What level of training should my horse have? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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What level of training should my horse have?

Hi, I'm looking for help on what verbiage to use or look for as I look for a horse to purchase... I was put on a horse at the age of 6. I grew up riding bare back, what I call 'farm girl style'. I rode bare back or with just a bare back pad for so long that when I first started using a saddle I hated it - it made me feel disconnected from the horse. My aunt taught me how to ride but I've never had any 'paid barn lessons'. I have never ridden any 'show trained' horses. I grew up mostly riding an Appy but a little on a other horses too, in pastures, farm fields and on trails. I am now 36 and looking to buy my own horse. I want to avoid over paying for a horse that is over trained for me. I have no interest in showing. I don't care about leg commands, English, jumping or dressage. I feel comfortable and competent on a horse. What I want is a horse that is good under saddle and bridal trained, gentled, reliable, steady, sure footed... to ride trails and natural areas. I have put off owning a horse to avoid the barn life. Now that I have land and am ready to get a horse I find that horses sound either under trained (green) or over trained for show. Clearly, I don't have the lingo down. Are there certain terms I should be looking for?
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post #2 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 09:40 PM
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I LOVE horses with good leg pressure. I prefer to ride with no bridle. Maybe just look into a good solid trail horse? Where are you located? Around here 1000 is a base price for a solid non-show trail horse, and they usually have easy-to-fix problems such as cinch sourness, hard to catch in the pasture, stall aggression etc. Most of the good horses with little faults go for WAY cheap and they're SO easy to train out of it.
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post #3 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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I'm in the great north west - Washington state. We have acreage next to mountains. We have rivers, valleys and equine trails near by as well.
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post #4 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 10:01 PM
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If you know a good vet or know someone who does, that is great! You will wan to get the horse vet checked before purchase and the vet can give you advice on pricing too :)

Browse through local adds to see what horses are going for.

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post #5 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 10:05 PM
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Why don't you want a horse trained to yield to leg pressure? It's honestly quite basic training that pretty much every horse will know if broken out correctly and you'll be hard-pressed to find a horse NOT trained to yield to leg pressure.

I'd look for a sound trail horse between the ages of 8 and 15. Bombproof, dead broke or not spooky would all be phrases I'd look for, as well. Breed isn't a huge issue, unless you don't like certain breeds or prefer gaited over not gaited (or vice versa). Height is more important. Do you want a tall horse or a shorter horse? Shorter will be easier to mount on the trail if you have to get off for whatever reason.

ETA- In my personal opinion, there is no such thing as an "over-trained" horse. ANY horse trained for ANY discipline can be perfectly content as a trail horse. Granted, you will pay more for better/more training, but the majority of the time, it's well worth it, as you'll have a more push-button horse.

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post #6 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post

ETA- In my personal opinion, there is no such thing as an "over-trained" horse. ANY horse trained for ANY discipline can be perfectly content as a trail horse. Granted, you will pay more for better/more training, but the majority of the time, it's well worth it, as you'll have a more push-button horse.
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with this, there's a really noticeable difference between a push button horse and an extremely finished show horse. I've 'rode' horses that are so incredibly difficult to ride because they are trained to be SO overly soft to seat pressure that even though I'm an experienced and overall balanced rider I had problems correctly asking them for different things without it being overly dramatic.
Plus, most show horses out their (well at high levels any way) are so overly hot that while they could be a trail horse it probably wouldn't be the funnest thing.
On top of that its ridiculous to buy one of these horses, with a price tag to match, when most of these buttons will never be used and after some rides from most riders will be forgotten and dulled anyway.


Look for something that has experience trail riding and is bombproof or something like a feedlot horse or a 'cowboying" horse for ranch work. Most importantly just look for something well broke, with a lot of time under its belt and quit. Like you said you don't need nothing fancy, but make sure not to get no dead head, stiff horse either. And a horse that works off of leg and seat pressure is a godsend if you happen to have a bridle break or mishap on the trail so don't let that pass you by.
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!
It's not so much that I don't want one that is trained to yield to leg pressure, it's more like I wasn't trained to ride that way nor were the horses I grew up riding so it's just not a requirement for me. I would be fine with leg command training but figured we could learn that together. I hear you on the 'over trained ' comment... I mentioned over paying for a horse over trained for me... in my area you can EASILY spend 6k and up on horses with show training. I am thinking that I would like a Kiger gelding for various reasons. They don't run tall but some are and I have no problem mounting a tall horse. I'm able to swing up using the main when bare back or use the stirrup of the saddle...
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post #8 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Malice - You get me, thank you!
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post #9 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 11:28 PM
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I think I'd look for words like "all around" and "can go any direction".

I'd stay away from horses that list a lot of their show accomplishments, or their breeding lineage, since that raises the price and is only of real value if you plan to show, or breed.

look for horses where they have had the horse a fair amount of time, they ride it out, it ties well, maybe hi-lines, good in the trailer.

look for conformation and temperament.
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post #10 of 27 Old 04-02-2015, 11:48 PM
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I'd probably look for a "husband horse" or "wife horse". But they may be a little pricey as they are invaluable.
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