinion. An appendix quarter horse that is over 15.2 with a solid build would do for you and/or your husband. They can be very talented horses and I have found them to be good sensible horses. Since you live in France, I'm not sure if there are a lot of the type of quarter horses that I mentioned available to you.
I really don't know a lot about Irish Hunters so that does influence my opinion.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-28-2015, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Woodhaven View Post
I would lean toward a quarter horse for what you are seeking, an appendix quarter horse would be a good choice in my opinion. An appendix quarter horse that is over 15.2 with a solid build would do for you and/or your husband. They can be very talented horses and I have found them to be good sensible horses. Since you live in France, I'm not sure if there are a lot of the type of quarter horses that I mentioned available to you.
I really don't know a lot about Irish Hunters so that does influence my opinion.

I have two foundation (90%+) quarter horses to look at next week. There are some surprisingly well bred QHs over here. I had no idea until I started looking! Western riding is really catching on, I guess.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-28-2015, 08:06 PM
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I don't know what type of QH you'd have access too in France - there are some in the UK always for sale at quite low prices so not impossible

If you want to have something bred for the European riding scene you'd probably do better looking at the Irish horses - the ID crosses and the Irish cobs usually make solid reliable rides. There are other options out there though - what about the welsh D cobs or a cross with a TB, or a general Sport Horse type?
You might find it easier to get a bigger selection of suitable horses at a lower price if you were willing to travel to the UK or Ireland
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-28-2015, 08:28 PM
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Quarter horse would be more suitable if you want to do the western. Otherwise either is fine.

The thing is that where you live I imagine there aren't as many options. Looking at breeds that were mostly popular outside of my country, but still bred here in lower numbers, I found that they were quite highly priced. This meant for my budget I wouldn't get as quality a horse as if I bought a more locally popular breed.

So part of my answer would be - which horse is more readily available in your area in order to have a selection of a wider range of horses?

The second part I would say is that quarter horses have a reputation for a good temperament with a level and while many are this way, many are not. You can't buy just based on breed for the things your looking for.

I've ridden a few Irish Sport Horses (hunters) and one thing I noticed was that they are strong horses. I would be concerned as to if they are appropriate for a child. Like all horses their temperaments vary but I have found term to be energetic and bold horses, perhaps not so much a family all rounder.

In your situation I would look at both breeds, focussing on individual characteristics. I also wouldn't rule out more local breeds if there are any suitable. You don't have to choose one or the other.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-29-2015, 12:14 AM
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One consideration that has not been mentioned or asked about is what is your current pregnant horse best suited for? Because to me, the new horse should complement your mare in the sense that it will "cover the bases" your mare won't, or won't well.

And by "close to man" do you mean, maybe, "people-friendly"?
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-29-2015, 12:17 AM
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Is leasing not an option? That way you're not stuck with another horse when it's all said and done, since you'll also have a mare and foal.

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be in your journey, but not all of
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-29-2015, 03:10 AM
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I agree with Saskia. Surely there must be local breeds that are widely a available that could be perfectly suitable for you? I don't understand why you want to limit yourself to two breeds instead of looking for a horse -of any suitable breed - that has the characteristics you are looking for.

I personally don't think an Irish Hunter would be suitable for your needs. They do tend to be strong as they are bred for the hunting field.

I am in Spain and most of the local horses have a high percentage of PRE blood (pura raza española). These horses are typically good all-rounders and suitable for your needs. I don't know if they are widely present in your area of France, but seeing as you're not far away I imagine there must be more Spanish -type horses than QHs for example. I would strongly recommend a horse with some PRE blood.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-29-2015, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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To answer the questions that have popped up:

I have looked at tons of breeds. These are the two I narrowed it down to.

There are more QHs than ISHs here by far. I've found only a single breeder of Irish Hunters in all of France. So for that breed, I'd have to go to the UK to find a suitable horse. I have contacts there to make the shopping focused and easier.

Like I said in my OP, leasing is not an option. There are no suitable horses for lease at my barn.

The one horse I hate riding at my barn is a PRE! So I'm not too keen on them and it's why I eliminated them from my choices. They are very popular and available here, though.

Close to man is kind of like people-friendly, I guess. Sometimes saying things in French is much clearer for me, not that I'm fluent or anything. It's not an exact match of meaning, but it's close enough. :)

My current mare is great for trail rides and lessons and tiny jumps. Also I think she'll be a great therapy horse, something I'd like to try. She is half draft and half arab, and she's a bit drafty/heavy in front for any real jumping.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-29-2015, 09:51 AM
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There must be some Selle Francais x horses around that would suit you - do they not cross them with the heavier French breeds?
You'd definitely have a lot more 'varieties' to look at if you did go to the UK - and possibly for less money too
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