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More and more on different forums I see this. People turning down great deals on good horses because their was no instant connection, no magical love at first sight. They say "I passed him by, I just feel like when I meet the right horse I'll just know"

That's crap people. Sure, people who are in the horse world for 50 years might get lucky and meet "the one" and know it right away. Even your common buyer may just win the horsey lottery. But it is ridiculous to pass a horse for that reason. Bonds form over time with dedication and trust, not the first time you hop on the horses back. Nor will your first ride by perfect!

Take my current horse. He never was, and never will be, perfect for me, nor I for him. He is 3 inches taller, 4 years younger, and much heavier then I wanted. I hated him the first ride, it was horrid. I trusted my trainer and brought him home on trial. After a week of serious effort, I decided we could make it work. He was so different and strange. He was 4, 16.3 hands (and built like a tank), a OTTB, and sensitive as a brick. I was coming off a hot, sensitive, quick, 15hh QH.

No, he's not perfect, but we've bonded and do well together. I adapted myself and trained him to fit me, and now I think nothing of his size. I trained him, and he is no longer as heavy or dull.

Basically people, don't give up after one ride. Pick a horse that has potential to work for you and go with it. Adapt your expectations and you may suprise yourself. Don't expect a bond to happen, develop it!
 

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Yeah, Sunny was the same way. A brat. He reared, bucked, had attitude problems, and there certainly wasn't any "magical connection". As bad as I wanted one!

Never pass up a potentially good horse just because he dosen't whinny, toss his golden mane, and gallop up to you from the other side of the pasture even though he dosen't know who the heck you are.
 

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I think it depends on your level to be honest - younger/beginner riders definitely need some form of 'bond' when trying a horse so they feel safe. Good school masters give you that.
But I agree, too many people overlook horses cos it isn't the clone of the horse they just came off. Lets face it, if you sold a horse you had a reason - you needed something bigger/smaller, faster/slower, hotter/quieter ....
I brought Tai sight unseen, based purely on potential, and he wasn't even broken in. Coming off an OM dressage horse I rode for 12 years, Tai was hard work!! I often cried to myself cos I had the 'wrong horse'. Eventually (after a good month or so) I realised I just had a different horse, and that there was plenty to prove. It took awhile to bond (over a year) but now we are inseprable. I wouldn't swap him for the world! Just to think, if I had passed him on after that first month I would have missed out BIG TIME!
 

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I somewhat agree with you, 1D3C17R (ha ha, long name, had to abbreviate it). No horse is perfect, and if he seems great in every other way except you didn't "click", get him on a trial. But, for me, that click is part of the quality of horse ownership. I keep horses more as "pets" than competition animals, so I don't want to be around a creature all day long that I feel I will never bond to, or vice versa.

Again, if you get a trial, that click will happen or it won't. If that isn't important to you (or isn't the MOST important thing) and the horse is otherwise perfect, get him. He'll probably be as close to perfect as you'll get.
 

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I personally cringe when I hear "bond" when it comes to horses. Is there such thing? Absolutely. But think about those riders who train and show 30 different horses a month. Do they have a "bond" with each of those horses? no. They ride it properly and the horse listens and the ride goes well. Sure, there are certain riders who get along better with certain horses then others. But this "bond" that keeps people from buying a horse that might work out very well for them? Drives me nuts.

What drives me even more nuts is the other side... people who think they have some kind of a "bond" with a horse and buy it even though it's very clearly the wrong one. There was a girl at our barn who was barely jumping crossbars who bought a Trekkahner who really should have been a grand prix prospect for a very educated rider. Her father was repeatedly told by her trainer, me, another trainer, the owner of the horse, the owner of the barn, AND the vet that it was the wrong horse for the girl. But the dad was convinced that she had a special "BOND" with the horse. You know, when she stands at his stall and gives him a carrot.... after a year the girl finally admitted she was afraid of the horse. They moved barns and several months ago I saw a sale ad for him for $2000. He was jumping 4ft when she bought him. What a waste, on both sides!
 

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I think I agree with you, to a point. Maybe I'm a little biased because I knew my horse was the one I wanted the second I saw him, lol.....but I think I wanted him because he wasn't coming to me "perfect", he was coming to me as an OTTB with nine years of racing, no other experience under saddle, and the woman who owned him at the time had never been on him. Once I brought him home, I realized he had issues with bits, issues with food, issues with space, issues with going, issues with stopping......the list gets longer every time I go out and ride him. But he gives a lot, and I give a lot, and even though he doesn't call out frantically every time he sees me, I know we have a bond because he's 100% different around me than when he's around other people....but thats also after five months of working with him.
 

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I agree somewhat - I don't beleive in a magical 'bond' - However, I know as soon as I see a horse if I want it or not. It isn't a bond, but it is a feeling of some kind, and I haven't been wrong yet. I still ride the horse, do all the usual things, but I will have made up my mind in those first few minutes. So I don't think it is entirely 'crap'.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I agree somewhat - I don't beleive in a magical 'bond' - However, I know as soon as I see a horse if I want it or not. It isn't a bond, but it is a feeling of some kind, and I haven't been wrong yet. I still ride the horse, do all the usual things, but I will have made up my mind in those first few minutes. So I don't think it is entirely 'crap'.
For an experienced rider/owner/buyer, having a "feel" for a horse is great! saves alot of time and grief. But it's mostly in begginer/first time buys that they think they will find the perfect horse they bond with in an instant
 

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Haha cant agree with you more, I disliked my horse strongly when I bought him, and thought of selling him, but now I love him so so much, it just took awhile, and Im so glad I didnt turn him away.
Sometimes diamonds in the rough that look like the worst horses ever can turn out to be amazing.
Its not like a wedding dress where you cry when you put it on. A horse is a living creature, and a bond has to form.
 

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I bought my first horse because I thought he was cute. I thought we had a bond, but I was just 13. Yeah we bonded after several bruised broken toes and a fractured shoulder. I am sure all those injuries weren't his fault. I had him for about 3 years before he really noticed me lol. We moved to a new barn when I was in high school. I stood outside he stall for probably 4-5 hours to make sure he was settled. I had never been to another barn, so he kind of comforted me as well. I went in to the tack room to get something and I herd him sort of whinnying, I figured he was just making new friends, till I realized every time I went into the tack room he'd cry for me. It was adorable. We must have been a funny sight. I was about 5'2 100lbs soaking wet, and he was 17.3hh beast. I was never afraid of him, I think thats what kept our relationship the way it was.

My mare I kind of bought out of pitty. I looked her over and decided she wasnt what I had wanted. I saw her add a month later, I went to check her out again. I had her vetted asap and agree to take her. It was pure luck, she would have gone to auction if it didnt rain that sunday. On monday I called the trainer up to give her a second look.

My weanling was kind of bought on a whim. I was going to look at a free TB, everything I wanted. She was "sold" the day before I was suposed to look at her. Just my luck. So I was searching craigslist, a little depressed. I found an add a breeder posted, she had like 7 or so babies. I was at my boyfriends that weekend (he lives an hour from me) and the breeder was pretty close. So I made an appointment to go out the next day. She showed me all the babies she thought would suit me well, for what I wanted to do. I basically wanted an all around horse. I love combined training, but I am fine competing at the lowest level. I also want to try western pleasure, and maybe trail classes. I decided against the mares I saw. I didnt like their coloring, and some were going to be a little short (large pony size.) That left me with two chesnuts and a buckskin. I picked the one who the breeder said was easier to halter, and who's dam had a better attitude. I also picked my gelding because he wasnt attached to his mother, but wasnt too independent either. I also really loved his hind socks, they go just up to his hocks. I didnt even really meet him, because he wasnt really socialized yet. I just narrowed it down and from there I picked the one I thought was cuter. IMO babies are easier to choose. Their personality can somewhat be shaped by how you handle and train them, more so then an independent adult horse.

Each horse I liked, but I wasnt instantly inlove. I felt like I had bonded with my first horse, but he obviously had not yet bonded with me (he always knew which toes to crush.) Its kind of a bunch of crap when you say you instantly bonded. It rarely, if ever happens like that. Horses just try to be social, its not that they know you are the right person for them. I could just see them saying: "oh I better be good, she looks like a good person for me, hopefully this one will take me home." LOL And of course if you bring treats when you try out a horse, they will act like your bff.
 

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For Bear and I... Well.... "/

I had a gut feeling that he was the right now. I am not saying that I felt some magical connection, it was a feel at the pit of my stomach yelling at me to guy him, even if he was thin and somewhat fugly. He also was perfect for mounting and was so much fun to ride! I would buy a horse as long as they were: $2000 (we talked Bear's owners down to 2k), a gelding (im not totally a mare person), and were PERFECT for mounting (I would not buy a horse if I didnt feel safe mounting it). Bear was all of those! ;]

He had the training I wanted, he was a complete jerk, and had huge puppy-dog eyes, I loved right away. Plus he was a challange. A lot of people told me it was a bad idea to get a 14 (some people said that was old... ): ) year old, ****y, fugly confo'd, WELL TRAINED horse... :p

Sorry for the long post...

Long story short, I agree with people =]
 

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Kind of the opposite here. I absolutely adored the rangy, pencil necked leggy awkward 2 1/2 year old monster...
My instructor did not.
I was 13 and convinced my Mom to go against my instructor and buy him. At 23 I still adore him, a very special guy. My instructor had to eat her hat when I kept beating horses she did approve in the show ring.
 

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I've always bought under the impression they are going to need some serious work. Cougar and I didn't get along for the first two years of our riding career and are just finally in tune with each other now. Worth every minute of it.
 

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Like all relationships, both human/human and human/horse, it takes a fair amount of work to... well, make it work.

I have a relationship with every horse I work with. Sometimes, certain individual's "personalities" clash with mine, and others, we just hit it off and get along really well. Some I have to grow to love, and some I have to be forced to work with. Some I just get along with from the first day and don't ever want to see go.

"Love at first sight" is a rare fantasy, even with horses. Can it happen? Sure. Likely? Probably not. Dreams do not just come about. You have to make them work.
 

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when I went looking for a new horse I had a price range and a type in mind I never thought about special bonds. The first photos I saw of Phoenix she were taken at 18mnths and she looked like a mule - very strange growth phase. I passed her over and then saw updated pics about 2mnths later and she had grown to look more like a horse LOL.

She was the size, type, and price that I wanted I never met her as she was in the South Island and I am in the North Island. I bought her pretty much sight unseen. I fell in love with her the minute I saw her step off the horse transporter! I think it is sheer luck but I swear if I had gone to see her before I bought her I would have bought her on the spot. I am not going to pretend that it was mutual but she was my magical 'the one'.

Maybe I felt the way I did because in my subconcious mind I was aware that she was bought and paid for and there was no way I could give her back!
 

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"I just feel like when I meet the right horse I'll just know"
People often take first impression as the only impression - I've learnt not to pay any attention to the first impression I get of anything, human, horse, house, car ...

My first pony was foot perfect when I tried her out, I bought her on the strength of that first impression - she turned out to be quite crazy, would cart me everywhere, and showed no signs of affection towards me in the stable ...

I did find out that she'd been badly treated by her previous owner (one of the benefits of buying locally!!) which explained a lot of her behavioural problems - especially not wanting to be caught and carting me everywhere. Owning her did do me any harm, but it opened my eyes to the notion that a foot perfect trial does not equate to a solid working partnership


Nor will your first ride be perfect!
My first ride on my new horse wasn't! I bought him from the yard I ride at where he was one of a string of competition horses, when I tried him out he started to canter and wouldn't stop! I didn't panic tho' and managed to get him back to a steady canter after several high speed circuits of the arena! I know what I did wrong when I asked him to canter, so it wasn't his fault.

I'd seen him a lot over the winter last year - looking out over his stable door, and he seemed very aloof, didn't like being petted. And being one of a string of horses who get 5 minutes "stable time" devoted to them per day I wasn't expecting to get a cuddly horse who would be affectionate towards me, however in the last 7 months we have developed a "bond", he recognises me and looks pleased to see me - he follows me around the stable when I'm trying to take photos of him, and he loves getting a cuddle. Things are starting to gel with us riding wise as well - he was used to being pushed forward fast, whereas I ride slower ...

Had I let the first impression of him be the impression I judged him by I wouldn't have bought him, he was stuck up and didn't understand basic aids for canter and had to be kicked, then went ballistic - why would I buy a horse like that? But I remembered that foot perfect pony who'd snuffled my pockets and pricked her ears at me and the near disaster that turned into ...

So far I'm glad I bought my new horse, and I'm looking forward to developing our bond further
 

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I don't think its about a "bond", more like a gut feeling that this is the RIGHT one or not. I've looked at so many horses over the last few months, I can't keep them all straight. I'm not looking for perfection or an instant connection. I'm looking for something that I enjoy being around on the ground, and feel confident riding with some potential to work with.
 

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I think some people might be more apt to take better care of a horse they adore than one they are just okay with or kind of loath.

For me Piper is okay. I like her but she lacks the spunk that I love in certain horses.

Besides if I put on here that I bought a horse yesterday but I don't think I like it or it's the wrong size for me, I'd probably get a bunch of people saying "Why'd you buy it?".
 
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