Choosing a Horse

Tuesday’s Tip!

Things to do when viewing a horse or pony for sale, loan, or lwvtb.

First off, don’t just go with “pretty”, and be sure to check movement and conformation. Arrive earlier than scheduled (half hour is fine) to check that the horse isn’t being heavily exercised to wear it out and make it seem calmer; check the water if stabled when viewing/trying out – if horse has no access to water then seller may be dehydrating it so it behaves better/more dopey.

Preferably, see the horse caught from the field, brought up groomed, feet picked up, tacked up, ridden by current rider (then you, if you want to ride), see it untacked, hosed/sponged off, rugged up if necessary and turned out.

You want to see it trotted up on level surface a few times towards and away from you to see how it moves and see it walked and trotted around in hand with headcollar. See it ridden in traffic, on roads, in field, and hacking. Do a neuro test – there are a few you can find online – e.g., pick up a foot and put it down out of the “corner”; horse should pick it up and replace it at its “corner”.

Ask what it is fed, how it is with the vet, needles, farrier, how frequently it is fed, whether it is a good/poor doer, does it live in a stable or field or mixture of both, is it good with mares/gelding/mixed/individual turnout, does it shred rugs, does it have any vices, any show vices, does it trailer/box, if so which way does it face (front/back/side), does it travel alone/in company, does it hack alone/in company, what bit does it have, where in a yard does it like to live stabled – busy walk through area or quiet corner, is it cold backed, does it lunge (if possible see this), what vet is horse currently registered with, when was the last time horse had physio, chiro, saddler, and farrier. Also check that the seller has the passport and ask about when it last had its vaccinations done.

Also try and view more than once, never decide on the spot, and take lots of photos and videos to look back on after your viewing. Ask the seller if they mind you bringing along an experienced friend or instructor to help you look and if horse is a pure bred, ask about it’s lineage and do some research on them and the other offspring from the sire and dam as well as the breeder. Remember to take along a notepad with all your questions written out and where you can write down all the answers! If you like the horse then ask if a trial might be possible (2-4 weeks) to see how you get along as a partnership.

Feel free to like, share, and comment, so I know what little problems you all have, so that I can feature them in a future Tuesday Tip!

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