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Hello horse people,
I'm looking for a horse, and i've decided against my neighbors free one. After all, you get what you pay for. So is a 10-20 year old okay for a person who's had several years of experience, but never had a horse before? Should it be a gelding or a mare? I've heard that mares have an even temperament except for when they're in heat. Would it even matter if the horse was well mannered and even tempered?
Thanks,
Michaela :)
 

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Welcome to the forum. :)

It all depends on the horse, true mares can be sassy, but the best horse I've ever had was a mare... It all depends on the horse. Where are you at, price range, and what type of horse are you looking for? I'm sure there are people here that would love to help you search!
 

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I've been horse shopping myself and am a beginner so I was looking for personality, age, and training in that order. I wanted a calm, relaxed, docile horse, more than 10 years old, and trained in all gaits and safe for a beginner. For me, race of the horse didn't matter.

I had thought it was going to be a gelding, but so far I'm loving the mare I've found. Fingers crossed the vet check goes well. :)

I recommend you just look for horses described by their owners as good for beginners. Then go and check them out, do a test ride, bring your instructor or someone with a lot of experience to check the horse too. And then do a vet check.

Cold-blooded horses are generally more calm than hot-blooded ones. But you'll find exceptions to every rule about horses for sure!
 

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The best "breed" (each individual may vary) for beginners, in my opinion, are the Standardbreds. Ask around, most others will agree, and better yet most are cheap. They aren't flashy(bays/browns mostly) but they have heart and have a good temperament.

Here's a photo of our old Standardbred mare "Molly"(vet told us about 20yrs old), she put up with some of the most trying things we did,:D

Horse Mammal Vertebrate Mane Colt

Horse Mammal Bridle Vertebrate Halter
 

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Welcome to HF.

I agree with the previous posters. Your perfect beginner horse is not going to fit a certain breed/height/age. It could be anything. I knew a 30 year old QH who was the absolutely most perfect beginner horse ever. He was big; pushing 16 hh and build like a tank, but little kindergarteners rode him all the time, as well as adults. He didn't discriminate. I also know a 5 year old QH now who's the calmest, easiest going thing.

Typically, however, I would suggest an older horse...7-8 and older. 10 years old is a good bet for you, however training is way more important. Make sure your horse is well trained! Go shopping with a trusted equine professional who can help you out in your decision. So, yes, it matters if the horse is well mannered and even tempered! That's the most important factor, imo.

Mare or gelding? It really depends what fits you. I, like EmilyJoy, find mares to generally be more 'sassy' and geldings a little more 'do-good'. I, however, love the mares; they've got tons of 'try' and 'heart' to go with the sassy-ness.

So in general, look for temperament, not breed, age or gender. Good luck in your search for horses.
 

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Welcome to HF!

Just make sure you select a horse that suites you. When looking at a horse, check for sweat patterns to see if it's sweaty when you get there. IMO, that's a sign of a horse not being beginner safe. Some sellers will work the chit out of a horse before you get there to tire it out. I had that happen to me, but thanks to doing a lot of research on here, I knew to leave that horse there.

I consider myself a beginner and still have a lot to learn. When I purchased Vegas, an 8 year old appy, from my riding instructor, I knew he was green broke. I had him in training with her for 2 months and took most of my riding and ground school lessons on him. He can be a little pushy at time but when you saddle him up, his whole attitude changes. He goes into work mode and is
fun to ride.

When I purchased Gilbert, I talked to the owner and asked a lot of questions before I even went to look at him. They agreed to let me leave him there for at least 30 days to make sure I was completely comfortable with him before I even brought him home. I went there several times a week and went riding with him and his wife. This couple is now my best friends and riding buddies and we ride together often. Any problems I run into, he will stop by my house on his way home from work and help me correct them. Not all sellers are like this, Just make sure you can handle what you are buying.
 

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Our two geldings we have are both 22 and they would be good for beginner horses.
Personally, I don't like mares. They seems moody all the time and I dunno, I just don't them. Geldings are my thing.

I would say make sure you ride the horse first to see how it works.
The younger the horse, the more spirited it will be, the older the horse the less years it has left. Although they can live to be past 30. I know a horse who lived to be 43 or so and Seabiscuit died at 13 or 14.

It just depends.
 

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Welcome to HF!

Honestly, I had bitten off way more then I could chew with my first pony, a four year old Connemara gelding with a huge personality. Fortunately my mother was a seasoned horsey person, and now he's jumping national with his current owner, but it was a bad move and not recommended.

Your ideal first horse should be between eight and ten, gelding(personal preference) with good stable manners and a friendly attitude. Remember this is your first horse and whatever you do with him/her will stay with you for the rest of your life so you need to search around and explore every option.

Again, dipping into personal experience here, I would recommend getting a horse on loan to get a taste of ownership. It's a good way to tell if you're ready for the responsibility and hard work. This may sound patronizing and you've probably heard it before so many times but there's a good reason for that. You've got to remember that you have a horse every day of the week. If you've got other commitments that means you might not make it up some days, don't even think about it. I remember a girl at my first riding school who only came up to her horse a few times a week to ride him and honestly it wasn't good for them.

Also, horses can be very expensive. My costs ran up to about ten grand a year, but I show jumped (entry fees, about thirty a hit plus travelling expenses, proper gear, etc) and hunted (between thirty and seventy five a hit, plus travelling and hitting the ole' pub afterwards). You need to be sure you can deal with any sudden costs that may come up such as an emergency farrier or vet visit. I would recommend insurance for you and your future horse to help with those as you will end up spending more on each visit then a smaller, constant fee every month or so.

I could go on and on and on but I'm gonna condense it down to the fundamentals:


  • Make sure your horse is completely bombproof
    Aged around eight to ten (not too young or old)
    Between 14.2hh and 15.2hh, remember you'll grow (unless you're older, in which case look for a horse you feel comfortable on)
    Try and look for a gelding, as this will solve the problem in regards to worrying about when your horse is/isn't in season
    Do not be picky about colour. This makes me so mad. The colour has very little to do with how the horse is.

That's about it. Whew!
 

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I remember a girl at my first riding school who only came up to her horse a few times a week to ride him and honestly it wasn't good for them.
I somewhat disagree with this. For a show jumper, reiner or other high or even mid level performance horse this may be true. It wouldn't be fair to expect a horse to be fit enough to perform well and safely if they aren't appropriately exercised 3-4 days a week at least. I would also agree with this given that the horse was stalled 24/7 with little or no turnout, and/or it is a partial or self-care facility.

However for a beginner's horse, the OP should be able to ride just a few times a week without issues if they so please, granted that the horse has appropriate turnout and good care. I only see my horse a few times a week right now due to work schedule and other commitments but I know that he has a clean space, fresh water, plenty of hay every day twice a day, buddies over the fence and lots of room to stretch his legs.

Not that I'm trying to discourage the OP from seeing and riding their future horse as much as possible, but the thought of having to get out there AND work the horse every single day no matter what might be a little overwhelming to a new horse owner. That being said, sometimes it's hard NOT to go out there every day for awhile when you're a new horsey parent! :p


As has been said before, definitely take a trainer or experienced and trusted friend to help evaluate the horse. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will see things that you don't when you're falling in love with a furrball. I somewhat got lucky with Sock, though I had been riding for about 14 years when I got him and was able to ride him a handful of times before the actual purchase. It was a luxury that most people don't get when purchasing, but I really appreciated it since I didn't have anyone to go with me at the time.

I'll agree on temperament and training being first and foremost. Age is also a factor, but not as much. You can get a pretty wide age range for broke, beginner safe horses though most of those will probably be in their teens or older. After you have those bases covered you can start to look at personal preferences such as gender, color, size, breed, etc.

When I was shopping, I made out a list of things that I wanted most in a horse, and then arranged them in order from most to least important. I also made a list of horses from Craigslist and other sources and made an A, B and C list of horses that I wanted to see first. It really helped streamline the process and was quite useful in keeping me from oohing and aahing at photos of pretty horses that were not even remotely bred or built for my discipline. :lol:

Happy hunting! Make sure to keep us updated with prospects and lots of pictures!!!
 

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I am going to recommend you go to a stable that has lease horses. This is a good way to broaden your skills without ownership. As a teen I'd lease one for a month, then another which meant I rode pretty much the full spectrum of temperaments from good training to barely started. After a year, nothing was a surprise and I'd learned how to deal with fractious horses and stay in the saddle.
 

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I somewhat disagree with this. For a show jumper, reiner or other high or even mid level performance horse this may be true. It wouldn't be fair to expect a horse to be fit enough to perform well and safely if they aren't appropriately exercised 3-4 days a week at least. I would also agree with this given that the horse was stalled 24/7 with little or no turnout, and/or it is a partial or self-care facility...
My apologies, I should have elaborated. She was well aware and capable of going to look after her horse every day as she lived just up the road. I mean to muck them out, clean them, etc. The mare was also stabled 24/7 and somehow managed to make her stable absolutely filthy in one day (absolutely no offence meant, she was a lovely horse and it was just something she did) She had also been riding as long as my friend and I who both also had horses for the same amount of time. We were also the same age. Upon closer investigation she informed me that she was just 'too lazy' to check her horse, and I can recall an incident in particular where the owner of the yard asked us to clean her out, give her some exercise, etc. because the owner had not been seen in a week.

Now I knew the family quite well as I was good friends with her first cousin who lived with them, and there was nothing stopping her apart from a selfish attitude.

That was what I meant, and it's why I always suggest leasing or even sharing a horse before buying.

Apologies for thread hijacking.
 
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Apologies for thread hijacking.
Ooookay that makes much more sense. :) Ugh I don't understand how people can flat out not take care of their animals. I go out of town a lot so I always make sure that my horse is in a good facility for that very reason.

Oh! There's another thing to think about for the OP, keeping in mind that if you go on vacation and you don't have full care boarding that you need to make sure that your furbaby will still be well taken care of. If you're at a larger barn sometimes it's easier to find people to swap care days and such with. :D

ETA: Though I guess if you're in a horsey neighborhood sometimes neighbors can be good for that as well!
 

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10ish would be around where I would look. And get a horse with no underlying medical issues too, PPE is best.

I've had a 4 year old that was bombproof....and had 30 year old horses that I would not consider even intermediate level rider for.

Age is not as much a factor as is temperament of horse to begin with. You want one with kind eyes, and a good head, good conformation is a plus, but ugly, kind and safe...goes a LONG way over pretty and an idiot.
 

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I was recently looking for one of those "broke" perfect horses and got screwed. Be careful!! Don't trust anyone! The best horses will likely be ones found by word of mouth, friends, or ask a trainer. They will often know of something that comes up. Don't be in a hurry. Those are the ones that never get to actually "go up for sale". This time of year is great too because many people give up on the horse thing when feed gets expensive and weather gets ugly. I think this is more of a Western thing but someone recommend a retired ranch horse- they have been there and done that and nothing can rattle them. You also have to decide what you are going to do with it as well. If it is trail riding etc. My friend bought a x mounted police horse. You would think that would be totally bombproof but the horse HATED trail riding and would go though the woods at a slow crawl. LOL
 

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^^ That's not always the case though, some are getting rid of them because they want to buy something more of a challenge, or the horse doesn't fit their needs anymore, older horse is slowing down etc. There are a LOT of horses out there because of that, not all have bad habits.
 

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Age doesn't mean the horse will be quiet. Many older horses I have ridden have not been suitable for a beginner.

The three things that will determine whether a horse is a good beginner horse is training, temperament and experience. A young horse might have great training and temperament, but few will have the experience to be a reliable mount.

Being in a suitable "age range" is important - but it should just be another "box" to tick, rather than a concern in itself. Something between 8-14 is usually good, under the assumption that you can learn from the horse for a year or two and then sell it on for something more specific if you so choose. I wouldn't go much of 16.

Be aware, price will directly reflect age and training. Buying a horse isn't a time to cheap out, good horses rarely sell for low prices, especially good, safe horses. However, then difference between a beginner safe 8 year old and beginner safe 16 year old could well be double the price.

As a beginner, it will be well worth the money paying your instructor or trainer (or getting one and then paying them) to come out and assess the horse for you.
 

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Take a look at all sorts of different horses and do not settle on the first one you meet.

I find that previous lesson horses make for some great beginner mounts as well as some mid-age trail horses. However, there are exceptions so your best bet is to go look at horses with a riding instructor and or trainer who can help you pick out the the best horse for your needs. :)
 

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The one perk to an older horse is that you may get all that you need cheaper since an older horse may be overlooked by other buyers. My trainer gave me good advice for my girls- don't get what they will grow into, get what they need NOW.
 
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