Items

Forums
 
Choosing a Horse
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   16th Aug 2010   •   6,545 views   •   10 comments
It is always very exciting to get out there and buy a new horse, but the question that always faces every rider is this: Which one do I choose? Perhaps you want to get the first one you see, just so you donít have to wait any longer. Perhaps you want a pretty gray horse, or a skewbald. Maybe you want a horse that has been around the world and won lots of ribbons. We all have our ideals, so now letís have a look at our steps.

Step 1:
Forget those ideals. What would be the point of having that lovely skewbald if it is trained in barrel racing and you want to be dressage? Why get that first horse you see if you want to do showing and it has cow hocks and an ewe-neck? Would you thank yourself for getting that champion horse when you find that itís just too fizzy for you, and throws you off on every second stride? No, you would not. As such, you need to forget about what you want or what youíve always dreamed of, and focus on what you need.

Step 2:
Decide what kind of horse you want. Do you want a polo pony, a barrel racer, a jumper, a pet or a clotheshorse? The possibilities are endless. What you need to do is to decide what would be most suitable on every tiny little detail. For example:

Age:
Height:
Discipline:
Price:
Training Level:
Rideability:
Etc. Etc.

Remember to be realistic when selecting these things. Youíre hardly going to get a 1,50m jumper for $100, are you now? As such, you will need to compromise and decide what realistic choice would suit you best.

Step 3:
Research. Tackle the Internet, scratch through posters at tack stores, ask the milkmanís brotherís girlfriendís cousin. Do whatever it takes to find advertisements for horses for sale. Once youíve found them, write down all the details of the ones you think would suit you.

Step 4:
Arrange a date to try out the horses. If in doubt about a horse, try it out anyway. The more you try, the easier it will be to decide which is the right horse. I find it often helps to try one or two horses a little out of your price range as well, just so you have something to compare to.

Step 5:
Try out the horse. Donít be afraid to ride it how you want to. The owner may have other ideas about how you should ride the horse, and you ought to be respectful and understanding of that, but just remember that in the end, if you buy the horse, YOU will be riding it, and NOT the owner. Try everything you want to do with it. Experiment with different riding styles, give it little tests. If you see a puddle on the ground, walk through it. Does the horse like water? Do you need a horse that likes water? You see a towel flapping on a washing line Ė walk towards it. Does the horse spook? Will a spooky horse be suitable for you?
When riding it be sure to work through every gait, and on each rein. Feel the horseís movement and make sure that it is easy for you to synchronize yourself to. If you feel like you are sitting on the horse and it is taking you for a ride, then it isnít the horse for you.

Feel. Feel. Feel. You have to feel the horse out, and think for yourself. When riding the horse, you must absolutely ignore everybody else. You have to decide if this is going to be the best riding horse for YOU.

Choosing a Horse
Riding the horse

Step 6:
Spend some time with the horse. Groom it, talk to it etc, Does it have a good temperament and a nice personality? You can never trust the words of a dealer, so you need to assess everything for yourself. Watch that horse like a hawk. Does it have vices? Does it bite, kick or crib? Does it like you? Is it friendly? How good are its manners? Does it pick up its feet on command? Test everything. Decide what is important, and what can and canít be fixed.

Step 7:
Check the horseís eyes, teeth, conformation, movement, hooves and everything else. Make sure it is in good health. If there are any little scars, ask about them. For all you know the horse was attacked by a mad goose or something of the sort. It would be dangerous if the horse suddenly freaked out at the sight of a goose and you werenít expecting it. Find out all you can about the history of the horse. If it has old owners, call them. If you can google it, then google it! What are its bloodlines? How have its relatives done in the discipline you want to use it for? Find out EVERYTHING. This is where you become what I proudly define myself as: A crazy, obsessed horse-stalker.

Choosing a Horse
Check the horseís eyes

Step 8:
Get a second opinion. Call somebody whom you trust, who knows how you ride and preferably who has more experience than you to look at the horse. Let them examine every aspect of it, let them ride it, and discuss everything with them. In the end it is still your decision, so if they simply donít like the horse and you do, that doesnít matter. However, if they find a problem with the horse, that does matter. A lot.

Choosing a Horse
Have somebody else assess the horse

Step 9:
Make sure you try the horse out at least twice more if you can. You need to know that it will be the same every time you ride it, and that the first time wasnít just a fluke. If you are still happy with the horse, it is time to speak to the owner and negotiate on the price if necessary. It is often a good idea to ask if you can have the horse on trial for a week, especially if you are paying a lot for it. Also be sure to get a vet-check and to make sure the horse loads well into a box before taking it away.

Well, thatís about it. Iíve taken you through all the more important logical points. Now it is time for our tenth and final step:

Step 10:
Remember everything weíve just been through? Good. Now forget it all. The worst thing you can do is to overthink everything and try to choose the horse that seems best on paper. At the end of the day, you just need to wait until you get onto that one perfect horse, and feel the magic of unity that will always occur when youíve found the perfect horse for you. Even if the horse is far from perfect, if the bond is there, the rest will almost always fall into place.

Well, it seems that I am rather a hypocrite on this subject, since I have seldom followed my own steps. At the end of the day, I know that Iíll be able to feel if a horse is going to be good for me or not. When it comes down to it, I still think that Ďfeelí is the most important thing. Iíve seen a million brilliant, detailed articles about finding Ďthe perfect horseí. If a perfect horse is what you want, youíd best hit google and look up all of those. Though speaking from experience, I am 110% certain that the Ďperfectí horse is nothing, NOTHING compared to the RIGHT horse.

Choosing a Horse
When you find the right horse, you will feel the bond
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Polo the Weirdo
Ruffians Stable  
Great article. Your really explained a lot.
  Aug 16, 2010  •  5,709 views
 
halfbrokehorses  
nice article :)
  Aug 17, 2010  •  5,583 views
 
Mystic Magic  
Wow well written, you basically said everything everyone needs to know. I have brought quite a few horses and I done all of those things pretty much, come across a few horses that seemed perfect but just didn't feel right and didn't feel any connection or bond so I didn't buy them. I own a lovely thoroughbred gelding called Mate and I trust him with my life, I have owned him for about 6 years now and never come off him, he is the only horse I have ever owned that I have not come off. He has never tested me or took advantage of me, he is so easy to bond with and he respects his owners and loves them. He was at my nanas for a few months and bonded with her and saved her form a kangaroo which tried attacking her and now he is at my aunties for a while and he has bonded with her as well. He can get a bit exited when out in groups and at shows but even though he gets a bit fast and pulley I know he is never going to buck or hurt me purposely. Worst thing he has ever done was a few pigroots
  Aug 17, 2010  •  5,569 views
 
Inactive Member  
Wow awesome article, your right, you cant take the dealers word for it, my friend bought a horse and she didn't bother to see how he was in the stable, she just asked the dealer who said he was one of his calmist horses. When she took him home and tried to groom him, he kicked, bit and reared. She kept him for 3 months and he would never calm down. In the end she had to re-sale him
  Aug 17, 2010  •  5,575 views
 
chloemartin111  
ARE THANKS FOR TELLINNNNNNNG ME NOW I NO WHAT TO DO WHEN I BUY ANOTHER 8 MORE HORSE THE THE BEST
  Aug 17, 2010  •  5,571 views
 
happy day  
thanks this helped me i needed this sooner so i did not buy this crazy pony i have now but i sold him to the barn
  Aug 17, 2010  •  5,577 views
 
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Thanks everyone! I am really glad you all enjoyed it! :D Mystic Magic, that sounds just like how I am with Polo (The bottom pic) only she was a complete and utter monster at the start. She threw me off countless times and gave me more trouble than any horse I've ridden since - yet look where we are now. We mighthave been mortal enemies at the start, but the bond was still there, and neither of us were willing to stop trying. So after years of fighting, we are now so in synch that I'd do just about anything on her. Though I suppose she's pretty irrelevant to this article, since I didn't choose her... She just sort of 'happened' I guess. It was meant to be. :P
  Aug 18, 2010  •  5,549 views
 
OnTopOfTheWorld  
Awesome Article :]

I was lucky enough to find my Mickey after free leasing just one other horse, and since he was being worked and kept at the barn where I was riding, I had lots of trusted opinions and I could ride him a lot. Not to mention, the fact that I immediately fell in love with him. However, since he passed, I've started to venture gently and slowly back into the world of looking for another horse. So, thanks for the great tips!
  Aug 18, 2010  •  5,649 views
 
Weber98  
Great article

Hey, Mystic, do you live in Australia? All I know is that where I live, Kangaroo attacks aren't something a horse really needs to get used to. lol
  Aug 19, 2010  •  5,572 views
 
Hippogriff  
Brilliant article!
When my cousin went to try the horse I ride now, as soon as she was in the saddle she fell in love with him. He's a brilliant horse, but he would have never passed the vetting. It's a good idea to have the horse vetted though, especially if you're a first time buyer, or still rather new to buying horses.
  May 3, 2013  •  5,397 views
 More News by Polo the Weirdo
The Equine Ten Commandments of Inconvenience
27th Nov 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
If you are lucky enough to afford an extremely expensive imported horse, it will spook at its own fart in the quarantine paddock and immediately sustain a career-ending injury. ...
The Best Rider Gadgets That Actually Work - Part II
19th Sep 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Welcome to part 2 in our quest of finding the best gadgets and gimmicks that can actually help you to improve your riding! Put your body where it should be, and let your brain figure out how to keep it there. Youíll have that perf ...
The Best Rider Gadgets That Actually Work - Part I
30th Aug 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Do you always find yourself riding with toes like a ballerina? Do you stare into your own lap as if the secrets of the universe are stitched into the crotch of your joddies? Do you ride with shoulders that would make the Hunchback ...
The Good Side of Equestrian Gadgets
16th Aug 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
Gadgets often get a poor reputation in the equestrian world due to their misuse on equine athletes often resulting in harmful or abusive conditions. The debate on whether or not gadgets (like side reins, etc.) ought to be used on ...
400 Horses Killed Each Month Due to COVID Lockdown
17th May 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
The elongated shutdown of racing brings with it many great consequences, many of which are already beginning to show as owners, breeders and trainers alike are forced to begin euthanasia of horses they can no longer afford to keep ...
Why Equestrians Relate to Tiger King
23rd Apr 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
With the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, people the world over are doing exactly what one would expect modern man to do in a time of great crisis. They are binge-watching eccentric Netflix documentaries. The specific documen ...
How to Stay Sane During Lockdown - A Guide for Equestrians
11th Apr 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
With our current global pandemic, many equestrians the world over are suddenly being forced to face a horseless reality as entire nations enter lockdown. It is a miserable and testing time, but equestrians are tough. Weíre gonna m ...
Equestrian In Lockdown
5th Apr 2020   |   General   |   Polo the Weirdo
On the first day of lockdown, most of us sat in our homes. Silent, shellshocked, looking through old pictures of our horses and trying to come to terms with the fact that we had to be without them for 3 whole weeks. Worrying about ...
  View All News by Polo the Weirdo
 
©2002 - 2021   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
184 Members Online 270,961 Registered Members 2,985 News Articles 12,981,826 Unique News Article Views 313,356,371 Website Views