looking for a horse.(19 Posts)
I have ridden for years but never owned my own horse. I am now in the lovely position of being able to buy my first horse. But i am really struggling. i read all the adverts but can't seem to make the next move. Obviously i want the perfect horse for me but not sure how i will know if it is the perfect one. Has anyone got any advice on starting the process.
Make a list of what you want (I don't think colour should be on it!), what you want to do with it. have a think about your personality and what you want to put up with (a youngster will probably give you a few hairy moments - are you up for that, or like me, is it likely to freak you out)
Find a independent trusted person to give you a second opinion on what you are looking at.
go and see lots, don't believe a word you are told about it. Turn up early so you know if the are lunging it to wear it out first, always see the owner put it through its paces first. Don't believe them if it is nappy, bucks or rears and they say "its never done that before)
have it trotted up for you before you get a vet to see it - I have had 2 fail settings and if I had done this I would have seen it, and saved myself the money!
Always have it vetted, whether you do 2 or 5 stage.
Don't be in a rush!!! If you find one you like go back and see it several times. I would of this reason set a max distance I was prepared to travel.
I know I sound pessimistic - but I have been looking on and off for a couple of months...and the things you are told.
To give you an example my son was "leant" a pony for mid term break - it was for sale. It had the worst sarcoids on the girth area and was really sensitive too them. I hear today it has been sold, I said I was amazed because of the sarcoids (no way the could have cleared up in that time with treatment). Owner has told purchaser it is ringworm and the silly person has believed them. There was no way it was ringworm, but they are a old horsey family (the sellers and you notice I don't say respected), and so they were believed and trusted.
anyway I am sure more experienced people
If you like the look of a horse, make sure you catch him, tack him up and pick his feet out. It's really easy for the seller to have all that done and you'll only find out when you get him home if there are any difficulties.
Don't buy "his" tack. I made that mistake with my first horse. "his" tack was any old tat they had hanging round the tack room. The saddle even had a broken tree!
If you're going to want to hack him out, make sure you try that too. Don't just ride him in a manege and assume he'll hack out OK.
Don't believe anything you don't have evidence for, e.g. he's hunted, jumped 1m, been driven. I was told my horse had been driven. I found out later that he hadn't. Just as well I didn't want to do it anyway.
This all sounds really negative. It's not meant to. It's an exciting time and I really hope you find your ideal partner.
If you have never owned your own horse, I would suggest that you go for:
* Something 8-12 years old. At this age the horse is mentally and physically mature, so presumably you are not dealing with teenage antics and strops
* Been-there-done-that, done some small-medium level comps in the sort of riding you are interested in
* Sound, sound, sound, and once more, sound! I cannot emphasize this enough. The saying "no foot, no horse" is true to this day and age, despite medical advancements
* Have a look at the horses you like riding - are they sensitive, forward and hot? Or are they kick-along types that are really chilled and laid back? Or are they a combination of both, being able to 'hot-up' when you need them to and chill out when things calm down? Don't buy a hot, sensitive, nervous horse if what you enjoy riding is a kick-along, chilled-out sort of horse - recipe for disaster
* What do you enjoy doing with horses? Hacking? Dressage? Showjumping? Eventing? A bit of everything? Decide what you like doing with horses, then search ads matching what you want to do horsey-wise, not the other way around.
*Ask the opinion of a horsey person that you know well and trust. Don't have one? Find one, a second and trusted opinion is worth gold. Taking lessons from someone is an easy way to get an instructor's opinion on any horse you might be considering
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. HTH
Have you ridden in a riding school only, or have you shared/loaned privately owned horses?
Hi. Thank you that is very helpful i have started my list. I have never loaned or shared but just ridden whatever horses have crossed my path usually ones whose owners have lost interest or been unable to ride due to pregnancies. (these horses have been very varied in their ridden behaviours!) I haven't had riding school lessons as such but have been able to have the odd one to one lesson with the owners instructors. i have done quite a bit of schooling and hacking. I am looking for a horse that likes to hack alone and with company but mostly alone and i would like to have a go at some dressage and jumping and trek. i think i shall try and book some lessons at a riding school to try and get to know this area(recently moved). Thank you for your advice.
One other thing, I wouldn't restrict your search to 12 years and under. I'd take that up to 15 years. There are some fabulous 14 year old horses about and its certainly not old.
Download BHS advice leaflet here on buying and owning your horse
Good luck! I've been looking for my dd and myself (mother daughter share) for eighteen months (admittedly on and off but fairly consistently) and haven't found anything despite coming close twice (and paying for two vets inspections). It's a minefield out there!
And be prepared for it all to go tits up when you get the horse home, despite having done everything right.
Seriously though, you can never know how a horse will react to a change in environment.
Good luck. You have years of fun to look forward to
What area are you in? People on here might be able to recommend somewhere if you put a rough idea on (county perhaps?).
hi i am in the north wales. Thanks for the BHS leaflet stewed very useful. I have found some websites and a riding school to check out next week.
Sighs where in N Wales? I may be able to recommend a riding school or indeed know of some suitable horses!
hello, well i am off to see two potentials with my instructor on tuesday. Its very exciting but i am trying not to let that cloud my judgement. I have asked that if i get along with one that i can visit several times and have a trial loan. So i will report back to let you know how i get on.
That's great sighs, let us know your impressions of the two horses. If you like the look of them, then take a camera and take loads of pics from different angles, as well as video if possible. Then you will have something to analyse and and view when you get home, so you can be more objective. It is also useful to email the pics to knowledgeable horsey friends and get their opinion as well.
postponed until later in the week due to carol concert. (them not me) have roped an extra person in to do videoing Thanks zazzles great idea.
Videos and pics are so useful and great to over analyse afterwards and show people for their comments. But do also trust the feel a horse is giving you. I drove a 6 hour round trip last week to try a horse which sounded perfect on paper but was hugely over priced and couldn't walk (let alone trot or canter) in a straight line. I stayed on it for no more than 10 mins. Don't feel you have to give it a proper try if you really don't like it. Good luck and keep us posted. I hate horse shopping for me but love hearing other people's experiences
Make sure that once you find a horse you like etc, You take information on what its fed.
I see plenty of people bring a new "bombproof" horse home, whack a load of feed in it and then wonder why the horse is off its tits going mental.
Spend time on the ground with the horse, I have to rein myself in (no pun intended) because obviously i love to ride and want to get out there and have adventures and do this and that but the ground work is so important and neglecting it in the first couple of months due to the excitement of finally owning a horse can cause problems from the off - The horse needs to develop a respect for you in all areas. No matter how 'bombproof' it is. It's still a horse capable of reacting to different situations differently.
Oh and dont expect it to be on top form when you do get a horse home - As im sure you know horses are flight animals. They need to become comfortable. Piling the pressure on to work or ride is just going to heighten his senses and could lead to him perceiving danger where there is none and have lasting effects.
Whenever i meet a horse ive bought or been going to ride for a long period i start very small.
For example i rode a mare who had been broken in the year before, but only ridden by her owner. Naturally she was very nervous about having a new person on her back as she simply was not used to the situation.
I started by litteraly sitting on her back for 5 minutes. Once she stood still i gave her a little rub on her neck and got off and took her back to her field.
Next time she was happier to have me on her back. We had a walk around, which she was a little uneasy about, and again once she calmed down and did a lap of the school and then stood again for me, she got a rub on the neck and turned out.
I just gradually increased time with her as well as time on the ground not asking things of her. It took 2 weeks before i was riding her in the school comfortably and quietly with very little resistance (Obviously there was some as she was young).
I fully believe if id jumped on that horse and pushed and pushed and pushed id have ended up on my arse and the horse would have just thought 'well i dont want that on my back again'.
It is a bit rubbish when everyone else is off out schooling nad hacking etc, but the slow way is the fast way and by putting the time and building up you will create a good foundation.
It also enabled you to go back a step - For example with that mare, as we'd built up in clear steps, if we had a bit of a disaster of a schooling session and shed been a pain in the canter, then to finish on a good note i could always go back to something from earlier, a trot or a walk around on a 20 metre circle. Never finish on a bad note
Its all been very exciting. So i 've been to see a few rejected a few and have two that i liked. One slightly more than the other. I am going back to see my favourite and have a one on one lesson with my instructor to put him through his paces. Then i will have a short trial and i have spoken to the vet and the farrier who are both happy to come and see him on his trial period. He is slightly bigger and younger than i thought but a very pleasing attitude and seemed calm and sensible. He will need lots of work but i think we got on well and i even popped him over a jump(knee high) which was quite brave as it has been many years since i have done that but i felt safe with him. so fingers crossed for our lesson. Thank you for all your help.
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