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Once you have concluded that you can commit to owning a horse the challenge begins to find the right one. There are several things to consider when searching for your four legged companion but most importantly is take your time in making your decision.
An important factor in choosing your trusty stead is the height. You don’t want to look too small sat on top or too big. Consider if you’re likely to grow further as you don’t want to grow out of your horse too quickly. It’s not all about appearance though it’s how comfortable you feel riding. When looking for a horse look in the height range of the horses you’re already riding. If you are inexperienced and unsure ask someone what height you should be looking at.
Horses come in all different shapes and sizes but also like human they have age. With age you can get experience but some older horses will be ready to retire in forthcoming years when you may be at your prime riding wise. Young horses are often green and inexperienced so if you are a novice yourself this can pose problems. If you can somewhere in the middle is a good aiming point but just because a horse has age doesn’t mean it has had the training and experience as well. You can get an older horse that is green so don’t let that cloud your judgement. This leads on to finding a horse based on the correct experience for you. A horse that has had ample training and has been put through its paces through several disciplines will come quite experienced. This is ideal for someone who isn’t quite ready to train a horse themselves but does want to progress in their discipline. Horses that haven’t had much experience often require some training and bringing on and often need more work to achieve their full potential. These horses are best suited to someone with the riding knowledge and experience to help train the horse and give it the confidence it needs to progress. If you are unsure of the type of experienced horse you need speak to someone who knows your riding ability to advise you. Riding is suppose to be fun and if you have a horse that is too green it could potentially prevent you from experiencing what you like. Remember that if someone has put in training and given the horse experience they may come with a price tag. Consider your budget when thinking of the type of horse you need.
Not every horse is suited to every discipline. There are show jumpers, event horses, dressage, showing, riding club the list is endless. You have the all round horses that will do a bit of everything. You need to consider what you plan to do with your horse if you really want to concentrate on showing alone a horse specific to this discipline is most ideal. It’s no good looking at eventing horses if you plan to show in the show ring. If you are undecided and want to try your hand at different things an all rounder that won’t restrict you may be the best option.
Mares, geldings and stallions! Each has their own temperament a lot like a human. This needs to be considered when choosing your horse. If you are nervous a horse with a bold temperament could knock your confidence. A horse with a stroppy temperament will need they correct handling to improve and if you feel you won’t be able to do this then the horse could potentially turn dangerous. There are horses with sweet temperaments and quirky temperaments. View it like you do your relationships with humans you won’t get along with everyone and the same goes for a horse. When you view a horse consider its temperament and imagine if you feel you will clash or be able to bond.
Like dogs horses come in different breeds you have Arabs and Native, Thoroughbred and Irish draught. You have the cross breeds and the Heinz 57 bit of everything. The height, temperament and discipline of the horse, is often linked to the breed. It’s important to consider this, a Shetland pony won’t make an Olympic show jumping horse sadly height is just not on its side! Some breeds are more highly strung than others and sometimes the mixed breeds have the best of both.
After you have searched internet pages, adverts and newspapers and you have ruled which horses you feel on paper will be suitable what happens next? Well you need to see the horse, because not everyone is honest and sometimes the advert has been twisted and exaggerated slightly. Arrange viewings to see these horses and keep an open mind if the advert says it jumps a house, make sure you ask to see this. ALWAYS see the horse ridden first by someone there. If they are reluctant to mount this apparent perfect footed horse then politely give thanks and swiftly exit. Never risk your own safety. If you can turn up slightly earlier than planned this will give you chance to see the horse in the stable. Be wary of a horse already tacked up when you arrive there are some people who tire the horses out previously or use drugs to sedate them. This isn’t always the case but if you like the horse you can ask to come back to visit again but state you would like to see it in the stable and tacked up. If this request is not accepted then it may be that the horse isn’t what it seems. If you can take someone experienced with you as four eyes are better than two. Ask for the horse to be trotted up to check for straightness and any lameness. Feel the legs for lumps, bumps and any knocks. Question anything you are unsure of. In fact questions are great in getting to know the horse. Once you have ridden ask for some time in the stable and at this point you can see the horse’s temperament. Check what it’s like to lead with a head collar etc. If the horse is being turned out watch how it reacts to being handled as these are all day to day things you will be doing with your horse if it is indeed the right one.
This horse has so far ticked every box; temperament, discipline, height, breed, experience and the viewing. Wow you could be onto a winner here so what do you do next? Well you can consider a vetting which costs money but it will check the overall health of the horse which can be invaluable. If the horse passes then it could just be your new pet. It can be quite a challenge finding the right horse but remember to be open minded and take your time.
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